Marrow of Modern Divinity – Freedom from Law


To this point in our study of The Marrow, we’ve learned about the 3 Laws that our author finds in the Bible: (1) The Law of Works (what we must DO in order to be saved – before the Fall), (2) The Law of Faith (We must trust in Christ, our mediator and substitute to rescue us, now that we are fallen in sin, and (3) The Law of Christ (how we live our lives, once we are redeemed by Christ and renewed by the Holy Spirit.

At this point, we are learning, along with gentle Neophytus, that Christ has come into the World to fulfill the requirements of the Law, merit eternal blessing, and satisfy Divine justice on behalf of his own. Believers receive this gift, by trusting in Christ to save them and by repentance (turning from sin to the Saviour). We’ve learned that both faith and repentance are not works to be done in order to merit salvation, but rather are gifts of God’s grace, which he bestows upon His own.

In this lesson, we finish our discussion on the ‘Law of Faith’, by considering how that God’s free gift, received by the ‘Law of Faith’, frees us from the condemning and damning power of the Law of Works.

You can read this section from the Marrow here: Believers Freed.

Believers freed from the condemning power of the Law

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Rom 6:12-14)

Note: Notice in the passage written by the Apostle Paul above that the ‘ye’ that Paul directs his address to is believers – ‘ye are not under law’. The people who are not under the damning power of the law are believers. Those who have not been redeemed are still fallen in Adam, enemies of God, and have the wrath of God abiding upon them.

This is a contrast to the Dispensational system, which teaches all men are presently living in a dispensation (time period) only characterized by grace, in which there is no condemnation by the moral law of God. See my article on Federal Theology in order to understand the representative nature of the Scriptures.

We pick up our story with Neophytus questioning Evangelist about the deliverance from the law for believers…

Neophytus But, sir, …I pray you, proceed to show me how far forth I am delivered from the law, as it is the covenant of works.

Evangelist Truly, as it is the covenant of works, you are wholly and altogether delivered and set free from it; you are dead to it, and it is dead to you; and if it be dead to you, then it can do you neither good nor hurt; and if you be dead to it, you can expect neither good nor hurt from it. Consider, man, I pray you, that, as I said before, you are now under another covenant, viz: the covenant of grace [viz, God’s Plan of Salvation]; and you cannot be under two covenants at once, neither wholly nor partly; and, therefore, as, before you believed, you were wholly under the covenant of works, as Adam left both you and all his posterity after his fall; so now, since you have believed, you are wholly under the covenant of grace. Assure yourself then, that no minister, or preacher of God’s word has any warrant to say unto you hereafter, “Either do this and this duty contained in the law, and avoid this and this sin forbidden in the law, and God will justify thee and save thy soul: or do it not, and he will condemn thee and damn thee.”… So that [to speak with holy reverence] God cannot, by virtue of the covenant of works, either require of you any obedience, or punish you for any disobedience; no, he cannot, by virtue of that covenant, so much as threaten you, or give you an angry word, or show you an angry look; for indeed he can see no sin in you, as a transgression of that covenant; for, says the apostle, “Where there is no law, there is no transgression,” (Rom 4:15).

…And therefore, though hereafter you shall hear such a voice as this, “If thou wilt be saved, keep the commandments”; or “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them”; nay, though you hear the voice of thunder and …threatening hell and damnation to sinners and transgressors of the law; though these be the words of God, yet are you not to think that they are spoken to you. No, no; the apostle assures you that there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, (Rom 8:1). Believe it, God never threatens eternal death, after he has given to a man eternal life.

LAW: “Herein and herein thou hast transgressed, and broken me, and therefore thou owest so much and so much to divine justice, which must be satisfied, or else I will take hold on thee”

BELIEVER: “O law! be it known unto thee, that I am now married unto Christ, and so I am under covert; and therefore if thou charge me with any debt, thou must enter thine action against my husband, Christ…”

LAW: “Aye, but good works must be done and the commandments must be kept, if thou wilt obtain salvation”

BELIEVER: “…in Christ [I lack nothing] that is necessary to salvation. He is my righteousness, my treasure, and work; I confess, O law! that I am neither godly nor righteous, but yet this I am sure of, that he is godly and righteous for me.”

What Baptists Believe

The London Baptist Confession, Chap 21, Begins…

The liberty which Christ has purchased for believers under the Gospel consists of their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, and the severity and curse of the law…”

(John 3:36, Rom 8:33, Gal 3:13)


Evangelist concludes thusly…

And thus have I also declared unto you how Christ, in the fullness of time, performed that which God before all time purposed, and in time promised, touching the helping and delivering of fallen mankind.


Marrow of Modern Divinity – Repentance

Today’s lesson from The Marrow teaches how that Repentance is a not a work to be performed to prepare one for salvation, but rather a necessary gift and grace of the Holy Spirit given in regeneration. Today’s lesson comes from Chapter 2, Section 3, entitled:

Evangelical Repentance a Consequence of Faith

(click the title above to read The Marrow online)

Thomas Boston says the following question from Nomista the legalist [grounded on his idea that Neophytus had no warrant to believe, unless he had truly repented] “supposes that there is a kind of repentance, humiliation, sorrow for sin, and turning from it, which goes before faith…”

…let’s join the discussion on repentance, already in progress…

Nom. Why, I conceive that repentance consists in a man’s humbling himself before God, and sorrowing and grieving for offending him by his sins, and in turning from them all to the Lord.

Evan. And would you have a man to do all this truly before he come to Christ by believing?

Nom. Yea, indeed, I think it is very meet he should.

Evan. Why, then, I tell you truly, you would have him to do that which is impossible.

