The Rhino Room|Covenant of Redemption

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Does the Bible teach a pre-temporal Covenant of Redemption?

Nicolas Alford (Pastor, Grace Baptist Church of Taylors, South Carolina)

Yes! Jesus was a man on a mission, and that mission was to secure the covenant of grace for us by satisfying the covenant of works in fulfillment of the covenant of redemption. This topic is shrouded in mystery and glory, but the Scriptures clearly testify to a pre-temporal intra-Trinitarian pact in which the Father gave the Son an elect people to redeem, and they in turn purposed to send the Spirit to apply that redemption: Luke 4:14, 18; John 3:17, 5:26-9, 6:37-39, 8:16, 42, 10:27-8, 36, 11:42, 12:48-9, 14:16-17, 25, 15:26, 16:7, 13-15, 17:7-8, 24; Acts 2:33, 13:2, 16:7, 20:28; Rom. 5:12-19, 8:11; 1 Cor.12:11; Eph. 1:3, 11, 20-22; Phil. 2:9; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5-6; Heb. 7:21, 28; 1 Peter 1:19, 20 (references complied by Pastor Greg Nichols).

Wayne Brandow (Pastor, Bible Baptist Church of Galway, New York)

Yes, though not taught expressly, it is implied. When you compare what Jesus said in John 6:37, 38 with Ephesians 1:4, it becomes apparent that those chosen (election) before time were given to the Son by the Father. Some sort of arrangement appears to be in view:
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. . . .  And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day (John 6:37, 39).
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love (Ephesians 1:4).


Nicholas Kennicott (Pastor, Ephesus Church of Rincon, Georgia)

Yes, I believe the Bible does teach a Covenant of Redemption (pactum salutis, or eternal covenant), although not named explicitly. It is a pre-temporal (prior to creation/eternal), intra-trinitarian agreement in which the Father promises to redeem an elect people by sending the Son to earn and secure the salvation of those people by voluntarily becoming incarnate (putting on flesh, becoming a man with physical body and soul) and fulfilling the requirements set forth in the covenant agreement on behalf of mankind. In the Son’s active and passive obedience, He fulfills the conditions of the covenant, making the Father’s promises valid, thus earning the reward for his obedience which is the eternal salvation of the elect who become His bride. The Spirit’s role in the Covenant will take more characters than I’m allowed in this response!

Chris Marley (Pastor, Miller Valley Baptist Church of Miller Valley, Arizona)

Yes. Done. Boom. *Drops mic and walks away.

In all seriousness, though, it does. It probably didn’t look exactly like a covenant, as it occurred within the Trinitarian unity of an infinite God and (I believe) outside of time. Trying to describe that will make your ears bleed, yet I think covenant is the closest term we have. A number of passages somewhat deal with it, most famously Psalm 110, but it is where election took place. It was also somewhat contemporary (if we can say that) with the decree of God. I believe it’s due, necessary, and essential inference that God determined within himself the planned redemption of saints in election, the accomplished redemption in Christ’s work, and the applied redemption of the Holy Spirit’s work. God clearly did those things before creation, and for him to determine in perfect wisdom is for it to be as certain as a covenant.

Douglas Van Dorn (Pastor, Reformed Baptist Church of Northern Colorado)

The Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world (1 Pet 19-20; Rev 13:8). Sacrificial lambs only make sense in the context of covenants. Jesus told his disciples, “Just as my Father has granted me a kingdom, I grant you” (Luke 22:29). “Grants” are the language of covenants. In fact, the word here is diatithemi, the verb that relates to the noun diatheke (“covenant”). This is also said in the context of “the new covenant” Lord’s Supper, just prior to Jesus offering himself on the cross as the sacrifice. Therefore, the Trinity had a covenant arrangement planned out before Jesus came to earth. If the lamb was slain before the creation of the world, it follows that this arrangement was made with the persons of the Trinity even before that time.

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