Gillespie: Christ Fulfilled The Covenant Of Works And Earned Condign Merit

1. Christ is a doer and fulfiller of the covenant of works most exactly in all points, both the command, and the curse and penalty of the Covenant, is satisfied by him; this is works, and this was the condition required upon his part, Heb. 10. 7, “Then said I, lo I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do your will, O God.” Gal. 3. 13, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us.”

2. Christ as a doer and obedient fulfiller of the Law, has a reward in justice by the promise of this covenant: For (I humbly conceive) he had his reward of debt, and merit, having paid a condign price to the justice of God; therefore his reward is due to him, by commutative Justice, Phil. 2. 7, 8, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man; And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross; wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,” and is craved by him, Joh. 17. 4, 5, “I have glorified you on earth, I have finished the work which you gaves me to do. And now, O Father, glorify me with your own self.”

—Patrick Gillespie, The Ark of the Covenant Opened: Or, A Treatise of the Covenant of Redemption Between God and Christ, As the Foundation of the Covenant of Grace (London, 1677), 61 [spelling and punctuation modernized].

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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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One comment

  1. Hi Scott,
    thanks for the post, over the last year or so, I’ve been looking around the net, here & other places
    looking to come to grips with this Doctrine of the Covenant of Works, the Republication of the
    Covenant of Works & the Covenant of Grace as well, Covenant Theology in general.

    After learning of the difference between a Formal as opposed to Material Republication of the
    Covenant of Works, and considering the fact that Adam was the Father, both Organic & Federal
    Head of Mankind, Created upright with the Law written upon his Heart and to him alone, as such,
    did God enter into a Formal Covenant of Works, on behalf of all Mankind, in the Garden of Eden
    with the command given that He may eat from any Tree in the Garden with the One Exception,
    that He was not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil, upon pain of Death.

    I have come to the belief that the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the 2nd Adam & also the Federal Head
    of His Redeemed people, having kept the Mosaic Law & Covenant perfectly, did execute a Formal
    Covenant of Works with God at Calvary on the Cross, fulfilling its terms, conditions & demands,
    thereby purchasing Everlasting Life & Immortality, Pardon & Forgiveness of Sins for His people,
    whilst entirely negating & nullifying the effects of the original broken Adamic Covenant of Works.

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