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WHAT IS THE COVENANT OF WORKS?

MAR 7

Genesis 2:17
Memorise Genesis 2:17
“…for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.”

A covenant is a promise, an agreement or a contract. When two or more individuals sign on a contract, they are acknowledging that they agree to abide by the conditions that are set out in the contract and failure to do so constitutes an infringement of this contract. Action can therefore be taken against the offending individual for such an infringement.

In the Garden of Eden, God entered into a Covenant of Works with Adam. God promised Adam eternal life upon condition of perfect obedience. The Covenant of Works is like a contract which involved Adam (representing the entire human race) and God. The difference is that this agreement and its conditions were dictated by God. Adam had no input. God would agree to grant Adam eternal life on one condition - he is not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Put simply, Adam was promised life and blessedness in return for his obedience to God. The promise of eternal life was based on the condition of total obedience (good works) by Adam to God’s command. Had Adam passed the test of obedience, God would have kept His word and granted Adam eternal life as promised.

In the Covenant of Works, Adam was the representative and federal head of the human race. Therefore, whatever he did, he did on behalf of all mankind (Romans 5:12,19). Adam was under probation in the Garden. He was given freedom of will to choose between God and self, between obedience and rebellion (Genesis 2:15-17). Adam disobeyed God and fell into sin (Genesis 3:17) when he ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Thereupon, he suffered the penalty of eternal death and the world was plunged into this sin cursed state today.

Adam was banished from the Garden of Eden. Man has lost paradise, and his freedom to partake of the tree of life (Genesis 3:22). Is there hope for mankind? Dear reader, how miserable to be born if we were all to be condemned forever. But God “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The hope then is found in the Covenant of Grace, which we will learn about tomorrow.

Thought: God is sovereign and He did not owe Adam anything in return for perfect obedience. Yet, He chose to deal with Adam graciously.
Prayer: O Lord, the depths of Thy amazing grace know no bounds.