In his third chapter Belcher introduces the covenant of grace. He notes that after their sin, God covers Adam and Eve with animal skins, which “foreshadow the necessity of blood to be shed for the forgiveness of sin” (38). He asserts that in the statement “‘I will put enmity between you and the woman’ (NIV)” “God established the Covenant of Grace” (38).
Belcher understands that there is a corporate aspect to the seed of the women as seen in Genesis 4 and succeeding passages, but he also argues that in Genesis 3:15 the singular pronouns points to a singular Seed.
In closing this chapter Belcher distinguishes the covenant of works from the covenant of grace, and he elaborates on several issues related to the covenant of grace.
He first lists similarities between the two covenants: “God is the author of both, He initiated both covenants. God entered into both covenants with Adam and they both include his descendants. The promise of both covenants is to receive eternal life and the general aim of the covenants is the glory of God” (41).
He then notes the differences: the former was made with innocent man the latter made to redeem sinners. The former required “prefect, personal obedience” while the latter requires faith in Christ. There was no mediator between man and God in the former, but there is in the latter. Adam failed to fulfill “the principle of works” in the former, but Christ fulfilled it in the later.
Belcher holds that the covenant of grace is conditional upon faith, and that God grants faith to the elect. He holds that there is one covenant of grace administered differently at different times. The substance of the covenant, which remains constant across administrations is “the same promise of eternal life, the same mediator Jesus Christ, and the same condition of faith” (43).
Belcher notes that the covenant of grace is made with Christ and all the elect in him. This raises a problem since the sacraments of the covenant of grace are administered to “believers and their children.” This leads Belcher to assert that “a person can be part of the Covenant of Grace legally but not in relationship with God” (46). He asserts that this is just as true under the New Covenant as it was under preceding administrations, and he supports this claim with an appeal to Romans 11: “Romans 11:16-24 sets forth a holiness that comes from being engrafted into the tree that is not the inward holiness that is a result of the Spirit’s work in the life of a believer” (46). He argues that the fact that Israel and the church are pictured as an olive tree shows continuity in “this principle of covenant administration” (46).
This chapter does a good job explaining the position of covenant theology regarding the covenant of grace. But Belcher does not make exegetical arguments for these points; he simply asserts them. This lack of argumentation reinforces my perception that the covenant of grace is the week point of pedobaptist covenant theology.