For, first of all godly humiliation, in true penitents, proceeds from the love of God their good Father, and so from the hatred of that sin which has displeased him; and this cannot be without faith. …No man can turn to God, except he be first turned of God: and after he is turned, he repents; so Ephraim says, “After I was converted, I repented,” 6 (Jer 31:19). The truth is, a repentant sinner first believes that God will do that which he promiseth, namely, pardon his sin, and take away his iniquity; then he rests in the hope of it; and from that, and for it, he leaves sin, and will forsake his old course, because it is displeasing to God; and will do that which is pleasing and acceptable to him. So that, first of all, God’s favour is apprehended, and remission of sins believed; then upon that cometh alteration of life and conversation.

Boston footnotes this section with a definition of and a description of the origin of true repentance…

True Repentance

True repentance is a turning unto God, a coming back to him again; a returning even unto the Lord, according to an usual Old Testament phrase, found, (Hosea 14:1), and rightly so translated, (Isa 19:22). …’Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince [or leader] and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins,’ (Acts 5:31). One would think this to be a sufficient intimation, that sinners not only may, but ought to go to him for true repentance; and not stand off from him until they get it to bring along with them; especially since repentance, as well as remission of sin, is a part of that salvation, which he as a Saviour is exalted to give, and consequently, which sinners are to receive and rest upon him for…”

Repentance-the Result of Regeneration and Grounded in Faith

This the Scripture teacheth, determining in the general, that without faith one can do nothing acceptable in the sight of God, (John 15:5), “Without me,” i.e. separate from me, “ye can do nothing.” (Heb 11:6), “Without faith it is impossible to please him”… Faith cometh of the word of God; hope cometh of faith; and charity springeth of them both. Faith believes that word; hope trusteth after that which is promised by the word; and charity doth good unto her neighbour.


What is Repentance – Baptist Doctrine

Baptist Catechism

Q 94. What is repentance unto life?

A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, does, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.

Rom 6:18 – “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”

Confer –
Acts 11:18, 2 Timothy 2:25, Jeremiah 31:18-19, Luke 1:16-17, 2 Corinthians 7:10

Baptist Confession of Faith, 1689

(Sect 15.3) Saving repentance is a gospel grace* by which we are made aware of the many evils of our sin by the Holy Spirit. By faith in Christ we humble ourselves over our sin with godly sorrow, hatred of it, and self-loathing. We pray for pardon and strength of grace, and determine and endeavour, by [the power] supplied by the Spirit, to walk before God and to please him in all things.

*Confer – Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2Ti 2:25

Marrow of Modern Divinity – The Gospel Call, Part 2

In our previous post and this, we learn that anyone who comes to Christ for mercy and forgiveness of sin WILL be saved; Christ will turn no one away (John 6:37). As the Scripture demands that all men everywhere be commanded to repent (Mk 16:15, Mk 6:12, Lu 24:47 Acts 17:30, 20:21, 26:20, Rom 2:4, 2 Tim 2:25, etc.) and believe the gospel, then it is clear that genuine forgiveness and reconcilliation is offered in gospel preaching.

Acts 17:30And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now
commandeth all men every where to repent…

1 John 3:23And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of
his Son Jesus Christ…

Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and
longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

2 Timothy 2:25-26In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God
peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And
that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken
captive by him at his will.

As our story unfolds, Neophytus is concerned that is may be possible that his debt of sin is more than Christ is willing to forgive. Gentle and wise Evangelist handles Neophytus’ weak conscience as shown below…

Neophytus: But may such a vile and sinful wretch as I am be persuaded that God commands me to believe, and that he hath made a promise to me?

Evangelist: Why do you make a question, where there is none to be made? “Go,” says Christ, “and preach the gospel to every creature under heaven,” that is, Go tell every man without exception, whatsoever his sins be, whatsoever his rebellions be, go and tell him these glad tidings, that if he will come in, I will accept of him, his sins shall be forgiven him, and he shall be saved; if he will come in and take me, and receive me, I will be his loving husband, and he shall be mine own dear spouse. Let me, therefore, say unto you, in the words of the apostle, “Now, then, I as an ambassador for Christ, as though God did beseech you by me, I pray you, in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled unto God; for he hath made him to be sin for you, who knew no sin, that ye might be made the
righteousness of God in him,” (2 Cor 5:20,21).

And later…

Neophytus: Indeed, sir, if I were so holy and so righteous as some men are, and had such power over my sins and corruptions as some men have, then I could easily believe it; but, alas! I am so sinful and so unworthy a wretch, that I dare not presume to believe that Christ will accept of me, so as to justify and save me.

Evangelist: Alas! man, in thus saying, you seem to contradict and gainsay both the apostle Paul, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself; and that against your own soul: for whereas the apostle Paul says, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” (1 Tim 1:15), and doth justify the ungodly, (Rom 4:5), why, you seem to hold, and do in effect say, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save the righteous, and to justify the godly. And whereas our Saviour says, the whole need not a physician, but the sick; and that he came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, (Matt 9:12); why, you seem to hold, and do in effect say, that the sick need not a physician, but the whole: and that he came, not to call sinners, but the righteous to repentance. …Wherefore, I beseech you, revoke this your erroneous opinion, and contradict the word of truth no longer; but conclude for a certainty, that it is not the righteous and godly man, but the sinful and ungodly man, that Christ came to call, justify, and save: so that if you were a righteous and godly man, you were neither capable of calling, justifying, or saving by Christ; but being a sinful and ungodly man, I will be bold to say unto you as the people said unto blind Bartimeus, (Mark 10:49), “Be of good comfort; arise, he calleth thee,” and will
justify and save thee.

