Covenant Theology

"Covenant theology sets the gospel in the context of God's eternal plan of communion with his people and its historical outworking in the covenants of works and grace."

Ligon Duncan

Just as two bookends hold together a row of books, the covenant of works and the covenant of grace hold together the storyline of Scripture. Join a host of twenty-six scholars, including O. Palmer Robertson, Michael J. Kruger, and Scott R. Swain, as they explore how the concept of covenant is clearly taught in Scripture and how it lays the foundation for other doctrines of salvation. This monumental work is Trinitarian, eschatological, historical, confessional, and practical, presenting readers with a great hope and consolation: the covenant-making God is a covenant-keeping God.

Covenant theology is usually a topic that is talked about a lot but rarely deepened about what it really is. Even among those who adhere to covenant theology, the subject seems to be somewhat unknown. I had been waiting many months for this book and since I saw the table of contents, I knew it would become a must read. This is a book that I would love to see translated into Spanish because it simply addresses a topic that we need so much to properly understand the depth and structure of the Reformed tradition. Even though it is an academic book, I believe that pastors can take advantage of each chapter and draw essential lessons about the way God reveals himself, through covenants.

However, this book is not merely a collection of essays in highly technical language and cultural analyses of symbolic implications, biblical quotations, etc., (although these are certainly essential elements). Rather, Covenant Theology is a book that allows us to encounter a God of faithfulness, a God of deep love who chooses a people for himself and keeps his promises (blessings and curses) above all the failings of his chosen ones. Every analysis of the covenants we see in the Bible is nothing more than the demonstration of God's love in different administrations, ratifications. But God, His Word and His plan remain the same. Therefore, a Covenant theologian can be assured of two things: 1) The God of love and perpetual faithfulness to His people and 2) The work of Christ manifested at all times.

One of the greatest challenges of this book has been having to read more than once some of the paragraphs Why? Because sometimes theological terms are used that may be unfamiliar to some, but you will really benefit from reading it calmly. This book is not to be read simply from day to day. It will be very useful to make a simple reading plan, I would recommend that you read one chapter per week in order to extract the best of the book, review the Bible quotes, note the important points (perhaps you will end up highlighting almost the entire chapter as I did).

Another benefit this book presents is a robust understanding of what God's plan involves. We can clearly see that under the structure God's plan and the main character from beginning to end is one: The Triune God. That is another great benefit, we can learn to see God as He is, the Triune God. The peaceful structure allows us to see the Triune God operating from eternity, in creation and in each of the covenants. Another benefit of reading it is that by understanding the covenantal structure we will also be able to understand faithfulness, promises, prophetic fulfillment, and resolve doubts about how to interpret the Bible correctly.

Covenant theology is not simply a lens through which we interpret the Bible. On the contrary, covenant theology is the lens through which God himself shows us his plan and his message. If we wish to better understand such a message, we will need covenant theology. The challenge is great, the subject is profound, and one thing that I am incredibly grateful to the authors for is the bibliography at the end of the book in order to be able to continue deepening the subject.

Finally, this book has been a call to humility and moderation. Even among peaceful theologians there are differences. Some hold a different interpretation. Therefore, I have concluded that we should never become dogmatic and discard completely the interpretations that differ at a certain point. The example of these scholars is that we should study with humility and patience the opposing positions. I am left with the words of Richard P. Belcher Jr. on the subject of the covenant of works, "The covenant of works is important, but a proper understanding of the gospel is more important and we should rejoice when people understand the gospel even if they reject the covenant of works. Therefore, covenant theology should lead us to humility and to understand that we have nothing to boast of, no knowledge that does not come from God, and if scholars like the authors of this book call us to rejoice with those who will not agree, what could some like us, students, sheep, shepherds, occasional readers, do? The answer is simple, covenant theology should lead us to love God in a profound way, the first and great commandment of his covenant, but also to love our neighbor, the second great commandment. Covenant theology is the love of God manifested in incredible ways that finds its consummation in the One who was able to fulfill all the requirements, Christ.

Andres Glz