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John Calvin’s Integrated Covenant Theology (2):
The Nature of the Covenant

Rev. Angus Stewart

(Slightly modified from an article first published in the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal)


While Calvin is both clear and biblical in his treatment of covenant unity, covenant diversity, covenant hermeneutics and covenant progression, with the benefit of some four and a half centuries since his death, we shall see that there is room for some correction and development as to his conception of the nature of the covenant.1

Calvin on the Nature of the Covenant

It is undeniable that Calvin spoke of the covenant as a pact, compact, contract or agreement. There may be various reasons or sources for this, including political, legal, ecclesiastical and lexicographical. First, medieval and sixteenth century political theory (of which Calvin was not unaware) included a development of the covenant as a contract between the rulers and the ruled.2 Second, the legal theory of the day promoted the idea of contractual covenants.2a Third, the Roman church spoke of the covenant as a compact.3 Fourth, the biblical lexicons of Calvin’s day (wrongly) viewed the Hebrew and Greek words for covenant (berith and diatheke respectively) as meaning contract or agreement.4

Peter Lillback, in a detailed treatment of Calvin’s conception of the covenant, notes that he also uses the words "oracles," "way" and "fellowship" as synonyms for the covenant.5 In connection with the last of these terms ("fellowship"), Lillback rightly quotes the first three sentences of that section of the Institutes (book 2, chapters 10 and 11) in which Calvin most fully treats the covenant:

Now we can clearly see from what has already been said that all men adopted by God into the company of his people since the beginning of the world were covenanted to him by the same law and by the bond of the same doctrine as obtains among us. It is very important to make this point. Accordingly I shall add, by way of appendix, how far the condition of the patriarchs in this fellowship differed from ours, even though they participated in the same inheritance and hoped for a common salvation with us by the grace of the same Mediator (2.10.1, pp. 428-429).

After further references to the "Mediator," "inheritance," "grace," "mercy" and "peace," etc., of God’s "spiritual" covenant in Calvin’s writings, Lillback concludes,

... the essence of Calvin’s conception of the covenant is the notion of the binding of God. This binding is God’s own act of joining Himself with his creatures. Calvin writes, "Forgiveness of sins, then, is for us the first entry into the church and kingdom of God. Without it, there is for us no covenant (foederis) or bond (conjunctionis) with God" [4.1.20, p. 1034]. Thus the covenant is the means of union with God. It is the "bond" between God and man. [It is the] gracious self-binding of the infinite God whereby He condescends to enter into a mutual covenant with His fallen and unworthy yet sovereignly chosen people ...6

Lillback then notes the "multi-faceted" character of Calvin’s idea of bond.

First, covenant and bond are used synonymously ... Thus the covenant is that which joins one to God ... or is one’s union with God ... Second, there is a common bond in the Trinity itself [1.13.6, p. 128] ... Third, Christ ... and the Holy Spirit ... are bonds in various respects ... Fourth, in the believer’s salvation, faith is a bond ... Holiness is a bond ... There is a permanent bond between the double graces of the covenant ... and an indissoluble bond between election and adoption ... Fifth, there is a mutual binding in the communion of the saints ... and in the relationship between God and His covenant people ... Sixth, there is also a bond in the sacrament of the Supper and the Holy Spirit ...7

Finally, Lillback shows how both God’s "promise" and the gift of "adoption" into His "family" serve the covenant bond in Calvin’s thought.8

In his work on Calvin's Old Testament Commentaries, British Calvin scholar T. H. L. Parker also describes Calvin's presentation of the covenant as a bond and union between God and His elect people:

The Covenant [for Calvin] was not merely an agreement between two parties but was a complete and mutual union; complete in that God entered it with his whole self and for all eternity, and that he demanded of the Jews that they also should give themselves wholly to him in every generation. It was such a union that God willed that his existence and the existence of the Jews should be one forever ... As if he descended from his heavenly glory, he bound to himself the seed of Abraham, that he might also mutually bind himself. Therefore God's election was like the joining of a mutual bond, so that he did not will to be separate from his people.9

A good example of Calvin’s treatment of the covenant as a bond of fellowship in his commentaries occurs in his exposition of Psalm 102:12, which he translates, "And thou, O Jehovah! shalt dwell for ever; and the memorial of thee from generation to generation." It is here quoted in its totality, with comments following.

