In our last editorial on the covenant controversy, we were treating that wonderful passage of Col. 1:13-19. And we intimated that we would like to say more on that score, but that this would wait for further issues.

What we had in mind is that part of the above Scripture which speaks of the fact that all things are created by Him and for Kim, and also that He is before all things.

This Scripture is very illuminating to an understanding of the covenant of God, especially to an understanding of the question, With whom is that covenant established?

You see, the question remained the last time we wrote on this text: But if Adam lived 4000 years before the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, how then can God establish His covenant with Christ first of all? How can Jesus Christ be the firstborn of every creature?

The answer to that question we find in the above quoted part of Col. 1. All things are not only made by Him, but they are made for Him! What wonderful light is thus shed on the first Adam in the first paradise! Adam and paradise are there for Jesus Christ! It certainly means that God made all things with a view to Christ, with Christ as its ultimate fulfillment.

If we grasp this Biblical truth we will be spared the erroneous conceptions that speak of reparation, but we will speak of exaltation, and fulfillment.

Adam was created in the image of God, and when coming to himself, he at once experienced that he stood in covenant communion with God. The love of God and the intimate fellowship of friendship was his immediate portion. He loved God and was his friend. And he experienced that God loved him, and that He was his great friend. Thus Adam lived in the state of righteousness.

Mistakenly, this relation has been named the covenant of works. We will not at this juncture say anything regarding this matter. It has been done by our leaders in past times.

But I would point out here that Adam stands in Paradise in the relation of love and friendship with the ever blessed God, for the sake of Christ. Adam was created for Him, remember?

What does that mean?

First, that Adam was a picture of the Christ of Cod who was to come. Attend to this that the Scripture speaks of the first and the second, or the last, Adam, which is Christ. Especially in Romans 5:12-21 do we find this matter explained by the apostle Paul. He draws a parallel between Adam and Christ, and note that he proves how both are covenant heads, representative and responsible covenant heads with respect to those whom they represent.

Second, Adam must prepare the way before Christ. He must fall into sin and so pave the way for the revelation of the eternal covenant of God which shall make heaven musical forever.

Yes, Adam falls away from God through his willful disobedience, and he breaks the bond which united him with God from his side, but attend to the Gospel: he falls backwards into the arms of Christ. I would ask you in all seriousness: if there had not been the relation of covenant love and friendship in Christ, where would we have been? When the first bond breaks away, we see the eternal bond of love of God and His marvelous friendship which was hidden under the first which we broke.

Third, only in this way is the wisdom of God revealed. It was His good pleasure to reveal unto men how wondrous He is in His lovingkindness and goodness. The Lord God wanted to show to you and to me how great is His love and grace, so that myriads of men and of angels would stand before the throne of the Godhead and sing His praises forever. Well, He has shown this great wisdom in Jesus Christ the Lord. Adam falls away, and must make room for the revelation of a love which is past understanding. Imagine: He comes and stands in the room and the place of all God’s elect children. He takes upon His head all the sin of His people and becomes a curse for them. And standing thus before the Godhead, He is smitten and cast away into eternal death.

And in this way the Lord reveals to us His eternal covenant of grace.

The second Adam is Jesus Christ the Lord. And He takes upon Himself the covenant obligations of the first Adam, but He fulfills them in hellish torture. The covenant of God is a relation of love and friendship between God and His image bearer. Well, here He stands, nay, He hangs on the accursed tree. Presently we cannot see Him anymore: He has departed to the darkest depths of God-forsakenness. But I would assure you that He still loves God and still is His friend. He is very faithful in this covenant.

Therefore, it has always hurt me when I heard that there are Reformed theologians that deny that Christ is the Head of the covenant of grace, or that God established His covenant with the Christ, and through Him with us.

Let us see.

Go with me to the language of the fathers. They speak in the Formula of Baptism of the second part of the covenant. Well, that second part is laid in the mouth of the second party, or the party of the second part. And that must be man. Now notice how God asks of man “new obedience, namely, that we cleave to this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that we trust in Him, and love Him with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our mind, and with all our strength; that we forsake the world, crucify our old nature, and walk in a new and holy life.”

I think it is because of the fact that we hear this portion so very often, that we have become rather callous to the content.

What tremendous things are here spoken of! I would like to ask you: Whoever did all this? Who is there among all the children of God, including such men as Job and Samuel and Abraham, that could ever do all the things that are here enumerated. The next time a child is baptized in your church, read this portion very carefully, and then say: but no one ever did this!

What must we think in the face of this of that boasting language which we hear so often and which always is an offense to our ears, namely, when we speak of “assuming our covenant obligations”!

Read those covenant obligations again and again, and. . . .weep!

No, perhaps it is not wise that I would attempt to set you a-weeping, it is not necessary. Another has done that for you.

And that other who wept for you, has taken all the covenant obligations upon Himself and He has also fulfilled them.

He has shown a new obedience.

The old obedience was shown by Adam in paradise. And that was relatively easy for him. He was created in the image of God, good and upright. And He walked with God, knew Him at the cool of day. It was his joy to love his God and to walk in intimate communion with Him. And God smiled on him.

But Christ has shown the new obedience, such as no man ever did. This obedience is new in the sense that it was never seen before on earth. A new obedience, for He loved God while God struck Him down in hell. That is something different from Adam’s life in paradise. And Christ never ceased loving God, even though it pleased God to bruise Him with an eternal bruising. He loved God even for the righteous wrath’s sake that burned Him in unspeakable anguish.

That, my dear reader, is fulfilling covenant obligations. Let us not talk so glibly of fulfilling our covenant obligations in the face of such Gethsemane and Golgotha.

Oh yes, we must trust God and love Him with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our mind, and with all our strength! I would ask: who of you ever came anywhere near such a description of actual human endeavor to please your covenant God. Don’t you feel ashamed of your lack?

Well, Christ, the covenant head of the covenant of grace, with Whom God established His eternal covenant, representing you and me, and all God’s elect people, this Christ has loved God exactly like that. He is the party of the second part par excellence.

And He also forsook the world. Oh, how He did! He forsook that world so much that they hated Him as no other.

But we?

Read it and pray for forgiveness. We take the world along with us in church when we hear the covenant obligations read within our hearing. Listen to David: Wend, wend mijn oog van d’ ijdelheden af! “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity!” Ps. 119:37.

And He crucified our old nature. And it is well that He did. It is exactly that old nature which keeps us from doing the will of God. But He crucified it, and nailed it on the accursed tree.

The liberated brethren will not believe that Christ is the head of the covenant of grace. I can but marvel at this. Why, He is not only the head of the covenant, but He fulfills all the covenant obligations of the second part too.

He does that judicially on the cross. His love of God is so intensive that it is enough for all the covenant children for all eternity.

And He does that spiritually, subjectively, within you and me. Even when you and I do love Him a little and walk in a new and holy life, such as the covenant of grace demands, even then we must copy Paul who said one time: I live, but no more I, Christ liveth in me!

When we hold that Christ is the head of the covenant of grace, and that He fulfills its obligations on the cross, and through His Spirit in us, we are in harmony with eternal wisdom of God: But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord!