How does covenant theology encourage assurance and rest in Christ? Answered by Jimmy Buehler
Hey everybody, this is Jimmy, and on today’s episode of ask Theocast, I’m going to try to answer the question: “How does covenant theology increase our assurance in Christ?”
I’m going to focus specifically on what’s known as the covenant of redemption, which is the covenant made between the three persons of the Godhead, from eternity past, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to redeem sinners. I just want to read from the book of Ephesians chapter one, less we think that covenant theology is something that we’re placing on the text, rather, it’s something that really rises out of the biblical text. So let me just read Ephesians chapter one beginning in verse three:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the beloved.” Moving down to verse 13, “In him, you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
So, really what we see there is this covenant of redemption, that before eternity past, God, the Father, planned to redeem sinners. Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, is the one who accomplished that redemption, and then what we see later on in chapter one is that the Holy Spirit is the one who applies, or seals, that redemption. As we think about covenant theology, and specifically the covenant of redemption and how it increases our assurance, what I want us to see is that our assurance is completely, totally, 100% found in the objective realities of the gospel.
A lot of times we confuse our assurance with how we feel or what we’re thinking on the inside, but I think what covenant theology does so well, as we think about the covenant of redemption, the covenant of works, and the covenant of grace, is that it points us to these outward oriented things, specifically that, one, the Father has planned redemption. Before you ever sinned, before you ever messed up, before you ever took a breath, God, the Father, set his love on you. Second, Jesus Christ is the one who accomplished that redemption, so that when God looks at you, he doesn’t look at your best days of obedience, he doesn’t look at your worst days of sin, but rather he looks at the perfect righteousness of Christ, credited to your account, and finally, the Holy Spirit seals that redemption to you. It’s not a work that you did. It’s not like you had to reach up into heaven and pull it down, but rather, the Holy Spirit descended and sealed that upon your heart, took out your heart of stone, and gave you a heart of flesh.
What I love about covenant theology is that it points us outside of ourselves, which is, I think, something we always need to remember when we think of the gospel. Our assurance is never found in something within ourselves, but rather in the objective realities of the gospel.
If you want some more resources about covenant theology, and specifically the gospel itself, you can head to our website at Theocast.org. We hope that this episode of ask Theocast was beneficial to you. We’d ask that you’d share it with those that might find help and rest in it, and we are always encouraging you as a weary pilgrim to find your rest in the objective realities of Christ. Thanks for listening.