When the prophet, for his own encouragement, sets before himself the eternity of God, it seems, at first sight, to be a far-fetched consolation; for what benefit will accrue to us from the fact that God sits immutable on his heavenly throne, when, at the same time, our frail and perishing condition does not permit us to continue unmoved for a single moment? And, what is more, this knowledge of the blessed repose enjoyed by God enables us the better to perceive that our life is a mere illusion. But the inspired writer, calling to remembrance the promises by which God had declared that he would make the Church the object of his special care, and particularly that remarkable article of the covenant, "I will dwell in the midst of you" (Exodus 25:8), and, trusting to that sacred and indissoluble bond, has no hesitation in representing all the godly languishing, though they were in a state of suffering and wretchedness, as partakers of this celestial glory in which God dwells. The word "memorial" is also to be viewed in the same light. What advantage would we derive from this eternity and immutability of God's being, unless we had in our hearts the knowledge of him, which, produced by his gracious covenant, begets in us the confidence arising from a mutual relationship between him and us? The meaning then is, "We are like withered grass, we are decaying every moment, we are not far from death, yea rather, we are, as it were, already dwelling in the grave; but since thou, O God! hast made a covenant with us, by which thou hast promised to protect and defend thine own people, and hast brought thyself into a gracious relation to us, giving us the fullest assurance that thou wilt always dwell in the midst of us, instead of desponding, we must be of good courage; and although we may see only ground for despair if we depend upon ourselves, we ought nevertheless to lift up our minds to the heavenly throne, from which thou wilt at length stretch forth thy hand to help us." Whoever is in a moderate degree acquainted with the sacred writings, will readily acknowledge that whenever we are besieged with death, in a variety of forms, we should reason thus: As God continues unchangeably the same—"without variableness or shadow of turning"—nothing can hinder him from aiding us; and this he will do, because we have his word, by which he has laid himself under obligation to us, and because he has deposited with us his own memorial, which contains in it a sacred and indissoluble bond of fellowship.

First, we note that Calvin sees the vast gulf between the transcendent God—seated in "blessed repose" on His "heavenly throne" (x2), dwelling in "celestial glory" and possessed of "eternity" (x2) and "immutability" (x3)—and "frail and perishing" man—"languishing … in a state of suffering and wretchedness" and "besieged with death in a variety of forms"—as bridged by God’s gracious "covenant" (x3) alone.10

Second, Calvin describes this covenant as a "relationship" (x2) that is both "gracious" and "mutual … between him and us." This relationship is "a sacred and indissoluble bond" (x2), even "a sacred and indissoluble bond of fellowship." Moreover, in this gracious and sacred relationship of fellowship, God "dwell[s] in the midst" of us (x2), His "own people" and "Church."

Third, Calvin proves this with appeal to the covenant formula, "I will dwell in the midst of you" (Ex. 25:8), uttered in connection with the tabernacle and the ark and presented in various forms in the Scriptures. The Genevan Reformer calls this "that remarkable article of the covenant."

Fourth, the "gracious covenant" is that which "produce[s]" heartfelt "knowledge" of God (cf. Jer. 31:31-34; John 17:3) and "begets in us the confidence arising from a mutual relationship between him and us."11

Fifth, in the covenant "promises" (x2), God’s people have the "advantage," "benefit," "consolation," "encouragement" and "good courage" that we are the "the object of his special care" so that He will "protect," "defend," "aid" and "help" us. Indeed, since Jehovah has "made a covenant with us," He "giv[es] us the fullest assurance that [He will] always dwell with us." Thus, for Calvin, the nature of the covenant demands and grants the preservation of the saints and our assurance of divine preservation in the covenant.

Sixth, the force of the third sentence of Calvin’s commentary on Psalm 102:12 ought not escape us. The Psalmist, "calling to remembrance" God’s covenant promises, especially "I will dwell in the midst of you," and "trusting to that sacred and indissoluble bond," does not hesitate to portray all the godly, no matter what their earthly miseries may be, "as partakers of this celestial glory in which God dwells." Resting in the indissoluble bond of the covenant, the believer knows that all God’s "suffering" people will dwell with Him eternally in heavenly bliss, nay, are already "partakers of this celestial glory in which God dwells" (cf. John 17:20-23; Eph. 2:6). The covenant assures us that God dwells in us and we will dwell with God both now and forever.

