What is the covenant of works? This doctrine is probably one of the more crucial doctrines in Reformed Theology that is also one of the more over looked doctrines of covenant theology. Generally people are quick to embrace the soteriology of reformed theology however, this is probably the more fundamental doctrine of Reformed Theology that should really be grasped for reasons still to follow.
The big idea ultimately is understanding Adam and everything he was supposed to have done, what he did and what the consequences are for what he did. This will allow the believer to understand Jesus better and what he was supposed to have done, what he did and what the consequences are for what he did. Just as Adam’s work will forever affect those who come after him, so with Jesus the same is true. As Adam was placed in a world that was considered good. He was in a place that was considered good and he had the ability to deny temptation. Jesus was in a fallen world. His mission was to be perfectly obedient even unto to death in perfect submission to the will of the Father. There in his faithfulness he did what Adam didn’t do. He earned an audience before the King.
When we see Jesus as the second Adam we understand that it isn’t reduced to Jesus dying for his people. We see that Jesus also lived for his people. He died for his people then he rose for his people. Now in his resurrected body, he intercedes for his people.
Had Adam been perfect in his obedience to God, he would have been able to merit the results of his work. Adam was not destined to remain in the garden forever. Adam was in the garden as a probationary period. When we understand this it helps the believer to not only better understand the rest of the Scripture but to understand the works of Christ in his life on earth and in his resurrected state in heaven at the right hand of the Father.