Whether there be any such thing as a Covenant of Suretyship or Redemption between JEHOVAH and the Son of GOD? That there is such a Covenant, is proven by 11 Arguments.
No doubt, Christ God-Man is in Covenant with God, being a person designed from eternity, with his own consent, and in time yielding thereunto, and yet he stands not in that Covenant-relation that we stand in: as we shall hear.
1. The First Argument
What Argument does prove that there is a people in Covenant with God, who call the Lord their God––as Zech. 13.9, Jer. 32.38, Isai. 25.9––the same shall prove Christ to be in Covenant with God: As who can say, he is my God, he must be in Covenant with God. As Jer. 31.33, I will be their God, and they shall be my people, Ezek. 11.20, Ezek. 34.24-25, 30. Now this is clearly said of Christ, Psal. 89.26, He shall cry unto me, thou art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation: The Son, the only begotten of the Father saith, thou art my God. Heb. 1.5, And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son. It is expounded of Christ, but was first spoken of Solomon, the Type, 1 Sam. 7.14. My mercy, that is, my Covenant mercy to the Son of David and his seed, shall stand sure as the days of heaven, Psal. 89.28-29, 34-36. 1 Chron. 22.10, He shall build a house for my Name, he shall be my Son, and I will be his father. Then follows the Covenant-promise: And I will establish the Throne of his Kingdom over Israel for ever; which is expounded, Psal. 89.28-29 &c., of Christ, a Covenanted King as long as the Sun and the Moon endures, vv. 34-36, and cannot agree to David, whose Kingdom is now gone. As also, Christ flees to this Covenant in his extreme suffering, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Psal. 22.1, Mat. 27.46. So Psal. 40, it is Christ who saith, v. 8. I delight to do thy will, O my God. And it is a Covenant compellation, my God, and spoken by him, v. 6. Mine ears thou hast opened, who removes all sacrifices, and offers himself a sacrifice, Heb. 10.5, A body thou hast prepared me. So also, Ps. 45.7. Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness: Therefore God, thy God (a Covenant word) hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness, above thy fellows. See glorified Christ glorying in this, Rev. 3.12, Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the house of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the Name of my God (which is) New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: Four times he calls him his God. The Lord speaks in his Type, Psal. 118.28, he who comes in the Name of the Lord, and is made the head of the corner: Thou art my God, and I will praise thee, thou art my God, I will exalt thee. Christ is a noble example in this teaching us to ride at this anchor of hope, thou art my God by Covenant, Mic. 5.4. Christ shall feed in the Name of the Lord his God, Isa. 55.4.
2. Second Argument
The 2nd Argument Is taken from the Lord’s way of calling of Christ to his Office of Mediator: So, he who is the Lord’s chosen, called, and sent servant, is either ingadged in the service, by necessity of nature, so that God cannot choose, but he must choose and call him, and he must, by the same necessity of nature, be chosen and called to that service, or he is the Lord’s chosen and called servant by free agreement and consent of the Lord who calls, and of the party called, which is a Covenant between Master and Servant, the Lord and the sent Ambassadour who is sent, the Lord, the Messenger who comes with such news. Now of Christ it is said, Isai. 42.1, Behold my servant whom I uphold, my chosen in whom my soul delights. And of mere grace and free-love, both God sent him, and he came, Joh. 3.16, 1 Tim. 1. 15, for by no necessity of nature was Christ sent to preach glad tidings to the meek, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, Isai. 61.1, to say to the prisoners go forth, Isai. 49.9. For Isai. 42.6. I the Lord have called thee (saith he) in righteousness–7. To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house. Nor can we say, that any thing, but the good will of the Lord did conclude or determine him to send: 1. To save men, not Angels, Heb. 2.16. 2. Some men, not others; Joh. 15.13-14. 3. So ill deserving men, as lost ones, Luk. 19.10. sinners, 1 Tim. 1. 15. Rom. 5.6.8. (3.) When the Lord speaks of the Covenant of grace, Ezek. 37.23. he adds a word of this Covenant, I will cleanse them, so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. 24. And David my servant (the son of David Christ, for David was dead) shall be King over them, and they all shall have one Shepherd. Ezek. 34.23-24, I will set up one Shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David, he shall feed them, and he shall be their Shepherd. I the Lord will be their God. And Zecha. 13. JEHOVAH owns Christ as this Shepherd, as one of his hiring. v. 7. Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd. Mal. 3. 1. The Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in, behold he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. Hence, this David is the Servant, Shepherd, and Messenger of the Lord, either by nature, which cannot be said, for the Man Christ is by Nature his servant, but Christ-Mediatour, God-Man, is not so his servant, or he is so by free consent, on the Lord’s part, who hires and sends him, and on Christ’s part, who graciously condescended to be hired, and undertook for us; which all along must be understood of no servile reward.