Seventh, Calvin sees this comfort of Jehovah’s dwelling in the covenant with us as generally known by Scripture-reading saints:

Whoever is in a moderate degree acquainted with the sacred writings, will readily acknowledge that whenever we are besieged with death, in a variety of forms, we should … [trust in the immutable, covenant God] because we have his word, by which he has laid himself under obligation to us, and because he has deposited with us his own memorial, which contains in it a sacred and indissoluble bond of fellowship.

This knowledge of the nature of the covenant as an "indissoluble bond of fellowship" or God’s gracious "obligation" in which He has bound himself to us in Jesus Christ—what Lillback calls "the binding of God"—is what Calvin presents as the "benefit" and "consolation" of "the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the Lord" (Ps. 102:title). There is no abstract, cold covenant theology here!

The most biblical, clear and comforting treatment of the nature of the covenant in Calvin’s Institutes occurs, as one might expect, in his most extended treatment of the covenant in book 2, chapters 10 and 11. Within this section, Calvin makes his most penetrating remarks on the essence of the covenant in his first two arguments proving that God’s "spiritual covenant" is "common" to the saints both before and after the coming of Jesus Christ (2.10.7, p. 434).

In his first argument, Calvin extols the "life" and "energy" of God’s "imperishable" Word which "quickens the souls of all to whom God grants participation in it." Through the Word, God’s people in every age are "join[ed]" and "bound" to Him by a "sacred bond" so that we possess a "real participation in God." Enlivened and "illumine[d]" by this Word, the saints "cleave" to God and are "united more closely" to Him in the "blessing of eternal life." Thus we see Calvin explaining God’s "spiritual covenant" as our being "join[ed]," "bound" and "united" with Him, so that we "cleave" to Him and enjoy a "real participation" in His blessedness (2.10.7, p. 434).

In his second argument, Calvin considers "the very formula of the covenant," which, he observes, is the same in every age: "For the Lord always covenanted with his servants thus: ‘I will be your God, and you shall be my people’ [Lev. 26:12]" (2.10.8, p. 434).12 This covenant formula, Calvin notes, is frequently used in the Old Testament as a summary of all of salvation: "The prophets also commonly explained that life and salvation and the whole of blessedness are embraced in these words." He then quotes various texts from the Psalms, Habakkuk, Isaiah and Deuteronomy as proof (2.10.8, pp. 434-435).

Calvin continues,

But not to belabor superfluous matters, this admonition repeatedly occurs in the Prophets: we lack nothing for an abundance of all good things and for assurance of salvation so long as the Lord is our God. And rightly so! For if his face, the moment that it has shone forth, is a very present pledge of salvation, how can he manifest himself to a man as his God without also opening to him the treasures of his salvation? He is our God on this condition: that he dwell among us, as he has testified through Moses [Lev. 26:11]. But one cannot obtain such a presence of him without, at the same time, possessing life. And although nothing further was expressed, they had a clear enough promise of spiritual life in these words: "I am ... your God" [Ex. 6:7]. For he did not declare that he would be a God to their bodies alone, but especially to their souls. Still, souls, unless they be joined to God through righteousness, remain estranged from him in death. On the other hand, such a union when present will bring everlasting salvation with it (2.10.8, p. 435).

First, here we see again Calvin’s use of the covenant formula, "I am ... your God," only this time Calvin elaborates more fully. For the church as a whole, the Lord is "our God" (x2); and to each individual son, He is "his God" personally. Being our covenant Lord, Jehovah is a God to us in both our "bodies" and our "souls." Second, having God for our God is the same as "dwelling" with Him and being "joined" to and "united" with Him. Third, Calvin also explains this covenant bond as seeing God’s shining "face," knowing His "presence," delving into "the treasures of his salvation" and "possessing life"—a life that is both "everlasting" and "spiritual." Fourth, Calvin states that it is almost "superfluous" to cite biblical texts in this regard, since the prophets "repeatedly" declare that God’s gracious covenant with us is the summum bonum: "we lack nothing for an abundance of all good things and for assurance of salvation so long as the Lord is our God."

