Without the covenant of redemption, the only other covenant in this list that could exist is the first one: the covenant of works. The covenant of redemption was established before creation and is the pact between the persons of the Trinity in which the Father sends the Son to do the work of redemption, the Son submits to the Father’s will, and the Holy Spirit applies the benefits of the Son’s accomplished work to believers (Ps. 40:6–8). As a reward for his obedience, the Father gifts the Son with glory and an everlasting kingdom.
God always keeps his promises. In “2 Kinds of Covenants in the Bible You Need to Know,” we looked at the two main kinds of promises in the Bible: conditional and unconditional covenants. At first glance, these covenants can seem like strange practices from the long-ago past that have no relevance for us today, but nothing could be further from the truth. Following is a brief explanation of the eight significant covenants of the Bible—and what each one means for you personally.
1. The Covenant of Works (Conditional)
God made a conditional covenant with Adam in the garden of Eden. Adam was supposed to obey all God’s commands to earn the right to eat from the tree of life and merit eternal life. Adam rebelled against God and earned instead death and condemnation for himself and all his descendants (Gen. 2:17–18; Gen. 3).
What does this covenant mean for you personally? Because all humans come from Adam and were represented by him, they are all under this same covenant and guilty of failing to keep it (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21–22). Because God is holy, you are at enmity with God based on your own imperfect works. Furthermore, because you have a sinful nature due to the corruption resulting from Adam’s fall, you commit more sins that heap more guilt upon you.
2. The Covenant of Grace (Unconditional)
We first find the unconditional covenant of grace in Genesis 3:15 where God promises that a savior will come who will crush the head of the serpent (i.e. Satan). In the covenant of grace, people are saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone because of Christ’s perfect keeping of the law and his perfect and complete sacrifice once and for all for sin (Rom. 5:12–21; Heb. 7:27; 10:14).
What does this covenant mean for you personally? Because you are sinful, you can never keep God’s law perfectly and be pure in order to stand in his presence. Through faith in Christ alone, you are declared righteous in God’s sight, are forgiven of your sins, have peace with your Creator, and have been gifted all the rights and privileges as God’s child for eternity (Eph. 2:8–9; Rom. 5:1; 8:15).
3. The Noahic Covenant (Unconditional)
In the unconditional Noahic covenant, God made a promise to Noah to never again bring a flood to destroy the earth (Gen. 9:1–17). God instituted the Noahic covenant to preserve the earth so that humans would not destroy each other, in order that the savior, Jesus Christ, could come at the appointed time in God’s redemptive plan.
What does this covenant mean for you personally? Since Christ has come and done his saving work, God “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pet. 2:9).