3. Third Argument
Christ’s voluntary yielding to the work, proves this, if Christ-God-Man willing to empty himself and take on him our nature, did offer his service to God, saying, Sacrifice and burnt-offering thou didst not desire, Psal. 40.6. Heb. 10.5, a body thou hast prepared me. 7. Then said I, lo I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will. And if Christ-God-Man did willingly lay down his life of his own goodness, and no man could take his life from him, against his will, Joh. 10.11,18. Joh. 18.5.8. Joh. 14.31. Luk. 9.51. Then is Christ’s free consent to be our surety and Redeemer, to seek and to save us, clear, Matth. 20.28. Luk. 19.10. And if it pleased the Lord to bruise him, Isa. 53.10. and of love to give him to the death for us, Joh. 3.16. Rom. 8.3.32. Matth. 21.37. then the Lord’s consent that he should be our Surety, Saviour, and Redeemer, is no less evident. Now a mutual agreement between JEHOVAH and the Son for one and the same undertaking is a compact and Covenant, to have us saved.
4. Fourth Argument
4th Argument is, from the agreed upon giving and taking between the Father and the Son, where there is a free giving of some to the Son to be ransoned, and keeped, upon the Fathers part, and a most free closing of the Son to own and answer for the given, and to lose none, but to raise them up at the last Day, There certainly is a Covenant gone before, as Jacobs reckoning with Laban, Gen. 31.39, That which was torn of beasts, I brought not unto thee: I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. 40. (Thus) I was, in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. This evidently speaks a Covenant upon Laban’s part, delivering his flock of Jacob, as to a servant and shepherd, saying, I contract with thee, I deliver my flock to thee, answer for them: make an account to me of dead and living. And on Jacob’s part, a taking burden Covenant ways to take care of them; and a yielding, require thou at my hand old and young, weak and strong of the flock: I bind my self to keep them. So Christ hath delivered and given to him of the Father, so many by head and name, Joh. 17.2. As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many, [foreign] as thou hast given him. 12. Those that thou gavest me, I have kept, and none of them are lost. Joh. 6.37. All that the Father hath given me, shall come unto me, and the comer to me, I will in no wise cast out. 39. And this is the Fathers (Covenant-) will that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son and believeth on him, may have everlasting life, at the last day. And what speaketh stronger consolation, then the Father gave me to the Son Christ to be saved, and the Son undertook for me, hath given a written band under his hand to keep me? O what happiness! that I am not mine own keeper, but that Christ hath given it under his hand, and the Father and the Son have Covenant-wise closed and stricken hands, the one having given, and the other received me a-keeping. 2. My soul enter thou not into their secrets who lay all peace, comfort, assurance of salvation upon their own Socinian faith, that is, their indifferent relying upon the Saviour Jesus and their own holiness, watchfulness, obedience, love to God. Sure, the comfort, joy, peace, assurance subjective that they have in their conscience, can be no stronger then the objective and fundamental certitude of standing, persevering, overcoming, slowing from free-will, which is woefully free and indifferent to persevere and stand, or not to persevere, not to stand, but to fall away. Its a stronger consolation (and the strongest should be the Christians choice) that is founded upon the Fathers giving, and the Sons receiving of sinners; and the faith of salvation to me which relies and leans upon Christ’s undertaking for me, that I shall not be lost, nor casten out, then upon my undertaking for my self.
5. Fifth Argument
The fifth Argument is from Christ’s receiving the Seals, Who so receives in his body the Seals of the Covenant of Grace, Circumcision, and Baptism, and yet needs no putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, by Circumcision, and needs no forgiveness of sin, no regeneration, no burying with Christ in Baptism, as Col. 2, 11, 12. Rom. 6.3,4,5. and eats the Passover, and needs not that the Lamb of God take away his sins, as Joh. 1.29. since he is holy, and without sin, he must be under the Covenant, and God must be his God, in some other Covenant then sinners are, for these seals are proper to a Covenanted people, strangers and Pagans might not receive them, but these in Covenant only, Gen. 17.7. Exod. 12.48. Matth. 28.20. Col. 2.11,12. and Christ must have received Seals for other uses and ends, then sinners received them, to wit, to testify that he was the God of both Jews and Gentiles, and that he was the undertaker for us, in a Covenant of suretyship for us, to perfect a higher command then any mortal man was under, to wit, to lay down his life for sinners, Joh. 10.18. and beside that, for our cause he was made under the Law, to fulfill all righteousness, and so was Circumcised, Luk. 2.21. Baptized, Matth. 3.13,16,17. did eat the Passover with the Disciples, Mat. 26.18 19,20. Mar. 14.18. Luk. 22.13,14. he, in coming under that state in which he must, because a man, fulfill the Law, and be under even Gospel commands so far as they were suteable to his holy Nature, testifieth in obeying all commands even of the Moral Law (and as the Son of God he was under no such obligation) that he was under a special ingagement, and compact to God, for the work of Redemption. And we are taught to feel what imbred delight and sweetness of peace is in duties; when Christ Covenants with God to come under the Law, and under the hardest of commands, to lay down his life for sinners, because it was a Law and command by Covenant, that hath most of obedience which hath most of a Law.