By this I do not mean to suggest, however, that union and dwelling with God was the only or even the dominant way in which Calvin spoke of the covenant. Such is not the case, for Calvin often used pact, compact, contract or agreement as synonyms for the covenant. But the idea of covenant communion is there in Calvin, especially where he considers "the very formula of the covenant" ("I will be your God, and you shall be my people;" 2.10.8, p. 434), which he calls elsewhere "that remarkable article of the covenant" ("I will dwell in the midst of you;" Comm. on Ps. 102:12).

Development regarding the Nature of the Covenant since Calvin

Reformed theologians after Calvin, such as Francis Turretin and Charles Hodge, developed the idea of covenant as a compact or agreement in much more detail, dealing at great length with the contracting parties and the stipulations or conditions, etc. Yet in the Reformed tradition, and especially in the teaching of Olevianus (1536-1587) in Germany and Cocceius (1603-1669) in the Netherlands,13 the idea of covenant fellowship and friendship has always been present.

English Presbyterian, Matthew Henry, commenting on the men of Ashdod’s antipathy towards the ark (I Sam. 5:7), speaks of "[God’s] covenant and communion with him" as synonyms, for in the covenant God is our "friend."14 Such occasional references to the covenant as union and communion could be multiplied from a whole host of authors. 

German Lutherans, Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, write of God’s "taking Abram into covenant fellowship with himself" (Gen. 15).15 They enlarge upon the nature of the covenant:

The covenant which Jehovah made with Abram was not intended to give force to a mere agreement respecting mutual rights and obligations—a thing which could have been accomplished by an external sacrificial transaction, and by God passing through the divided animals in an assumed human form—but it was designed to establish the purely spiritual relation of a living fellowship between God and Abram, of the deep inward meaning of which, nothing but a spiritual intuition and experience could give to Abram an effective and permanent hold.16

Scottish Presbyterian, Andrew Bonar, writes of the covenant as friendship between God and His people in his comments on the salt in the meat or meal offering (Lev. 2:13):

[Salt] intimates the friendship (of which salt was the well-known emblem) now existing between God and the man. God can sup with man, and man with God (Rev. iii. 18). There is a covenant between him and God, even in regard to the beasts of the field (Job v. 23), and fowls of heaven (Hos. ii. 18). This friendship of God extends to His people's property ... [By sprinkling the sacrifice with salt] "the covenant by sacrifice" (Ps. l. 5) is thus confirmed on the part of God; He declares that He on His part will be faithful.17

In his valuable book on the church, The Glorious Body of Christ, Christian Reformed theologian, R. B. Kuiper, begins the chapter "God’s Friends," by stating,

The church consists of God’s covenant people. This is a way of saying that it consists of God’s friends. For the covenant of grace spells friendship between God and His own. In essence the covenant of grace was established when, immediately after the fall of man, God said to the serpent: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15). Enmity with Satan implies friendship with God.18

After explaining the covenant (Gen. 17:7) in terms of friendship, with appeal to II Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8 and James 2:23, Kuiper continues,

The Psalmist equates the covenant of grace with friendship between God and His people in the words: "The friendship of Jehovah is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant" (Psalm 25:14, ASV). Inasmuch as the believers of all ages are Abraham's seed (Galatians 3:7, 29), they are God's covenant people, God's friends.19

Kuyper further develops the church’s covenant relationship with God under the headings: "Sovereign Friendship," "Intimate Friendship," "Devoted Friendship," and "Everlasting Friendship."20

Some, while still working within the compact or agreement framework, have sought to bring out, more than has been customary, the idea that the covenant is a loving relationship of fellowship, such as David McKay, a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland.21 

Similarly, Cornelis Venema writes, 

[In II Peter 1:4,] Peter is using covenantal language. The goal of our redemption, consistent with the general teaching of Scripture, is covenantal fellowship with the Triune God. Rather than conveying the strange idea of a commingling of the being of the creature and the Creator, this language conveys the idea of communion between God and those who are his. Redemption will find its consummation in the restoration of perfect friendship between God and his people.22

John Murray goes further; he argues that the traditional covenant-contract theology "needs recasting."

