Sunday, December 27, 2009

Brian Schwertley: The covenant of works has a concept of merit, but not of intrinsic value forcing God's favor

Brian Schwertley provides an important point regarding merit and the covenant of works -- that God will faithfully honor the promises He has made to reward perfect and perpetual (not mere imperfect yet loyal) law-keeping:

The covenant of works does have the concept of merit, but it is not merit in the sense that our own works have intrinsic value before God and thus force God’s favor; but, merit in the sense that God will honor a perfect and perpetual obedience because He has promised to do so. God has obligated Himself in the covenant of works to reward a perfect and perpetual obedience with glorified life. Christ is the only person who ever lived that perfectly and perpetually obeyed God. Thus, according to the terms of the covenant of works Jesus merited glorified life for His people. On the basis of Christ’s righteousness, believing sinners are justified. They are not merely forgiven by the Savior’s blood but declared righteous on the basis of the imputation of our Lord’s righteousness to their account.


[There is a] radical difference between the covenant with Adam and the covenant of grace. Adam did not need a surety, a mediator or a covenant head to live perfectly and die in his place. Adam did not have any guilt and he did not have a sinful nature. Adam did not need the special assistance of the Holy Spirit to lead a holy life before the fall. Adam as a holy, righteous being had the ability to obey the covenant of works. As a holy, righteous creature he should have obeyed it. But unlike Adam before the fall, we are fallen, guilty, polluted, depraved and totally unable to do anything in and of ourselves that pleases God or meets the requirement (both externally and internally with perfect motives) of God’s holy law. (Brian Schwertley, A Refutation of the Auburn Avenue Theology's Rejection of Justification by Faith Alone)

No comments:

Post a Comment