Covenant of Grace

Reading John Murray’s “The Covenant of Grace”, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Phillispburg,  New Jersey

Francis Turretine defines the Covenant of Grace as: “A gratuitous pact between God offended and man the offender, entered into in Christ, in which God promises to man freely on account of Christ remission of sins and salvation, and man relying on the same grace promises faith and obedience.

Or it is a gratuitous agreement between God the offended one and man the offender concerning grace and glory in Christ to be conferred upon man the sinner on the condition of faith”

Institutio Theologiae Electicae, LOC. XI, Quaest. II. & V.

Herman Witsius

“The Covenant of Grace is an agreement between God and the elect sinner; God declaring his free goodwill concerning eternal salvation, and everything relative therto, freely to be given to those in covenant by and for the sake of the Mediator Christ; and man consenting to that goodwill by a sincere faith”

De Oeconomi Foederum Dei cum Hominibus, Lib. II, Cap. I&V.

The question is in biblico-theological study, if the usage of Scripture, covenant (berith in Hebrew and diatheke in Greek) may properly be interpreted in terms of a mutual pact or agreement. – Murray. p 8

The covenant we see between man such as Abraham and Abimelech or David and Jonathan is not the same as the covenant made between God and man. – Murray p. 9

covenants made by man with God

they bind themselves in bond to be faithful to the Lord in accordance with His recealed will – Murray 11

Noahic: The features of the covenant plainly evince that this covenant is a sovereign, divine administration, that it is such in its conception, determination, disclosure, confirmation, and fulfillment that it is an administration or dispensation of forbearance and goodness, that it is not conditioned by or dependent upon faith or obedience on the part of men. It is an administration of grace which emanates from the sovereign good pleasure of God and continues without any modification or retraction of its benefits by the immutable promise and faithfulness of God. – Murray p.14

Abrahamic: The covenant isa  sovereign dispensation fo God’s grace. The grace dispensed and the relation established do not wait for the fulfillment of certain conditions on the part of those to whom the grace is dispensed. Grace is bestowed and the relation established by sovereign divine administration. -Murray p.18

But what about the requirements to stay in the covenant of Abraham? “The uncircumcised male…shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant” (Genesis 17.14)

The continued enjoyment of this grace and of the relation established is contingent upon the fulfillment of certain conditions. For apart from the fulfillment of these conditions the grace bestowed and the relation established are meaningless. The conditions in view are not really conditions of bestowal, that are simply the reciprocal responses of faith, love and obedience, apart from which the enjoyment of the covenant blessing and of the covenant presupposes the covenant relation as established rather than the condition upon which its establishment is contingent. – Murray p. 19

A covenant which yields its blessing indiscriminately is not one that can be kept or broken. – Murray p.20