Of the Gospel, and of the extent of the Grace thereof.
Chapter 20, Paragraph 1.
“The Covenant of Works being broken by Sin, and made unprofitable unto Life; God was pleased to give forth the promise of Christ, the Seed of the Woman, as the means of calling the Elect, and begetting in them Faith and Repentance; in this Promise, the Gospel, as to the substance of it, was revealed, and therein Effectual, for the Conversion and Salvation of sinners.”
Adam was our representative in the Covenant of Works. Its terms were: obey God’s commands, particularly His command to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and enjoy life everlasting. He had the ability and will to keep that covenant. He also had the ability and freedom to not keep that covenant. Willingly, Adam chose to disobey God, and ate of the fruit.
With an act of disobedience, Adam and Eve impacted the world, and not for the better. No human born in an ordinary way could live according to the requirements of the Covenant of Works. Decay and corruption are inherent from the moment of conception. Spiritual and physical death greet all of his descendants. Save One.
In the midst of the curses God pronounced on Adam, Eve, and the serpent that tempted them, He brought forth the promise of the Messiah, or Christ. This anointed One, a descendant of Adam and Eve, would crush the serpent’s head. A revelation of hope in the midst of so much darkness.
Through this promise God called His elect. It was a spark that the Spirit used to regenerate His own. The elect of Old Testament times did not have the knowledge of Christ to look back on as we do, but they were saved in the exact same way we are: through faith in Christ. Sam Waldron writes in his commentary on the 1689:
Men have always been saved in the same way and by the same gospel. In the Old Testament and in the New Testament that gospel was revealed. Every man ever saved was saved by its means.
Christian, not only do you share a common bond with your brothers and sisters in Christ scattered across the globe, but you share a common bond with your brothers and sisters in Christ scattered throughout eternity. The same Father that called you, called them; the same Christ that died for you, died for them; the same Holy Spirit that grants repentance and faith in you, granted faith and repentance in them. There is no special way of salvation for some, and not for others. It is always all of God’s free grace.
Questions to Consider
- If people could be saved in a different way other than having faith in Christ, how would that affect the sufficiency of Christ for salvation?