Go then unto him, I beseech you; and if he come and meet thee, say, as Luther
bids you:

Most gracious Jesus and sweet Christ, I am a miserable, poor sinner, and, therefore, do judge myself unworthy of thy grace; but yet I, having learned  from thy word that thy salvation belongs unto such a one, therefore do I come unto thee, to claim that right which, through thy gracious promise, belongs unto me.

…Yes, indeed; for there is no limitation of God’s grace in Jesus Christ, except the sin against the Holy Ghost. Christ “stands at the door and knocks,” (Rev 3:20). And if any murdering Manasseh, or any persecuting and blaspheming Saul, (1 Tim 1:13), or any adulterous Mary Magdalene, “will open unto him, he will come in,” and bring comfort with him, “and will sup with him.” “Seek from the one end of the heavens to the other,” says Hooker; “turn all the Bible over, and see if the words of Christ be not true, ‘Him that cometh unto me, I will in no ways cast out,'” (John 6:37).

Then, Nomista (a legalist), to this point silent, can bear no more, and chimes in
with this predictable protest –

Nomista: Why, then, sir, it seems you hold, that the vilest sinner in the world
ought not to be discouraged from coming unto Christ, and believing in him, by
reason of his sins.

Evangelist: Surely, if “Christ came into the world to seek, and call, and save sinners, and to justify the ungodly,” as you have heard; and if the more sinful, miserable, and distressed a man judge himself to be, the more willing Christ is to receive him and relieve him; then I see no reason why the vilest sinner should be discouraged from believing on the name of Jesus Christ by reason of his sins. Nay, let me say more; the greater any man’s sins are, either in number or nature, the more haste he should make to come unto Christ, and to say with David, “For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great!” (Psa 25:11).

In the next post we will cover the greatest controversy springing from The Marrow, the question about whether a man must repent from all sinning before he may seek Christ for salvation.

Marrow of Modern Divinity – The Gospel Call, Part 1

Now that we have learned about the deliverance of fallen man from sin
and the law of condemnation, and about the satisfaction accomplished
by Jesus Christ on behalf of his own, we turn to the method for
sinners to appropriate this free gift to themselves – repentance and
faith. First, however, we touch on the most controversial subject in
the book – the ‘freeness’ of the free gospel offer to all and the warrant for
sinners to believe in Christ.

The material for this section of the book may be found HERE.

At this point of our book, Neophytus has been convinced that Jesus
Christ has fully satisfied God’s just demands in the law and that he,
as a sinful and fallen man, is without hope of redeeming himself by
the works of the law, but rather can only be justified by God’s free
grace through Christ. Neophytus then asks Evangelist this question…

The warrant to believe in Christ.

Neophytus – But, sir, hath such a one as I any warrant to believe in Christ?

Note: According to the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary:


1. An act, instrument or obligation, by which one person
authorizes another to do something which he has not otherwise a
right to do; an act or instrument investing one with a right or
authority, and thus securing him from loss or damage; a word of
general application.

EvangelistI beseech you consider, that God the
Father, as he is in his Son Jesus Christ, moved with nothing but with
his free love to mankind lost, hath made a deed of gift and grant unto
them all, that whosoever of them all shall believe in this his Son,
shall not perish, but have eternal life [John 3:16]. And hence it was,
that Jesus Christ himself said unto his disciples, (Mark 16:15), “Go
and preach the gospel to every creature under heaven”: that is, Go and
tell every man without exception, that here is good news for him;
Christ is dead for him; and if he will take him, and accept of his
righteousness, he [Jesus] shall have him [the sinner].

According to, a deed of gift is:

A gift deed is a deed in which the consideration is not monetary, but
is made in return for love and affection. It is a document which
transfers property to another as a gift. Such a deed is often used to
present someone with a gift…

Thomas Boston footnotes this section by informing that the quote
concerning the deed gift is due to a Mr. Culverwell (Ezekiel
Culverwell, ‘A Treatise of Faith’):

“The matter to be believed unto salvation is this, that
God the Father, moved by nothing but his free love to mankind lost,
hath made a deed of gift and grant of his son Christ Jesus unto
mankind, that whosoever of all mankind shall receive his gift by a
true and lively faith, he shall not perish, but have everlasting

Boston also notes that the great Puritan, Dr. Gouge, in the preface to
Culverwell’s work, wrote that:

“Never any took such pains to so good purpose, in and about the
foundation of faith, as he hath done.”

Boston continues…

“This deed of gift and grant, or authentic gospel-offer is expressed in
so many words, (John 3:16), “For God so loved the world, that he gave
his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life.” Where the gospel comes, this grant
is published, and the ministerial offer made and there is no exception
of any of all mankind in the grant. If there was, no ministerial offer
of Christ could be warrantably made … otherwise, it would be of no
more value than a crier’s offering of the king’s pardon to one who is
not comprehended in it. This is the good old way of discovering to
sinners their warrant to believe in Christ; and it doth indeed bear
the ‘sufficiency’ of the sacrifice of Christ for all, and that Christ
crucified is the ordinance of God for salvation unto all mankind, in
the use-making of which only they can be saved; but not an universal
atonement or redemption.”

Boston goes on to quote relevant portions of the Westminster
Confession and the Synod of Dort, etc. Some of Boston’s references
are given below…


Rev 22:17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that
heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever
will, let him take the water of life freely.

Matthew 22:2-9The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,  And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. …Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

Mark 16:15-16And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized
shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

John 3:14-16And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in
him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the
world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in
him should not perish, but have everlasting life

Westminster Confession and Catechism

Confession of 1646, Chap 7, Article 3

Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that
covenant [Covenant of Works with Adam in the Garden], the Lord was
pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace [God’s
Plan of Salvation]; wherein He freely offers unto sinners life and
salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in Him, that they
may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained
unto eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to

Larger Catechism

See questions 32 and 63

The Sum of Saving Knowledge*

*A Scottish work written in mid-17th Century to be included along with
the confession and catechism.

