How the Work of Christ "Works"
Part I: Understanding the Covenant of Works
1. Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1996 reprint), p. 22. （中文版，天道，29页）
2. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan; Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press, 1994), p. 516.
3. O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 1980), 23.
4. See Robertson, chapter 1, for a more in-depth analysis of the nature of a covenant.
5. Robert Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998), p. 430.
6. An important aspect of my understanding of eternal life is that it involves the guarantee of being forever right with God. There are some who dispute with this understanding of eternal life, arguing that eternal life can be lost. As I am defining the term, however, an eternal life which can be lost is not, by definition, eternal life. The question is whether my view of eternal life comes from Scripture. I think it does because of the clear Scriptural witness to the fact that the eternal life believers receive will never be lost (Romans 8:30; John 10:26ff; 6:37ff; Ephesians 1:1-13). For those who do not accept this testimony of the Scriptures, we have the fact affirmed by almost all that once we make it to heaven we will never fall from grace. Thus, our life in heaven involves a guarantee of eternal fellowship with God. And that is what I mean by eternal life. Consequently, Adam clearly did not have eternal life in this sense in his probation because he did fall from God’s favor. Later I will argue that the kind of eternal life promised to perfect obedience is the same kind of eternal life that is promised to faith in Christ—and that, therefore, if Adam had obeyed in the covenant he would have been granted (and all in him) eternal life that can never be lost (the same kind believers have on earth and in heaven).
7. John Murray, "The Adamic Administration," in The Collected Writings of John Murray vol. 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1996 reprint), p. 48.
8. Vos makes some interesting observations demonstrating that Satan was behind the serpent. Most convincing is his observation that "Paul in Rom. 16:20 understands of Satan what in the curse [of Genesis 3:14] is made the serpent’s punishment, viz., his being bruised under foot" (Vos, 34).
9. I use "determine" here to mean basis and not ultimate cause. For I do not mean that Adam was ultimately the one in charge of his destiny. God is in control of all things, and so was in control of the destiny of Adam. But the destiny that God had appointed for Adam was to be given on the basis of whether Adam fulfilled the test or not. Of course God is the one who was in charge of whether Adam would fulfill the test or not. But it was nonetheless on the basis of Adam’s God-given obedience or God-permitted disobedience that his destiny would be given him. It is in that sense that Adam’s actions would "determine" his destiny and that of all belonging to him.
10. Turretin writes, "when God expelled man from paradise ‘lest man put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever’ (Gen. 3:22), it cannot thence be rightly inferred that there was a physical power in this tree of so great efficacy that it could (its fruit having been once tasted) rescue even sinful man from mortality. These words denote only the cause of his ejection from paradise on account of sin (by which, as by his own fault, he had cut himself off from that life, which was the thing signified). Thus he ought no longer to have any right to its sacrament. God speaks not with reference to the thing itself or its event (as if that tree would actually preserve his life even after sin), but in relation to the preposterous opinion of Adam who could think this, not understanding the true reason of the name that he might not, therefore, endeavor (though vainly) to render void the threatening of God, he is expelled from paradise" (Turretin, 581, see below for bibliographical info.).
11. Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology Volume I (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 1994 edition), translated by George Musgrave Giger and edited by James T. Dennison, Jr., pp. 584-585.
12. Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1998 reprint), p. 216.
13. It is important to distinguish between two kinds of impossibility. One is a natural impossibility, another a moral. When I say that the intent of the law cannot be something that is impossible, I am speaking of a natural possibility and not a moral possibility. Briefly, the difference is that to say that the intent of the law is morally impossible to be fulfilled is to say that it can’t result in life simply because nobody wants to obey it. To say that the intent of the was naturally impossible would be to say that even if it were obeyed, its intention of brining life would not actually result in life. It would be irrational for God to give a law that intends something that is naturally impossible but not to give a law intending something that is morally possible.
For example, if God’s law intended to bring life to all who obeyed it but could not actually give life to anyone who obeyed it, its intention would be something that is naturally impossible. It would be naturally impossible because there is no logical way to fulfill the intention, even by meeting the condition. Thus, God would not give a law with such an intention because it would be absurd for a God given entity to have the purpose of doing something that could not logically happen even if the condition was met.
But if his law is intended to result in life upon the condition of obedience and would really grant such life if the condition were met, then the law is not intending something irrational even if no one obeys it because there is at least a logical way of achieving the law’s intention (namely, obedience). The fact that nobody wants to obey it does not change that.
14. For a more in-depth analysis of the evidence for understanding Galatians 3:12 (and its parallel in Romans 10:5) to be speaking of the actual law of God, to be promising life on the basis of obedience to this law, and to be contrasting the way the law would justify and the way faith justifies, see my forthcoming article on Galatians 3:10-14).
15. For a biblical defense of the fact that Adam was our federal head, see my article "Born Guilty."
16. Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996), p. 334.