Justice over Will

...according to Owen’s revised understanding, God’s justice has priority over His will; to pardon sin, God must act in a manner consistent with His nature.

 

Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012), 243.

The Spirit Anointed Christ With Graces

...Second, Christ received gifts and endowments to aid Him in His work, namely, the infusion of habitual graces into His human nature (Isa. 11:2–4). This point was carefully highlighted by several Puritan writers. John Owen makes perhaps the most explicit comment: “The only singular immediate act of the person of the Son on the human nature was the assumption of it into subsistence with himself.”96 Moreover, Owen insists that the Spirit is the “immediate operator of all divine acts of the Son himself, even on his own human nature. Whatever the Son of God wrought in, by, or upon the human nature, he did it by the Holy Ghost, who is his Spirit.”97 The graces wrought upon the human nature were, therefore, a result of the Spirit’s work in Christ. This concept plays an important role in Thomas Goodwin’s Christology. Like Owen, Goodwin maintained that the Spirit sanctified the human nature and constituted the incarnate Son as the Christ. The Spirit anointed Christ with graces (Isa. 11:2).

Thus the graces manifested in Christ’s human nature are to be attributed to the Spirit as the “immediate Author of them.”98 Goodwin adds that “although the Son of God dwelt personally, in the human nature, and so advanced that nature above the ordinary rank of creatures, and raised it up to that dignity and worth; yet all his habitual graces, which even his soul was full of, were from the Holy Ghost … and this inhabitation of the Holy Ghost did in some sense and degree concur to constitute him Christ.”99 So, for Goodwin, in the hypostatic union, the divine nature acts not immediately, but mediately through the work of the Spirit. And, in connection with Gillespie’s point above, the Spirit equips Christ for the work of mediation.

Gillespie next shows that not only did Christ receive the Spirit to assist Him, but He also received promises from the Father to encourage Him (Isa. 42:4; 49:1–3).


96
Owen, Discourse on the Holy Spirit, in Works, 3:160.
97
Owen, Discourse on the Holy Spirit, in Works, 3:162.
98
Goodwin, Of the Holy Ghost, in The Works of Thomas Goodwin, D.D. (1861–1866; repr., Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), 6:50:"The graces of Christ, as man, are attributed to this Spirit, as the immediate author of them; for although the Son of God dwelt personally in the human nature, and so advanced that nature above the ordinary rank of creatures, and raised it up to that dignity and worth, yet all his habitual graces, which even his soul was full of, were from the Holy Ghost."
99
Goodwin, Of the Holy Ghost, in Works, 6:50.
 

Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012), 248–249.

Covenant, not Natural Propagation

Because of Adam’s sin, all men are polluted and guilty before God, “and liable to all the curses and penalties due unto them for breach of that Covenant.”162 Anthony Burgess also makes the case for the covenant of works based upon the guilt of Adam’s sin being imputed to his posterity. This could only happen by way of covenant and not natural propagation, otherwise Adam would be “no more to us than our parents … which is contrary to the Apostle, Rom. 5, who chargeth it still upon one man.”163 At bottom, Adam’s position as the federal head or covenant representative of humanity in the covenant of works finds its most compelling exegetical argument in Romans 5.


162
Edmund Calamy, Two Solemne Covenants, 2
163
Burgess, Vindiciae Legis, 120.
 

Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012), 235.

Covenantal Perseverance

Whatever graces Adam received from God, he did not receive the grace of perseverance in the covenant of works. Samuel Rutherford recognizes that Adam was in fact predestined to eternal life, but he was not “predestinate to a law glory [viz., a glory attained to by law-keeping], and to influences of God to carry him to persevere [in his state of original righteousness].”139 Instead, Adam was predestined not as a public person, but as a individual, elect in Jesus Christ. His fall, however, was as a public person, and so involved his descendants in his sin and its consequences (WCF, 6.2–3).


139
Rutherford, Covenant of Life Opened, 2.: Adam in his first state was not predestinate to a law glory, and to influences of God to carry him on to persevere: Nor could he blesse God, that he was Chosen before the foundation of the world to be Law- holy, as Eph. 1. 3. What? Was not then Adam predestinated to life eternall, through Jesus Christ? He was: But not as a publick person representing all his sons, but as another single person, as Abraham, or Jacob: for Gospel predestination is not of the nature, but of this or that person: Therefore were we not predestinat to life eternall in him, but in Christ, Rom. 8. 29, 30.
 

Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012), 232–233.

Jus Creationis

Aware that Reformed divines generally refer to the covenant of works as the covenant of nature (foedus naturae), Goodwin prefers instead to call it the law of creation (jus creationis). 34


34
Thomas Goodwin, Of the Creatures, and the Condition of their State by Creation, in The Works of Thomas Goodwin (1861–1866; repr., Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), 7:23.
 

Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012), 221.

Covenant Count

The question... is whether we may speak of the Abrahamic covenant (singular, so the Reformed) or Abrahamic covenants (plural, so the Baptists). The antipaedobaptists had to speak of two covenants made with Abraham: works and grace. By doing so, they were able to argue that circumcision belonged to the Abrahamic covenant of works and not to the Abrahamic covenant of grace.

 

Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012), 740.

The Davidic Covenant

Reformed theologians typically included the covenant made with David in their works on the history of redemption because of the abundant revelations made to David. These revelations include Christ’s eternal sonship; His threefold office of prophet, priest, and king; His incarnation, His mediatorial sufferings, and death; His resurrection, ascension into heaven, and enthronement at God’s right hand; the rise, progress, and success of His church and kingdom in the earth; His appointment to judge the world at the last day; and His eternal glory, in which all who belong to Him are destined to share.

 

Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012), 271.

X Sided Covenant

Thus the covenant of grace was made unilaterally by God; it is called a “one-sided covenant” (foedus monopleuron), given to fallen sinners apart from any consideration of their natural ability to respond or to fulfill the terms of the covenant. However, the covenant of grace is conditional in that it requires faith in Christ on man’s part, and so may be also called a “two-sided covenant” (foedus dipleuron).5


5
Thus, John Ball argues: “The Covenant of Grace is that free and gracious Covenant which God of his mere mercy in Jesus Christ made with man a miserable and wretched sinner, promising unto him pardon of sin and eternal happiness, if he will return from his iniquity, embrace mercy reached forth, by faith unfeigned, and walk before God in sincere, faithful and willing obedience, as becomes such a creature lifted up into such enjoyment, and partaker of such precious promises.” A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace … (London, 1645), 14–15.
 

Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012), 260.