See section: Warrants to Believe

Synod of Dort

Chapter 2, Article 5: The Mandate to Proclaim the Gospel to All

Moreover, it is the promise of the gospel that whoever believes in
Christ crucified shall not perish but have eternal life. This promise,
together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be announced
and declared without differentiation or discrimination to all nations
and people, to whom God in his good pleasure sends the gospel.

Chapter 2, Article 6: Unbelief Man’s Responsibility

However, that many who have been called through the gospel do not
repent or believe in Christ but perish in unbelief is not because the
sacrifice of Christ offered on the cross is deficient or insufficient,
but because they themselves are at fault.

Marrow of Modern Divinity – Provision of Grace, part 2

The Marrow of Modern Divinity is a charming little 17th century work on the Federal structure of the Scriptures. Chapter 2 of the work covers God’s Plan of Grace to redeem fallen man. The outline for the chapter reflects God’s Promise as – Purposed (in eternity), Promised (in Old Testament History), and Performed (in time – Christ).

We’ve completed our look at the purpose and promise of grace, we now turn our attention to the provision – part 2.

For part 1, go HERE.

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Gal 4:4-5)

The Infinite Value of the Atonement

Nomista: But, sir, how could the sufferings of Christ, which in respect of time were but finite, make full satisfaction to the justice of God, which is infinite?

Evangelista: Though the sufferings of Christ, in respect of time, were but finite, yet in respect of the person that suffered, his sufferings came to be of infinite value; for Christ was God and man in one person, and therefore his sufferings were a sufficient and full ransom for man’s soul, being of more value than the death and destruction of all creatures.

The Federal Nature of the Atonement

On the Federal nature of the atonement, Fisher writes:

“ Jesus Christ, the second Adam, entered into the same covenant that the first Adam did, so by him was done whatsoever the first Adam had undone. So the case stands thus — that as whatsoever the first Adam did, or befell him, was reckoned as done by all mankind, and to have befallen them, even so, whatsoever Christ did, or befell him, is to be reckoned as to have been done by all believers, and to have befallen them. So that as sin cometh from Adam alone to all mankind, as he in whom all have sinned; so from Jesus Christ alone cometh righteousness unto all that are in him, as he in whom they all have satisfied the justice of God…”

(cf. Rom 5:12)

Thomas Boston footnotes this section (in part):

Namely, in the sense of the law; for in the law-reckoning, as to the payment of
a debt, and fulfilling of a covenant, or any the like purposes, the surety and
the original debtor, the federal head or the representative, and the represented, are but one person. And thus the Scripture determining Adam to be the figure [or type] of Christ, (Rom 5:14), teaches upon the one hand, that all mankind sinned in Adam, (verse 12), and died in him, (1 Cor 15:22); and on the other hand, that believers were crucified with Christ, (Gal 2:20), and raised up in him.

The Atonement Ensures Perseverance

Below is another meaty footnote from Boston, commenting upon a statement from Evangelista regarding the state of the Justified believer before God – viz,
regarding “the obedience of Christ being imputed unto believers by
God for their righteousness, it puts them into the same estate and case, touching righteousness unto life before God, wherein they should have been, if
they had perfectly performed the perfect obedience [in the Garden of Eden]”.

This is a weighty point, the plain and native result of what is
said, namely, that since Jesus Christ hath fully accomplished what was to have been done by man himself for life according to the covenant of works, and that the same is imputed to believers; therefore, believers are in the same state, as to righteousness unto life, that they would have been in if man himself had stood the whole time appointed for his trial. And here is the true ground in the law of the infallible perseverance of the saints; their time of trial for life is over in their Head the second Adam — the prize is won! Hence the just by faith are entitled to the same benefit which Adam by his perfect obedience would have been entitled to.

In other words, the law can no longer condemn a man, because that law has been fulfilled by the surety – the curse born away and the promise secured, so that man can no longer stand liable to its obligations. The contract is fulfilled! The law no longer can hold any condemnation for the believer, so the believer has no possibility of falling away from salvation, as there is no more Covenant of Works by which to try and condemn him.

The Atonement Frees Us From the Bondage to the Law

Nomista, a legalist as his name implies, recoils at the notion that man can no
longer be under the law as a Covenant of Works.

Nomista: But, sir, are all believers dead to the law, and the law dead to them, say you?

Evangelista Believe it, as the law is the covenant of works, all true believers are dead unto it, and it is dead unto them; for, they being incorporated into Christ, what the law or covenant of works did to him, it did the same to them; so that when Christ hanged on the cross, all believers, after a sort, hanged there with him. And therefore the apostle Paul having said, (Gal 2:19), “I through the law am dead to the law,” adds in the next verse, “I am crucified with Christ”; which words the apostle brings as an argument to prove that he was dead to the law, for the law had crucified him with Christ…

  • “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Rom 3:19)
  • “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the
    , but under grace.” (Rom 6:14)
  • “So ye, my brethren, are dead also to the law by the body of Christ,” (Rom

Atonement Summary

No one who belongs to Christ is to have anything to do whatsoever with obedience to the law as a condition or testing for righteousness and justification. Unbelievers, of course, stand condemned by the law and fallen under it’s judgment; but for the believer, our Surety has subjected Himself to that Law and fulfilled it and born away its curse on our behalf.