It would not be, however, in the interests of theological conservation or theological progress for us to think that the covenant theology is in all respects definitive and that there is no further need for correction, modification, and expansion. Theology must always be undergoing reformation. The human understanding is imperfect. However, architectonic may be the systematic constructions of any one generation or group of generations, there always remains the need for correction and reconstruction so that the structure may be brought into closer approximation to the Scripture and the reproduction be a more faithful transcript or reflection of the heavenly exemplar. It appears to me that the covenant theology, notwithstanding the finesse of analysis with which it was worked out and the grandeur of its articulated systematization, needs recasting.23

After surveying the views of various theologians, who see the covenant as an agreement with contracting parties, conditions and stipulations, Murray states,

There has been, however, a recognition on the part of more recent students of covenant theology that the idea of pact or compact or contract is not adequate or proper as a definition of berith and diatheke and admirable service has been rendered by such scholars in the analysis and formulation of the biblical concept.24

John Murray concludes his monograph,

… a divine covenant is sovereign administration of grace and promise. It is not compact or contract or agreement that provide the constitutive or governing idea but that of dispensation in the sense of disposition … covenant is not only bestowment of grace, not only oath-bound promise, but also relationship with God in that which is the crown and goal of the whole process of religion, namely, union and communion with God … At the centre of the covenant relation as its constant refrain is the assurance "I will be your God, and ye shall be my people."25

O. Palmer Robertson also rejects the idea of covenant as a pact, believing it instead to be a sovereign bond between God and His people through the blood of Jesus Christ:

A long history has marked the analysis of the covenants in terms of mutual compacts or contracts. But recent scholarship has established rather certainly the sovereign character of the administration of the divine covenants in Scripture. Both biblical and extra-biblical evidence point to the unilateral form of covenant establishment. No such thing as bargaining, bartering, or contracting characterizes the divine covenants of Scripture. The sovereign Lord of heaven and earth dictates the terms of his covenant … A covenant is a bond-in-blood sovereignly administered.26

Robert Letham declares that the Bible "avoids" the notion that the covenant is "an agreement made by two co-equal parties, much as a commercial business contract." In support, he points to the New Testament's significant use of diatheke ("denoting a sovereign imposition by one party"), instead of suntheke ("a mutual pact or agreement"), and the writings of John Murray and O. Palmer Robertson.26a

After noting that "During the course of the Reformation period ... under the influence of Roman law, many came to see the covenant as a contract," Letham judges this a mistake. This view of "the covenant as a contract," he declares, "was a departure from the biblical teaching." Over against this contractual view of the covenant, Letham states that "the heart of [the biblical teaching of the covenant] is the idea of fellowship, seen especially in the promise 'I will be your God, you shall be my people.'"26b

Letham develops his point:

A covenant meal attends both the institution of the Mosaic covenant (Ex. 24:8-11) and the new covenant (Mt. 26:20-29 and parallels). Abraham's meal with his theophanic visitors may have had a similar function (Gn. 18:1f.). A meal of fellowship points to a far greater relationship between the parties than a contract. It goes beyond a purely legal relation. The marriage relationship is a far more accurate picture of the deep reconciliation and friendship of the biblical covenant. This is the way that the Bible frequently describes it (e.g. Ezk. 16:1f.; Jer. 2:1f.; Eph. 5:22-33).26c

Next Letham shows that, in the covenant, it is not law but grace and promise that have "priority" and are "paramount," for the law serves God's gracious covenant promise (Gal. 3:17-22).26d "In this sense, grace is constitutive of the covenant relation, while law is regulative."26e

South African theologian, Adrio König, also views the covenant in organic terms:

Theologically, I define covenant as a gracious relationship of love between God and humanity … He binds us to himself, giving us the right and responsibility to live in his love and to serve and glorify him in gratitude.27

This is how Anglican J. I. Packer defines "the life-embracing bedrock reality of the covenant relationship between the Creator and Christians:" "A covenant relationship is a voluntary mutual commitment that binds each party to the other."28 Packer roots this bond between God and us in the inter-Trinitarian communion of the Godhead. In answer to his own question, "Why does God … desire covenantal fellowship with rational beings?" he answers,

