Home > Covenant Theology > The Covenants-Chapter 2c-The Covenant of Works

The Covenants-Chapter 2c-The Covenant of Works

The penalty of a violation of the covenant of works, next demands our attention.

All its blessings instantly cease. Transgression turns them all aside, and converts them into so many fountains of wretchedness and woe! And man, alas, became a. transgressor, and, incurred the penalty. The manner of this transgression is thus narrated in the sacred record:- “Now the, serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field, which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman; Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent; We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said; Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman; Ye shall not surely die, for Gad doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat” (Gen 3:1-6). The deed was done! The tempter triumphed. All was lost. The obligations of the covenant, and its curses alone remained. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Rom 5:11). Miserable and hopeless beings! How can they escape? The covenant provides no Mediator, nor any other method of restoration to the purity which is now lost. Between the blessing of obedience, and the curse of disobedience, there is no middle ground. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel xvii: 4). Nor does this inevitable result arise from a mere arbitrary decision on the part of God, but from the very nature of that justice, and holiness, and truth, without which the moral world would be but a horrid mass of confusion and destruction. The law of gravitation for example, is essential to the existence of the physical universe. Remove this law, and all the “fair fabric” we behold, would be instantly dissolved. Place yourself in opposition to this law, in itself so wise and benevolent, and you are in a moment crushed and destroyed by its force. So as to the laws of health. Obey them and all is well. Habitually violate them, and you destroy your life. Thus the covenant secured to our first parents, while obeyed, holiness, and happiness, and life. Transgressed, it overwhelmed them in guilt, and misery, and death.

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

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