02 The Covenant of Works (Genesis 2:15-17)

02 The Covenant of Works (Genesis 2:15-17)

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Sermon outline


Is salvation/eternal life by works or by grace? (Eph 2:8-9, Lk 10:25-28)

What is the Covenant of Works?

    1. “The sum of the covenant of works…is this: “If thou do all that is commanded, and not fail in any point, thou shalt be saved: but if thou fail, thou shalt die.” Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:10, 12.” [1]
    2. This idea is first encountered in Genesis 2:15-17
      1. 2 commands are given
        1. First is You may eat from any tree
        2. Second is You may not eat from 1 particular tree
      2. 2 blessings are given
        1. First blessing is implied – If you eat from the trees you will be nourished
        2. Second blessing is also implied – If you don’t eat from the specified tree then you will live
      3. 2 curses are given
        1. First curse is unstated – If you don’t eat, then you will die.
        2. Second curse is clear – If you eat from the forbidden tree you will ‘surely die’

2 Reasons Why we consider Gen. 2 a covenant when that term isn’t used?

    1. First, a theological reason – God never seems to interact with people and creation apart from covenants in the Bible
      1. Creation – (Jer. 33:20-21, 25-26)
      2. Noah – God promises a flood and then never to flood again, via a covenant – Rainbow
      3. Abraham – Covenant is the whole foundation of the relationship (Gen 12, 15, 17)
      4. Moses/Israel –a covenant made at Sinai (Ex 19-20)
      5. David – covenant to place his kin on the throne forever
      6. Us – New covenant
    2. Second, is because this is how the prophet Hosea understood what transpired between God and Adam (Hos 6:7)

Do we see the Covenant of Works anywhere else in scripture? (Gal 3:17-18, Mt 19:21, 5:17-20, 1Cor 15:45)

Why does any of this matter?

      1. Salvation (Jam 2:10, Rom 5:12, 2Cor 5;17-18, Mt 5:28)
      2. Discipleship


[1] Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition “The Practical Use of Saving Knowledge”(Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 436.  At https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/westminster/The-Westminster-Confession-of-Faith(1).pdf page 149 in pdf.


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