Office Hours: The Trinity And The Covenant Of Redemption (Part 1)

Office HoursThere are passages in Scripture such as Psalm 110, Hebrews 7, and John chapter 17 that reflect something of the eternal relationship between the persons of the Trinity and especially between the Father and the Son. In the Reformation some of our writers began reflecting on these passages and others. In post-Reformation Reformed theology our theologians wrote about the eternal “covenant of redemption” (pactum salutis or consilum pacis) between the Father and the Son, in which the Father gave to the Son a people and he agreed to become their substitute and Savior. That covenant is prior to the covenants of works and grace that we see worked out in Scripture in the covenant with Adam before the fall and the covenant with Adam, Noah, and Abraham after the fall. In modern reflections on covenant theology, however, the doctrine of the covenant of redemption has either been neglected or rejected as unbiblical and damaging to the doctrine of the Trinity. John Fesko joins us for a two-part episode to discuss this important aspect of covenant theology. For an introduction to this topic see also the chapter “The Covenant Before The Covenants” in Covenant, Justification, And Pastoral Ministry.

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    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.

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  1. The Elect as persons are Chosen & Foreloved by The Father, before any foresight of good
    or evil in them, The Father was not moved by anything to love us, thus they must be
    foreseen as neither having attained to the righteousness of the law or having not been
    fallen, this is Unconditional Election.
    The Elect are then given to Christ in the Covenant of Redemption, Foreseen as fallen & needing Redemption in time, this is the Choosing in Christ were Christ voluntarily & willingly agrees to be their Redeemer & Mediator in time, for Love to His Father, His
    Fathers will & for the Fathers people, which are also His, as He has said Thine are mine & Mine are thine.
    These 2 actions of the Eternal God within the Eternal Godhead are separate & distinct
    and are not to be confused, which is what the infralapsarians do by making the Election
    of the Father & the Chosen in Christ to be one thing, when in actual fact they are not
    one & the same thing, for it would not be an Unconditional Election if the creature were viewed to be fallen when Elected, which is what infra does, The Father Elected us for His loves sake not mercy, He has mercy on us to be sure, who were already Ordained to be His, when He gave us to His only Begotten Son to be our Redeemer, Saviour, Mediator & Advocate. This scheme that has been proposed best fits in with the Supralapsarian position, though God’s Decrees ought to be seen as one unchangeable eternal counsel.

    • Robert,

      The infra/supra debate was rather more complicated than your summary suggests. All I will say in reply is that both the Canons of Dort and the Westminster Assembly are infralapsarian. Historically, supralapsarianism, in its various versions, has been tolerated but it’s never been the majority view.

      I am convinced on the basis of Scripture that the majority view is correct.

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