The seventh chapter of the confession of faith has to do with a very large subject, the subject of God’s covenant with man. We might ask first of all what is a covenant? Well it’s not a contract some people tend to think of the covenant today as a contract, which is an agreement between two equal parties and if one of the parties or the other fails to keep their part of it then the whole thing falls apart, but that’s not the nature of a covenant in the Bible. A covenant in the Bible is a bond in blood sovereignly administered. Now there’s a lot packed into that comment, but it really picks up what the confession. A bond in blood sovereignly administered. The confession says first of all that a covenant that God made was made as a voluntary condescension on God’s part. That’s the sovereign administration. In other words there would have been no covenant with us had God not initiated it and there would be no covenant with us if God did not keep it. So what is that covenant that the Bible points to? It is the the simple statement that God makes from Genesis to Revelation, “I will be your God and you will be my people.” That’s the covenant. Every time you read that phrase “I will be your God and you will be my people” that is the motto, the signature of the covenant that God condescended to make with us.
The question is how does a holy God make a covenant with sinful people? That’s what the next future paragraphs explain. He did it by creating the world and then coming into a relationship with man. He first of all made a promise to Adam that he would live if he obeyed and if he disobeyed he would die. Now the confession calls that a covenant of works. We’re not understand from that that it was an entirely different covenant maybe it’s better to think of it this way there is one covenant of redemption that God made with Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world. He said in other words my son you fulfill these conditions and I will give you all of these people as your possession forever. They will be saved forever, that’s the covenant of redemption. It’s one symphony we might say that has several movements and the first movement was in heaven, that pre-creation agreement then the second movement was God’s putting Adam and Eve in the garden and saying these are the conditions you must keep. The third movement was the covenant of grace not a different covenant. The covenant of redemption with the third movement applied to now in history the application of that promise that God made to the son condition on the son’s obedience that resulted in the salvation of his elect.
Now what are the conditions of that covenant? Well the conditions of it are faith and obedience, but those conditions are not meritorious that is when we believe when we obey it’s not that God rewards us with the salvation that is promised in the covenant, it’s rather that God has woven faith and obedience into the covenant of redemption as the instruments by which he is going to save us. By which he’s going to draw us to himself, by which he is going to get us to heaven. Paragraph four of the confession in chapter seven explains that Christ, the testator, the promissory of the covenant is the one who fulfills those conditions too so not only does God condescend to us to make a covenant he condescends to us in Jesus Christ and ultimately by the Holy Spirit to give us faith to give us repentance to give us the gift of obedience.
The final paragraph of this long chapter have to do with the old and new testaments. And basically what they say is that while the old and new testaments are different that is different in their clarity the New Testament is obviously clearer than the promises of the Old Testament; they are different in clarity they are the same in substance. It’s not that they’re a whole bunch of different covenants throughout the Bible or one major different coveted in the Old Testament and a different one of New Testament it is one covenant of redemption differently administered. That is the Old Testament anticipates what God’s going to do in Jesus Christ and the New Testament explanation of how he fulfilled it. In the final paragraph there is this explanation of the sacraments in the old and New Testament which are particularly given to encourage us in the nature of the covenant and that God is fulfilling it and basically says that the lord’s supper and baptism are a continuation of the sacraments of Passover and circumcision, respectively, in the Old Testament and the only difference is a matter of broadening and simplification that these sacraments are more broadly given. They’re easier to carry out there. They’re no longer bloody, they are reflective in other words of the broadening and the simplification and the clarity of the New Testament itself.
The covenant of god “I will be your God and you will be my people” is the good news of the Bible that God has become our God we have been made his people by the grace and the work of Jesus Christ.