In the original arrangement with Adam (Covenant of Works), God was one party to the Covenant and Adam (man) the other. In God’s Plan of Salvation by grace, God is on both sides of the Covenantal arrangement – God the Father remains as the offended party and God the Son, the Second Adam, reconciles his elect to God by bearing their sin and satisfying God’s justice on their behalf. The believer is no longer fallen under the Covenant of Works in his father Adam, but stands before God with an imputed righteousness. The believer then, has nothing at all to do with any legal/works righteousness, only Christ does, on his behalf.

Says Boston:

For how can the law … promise eternal life, or threaten eternal death, upon condition of obedience or disobedience, to those who have already escaped eternal death, and obtained eternal life by faith in Christ?

  • “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)
  • “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24)

Marrow of Modern Divinity – Provision of Grace, part 1

The Marrow of Modern Divinity is a charming little 17th century work on the Federal structure of the Scriptures. Chapter 2 of the work covers God’s Plan of Grace to redeem fallen man. The outline for the chapter reflects God’s Promise as – Purposed (in eternity), Promised (in Old Testament History), and Performed (in time – Christ). We’ve completed our look at the purpose and promise of grace, we now turn our attention to the provision.

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Gal 4:4-5)

Christ’s fulfilling of the law in the room of the elect

Says Fisher:

God, in the fullness of time, performed that which he purposed before all time [Purpose], and promised in time [Promised], concerning the help and delivering of fallen mankind. And touching this point, The Scripture testifies, that God “did, in the fullness of time, send forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law,” (Gal. 4:4). That is to say, look how mankind by nature are under the law, as it is the covenant of works; so was Christ, as man’s surety, contented to be; so that now, according to that eternal and mutual agreement that was betwixt God the Father and him, he put himself in the room and place of all the faithful, (Isa 53:6) – “And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Next, Fisher paints a brief scene where Christ, as our surety, has taken the guilt of our sins upon him through imputation. The just demands of the moral law are demanded of him –

Law/Justice: “I find him a sinner, yea, such an one as hath taken upon him the sins of all men, therefore let him die upon the cross.”

Christ’s reponse of obedience is grounded in and the temporal fulfillment of that everlasting covenant between the persons of the Godhead for the redemption of mankind, which was made before time.

Christ: “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me; in burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come to do thy will, O Lord!” (Heb 10:5-7).

Says Fisher:

And so the law proceeding in full scope against him, set upon him, and killed him; and, by this means, was the justice of God fully satisfied, his wrath appeased, and all true believers acquitted from all their sins, both past, present, and to come. So that the law, as it is the covenant of works, hath not anything to say to any true believer, for indeed they are dead to it, and it is dead to them.

Compare Lv 16:21-22 with Isaiah 53:6

And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. (Lv 16:21-22)

Note: The guilt of sin, on Day of Atonement, is transferred, by imputation, from the sinner to goat – i.e. the substitution. In this way, the goat bears the sin of the sinner.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (Is 53:4-7)

Note: The guilt of our sin (the chastisement of our peace), is transferred to Christ, by imputation. Our guilt is ‘laid on him’ and he bears and carries our affliction.

Thomas Boston’s footnotes contain quotes from many famous theologians that express that we understand Christ to be made a sinner only in a legal sense and that by imputation. Boston is also careful to qualify the ‘all’, as in ‘sins of all men’ as that Christ’s atonement only saves those who believe.

Some of Thomas Boston’s remarks

The word ‘All’

That is, all those who have, or shall believe, or all the elect, which is one and the same in reality…Our Lord Jesus Christ died not for, nor took upon him the sins of, all and every individual man, but he died for, and took upon him the sins of, all the elect, (John 10:15, 15:13, Acts 20:28, Eph 5:25, Titus 2:14)

See all of Boston’s comments in this section of The Marrow for a very extensive treatment on this topic.

Christ as Surety

Jesus Christ did from eternity become man’s surety in the covenant that passed betwixt him and the Father. A surety puts himself in the place of those for whom he becomes a surety, to pay their debt, (Gen 44:32,33, Prov 22:26,27). And our author tells us, that now, when the prefixed time of Christ’s fulfilling the eternal covenant, paying the debt he had taken on him, and purchasing man’s redemption by his sufferings, was come, he did, according to the tenor of that covenant, which stated the extent of his suretyship, put himself in the room and place—he says not, of all men, but—of all the faithful, or elect of God; Jesus Christ thus standing in their room and place, actually to take on the burden.

Regarding the Covenant of Works

“What things soever it saith, it saith to them who are under it,” (Rom 3:19). But believers are not under it, nor under the law of the covenant of works, (6:14), therefore it saith nothing to them. As such, it said all to Christ in their room and place; and, without the Mediator’s dishonour, it cannot repeat its demands on them [the elect] which it made upon him [Christ] as their surety.

“Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Rom 4:48)

Marrow of Modern Divinity – Promise of Grace, part 4

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been blogging through the Marrow of Modern Divinity.

Chapter 1 of The Marrow covered the Covenant of Works that God made with our father Adam. The chapter dealt with the arrangement that God made with all mankind through our first father, which Adam subsequently broke and plunged all his descendants into a willful rebellion of sin and misery (Read my post on Federal Theology).

Upon Adam’s fall, God began to reveal his Plan of Salvation by Free Grace which He had purposed in Himself from all eternity. From Adam to Christ, this Plan was revealed in fuller and fuller measures until the full revelation of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, was manifest to mankind.

Part 1 – Promise to Adam
Part 2 – Promise to Abraham
Part 3 – Promise through Moses (foreshadowed in Passover), Part 1
Part 4 – Promise through Moses (Christ foreshadowed in Ceremonial Law), Part 2

Gal 3:16-24 reads…

Abrahamic Promise

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ [Abrahamic Covenant], the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after [Mosaic Covenant], cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

Why the Law?

