Kuyper on Covenants (Works/Grace) Part III of III

Ending (for now) this series of posts on Kuyper’s clear affirmation and appreciation of the CoW/CoG distinction, we see how Kuyper views pre-fall Adam in contrast to the Christian.  Again, this is taken from The Work of the Holy Spirit (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1900).  It should be read with the first two similar posts (parts I & II), though also note it is from a different context in the book (pages 273-4). 

“God’s word teaches the following differences between the two [pre-fall Adam and the Christian]: 1) Adam’s treasure was losable, and that of God’s children is unlosable.  2) The former was to obtain eternal life, while the latter already possess it.  3) Adam stood under the Covenant of Works, and the regenerated under the Covenant of Grace.  These differences are essential, and indicate a difference of status.  Adam did not belong to the ungodly that are justified, but was sinlessly just.  He did not live by an extraneous righteousness which is by faith, as the regenerated, but shone with an original righteousness truly his own.  He lived under the law which says: ‘Do this, and thou shalt live; if not, thou shalt die.'”

“Hence Adam had no other faith than that which comes by ‘natural disposition.’  He did not live out of a righteousness which is by faith, but out of an original righteousness.  The cloud of witnesses in Heb. xi. does not begin with sinless Adam, but with Abel before he was slain.”

Still more: “The fathers have always strongly emphasized this point.  They taught that Adam’s original righteousness was not accidental, supernatural, added to his nature, but inherent in his nature; not another’s righteousness imputed to him and appropriated by faith, but a righteousness naturally his own.  Wherefore Adam needed no substitute; he stood for himself in the nature of his own being.  Hence his status was the opposite of that which constitutes for the child of God the glory of his faith.”

Now he criticizes: “[Some] imprudently teach that sinless Adam lived by the righteousness of Christ.  Let them be careful of the consequences.  Scripture allows no theories which obliterate the difference between the Covenant of Works and that of Grace.”


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