Q. Was Christ such an one, as needed seals to his special Covenant with the Father?
Ans. He needed no seals at all to strengthen his faith of dependency, for there was no sinful weakness in his faith, yet he was capable of growing, Luk. 2.52: For the Law requires not the like physical intention and bendedness of acts of obedience from the young, as from the aged. 2. In that the receiving of the seals proves Christ to be Surety of the Covenant of Grace, it makes good, that he was under the other Covenant, and to perform the obedience due to the special command of dying, as to a command of Covenant.
6. Sixth Argument
6th Argument, is from the Lord’s liberty: If God might in justice have prosecuted the Covenant of Works, and Adam and his might justly have suffered eternal death for sin (for the Law is holy and just, and the threatening Gen. 2.17. just) except the Lord had of grace made another Covenant, then must the Lord send, or not send a Saviour to suffer, and be a suffering Redeemer and Surety as pleased him, or not pleased him; and if Christ may refuse to undertake, or willingly agree, as pleased him, and Christ being God consubstantial with the Father, might have stood to the Law-way of works: For who, or what could have hindered him to follow a course of justice against all men? then if both agreed to dispense with that Law-way to save man; Here is Covenant-condescension between JEHOVAH and the Son, of quieting Law, and pitching on a mild Gospel-way.
7. Seventh Argument
7th Argument, from the promises made to Christ: He to whom the promises are made, as to the seed, so as in him they are yea, and Amen, and he who is eminently the chief heir of the promises, as ingaged to make good the promises on the Lord’s part, to give forgiveness, Jer. 31.34, Heb. 8.12. perseverance, Jer. 32.39,40. Isa. 54.10. Isa. 59.21. peace, Ezek.34.25. Lev. 26.6. 11,12. yea, and a new heart, Jer. 31.3,. Ezek. 11.19, Heb. 8.10, life eternal, Joh. 10.28.,and to make good the promises upon our part, by fulfilling the condition, and giving habitual grace, Jer. 31. 33, Ezek. 36.26, and actual influences, Jer. 31.34. to know the Lord, Ier. 32.39,40. Ezek 36.27. to, and with him, God must strike a Covenant of suretyship, that he shall have the anointing in its fullness, above his fellows, without measure, to make good all these promises as Mediatour; for it is not simply grace and life that the Lord bestows upon his people, but grace out of the store-house of the Mediatour God-Man. Now this must be given to Christ by promise, Gal. 3.16. 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: He cannot well mean mystical Christ, that is, Christ and all his, for they are indeed many and numerous, as Isai. 2.1,2. Isai. 60.1,2,3,4,5,6. Psal. 22.27. compared with Rev. 5.11. Rev. 7.9. for the promises are made to Christ-God-Man eminently, not formally: For 2 Cor. 1.20. All the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen. For the promise is made to us for Christ, and through his grace, then the promise is made first to him, and more eminently, and to us for him: Propter quod unumquoda tale, id ipsum magis tale. 2. The promises are fulfilled and made good, not because we fulfill the condition, but for Christ, in whom, and by whose merit, both the grace promised, and the grace habitual and actual to perform the condition, be it faith, repentance, humility, &c. is freely given to us. 3. Christ is he who makes the Covenant and all the promises, Act. 7.32, Who said to Moses, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham–34. I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Ægypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them: And now come, I will send thee unto Ægypt. And v. 35. Moses is made a Ruler and a deliverer by the hands of the Angel that appeared to him in the bush. This is Christ, the Angel, 38. of the Covenant, Mal. 3.1. Whom they tempted, 1 Cor. 10.9. Of whom the Lord said, Exod. 23.21. Beware of him, and obey his voice, and provoke him not: for he will not pardon your transgressions for my Name is upon him. And this Angel faith, I am the God of Abraham, the Omniscient God that sees the afflictions of his people. 3. Hears their prayers. 4. Delivers them out of Ægypt, Exod. 20.1,2. and so the Author of the Covenant, and of all the promises. It is much for weak believers that God stands ingadged in Christ by Covenant with him to give us to believe, and to believe to the end. Hath the Lord given himself Surety for the standing of a tottering believer? Is there not ground to believe that Christ shall make good his undertaking? Also, if all the promises be made to Christ who is the author of the Covenant, and upon condition that Christ do his part, and lay down his life; then sure Christ is under a Covenant, to enjoy his reward, when he hath done his work? And to have a believing seed is Christ’s reward, heaven and earth can make no surer binding for faith and salvation.
