grace notes- pastoral letter 12.13.22

Monthly memory verse: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4-5).

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,It was a joy to be with you this past Lord’s Day as we learned from the Word in Sunday School and worshipped our great God and Savior together, morning and evening.  It is a busy time of the year for many, so it is a great blessing to have the Lord’s command to stop, to cease from our work, recreations, and other busyness every week in order to ensure that our minds and hearts are fixed, above all, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father.  In Him – in Christ – we find our identity before the living God as those who are called saints, holy ones, the redeemed, the people of the Most High, and the children of our heavenly Father.  In Him, we have peace with God and can therefore have a terrific, settled peace within, no matter our outward circumstances and in the midst of life’s most hectic times.  In Him, our present acceptance and eternal security are fixed, unshifting and unable to be changed.  This reality has had a wonderfully calming influence on my own heart as I have pondered it lately while reading a book from the ARP’s own Dr. Stephen Myers on Covenant Theology, and particularly as I have pondered what has been called the Covenant of Redemption, sometimes otherwise called the Counsel of Peace, depending on how one views it in relation to the Covenant of Grace.  The point here isn’t to ponder that specific relationship, but to simply delight in the reality that, in this glorious, eternal covenant, our salvation was secured before we were conceived, indeed before the Lord ever created the world and the universe it inhabits.It is indeed the teaching of Scripture that, before our God spoke all created things into being, He entered into an intra Trinitarian covenant, a covenant between the three Persons of the Godhead, guaranteeing the salvation of His elect people.  Otherwise stated, before the world was, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit covenanted to redeem to the uttermost a people to be their own forever.  The Father elected certain persons, based on nothing in themselves whatsoever, to be His people.  The Son covenanted with the Father to accomplish their redemption by taking a true human nature, fulfilling the righteous demands of the Law as their representative by His perfect obedience (active obedience), and to enduring the full extent of the Law’s curse upon sin by suffering and dying as a their substitute (passive obedience).  In this, He would provide forgiveness for their sins by dying in their place under the penalty they deserved, and He would provide the spotless righteousness required to obtain everlasting blessing by living a perfectly holy life for them.  As Adam would sin and so bring all whom he represented in the Covenant of Works (all people) into a state of sin and misery, so the Son would do everything necessary to bring all whom He represented (all of the elect) out of this state of sin and misery and into a state of salvation.  The Father covenanted to receive this, His Son’s life and death as pleasing and acceptable in His sight, and so to receive all of the elect in His Son.  And, the Spirit covenanted to apply this work to every last one of their chosen people, making certain and secure their full participation in all the benefits purchased by the Son.  So, for example, we’re told that, “[the Father] chose us in Him [in Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph 1:4).  And again, “[the Lord] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” (2 Tim 1:9).  Before the world was, our God had already determined by His own will, which no one can ever overturn or undermine, that He would richly pour out His grace upon us in His Son, on the basis of what that Son would do in our behalf, such that our sure end would be to be holy and blameless before Him forever.  This the Spirit necessarily agreed to apply, or else the Son’s work would have been fruitless.  Thus, we see that it is indeed the case that our God – Father, Son, and Spirit – entered into a glorious, eternal covenant, making the salvation of every last one of His elect people definite and unchangeable.And, among many other implications flowing from this awesome reality, this should surround our hearts and minds with an unwavering and joy-producing peace.  Just think of it, believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Take a moment to ask yourself, “What is my place in this covenant?  What was there for me to do to bring about my salvation?”  The answer is altogether wonderful.  You and I weren’t parties to this covenant, except insofar as we were represented in it by the Son.  Strictly speaking, the covenant was between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.  It was God Himself, covenanting within Himself, to save His people.  The only conditions of the covenant surrounded the Son’s life and death, not ours.  Otherwise stated, everything that needed to be done to absolutely ensure our full salvation and everlasting blessedness was to be done by God Himself, and not by us in any way.  He Himself covenanted to do it all – accomplishing our redemption and then effectively applying it to us.  Whether any of His elect would in fact believe (which is necessary) and persevere, and so be saved, wasn’t a matter of debate or uncertainty.  He Himself would make sure it happened – the Son winning salvation for His people, the Father accepting the Son’s obedience and death for His people, and the Spirit uniting His people to the Son in His saving work by working repentance and faith in them.  It made our salvation sure – something that would take place, something that no thing and no one could prevent or destroy.  Which means, believer, that your salvation isn’t in the slightest way dependent upon or influenced by whether you are having a wonderful week or a terribly difficult week.  Your salvation isn’t lost when you stumble into sin.  Your salvation isn’t more or less secure as you alternately go through times of spiritual flourishing and languishing.  When you feel overwhelmed with busyness, or stressed out at work or home, you aren’t more or less “in Christ” than you are when all is calm.  You are always right where you were chosen to be before the foundation of the world – represented before the Father in the Son, to whom you are inseparably united by the Spirit.  You didn’t make this to be the case, and you can’t make it to no longer be the case.  Grace was given to you before the ages began, grace will still be yours when this present evil age has come and gone, and grace is yours right now, wherever and in whatever situation you find yourself.  And this should surround your heart and mind with an unwavering and joy-producing peace.So, Christian, in all that the coming days, weeks, and indeed years may hold, remember and frequently revisit this astounding reality, and be at peace.  Before ever He formed the earth and the world, our God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – entered into a covenant, guaranteeing your salvation.  You didn’t design or agree to it, and you can’t destroy or unbind what has been bound and sealed by God Himself, nor can any circumstance or anything from heaven above to hell below ever separate you from His love.  As you were chosen before the world, so you are now, and so you will ever be: in Christ. In Christ,Pastor Eric P.S.Join us for the prayer meeting each Wednesday in the Fellowship Hall – dinner is served at 6:00pm, followed by a brief lesson and a time of prayer at 6:30.  Or, join us for prayer each Thursday at 10:30am in the adult Sunday School room.Please mark your calendars!  If you ever need to double-check dates, events are usually kept up to date on the church’s website calendar:  https://covenantofgracews.org/event-calendar/· Daily devotions
o I continue to encourage you to daily read Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening as we seek to maintain a spirit of unity.  It is widely available – here is one link:
§ https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/morning-and-evening/today
 

‘Vision Statement’  Covenant of Grace is a loving church family that equips people to know God and His Word through serious, joyful, Christ-centered worship and service, in reliance upon the Holy Spirit.

Matt 22:37-39
37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself

Love God.  Love people.

 

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508 Harvey Street
Winston-Salem, NC  27103

Our mailing address is:
Covenant of Grace Presbyterian Church
PO Box 26511
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27114-6511

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