Home > Baptists, Covenant Theology > The Covenant of Works

The Covenant of Works

by Jim Butler

The covenant of redemption was pretemporal; the covenant of works was established by God for Adam and his posterity in the Garden of Eden. The Westminster Confession of Faith 7:2 (WCF) gives a helpful summary statement of the covenant of works: “The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.” Though this paragraph is absent from the 2LCF, this should not be understood as a rejection of the covenant of works by the Particular Baptists. The 2LCF refers to the covenant of works in 7:3, 19:6, and 20:1 and thereby affirms its biblical status. Therefore, as confessional Baptists, we must reject the current tendency represented in various theological camps to do away with the covenant of works. One’s view of the covenant of works will affect one’s view of the covenant of grace and the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Like the covenant of redemption, though the precise terminology “covenant of works” is not present in the Bible, the presence of the covenant of works is conspicuous in the Bible. There are several observations that confirm this assertion. In the first place, though the specific word “covenant” (berith) is absent in Genesis 2, the Bible elsewhere demonstrates that the absence of the word does not mean the absence of the doctrine. For instance,…

Read the entire article at FreeGrace.

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