18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; …

Is the Law Against the Promise of Grace?

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

A Three-fold Law…

  1. Drive men to Christ by conviction of Moral Law
  2. Foreshadow Christ by types and shadows of Ceremonial Law
    • Teaching holiness/uncleanness
    • Teaching grace/mercy/forgiveness by:
      • blood shed of an innocent substitute
      • the need of a mediator
    • Promising earthly blessing/life for obedience
      • as types of the eternal spiritual blessings found in Christ
  3. As a Civil Law to govern that nation of peoples

The first two types or uses of God’s law were primarily religious in nature and were designed to weary men of their ‘self-righteousness’ and drive them to Christ for mercy and forgiveness. This view of the law has been challenged by some. The question of the use of the law and the relation of the covenants under God’s One Plan of Salvation for mankind is tacked in The Marrow in the section of Chapter 2 dealing with the Promise of God’s Grace as revealed during the Mosaic Dispensation. A few of the questions and (abbreviated) answers from that section are reproduced below:

Did the ‘Israelites at this time did see Christ and salvation by him in these types and shadows?

“I say, there is no question but every spiritual believing Jew, when
he brought his sacrifice to be offered, and, according to the Lord’s command, laid his hands upon it whilst it was yet alive, (Lev 1:4), did, from his heart, acknowledge that he himself had deserved to die; but by the mercy of God he was saved, and his desert laid upon the beast; and as that beast was to die, and be offered in sacrifice for him, so did he believe that the Messiah should come and die for him, upon whom he put his hands, that is, laid all his iniquities by the hand of faith. …

Wherefore, you may assure yourself, that as Christ was always set before the fathers in the Old Testament, to whom they might direct their faith, and as God never put them in hope of any grace or mercy, nor ever showed himself good unto them without Christ: even so the godly in the Old Testament knew Christ by whom they did enjoy these promises of God, and were joined to him. …”

Confer Hebrews 11:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. …13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had
opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. …24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. …39 And these
all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Do the Scriptures promise different ways of salvation in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant?

Old Covenant New Covenant
Righteousness, life, and eternal salvation, promised through Christ the Mediator, being not yet come Eternal salvation given through Christ, being already come, and having purchased it for us.
Salvation revealed ‘in types and figures’ Salvation ‘sealed and ratified by his very blood’ shed for our sins
Temporary and changeable – the types ceased, but substance remains Unchangeable, the seals of it are commemorative of ‘the Lord’s death until his coming again.’
Chiefly offered earthly blessings, signifying Spiritual blessings Chiefly offers Christ and his blessings, in which are found earthy blessings
Faith apprehends the righteousness to come – “shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” Faith apprehends the righteousness that has been revealed – “in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit”

(Cf Heb 8:8-13)

Fisher uses Acts 15:10-11 and Gal 3:6-7 to bolster his view that the two covenants, though differing in administration are one and the same in substance and are therefore two dispensations of God’s Single Program of Grace (or Covenant of Grace) with his elect.

Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. (Acts 15:10-11)

Note: If the pronoun ‘they’ refers back to ‘our Fathers’, this is certain evidence that the Apostles understood and preached that the Patriarchs, under the law, were saved by faith in Christ.


Antinomista “Why, then, sir, it seems that those who were saved amongst the Jews, were not saved by the works of the law?”

Evangelist “No, indeed; they were neither justified nor saved, either by the works of the moral law, or the ceremonial law. For, as you heard before, the moral law being delivered unto them with great terror, and under most dreadful penalties, they did find in themselves an impossibility of keeping it; and so were driven to seek help of a Mediator, even Jesus Christ, of whom Moses was to them a typical mediator: so that the moral law did drive them to the ceremonial law, which was their gospel, and their Christ in a figure; for
that the ceremonies did prefigure Christ, direct unto him, and require faith in him, is a thing acknowledged and confessed by all men.”

Marrow of Modern Divinity – Promise of Grace, part 3

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been blogging through the Marrow of Modern Divinity.

Chapter 1 of The Marrow covered the Covenant of Works that God made with our father Adam. The chapter dealt with the arrangement that God made with all mankind through our first father, which Adam subsequently broke and plunged all his descendants into a willful rebellion of sin and misery (Read my post on Federal Theology).

Upon Adam’s fall, God began to reveal his Plan of Salvation by Free Grace which He had purposed in Himself from all eternity. From Adam to Christ, this Plan was revealed in fuller and fuller measures until the full revelation of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, was manifest to mankind.

Part 1 – Promise to Adam
Part 2 – Promise to Abraham
Part 3 – Promise to Moses (foreshadowed in Passover), Part 1

In parts 1 and 2 we saw how the promise of God was given richer and fuller development based on the progressive revelation to Adam and Abraham. Next, Evangelista begins to teach the laymen concerning Moses; and God’s revelation through him in leading the children of Israel out of bondage, to Mount Sinai, and into the land of promise.

Promise in the Passover

…Christ Jesus was most clearly manifested unto them in the passover lamb; for, as that lamb was to be without spot or blemish, (Exo 12:5), even so was Christ, (1 Peter 1:19). And as that lamb was taken up the tenth day of the first new moon in March, even so on the very same day of the same month came Christ to Jerusalem to suffer his passion. And as that lamb was killed on the fourteenth day at even, just then, on the same day, and at the same hour, did Christ give up the ghost; and as the blood of that lamb was to be sprinkled on the Israelites’ doors, (Exo 12:7), even so is the blood of Christ sprinkled on believers’ hearts by faith, (1 Peter 1:2). And their deliverance out of Egypt was a figure of their redemption by Christ, their passing through the Red Sea was a type of baptism … and their manna in the wilderness, and water out of the rock, did resemble the …Lord’s Supper…

Types of the Promise

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor 10:1-4)

From this, we see that to the Israelites was demonstrated the need for:

  • A mediator to stand between man and God
  • A deliverer to lead them from bondage
  • A perfect spotless substitutionary and bloody sacrifice
  • etc.


