BCL Grow: Covenant of Works — Genesis 2:16-17

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Genesis 2:16-17 (Law)

Bible Passage

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” — Genesis 2:16-17


“The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience. — Westminster Confession of Faith, 7.2.

Steps to Take

1. Consider: What is the “if-then” aspect of God’s command in Genesis 2:16-17?

2. Remember: In the covenant of works between God and man in Genesis 2, we find that God doesn’t ask Adam’s permission to enter into the covenant. Thus, a covenant does not require both parties to be equal in stature or equal in responsibilities.

3. Understand: The covenant of works has never been abrogated. Everyone who has ever lived is under either 1) the covenant of works, being guilty in Adam and under condemnation; or 2) under the covenant of grace, being declared righteous by the perfect obedience and sacrifice of Christ (the last Adam), which are counted to them through faith alone by grace alone in Christ alone.

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