The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram. Matthew 1:1-3
But if you hold fast to the organic idea, then all the difficulties disappear. Then you have here the one people which is nevertheless twofold; one vineyard which nevertheless brings forth a twofold fruit. From the viewpoint of its good kernel, that vineyard is the object of God’s favor. For the sake of that good kernel the Lord cultivates that vineyard. He does all that there is to be done to a vineyard. Thus the Lord did with Israel. Therefore He also expected good fruits. Nor was He disappointed in that expectation by that good kernel.
But matters surely do not stand thus. Adam in Paradise stands in God’s covenant. He also possesses life. Moreover, only in the way of obedience will he be able to keep the life which he possesses. But eternal life is neither in him nor of him. That is life such as the elect can receive only from Christ, Immanuel, God with us. As far as Christ stands above Adam, so far stands the life which we receive from Christ above the life which Adam possessed or ever could possess. And what Christ merits for us Adam could never obtain.
We state this once because we are indeed of the conviction that here is one of the most fundamental principles of a Scriptural and Reformed presentation, and because a thoroughly unscriptural and un-Reformed view has already for a long time found acceptance among our people. The so-called covenant of works is then a kind of agreement between God and Adam, an agreement which really was concluded in an altogether mechanical manner. That agreement consists, then,—according to many a catechism book,—in a condition, a promise, and a threat.
Now that first man Adam falls through the temptation of Satan and through his own willful disobedience. And through his fall the first revelation of God’s covenant disappears. God had placed His servant in Paradise with a free will. Not, of course, as if that first man was free in the sovereign sense of that with all the life of his will he was not entirely dependent upon God’s good pleasure and God’s providential purpose and decree. In that sense no creature is ever free.
The committee of the Editorial Staff that was appointed to prepare the anniversary issue of ourStandard Bearer thought it would be interesting to present some significant quotations from past volumes of the Standard Bearer. To make a significant quotation from an article apart from the context in which it is found is rather difficult. Moreover, space will not permit making such quotations from all forty volumes. The citations below were taken from the first ten volumes. They are not all significant for the same reason.
That the Lord establishes His covenant with believers and their seed in the line of continued generations, and that therefore the little children of believers, as well as the adults, are comprehended in the covenant and church of God and ought to receive the sign of the covenant; that, moreover, this sign of the covenant under the Old Testament was circumcision, but that this sign has been replaced in the new dispensation by that of holy baptism,—all this is confessed by the Reformed churches and constitutes one of the fundamentals of the Reformed faith.
(Note: This is the second installment of a series of articles on the above subject. These articles are translations of a series which was written in the Holland language by the late Rev. Herman Hoeksema thirty-seven years ago.)
And what is now the peculiarity of that history, also before the period of Abraham and Israel? It is this, that the Lord God always and again establishes His covenant in the line of continued generations, or, if you will, with believers and their seed.