8. Eighth Argument
As the former Argument is from the promise made unto Christ, and fulfilled to him, so this is from the Predictions, Prophecies and Promises of him, as he, of whom such glorious promises were foretold, and may claim the thing promised, by faith, he hath some word of promise for suiting these things: which is a Covenant, if he shall do what is required of him, and fulfill the Commandment, Joh. 10.18.
But such Prophecies and Promises there be of CHRIST, Isa. 22.22. The key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder: so he shall open and none shall shut, and he shall shut and none shall open. 23. And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious Throne to his fathers house. 24. And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his fathers house, the off-spring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity: from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons. Zech. 3.8. For behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. Zech. 6.12. Speak unto Joshua, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts, saying, Behold the man whose Name is the BRANCH, and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the Temple of the Lord: 13. Even he shall build the Temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his Throne, Mic. 5.4. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the Majesty of the Name of the Lord his God, and they shall abide: For now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. 5. And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land. So Psal. 72.7. In his days shall the righteous flourish, &c. Hence, as Christ prayed in faith, Joh. 17.5. to be glorified with the glory he had with the Father before the world was, because he finished the work, though he was not yet crucified, but he had a mind fixed to suffer: So may Christ pray in faith to Govern right, and to bear the glory, and to feed in the strength of the Lord, and to have a conquished people, since he was to fulfill all the work that was laid upon him: And this supposes a Covenant.
9. Ninth Argument
Hence, Arg. 9. from the suite he bids his Son ask, which he will grant, Psal. 2.8. Ask of me and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession Psal. 89.26. He shall cry unto me, thou art my Father, my God and the Rock of my salvation. 27. Also I will make him my firstborn, higher then the Kings of the earth.28. My mercy will I keep for him for ever, &c. If God say to us, call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will hear thee: This argues a Covenant that God shall hear, if we pray; Then it says, if Christ the Mediatour shall pray, he shall be heard and prospered with success in his work.
10. Tenth Argument
10th Argument from the work of Christ, and the wages, which a Covenant calls for: Christ complains, Isa. 49.4. Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: there’s work. Shall he have nothing for his work? He adds, Yet surely my judgement is with the Lord, and my work with my God. v.6. He receives an answer of a full reward for his work. And he said, it is a light thing, that thou shouldest be my servant, to raise up the Tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Which words are cited true of Christ, by Luke, Act. 13.47. when Christ is Preached to the Gentiles: And as one who laboured for us, so he craves his wages, though the Jews pay him unworthily. Zech. 11.12. Then I said, if ye think good, give (me) my price, and if not, forbear; pay me, or pay me not: Yet the Lord payed him. Phil. 2.7. He made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant,–and became obedient to the death, the death of the crosse. Here is work: followeth his wages, call it merit, or what else, its a reward and the end of his suffering, which Christ both desired and intended, as the fruit of his labours. v. 9. Therefore God highly exalted him, and gave him a Name above every name. Act. 5.21. Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and Saviour. Isa. 53.10. When he shall make his soul an offering for sin (which was work hard enough) he shall see his seed (which was his souls desired wages) he shall prolong his days, the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in hand: 11. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. 12. Therefore will I divide him (a portion) with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong: that is an ample reward. Follows his work, because he hath poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressours, and bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressours. Hence, his care to finish the work of him that sent him, and to do his will, Joh. 4.34. Joh. 17.4. Joh. 8.29. and as the Father loved, so he rewarded the obedience of his Son, not by necessity of nature, but by a voluntary compact, but he loves his obedience, Joh. 10.17. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. Joh. 15.10. If ye keep my Commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Fathers Commandments, and abide in his love. Nor can it be denied but a redeemed and saved people was much in the heart of Christ, and much in his desire and intention. Joh. 10.10. I am come, that they may have life, and have it more abundantly. And if, to finish the work, especially of saving lost man, was his meat and drink, Joh. 4.34. and he prayed for the ransoned ones, Joh. 17. to sanctified them: 17. That they might he where he is, 24. There must be always in the heart of Christ a design of love, in that he made redeemed ones his end, his work, his souls satisfaction, Isa. 53.11. And O how worthless were we! that the desire of God should be toward us: How far below the price that love put on us? Was man a Crown and wager for God, for God, for such a God to run for, to work for, and to win? Was there not a more fixed seat in Angels, then in clay, for so high a love as the Love of God? Is there room in so low a piece of created Nothing, for so high, and deep, so broad and long a design, so high an aim, as nothing could be the last and the least result of transcendent love, but great Immanuell, God with us? Reason might say, a less price may buy poor man, a lower design may compass sinners. But love said no less could do it: and this love is not capable of a mistake, in buying, infinite love cannot err in designs of free-love.
11. Eleventh Argument
11th Argument is from the Oath of God: Christ is made a High Priest, another way then other Priests: Heb. 7.21. For those Priests were made without an oath: but this with an oath, by him that said to him, the Lord hath sworn and will not repent, thou art a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedec, Psal. 110.4. No man enters to an office by an oath to be faithful, or to be for ever in such an administration, but he enters also to the office by Covenant. And this oath is sworn by the Lord JEHOVAH, to Christ: The Lord hath sworn,–thou art a Priest. Its a more excellent Priesthood which is confirmed by an oath, then that of Aaron, which is confirmed by no oath. Psal. 89.35. Once have I sworn by my Holiness, that I will not lie unto David, (the Messiah my Anointed, the son of David.) 36. His seed shall endure for ever. Act. 2.30. Therefore being a Prophet, and knowing that God with an oath had sworn to him, that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit upon his Throne. 31. He seeing this before spake of the Resurrection. Psal. 132.11. The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David, he will not turn from it, of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy Throne. 12. If thy children shall keep my Covenant, and my Testimony that I shall teach them, their children also shall sit upon thy Throne for evermore.
They shall sit so and so by Covenant blessed in Christ. And so the stability and certainty of the decree and oath is not to make the children of David secure, but watchful in their duty: But this is not a condition without the which the Messiah should not reign, but without this he should not reign to their comfort and everlasting good. But otherwise the truth of the Lord’s Covenant-faithfulness depends not upon mens unbelief, Rom. 3.3. and for the certainty of this promise and oath which made good Christ his reign which shall not cease, see 2 Sam. 7.12. 1 King. 8.25. 2 Chron. 6.16. Luk. 1.69. Gen. 21.17,18. Hence there is no Covenant made with Christ that the Covenant of Works made with Adam should stand for ever. 2. No oath in that Covenant. 3. No promise or oath to give perseverance, and the Spirit and influences of grace for that effect. And the oath of God, that Christ shall be King of my will to reign over the heart, to give repentance as a Prince, Acts 5.31. and that God hath sworn him to be an eternal Priest who offered himself a sacrifice to deliver me from the present evil world, Gal. 1.4. to ransom me from my vain conversation, 1 Pet. 1. 18. to bring me to God, 1 Pet. 1.18. that I should, being dead to sin, live to righteousness, 1 Pet. 2.24. Eph. 5.25,26,27. Heb. 13.11,12. Rev. 1.5,6. is somewhat more comfortable them the doctrine of Papists, Arminians, who say that any tempted Saint may be a justified Saint to day, and an Apostate, a limme of Satan and a child of perdition to morrow, as Judas was: as if Christ were not a sworn Advocate in the nick and hour of temptation to help, in the act of winnowing: and had not made promises of actual grace to actual temptations when they come, Luk. 22.31. 1 Joh. 2.1. Math. 10.19. And if Christ be sworn a King, Advocate, an high Priest, to overcome the rockiness and flinty and stony rebellion of will, providing that will shall first yield and not play the King against Christ: for any thing I see, the Covenant of grace is looser (the corruption of the Covenanter being ten times stronger to evil then the will of Adam was) then the Covenant of Works, and the Gospel an infinitely more plain path to a more fiery hell then the Law. And it speaks much of free grace, that the everlasting salvation of the Elect is in such a castle as the oath of the Omnipotent and infinitely faithful Lord.
Lastly, the Argument is the more considerable that every Priesthood, even that of Levi, is imposed by Covenant, Mal. 2. 5. My Covenant was with him of life and peace.
Samuel Rutherford, The Covenant of Life Opened, or, A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace (Edinburgh: Printed by Andro Anderson for Robert Brown, 1655), pp. 290-302