Romans Chapter 8

Covenant of Redemption

Chapter 8, Verses 28-30 Part 1

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."        

This passage is often referred to as God's covenant of redemption.  This covenant shows forth the redemption of God's elect people.  Due to the great significance of this covenant we will go into some detail about this covenant.  We will look at all five parts of this covenant in succeeding essays.         

God makes two types of covenants ‑ conditional and unconditional covenants.  We also noted that the covenant of redemption as stated in Rom. 8:28‑30 is an unconditional covenant, i.e., there are no conditions placed on man, but God is responsible for carrying out all the actions in that covenant.       

Before we study each of the actions in the covenant of redemption listed in Rom. 8:28‑30, let us look at an old testament passage that teaches us about the covenant of redemption.  This passage is found in II Sam. 23:1‑7.  This passage begins by telling us that the words that follow are the last words of David.  Then it tells us that though the words were spoken by David as his last words, that he was just a mouth‑piece for the Holy Spirit, "The Spirit of the Lord spake by me and his word was in my tongue."  In other words the words spoken were actually the words of the Holy Spirit with David being used as a mouth‑piece!       

Next, in verse 3 we are told that the Holy Spirit is relating to us a conversation between the "God of Israel" and the "Rock of Israel:" "The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me..."  Thus in this conversation the Rock of Israel spake to the God of Israel and what followed were the words which the "Rock of Israel" spake to the "God of Israel."  I Cor. 10:4 tells us that the "Rock of Israel" is "Christ:" "...for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."  Therefore the words that followed in II Sam. 23:3‑7 were the words of Christ, the Rock of Israel, to God, the Father, the God of Israel.       

In verses 3 and 4 Christ set forth his own requirements to rule as King.  Then beginning with verse 5 He relates to us provision of the covenant of redemption.  First He says, "Although my house be not so with God..."  The Lord's house was composed of sinners.  They stood before God condemned by sin.  They were not righteous or worthy of eternal glory.  Next Christ said "yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant..."  Now we see that this covenant was between Christ and God the Father.  The covenant was not made with man.  While the family of God is embraced by this covenant, they are not parties to this covenant. 

Ordered in All things and sure.      

The Lord went further and said "ordered in all things and sure..."  This covenant between God the Father and God the Son covered all the details.  There was nothing left to chance.  This covenant is SURE.  All the provisions will be carried out just as God ordained them. In addition, the Lord went on: "for this is all my salvation..." This salvation is a salvation that the Lord performs as stated in Matt. 1:21, "he shall save his people from their sins."  Notice that when Christ said "all my salvation" that this statement excludes the works of men in bringing it about.  It is "all" of the Lord.  The Lord went on to say "and all my desire..."  God always accomplishes his will: he is never frustrated or disappointed with anything he sets out to do.       

Again the Lord said further, "Although he make it not to grow." This covenant neither increases nor decreases in scope or coverage.  It results in all its provisions being carried out to its fulfillment and embraces in the end all those who were embraced in the beginning.  It neither grows nor diminishes.       

Next in v.6 the Lord said, "But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands." The sons of Belial are representative of our sins.  The fact that they cannot be taken with hands illustrates our helplessness in attempting to do any thing to save ourselves from sin.  All of our works are as filthy rags before God.  Finally, the Lord said, "But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place."  Who was it that was "fenced with iron and the staff of a spear?"  It was Jesus who was nailed to the cross with iron nails thru his hands and his feet and who at the end had a spear driven thru his side.  It was he and he alone that could deliver and did deliver us from our sins.  Fire is a figure of God's judgment found often in the scriptures.  In the same place where Christ was crucified were our sins utterly burned with the fire of God's judgment.  They were completely burned with "fire in the same place."  Since our sins were utterly burned, then there is nothing left for the sinner to do to be made righteous before God's bar of justice.  According to this everlasting covenant of redemption Christ has delivered us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.  He has delivered us from our sins.  Praise be to his Holy name. 

Verses 28-30 Part 2 

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."  (Rom. 8:28)  Rom. 8:28‑30 is commonly called the "Covenant of Redemption."  In our next essay we will consider the "all things" that "work together for good."  In this essay we will look at the "purpose" of God.  Verse 28 above speaks of those who "love God" "who are the called according to his purpose." 

Chronologically, God purposed to call a people, then he called those he purposed to call, and then as a consequence of this calling they love God.  No man loves God before he is called of God.  According to 1 John 4:7, "everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God."  God's calling is the "cause," the new birth is the "effect," and love of God is the "consequence." 

God is a God of purpose.

He does not work his will based on chance or happenstance.  He purposes to do something, then he does according to his purpose.  The scriptures speak of the purpose of God thusly:               

A.  Isa. 46:11 ‑ "I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it."        

B.  Eph. 3:11 ‑ "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord."           

C.  Eph. 1:9 ‑ "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself." 

D.  Eph. 1;11 ‑ "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the council of his own will."              

E.  II Tim. 1:9 ‑ "Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.               

F.  Rom. 9:11 ‑ "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth...

From the above we make the following observations about God's purpose:  

 A.  What God purposes to do, he does.  According to Nebuchadnezzar in Dan. 4:35, "And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?"  No force in heaven and earth can stop or hinder God from doing what he has purposed to do.  Once God purposes to do something, it WILL be done.               

B.  God had an eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus.  Mortal time bound man has a difficult time understanding something that is eternal, i.e., has no beginning or no end.  Yet what God has purposed in Christ Jesus has no beginning and has no end.  It is infinitely old and will last an eternity.  The Covenant of Redemption expresses God's eternal purpose in Christ Jesus.

          C.  God's purpose is his good pleasure.  It pleased God to choose, save, call and glorify a people to be his.

          D.  God purposed our eternal inheritance.               

E.  In God's purpose, he councils only with himself, he does not council with anyone else.  Of course, when you have all wisdom and all knowledge there is no reason to council with anyone else!        

F.  God works all things after the council of his own will.  God does not have to alter anything according to changed circumstances.  The God who has all power and all knowledge can and does purpose according to his will and then executes his purpose without change or need of change.               

G.  Our salvation from sin and our holy calling is according to that which God purposed in Christ before the world began.  God purposed to save us and God purposed to call us.  Now, here in time he executes his purpose.  He saves us and he calls us.  Thus our salvation and calling are not by chance or happenstance, but by God's eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.               

H.  God purposed to choose a people to be his and according to Eph. 1:4 he chose them before the world began.  His choice was not based on works but was by grace.       

To be able to purpose something, then bring it about exactly as he purposed it, speaks of God's wisdom, power, knowledge, and character.  As one old testament verse states "I am God, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."  God purposes and never changes from that he purposes.  He does according to his purpose and it comes to pass just exactly as He purposed it.       

In the Covenant of Redemption God purposed to foreknow, predestinate, call, justify, and glorify a people.  The end result is that they are chosen, predestinated, called justified, and glorified just as God purposed. 

As a side note, we love God because he called us.  The fact that we love God is evidence we are embraced in this Covenant of Redemption.