16711The Real First Covenant: the Covenant of Redemption, explained by Dickson, pt1
- Mar 4, 2009The real first Covenant is the Covenant of Redemption. David Dickson explains the Covenant of Redemption spledidly in his Therapeuitica Sacra, chapter IV.
He begins by explaining what is meant by "Covenant," what is meant by "Redemption," and who are the parties thereof, and then explains what is meant by this Covenant of Redemption.
"BECAUSE the healing of the sicknesses of the conscience cometh by a right application of divine Covenants about our salvation: therefore it is necessary, that some measure of the knowledge thereof be opened up.
"1. A divine covenant we call, a contract or paction, wherein God is at least the one party contracter. Of this sort of covenants about the eternal salvation of men (which sort chiefly belong to our purpose) there are three. The first is, the covenant of redemption, past between God, and Christ God appointed Mediatour, before the world was, in the council of the Trinity. The second is, the covenant of works, made between God and men, in Adam in his integrity, endued with all natural perfections, enabling him to keep it, so long as it pleased him to stand to the condition. The third is, the covenant of grace and reconciliation through Christ, made between God and believers (with their children) in Christ.
"2. As to the covenant of redemption; for clearing the matter, we must distinguish the sundry acceptions of the word redemption: for, (1.) Sometime it is taken for the contract and agreement of selling and buying-back to eternal salvation, of lost man, looked upon as in the state of sin and misery. In which sense, we are said to be bought by Christ, both souls and bodies, 1 Cor. 6.19,20, Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. And this may be called redemption by paction and agreed bargain. (2.) Sometimes redemption is taken for the paying of the price agreed upon. In which sense, Christ is said to have redeemed us, by suffering of the punishment due to us, and ransoming of us, Gal 3.13, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. (3.) Sometime redemption is taken for the begun application of the benefits purchased in the covenant by the price paid, Eph. 1.7, In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins, according to the riches of His grace. (4.) Sometime redemption is taken for the perfect and full possession of all the benefits agreed upon between the Father and Christ His Son the Mediator. In which sense, we are said to be sealed with the holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, Ephes. 1.14. and Ephes. 4.30, it is said, Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption; which is the day of Judgment, when Christ shall put us in full possession of all the blessedness which He purchased by bargain and payment for us.
"In this place we take redemption in the first sense, for the covenant past between the Father and Christ His Son, designed Mediatour, about our redemption.
"3. When we name the Father as the one party and His Son Christ as the other party in this covenant, we do not seclude the Son and holy Spirit from being the party offended; but do look upon the Father, Son, and Spirit, one God in three Persons, as offended by man's sin; and yet all three contented to take satisfaction to divine justice for man's sin in the Person of the Son, as designed Mediatour, to be incarnate. Whereby the Son is both the party offended as God, one essentially with the Father and holy Spirit; and the party contracter also, as God designed Mediatour personally for redeeming man, who with consent of the Father and holy Spirit, from all eternity willed and purposed in the fullness of time, to assume the human nature in personal union with Himself, and for the elect's sake to become man, and to take the cause of the elect in hand, to bring them back to the friendship of God, and full enjoyment of felicity for evermore.
"When therefore we make the Father the one party, and the Son designed mediatour the other party, speaking with the Scripture, for the more easy uptaking of the Covenant, let us look to one God in three Persons, having absolute right and sovereign power according to His own pleasure to dispose of men, looked upon as lying before God (to Whom all things are present) in sin and death, drawn on by man's own deserving, and yet for the glory of his grace resolving to save the elect, so as His justice shall be satisfied for them, in and by the second Person of the Trinity, the co-eternal and co-essential Son of the Father.
"4. This covenant of redemption then may be thus described. It is a bargain, agreed upon between the Father and the Son designed Mediator, concerning the elect (lying with the rest of mankind in the state of sin and death, procured by their own merit) wisely and powerfully to be converted, sanctified and saved, for the Son of God's satisfaction and obedience (in our nature to be assumed by Him) to be given in due time to the Father, even unto the death of the cross.
"In this bargain or agreement, the Scripture importeth clearly, a selling and a buying of the elect, Acts 20.28, Feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased by His own blood, 1 Cor. 6.20, ye are bought with a price, and 1 Pet. 1.18. The seller of the elect, is God; the buyer, is God incarnate; the persons bought, are the Church of the elect; the price, is the blood of God, to wit, the blood of Christ, who is God and man in one person.
"This covenant of redemption, is in effect one with the eternal decree of redemption, wherein the salvation of the elect, and the way how it shall be brought about is fixed, in the purpose of God, who worketh all things according to the counsel of His own Will, as the Apostle sets it down, Eph. 1, unto the 15th verse.
"And the decree of redemption is in effect a covenant, one God in three persons agreeing in the decree, that the second Person, God the Son, should be incarnate, and give obedience and satisfaction to divine justice for the elect: unto which piece of service the Son willingly submitting Himself, the decree becometh a real covenant indeed."
Dickson next provides six proofs of the Covenant of Redemption, which (Lord willing), I shall post in the next day or so, depending on how much discussion this post prompts.
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