    Further, from the Passover, we see a foreshadow of:

  • The Lord’s Table
  • Baptism

The Promise in the Law?

Next, the people of God were led to Mount Sinai where God proclaimed to them his moral law in the hearing of the entire congregation. This law was not given them as a means to escape bondage in Egypt, but rather, was given to those that were already delivered by God’s grace, as a rule to govern their conduct in the promised land (see Rom 8:7). In my understanding, this law was given to them for several reasons:

  1. To convict them of sin
  2. That is, to drive them to their knees seeking mercy and grace in humble repentance.

  3. To protect them
  4. That is, as a condition for blessing for national Israel.

The law was given to Israel to remind them of the holiness and justice of God, to stir up a conviction of sin in the elect, to make them flee to God for mercy and salvation, and to humble them and show them the utter useless of the works of fallen man. Secondly, the law was given as a condition for remaining under God’s blessing and protection in the land. If the people would refuse to have Jehovah for their God, he would chastise them by the surrounding Gentile nations.

To the moral law, of course, was appended further ceremonial laws (foreshadowing Christ), providing for a system of cleansings and sacrifices – providing Israel with a shadow of Christ, showing them what was required for sin, teaching them about grace and forgiveness, and causing them to weary and long for the coming Messiah. The law also separated Israel from the surrounding nations and made them a nation set apart and Holy unto God.

Re-Publication of the Covenant of Works?

In so far as the law was used to convict men of sin and show them their fallen nature, the Ten Commandments are, as The Marrow calls them, a re-publication of the universal moral law (the Covenant of Works), which God designed into His universe at creation. To read Fisher’s arguments, in The Marrow, regarding the republication of the moral law, use the following links:

The law, as the covenant of works, added to the promise

Thomas Boston footnotes a particular exchange in this chapter of the book that was added to a later edition of The Marrow. I print it here as a good summary of this section:

“I do not say, God made the covenant of works with them, that they might obtain life and salvation thereby; no, the law was become weak through the flesh, as to any such purpose, (Rom 8:3). But he repeated, or gave a new edition of the law, and that, as a covenant of works, for their humbling and conviction; and so do his ministers preach the law to unconverted sinners still, that they who ‘desire to be under the law may hear what the law says,’ (Gal 4:21). And as to what you say of their not agreeing to this covenant, I pray take notice, that the covenant of works was made with Adam, not for himself only, but as he was a public person representing all his posterity, and so that covenant was made with the whole nature of man in him, as appears by Adam’s sin and curse coming upon all, (Rom 5:12, Gal 3:10). Hence all men are born under that covenant, whether they agree to it or no; though, indeed, there is by nature such a proneness in all to desire to be under that covenant, and to work for life, that if natural men’s consent were asked, they would readily [though ignorantly] take upon them to do all that the Lord requireth…”

And another footnote from Pastor Boston:

It was not set up by itself as an entire rule of righteousness, to which alone they were to look who desired righteousness and salvation, as it was in the case of upright Adam, “For no man, since the fall, can attain to righteousness and life by the moral law,” Lar. Cat. quest. 94. But it was added to the covenant of grace, that by looking at it men might see what kind of righteousness it is by which they can be justified in the sight of God; and that by means thereof, finding themselves destitute of that righteousness, they might be moved to embrace the covenant of grace, in which that righteousness is held forth to be received by faith.

Confer: Luke 10:25-28, Matt 19:16-26

Marrow of Modern Divinity – Promise of Grace, part 2

The Marrow of Modern Divinity is a 17th Century work that teaches concerning God’s Eternal Plan to redeem a people to his name to the praise of His grace. The work is set as a discussion between a legalist and a libertine about the role of the law in the life of a believer. An Evangelist happens along who is able to put the law in it’s proper perspective, as it relates to the salvation of men. Chapter 2 of the book covers God’s Plan of Salvation, purposed within Himself in Eternity Past, revealed in various stages through Biblical history, beginning with Genesis 3:15, and finally completed in His Son – Jesus Christ. God’s Plan of Salvation of mankind is commonly referred to by theologians as the Covenant (or Plan) of Grace; or the Gospel. Chapter 2 of the Marrow covers the Gospel outlined as follows: Gospel 1) Purposed, 2) Promised, and 3) Provided.

In part 1 of this review, we looked at God’s Purposing of Grace in the Everlasting Covenant (as Spurgeon called it). In the second post, we looked at the gospel promised to Adam in seed form in Genesis 3. In this post, we’ll see how the gospel was preached to Father Abraham.

Promise of the Gospel to Abraham

After Evangelist finished teaching the men concerning the first proclamation of the gospel to Adam, the men ask Evangelist to go on explaining how the gospel message was revealed by fuller measure throughout the Old Testament.

Evangelist continues…

Why, then, the promise was turned into a covenant with Abraham and his seed, and oftentimes repeated, that in his seed all nations should be blessed, (Gen 12:3, 18:18, 22:18); which promise and covenant was the very voice itself of the gospel, it being a true testimony of Jesus Christ; as the apostle Paul beareth witness, saying, The Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, (Gal 3:8), saying, “In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”

Says Thomas Boston, regarding this exchange:

When that promise or covenant [Adamic] …was renewed, Abraham and his seed were designed expressly therein; and so it became a covenant with Abraham and his seed. And the promise being still the same as to the substance of it, was often repeated, and in the repetition more fully and clearly opened. So Jesus Christ, revealed to Adam only as the seed of the woman, was thereafter revealed to Abraham as Abraham’s own seed; and thus was it believed and embraced unto salvation in the various revelations thereof.

