Dear Church Family,
Continuing in our Sunday school lessons in the Westminster Larger Catechism (WLC), this past Sunday we covered questions 31. Here is a brief review.
Review of WLC 30 – The Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace
Since we returned to our Sunday school lesson series in the Westminster Larger Catechism after an extended holiday break, we began our first class of the new year by reviewing where we had left off in the last class. WLC explains how even though Adam and all mankind fell into sin by breaking the first covenant (the covenant of works), God delivers His elect out of their fall into sin and their sinful condition by way of a second covenant (the covenant of grace).
So, we reviewed the graphic that we studied last time which provides an overview of the covenant of works and the covenant of grace, along with Scripture references that speak to the various manifestations of the covenant of grace throughout the Bible. You may find that graphic online here: https://hillcountrypca.org/westminster-larger-catechism-q-29-30/.
WLC 31 With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.
Romans 5:12-21, a passage that we have recently considered and examined several times in this class, explains the two federal (or covenant) heads of the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. Verse 19 of this passage provides a helpful summary. Speaking of Adam as the federal head of the covenant of works, the first half of Romans 5:19 says, “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners.” And, speaking of Christ as the federal head of the covenant of grace, the second half of verse 19 says, “even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”
In a similar manner, the Apostle Paul does some Holy Spirit inspired interpretation for the Old Testament for us when he writes in Galatians 3:16, “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is, Christ.” Here, Paul is referring to those promises which God spoke to Abraham in the Old Testament. For instance, “To your descendants [seed] I will give this land” (Genesis 12:7) and “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:18).
The point which Paul is making is this: Jesus Christ is the “funnel of promise.” That is to say, all of the promises of God come to fruition in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:19-20). Indeed, all of the writings of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms are fulfilled in Christ (Luke 24:44).
This truth leads Paul to make an important and even astonishing application at the end of the chapter (Galatians 3:26-29). All who have faith in Christ Jesus are sons of God. It doesn’t matter if you are physically descended from Abraham, whether you’re male or female, or what is your station in life. “…if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:29).
For rest of the second half of our class on Sunday, we discussed the ramifications of this truth for us today. Specifically, we explored passages in Romans 9-11 in discussing who is the true Israel of God. While our discussion was too extensive for me to summarize here, the conclusion at which we arrived is this: the true Israel of God includes those, and only those, who boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14-16).
I invite you to join us again this coming Sunday morning at 9:15 am as we continue our study of the God’s Word in our walk through the Westminster Larger Catechism!
The Lord be with you!
– Pastor Peter M. Dietsch