From the following passages in Rutherford, we can note:
- The eternal covenant is the Covenant of Redemption (CoR) made between Father and Son.
- It is different from the Covenant of Grace (CoG) because the promises in the two covenants are different. When Christ met the conditions of the CoR, he was given the seat at the Father’s right hand, an elect seed, etc.
- That is not what is promised believers in the Covenant of Grace. That promise includes remission of sins et al.
- Therefore, as some critics of Reformed theology charge, if Christ is in the same CoG as believers, then it appears that some kind of adoptionist Christology follows.
- Yet, (2) shows that can’t be the case. Further, (1) militates against adoptionism.
- The Person who authored the CoR is the same person who suffered on the cross.
- Hence, he cannot be a product of the union.
- Hence, we are not Nestorians.
“Whosoever receives in his body the Seals of the Covenant of Grace, Circumcision, and Baptism, and yet needs no putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by Circumcision, and needs no forgiveness of sin, no regeneration, no burying with Christ in Baptism, as Colossians 2:11 , 12; Romans 6:3-5, and eats the Passover, and needs not that the Lamb of God take away his sins, as John 1:29 since he is holy, and without sin, he must be under the Covenant, and God must be his God, in some other Covenant than sinners are…Christ must have received Seals for other uses and ends, then sinners received them” (Covenant of Life Opened, pg. 418)
If one affirms that Christ is in the same COG as sinners, he cannot escape from Robinson’s argument that this is an ipso facto admission that Christ is a Son of God by adoption as believers are, and not by nature…
Rutherford says of the Covenant of Redemption,
“it is an eternal transaction and compact between Jehovah and the second Person the Son of God, who gave personal consent that he should be the Undertaker, and no other…Christ is predestinate the head, the firstborn of the house, and of the many brethren, and say Amen to the choice, and we are chosen in him, as our head, and he was foreordained the Mediator, and the Lamb before the foundation of the world was laid, to be slain for our sin.” (pg. 429-430)
The Sum of Saving Knowledge states,
“2b The sum of the Covenant of Redemption is this: God having freely chosen to life a certain number of lost mankind, for the glory of his rich grace, did give them, before the world began, to God the Son, appointed Redeemer, that, upon condition he would humble himself so far as to assume the human nature, of a soul and a body, to personal union with his divine nature, and submit himself to the law, as surety for them, and satisfy justice for them, by giving obedience in their name, even to the suffering of the cursed death of the cross, he should ransom and redeem them all from sin and death, and purchase to them righteousness and eternal life, with all saving graces leading there to, to be effectually, by means of his own appointment, applied in due time to every one of them. This condition the Son of God (who is Jesus Christ our Lord) did accept before the world began, and in the fulness of time came into the world, was born of the Virgin Mary, subjected himself to the law, and completely paid the ransom on the cross: But by virtue of the foresaid bargain, made before the world began, he is in all ages, since the fall of Adam, still upon the work of applying actually the purchased benefits of the elect; and that he does by way of entertaining a covenant of free grace and reconciliation with them, through faith in himself; by which covenant, he makes over to every believer a right and interest to himself, and to all his blessings”