The Promise to be Fulfilled in Christ

Nomista asks a follow-up question, and Evangelist continues…

Nom. But, sir, are you sure that this promised seed was meant of Christ?

Evan. The apostle puts that out of doubt, (Gal 3:16), saying, “Now unto Abraham and to his seed were the promises made. He says not—and to seeds, as of many, but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.” And so no doubt but these godly patriarchs did understand it.

Boston footnotes this exchange in this way:

That is, Christ mystical, Christ and the Church, the head and the members; yet so as the dignity of the head being still reserved—he is to be understood here primarily, which is sufficient for our author’s purposes; and his members secondarily only.

To understand why Pastor Boston refers to Christ and his church comprehended as the seed, let us remember that Paul, after having identified Christ as the seed of Abraham in Gal 3:16, goes on to say in Gal 3:29 – “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” – ‘Ye’ being the church.

The Promise to Abraham is the Gospel

The promise to Abraham, of course, was a people and a land (see my earlier, yet uncompleted, posts on the Abrahamic Promises, as fulfilled in Christ), yet, Jesus himself interprets what was revealed to Abraham, at least in part, was the very gospel in seed form:

    Did Abraham understand about the coming Christ?
  • “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56)
  • Were those promises to Abraham verily the gospel?
  • “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” (Gal 3:7-9)

Gospel Types

Of course, to Abraham was not revealed the gospel in all its richness and fullness as we know it today, and yet, in a very powerful and real way, Abraham had a vivid testimony of the work that God was going to do.

  1. Melchisedec – a Theophany or (more likely) a ‘type’ of Christ (Gen 14:19, Jer 23:6, Is 9:6, Heb 6:20, 7:1-3)
  2. Says Boston:

    Melchisedec was unto Abraham a type, to confirm him in the faith, that he and his believing seed should be as really blessed in Christ, as he was blessed by Melchisedec.

  3. Blood Covenant – Genesis 15
    — sacrifice typifies the torment of Christ
    — furnace and lamp typify the wrath of God
  4. Offering up of Isaac – prefigures Christ’s sacrifice as Only-Begotten

Abrahamic Promise Passed to Posterity

The promise was renewed with Isaac (Gen 26:3-5,24) and to Jacob (Gen 27:28-29, 28:14-15). And Jacob, left it by his last will unto his children in these words, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, till Shiloh come,” (Gen 49:10); ‘that is to say, of Judah shall kings come one after another, and many in number, till at last the Lord Jesus come, who is King of kings, and Lord of lords; or, as the Targum of Jerusalem and Onkelos do translate it, until Christ the Anointed come.’

Marrow of Modern Divinity – Promise of Grace

The Marrow of Modern Divinity is a 17th Century work that teaches concerning God’s Eternal Plan to redeem a people to his name to the praise of His grace. The work is set as a discussion between a legalist and a libertine about the role of the law in the life of a believer. An Evangelist happens along who is able to put the law in it’s proper perspective, as it relates to the salvation of men. Chapter 2 of the book covers God’s Plan of Salvation, purposed within Himself in Eternity Past, revealed in various stages through Biblical history, beginning with Genesis 3:15, and finally completed in His Son – Jesus Christ. God’s Plan of Salvation of mankind is commonly referred to by theologians as the Covenant (or Plan) of Grace; or the Gospel. Chapter 2 of the Marrow covers the Gospel outlined as follows: Gospel 1) Purposed, 2) Promised, and 3) Provided.

In part 1 of this review, we looked at God’s Purposing of Grace in the Everlasting Covenant (as Spurgeon called it). In this post, we’ll begin to look at the unfolding promise of grace as found in the pages of Scripture: from Genesis 3 to the coming of the Messiah.

Promise of Grace – To Adam

Genesis 3:15“And I will put enmity between thee [SATAN] and the woman, and between thy seed [Children of Wrath; Eph 2:3] and her seed [Christ particularly – Rom 1:3, Gal 3:19; and to those that are Christ’s – Rom 4:16, Gal 3:29] it shall bruise thy head [Christ will bruise Satan – Rom 16:20], and thou shalt bruise his heel [Death of Christ – Is 53:5].

[The bracketed notes are mine].

Says Evangelist – “This promise of Christ, the woman’s seed, was the gospel; and the only comfort of Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, and the rest of the godly fathers, until the time of Abraham.”

Commenting on this passage, Thomas Boston writes:

In this promise was revealed, 1. Man’s restoration unto the favour of God, and his salvation; not to be effected by man himself, and his own works, but by another. For our first parents, standing condemned for breaking of the covenant of works, are not sent back to it, to essay the mending of the matter, which they had marred before; but a new covenant is purposed,—a Saviour promised as their only hope. 2. That this Saviour was to be incarnate, to become man, “the seed of the women.” 3. That he behoved to suffer; his heel, namely his humanity, to be bruised to death. 4. That by his death he should make a full conquest over the devil, and destroy his works, who had now overcome and destroyed mankind; and so recover the captives out of his hand: “he shall bruise thy head, viz: while thou bruisest his heel.” This encounter was on the cross: there Christ treading on the serpent, it bruised his heel, but he bruised its head. 5. That he should not be held by death, but Satan’s power should be broken irrecoverably: the Saviour being only bruised in the heel, but the serpent in the head. 6. That the saving interest in him, and his salvation, is by faith alone, believing the promise with particular application to one’s self, and so receiving him, forasmuch as these things are revealed by way of a simple promise.