The Covenant of Redemption

By Shawn Tomlin

Have you ever made a promise to yourself? Maybe something like “this is my last cigarette, tomorrow I’ll start eating better, I’m going to be more understanding” or something along those lines? More than likely you didn’t follow through. Almost no one does because we are weak and sinful. Over the next several weeks we will talk about the different covenants found within scripture. These covenants are the backbone of how we, as Reformed Baptists, view the Bible. Although we typically fail to keep promises we make to ourselves and others, the Triune God doesn’t. He made a promise to Himself, actually to be more accurate, within Himself, in this first covenant that we will discuss.

This first covenant is quite unique, in that it wasn’t made between us and God, but rather it was a covenant made between the Father, Son, and Spirit. This is known as the Covenant of Redemption. This covenant is extremely important in Covenant Theology because as our very own Lee Jones put it, “The Covenant of Redemption is the CoRe of the gospel.” It is the basis on which all the other covenants were formed.

Because of the Covenant of Redemption made before creation, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit promised within the Godhead to redeem those whom would be saved

Although the Covenant of Redemption isn’t clearly spoken of in scripture, it is present there. Especially in the New Testament passages that speak of Christ’s work being the will of the Father, and by extension, the Spirit as well. Before we get into a couple passages that will highlight this I want everyone to understand something. The plan of salvation of created and agreed upon within the Godhead. God cannot disagree within Himself, the Son, Christ, is sent into the world to do the will of the Father. Christ didn’t just one day decide on His own to go redeem His people. He was sent because it was not only His will, but the Father’s will and also the will of the Spirit. 

Now let’s look at just a couple passages that speak on Christ fulfilling the will of the Father in His work. The first passage is John 4:34 which says, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.” The other passage is John 5:19 which says, “Truly I tell you, the Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son likewise does these things.” How do these verses speak of the Covenant of Redemption? We can see that Christ didn’t come on His own, in fact Jesus couldn’t go rogue because of John 5:19. He was sent to carry out the Father’s will, the redemption of His people. Christ did the work the Father gave Him to complete. The Spirit wasn’t absent here because He applies the work of Christ to believers. He did then and He does now. Because of the Covenant of Redemption made before creation, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit promised within the Godhead to redeem those whom would be saved. Yes, Christ alone is our salvation, but remember, the Father’s will was for Christ to live a perfect life under the Law, die in your place, atone for sin with His blood, and rise on the third day. Also, don’t forget how the work of Christ is applied to you. As you heard the gospel the first time, the Spirit called you. Once you came to faith the Spirit dwelt within you and applied the work of Christ to you. We know that God cannot lie and for this reason we have a double assurance. He keeps His promises to us and His promises to Himself, the Covenant of Redemption. The Triune God works to redeem His people.

“The LORD bless you, and keep you;

The LORD make His face shine on you,

And be gracious to you;

The LORD lift up His countenance on you,

And give you peace.” 

Lee Jones