Sibbes: Leviticus 18:5 Is A Covenant Of Works

Quest. Now, whence comes this rootedness and firm stability of God’s children?
Ans. Especially from this, that they are now in the covenant of grace, rooted in Christ, who is God-man, in whom they are firmly rooted. In Adam we had a root of our own, but now our root is in Christ. All grace is first poured into Christ’s blessed nature, John 1:16, and then at a second hand, ‘out of his fulness we all receive grace for grace.’ Being rooted in Christ we become firm, for there is in him an everlasting marriage and union. ‘The root beareth us, we bear not the root,’ Rom. 11:18. Christ beareth us, we bear not him. So now, in the covenant of grace, all the firmness is out of us. Even as salvation itself was wrought out of us by a mediator, so it is kept by a mediator out of us. All goodness, grace, and favour of God to us is not in us, but in Christ; but it is so out of us, as Christ and we are one. But now we only speak of the cause of our firmness and stability, that because we are in the state of grace we have an everlasting firmness, as we are in Christ Jesus, God now making a second covenant, he will not have it disannulled as the first was, for his second works are better than his first. His first covenant was, ‘Do this and live,’ Lev. 18:5; but his second is, ‘Believe this and live,’ Rom. 10:9. So as howsoever our state in grace be but little, yet it is of a blessed, growing, spreading, firm nature, so sure as what is begun in grace will end in glory. Where God gives the first fruits he will give tenths, yea, the full harvest and all, because by the covenant of grace we are one with Christ, who is an everlasting head that never dies. Subservient to this now we have promised in the covenant of grace that we shall never depart from him, and that he will never depart from us to do us good. He puts an awe-band into our hearts, that we shall never depart from him. But this point being often touched, leaving it, we will come to answer some objections.

—Richard Sibbes, The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 2 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet And Co.; W. Robertson, 1862), 339–40.

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