Read - Ephesians 2v1-10
Message - Scott Woodburn
The covenant of works died in the garden of Eden. It once offered eternal life to Adam and those who came after him based on Adam's perfect and personal obedience. But after Adam's sin the covenant of works could only condemn. What was needed was another Adam who would be completely obedient and offer a perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins. Christ would be the second Adam whose works are righteous in the sight of God.
Wonderful. Christ has done it all and therefore we're all okay! Sadly no. Broadly speaking "universalism" teaches that God is love and therefore everyone will one day get to heaven. Needless to say I reject universalism in all of its forms. Christ died for His people alone and it is as Paul says "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved." (v4-5) This is why we speak of the covenant of grace. Salvation is not dependent upon our works, instead it depends upon the grace of God.
Grace is God's unmerited favour to those who deserve His wrath. Let's simplify that statement. Grace is unmerited or in other words we have done nothing to deserve it. Grace is God's unmerited favour or in other words He loves us and approves of us. Grace is extended to those who deserve God's wrath or in other words we deserve God's righteous and holy anger but instead we receive His grace. This is what we mean when we speak of God's grace.
Christ's sacrifice is all of grace. When we were weak, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5v6) and to know the benefits of His sacrifice we must receive Him by faith. Faith is a receiving and resting in Christ as He is offered in the Gospel. It is a gift of God so that no one may boast (v8). It is the means by which we enjoy the covenant of grace and saving faith is worked in us by the Holy Spirit who makes us willing and able to believe (John 6v44).
Even as the covenant of works lay destroyed in Eden, the covenant of grace was proclaimed by God Himself. Weak, sinful humanity could not save themselves. By their own works they had been faced with a sinful chasm that no amount of time or progress or human advancement could bridge. But God, at the right time, sent His only begotten Son who would pay the price for our sin. Salvation is all of God and, praise be, it is all of grace.
Q54 What is required in the third commandment? The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word, and works.