... the nature of such fellowship observably corresponds to the relationships of mutual honor and love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit within the unity of the divine being, so that the divine purpose appears to be, so to speak, an enlarging of this circle of eternal love and joy. In highlighting the thought that covenantal communion is the inner life of God, covenant theology makes the truth of the Trinity more meaningful than it can otherwise be.29

In the Protestant Reformed Churches the truth of the covenant, as a bond of friendship and fellowship between God and His elect in Jesus Christ, has been developed and maintained most fully, consistently, antithetically and systematically. This has resulted in increased insight into and/or practical help regarding, for example, the living fellowship within the Holy Trinity, the covenant with Adam, Old Testament history, sovereign grace, infant baptism, Reformed worship, the unbreakable bond of marriage, Christian schooling, and the Christian life as one of God’s friend-servants keeping His covenant.30

This development in the understanding of the nature of the covenant since Calvin’s day ought not surprise us. It is now over half a millennium since the Reformer’s birth. Many have been the debates and disputes concerning the covenant. Through the centuries and the controversies, the Spirit of truth has led the church into a greater understanding of the nature of the God’s gracious covenant with us in Jesus Christ.

Next time, Lord willing, we shall consider Calvin’s teaching on the blessings of the covenant.31

1 As in part 1 of this article, all citations of the Institutes are from John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion,, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1960) and all citations of Calvin’s commentaries are from the 22 volume Baker (repr. 1993) edition.
2 According to this contract (written or unwritten), the people could revolt against the powers that be, if they were tyrannical, contrary to Matthew 26:51-52, John 18:36-37, Romans 13:1-7, I Peter 2:13-17 and Revelation 13:9-10.
2a Robert Letham states, "During the course of the Reformation period ... under the influence of Roman law, many came to see the covenant as a contract" (The Work of Christ [Leicester: IVP, 1993], p. 40).
3 This idea of the covenant as a contract was used by many in the Roman church as a framework within which man merited with God (synergism).
4 Modern word studies point to God’s covenant as a sovereignly disposed (diatheke) bond (berith) with His people in Jesus Christ (cf. Moshe Weinfeld, "berith," Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, vol. 2, eds. G. Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren, trans. John T. Willis [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1975], pp. 253-255; Gottfried Quell, "diatheke," Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 2, ed. Gerhard Kittel, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964], pp. 107-108; Johannes Behm, "diatheke," ibid., p. 134). The biblical lexicons of Calvin’s day also let him down, when he mistakenly stated in his Institutes, "the word ‘baptize’ [baptizein] means to immerse" (4.15.19, p. 1320). See the thorough treatment of the Greek word baptizein in James W. Dale’s four volumes: Classic Baptism, Judaic Baptism, Johannic Baptism, and Christic Baptism and Patristic Baptism.
5 Peter A. Lillback, The Binding of God: Calvin’s Role in the Development of Covenant Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001), p. 134, n. 30.
6 Ibid., p. 137. Thus we have the reason for the first part of the title of Lillback’s book on Calvin’s doctrine of the covenant: The Binding of God.
7 Ibid., pp. 138-139, n. 90.
8 Ibid., pp. 138-141.
9 Quoted in David J. Engelsma, Trinity and Covenant: God as Holy Family  (Jenison, MI: RFPA, 2006), pp. 122-123.
10 Cf. Westminster Confession 7:1: "The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto Him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of Him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which He has been pleased to express by way of covenant."
11 Notice that for Calvin the covenant is fruitful, producing and begetting in His people saving faith, which consists of knowledge of and confidence in the Triune God (cf. Heidelberg Catechism, Q. & A. 21).
