J. H. Heidegger: Christ Condignly Merited As The Second Adam

9.3 The Covenant Of Works
The covenant of works is the pact of God initiated with the uncorrupted Adam, as head of the whole human race, in which He stipulated from man perfect obedience to the law, promised eternal, heavenly life for the same obedience, but threatened eternal death for transgression, and in turn man promised perfect obedience to God who stipulated, which having furnished, he could expect eternal, heavenly life. Scripture testifies that such a covenant existed with Adam. “They…(like Adam) transgressed the covenant” (Hos. 6:7). And God established the sacrament of the same covenant, “the tree of life” (Gen. 2:9). (VII).

9.4. God And Adam Covenanted

They were covenanted, God as the Creator, Law-giver, and Rewarder, and Adam as the first man, uncorrupt, and head of the human race. For Adam was the “one blood” in which the whole posterity lay hidden (Acts 17:26), and he was “the first Adam,” equally representing those to be born from his blood, and “the second Adam” represents the faithful; indeed, he is a “type of” the one “to come” (Rom. 5:14). And since the remaining words concern the whole human race, the human race cannot be secluded from the covenant initiated with him. (VIII).

9.10. The Promise Of Heavenly And Eternal Life

The promise of the covenant of works was eternal and heavenly life. This sacrament of it, “the tree of life,” by all means true and…(eternal) (Gen. 2:9), sanctioned not only for animals, and the earthly blessings that he already possessed, in which there was no διαθήκη (covenant), but there was προσθήκη (an accession) to the covenant. And when Christ, fulfilling the law in our place, merited eternal and heavenly life for us, He obtained the fulfillment of the same law by merit for us. Indeed, God promised something more in the covenant of works than that of whom could be a sharer outside of that. And it was not other than the translation into heavenly Paradise. (XXIII–XXVI).

10.4. The Stipulation Of God And The Promise Of The Son

In this singular pact God the Father demanded from the Son, as Mediator, vicarious obedience to the law for man the sinner, and the Son promised it in turn. “Behold, I come. In the scroll of the book it has been written about me, that I shall do Your will” (Ps. 40:8–9). “Where He placed His soul as sacrifice, He will see a seed” (Isa. 53:10). “This commandment I have received from the Father, that I may place My soul” (John 10:17, 18). “He was born from a woman, gενόμενος ὑπὸ νόμον (born under the law) (Gal. 4:4). Therefore, everywhere Christ comes in the name br[ ἐγτύου and παρακλήτου (of advocate, guarantor), by guaranteeing and promising for another, of the one who receives Him in his faith (Job 33:23, Jer. 30:21, Isa. 38:14, Heb. 7:22). This Sponsor is at the same time is called “Mediator” (1 Tim. 2:5, Heb. 8:6), “Testator” (Heb. 9:15, 16), “High Priest” (Heb. 7:26), “Vindicator” (Job 19:25, Heb 2:16), etc. (VII–XIV).

10.5. The Demand Of The Son

The demand of the same Son follows the promise. For as God the Father demanded payment from the Son and promised inheritance for paying, so the Son by promising and furnishing it, acquired the right to claim an inheritance, church, people of His own possession. “Demand from Me, and I will give you the nations as Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth as Your possession” (Ps. 2:8). “Surely My judgment is before the Lord, and…(My works) are a price before My God” (Isa. 49:4). For the promise and obedience of the Son had reason of true merit, even from condignity, for which nothing could be lacking (XIV).

—J. H. Heidegger, The Concise Marrow of Christian Theology (1697). Trans. Casey Carmichael. ©R. Scott Clark and Casey Carmichael 2015.

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
    Author Image

    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!

One comment

  1. So it goes without saying that there was
    a Christological Republication of the
    Covenant of Works in the Mosaic,
    not to disregard the fact that the Covenant
    of Grace was also exhibited through the
    types, shadows, promises, prophecies etc
    and Paul sais that we look through a glass,
    darkly in the New, what of the Old?

Comments are closed.