12 Higher critic, Rolf Rendtorff has produced an interesting survey of the use of the covenant formula in the Old Testament, identifying three different forms of statements: (1) about God, that He is our God; (2) about us, that we are His people; and (3) about God and us, that He is our God and we are His people (The Covenant Formula: An Exegetical and Theological Investigation, trans. Margaret Kohl [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1998]).
13 Cf. W. J. van Asselt, "Amicitia dei as Ultimate Reality: An outline of the Covenant Theology of Johannes Cocceius (1603-1669)," Ultimate Reality and Meaning, 21, 1 (March 1998), pp. 35-47.
14 Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, repr. 1991), p. 391.
15 C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1: The Pentateuch, Three Volumes in One, trans. James Martin (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, repr. 1986), vol. 1, p. 212.
16 Ibid., p. 210; italics mine.
17 Andrew Bonar, Leviticus (Edinburgh: Banner, 1966), pp. 45, 46; italics mine.
18 R. B. Kuiper, The Glorious Body of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1966), p. 330.
19 Ibid., pp. 330-331.
20 Ibid., pp. 331-338.
21 David McKay, The Bond of Love: God’s Covenantal Relationship with His Church (Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 2001).
22 Cornelis P. Venema, The Promise of the Future (Edinburgh: Banner, 2000), pp. 486-487. Here Venema is summarising with approval an article by Al Wolters in the Calvin Theological Journal.
23 John Murray, The Covenant of Grace (London: Tyndale Press, 1954), pp. 4-5.
24 Murray then gives as examples works by Geerhardus Vos, Herman Bavinck, G. Ch. Aalders, John Kelly, David Russell and Herman N. Ridderbos (ibid., p. 7, n. 15).
25 Ibid., pp. 31-32.
26 O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 1980), p. 15.
26a Letham, The Work of Christ, pp. 39-40.
26b Ibid., p. 40.
26c Ibid., p. 40.
26d Ibid., pp. 40-41.
26e Ibid., p. 40.
27 Adrio König, The Eclipse of Christ in Eschatology: Toward a Christ-Centered Approach (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1989), p. 55.
28 J. I. Packer in his "Introduction" to Herman Witsius, The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man: Comprehending a Complete Body of Divinity, 2 vols. (Escondido, CA: The den Dulk Christian Foundation, repr. 1990), vol. 1. There is no pagination for Packer’s "Introduction."
29 Ibid.
30 See, e.g., Herman Hanko, God’s Everlasting Covenant of Grace (Grandville, MI: RFPA, 1988); Herman Hoeksema, Believers and Their Seed: Children in the Covenant (Grandville, MI: RFPA, rev. 1997); David J. Engelsma, Marriage, the Mystery of Christ and the Church: The Covenant Bond in Scripture and History (Grandville, MI: RFPA, rev. 1998); Herman Hanko, For Thy Truth’s Sake: A Doctrinal History of the Protestant Reformed Churches (Grandville, MI: RFPA, 2000); David J. Engelsma, Reformed Education: The Christian School as the Demand of the Covenant (Grandville, MI: RFPA, rev. 2000); Homer C. Hoeksema and David J. Engelsma, Unfolding Covenant History, 5 vols. (Grandville, MI: RFPA, 2000-2005); Henry Danhof and Herman Hoeksema, Sin and Grace, trans. Cornelius Hanko, ed. Herman Hanko (Grandville, MI: RFPA, 2003); David J. Engelsma, Barry Gritters and Charles Terpstra, Reformed Worship (Grandville, MI: RFPA, 2004); Ronald Hanko, Doctrine According to Godliness (Grandville, MI: RFPA, 2004); Herman Hanko, We and Our Children: The Reformed Doctrine of Infant Baptism (Grandville, MI: RFPA, rev. 2004); Herman Hoeksema, Reformed Dogmatics, 2 vols. (Grandville, MI: RFPA, rev. 2004-2005); David J. Engelsma, The Covenant of God and the Children of Believers: Sovereign Grace in the Covenant  (Jenison, MI: RFPA, 2005); Herman Hanko and David J. Engelsma, Keeping God’s Covenant (USA: British Reformed Fellowship, 2006); David J. Engelsma, Trinity and Covenant: God as Holy Family (Jenison, MI: RFPA, 2006), David J. Engelsma, Covenant and Election in the Reformed Tradition (Jenison, MI: RFPA, 2011); David J. Engelsma, Federal Vision: Heresy at the Root (Jenison, MI: RFPA, 2012).
31 Angus Stewart, "John Calvin’s Integrated Covenant Theology (3): The Blessings of the Covenant."