In chapter 4 Myers expounds and defends the covenant of grace. In his view the covenant of grace includes the covenant of redemption (and thus God’s eternal plan of redemption) as well as the historical outworking of that plan. Myers identifies the parties of the covenant of grace the Triune God with the elect being included by virtue of being in Christ.
Myers’s version of covenant theology understands the covenant of grace to be a real covenant (and not merely a plan of redemption) with its own parties. The biblical covenants are administrations of this unified covenant of grace. But this formulation creates a significant problem. The covenant of grace is made with Christ (and all the elect in him). The Noahic covenant, on the other hand, was made with all flesh (elect and unelect). The Abrahamic covenant was made with Abraham and his seed (Christ is included because he is the Seed of Abraham). The Mosaic covenant was made with the nation Israel (both elect and unelect). The Davidic covenant was made with David and his seed. (Christ is included because he is the Seed of David). How then, can these various covenants be administrations of a covenant made with Christ (and the elect in him) since the covenant partners in several of these covenants include the non-elect?
I’m sure that this is not a novel objection and that covenant theologians have developed an answer to this conundrum, but Meyer does not consider this particular objection (at least at this point in the book).
Meyer does respond to Gentry and Wellum’s claim that “it is more accurate to think of God’s one plan revealed through a plurality of covenants” (105, citing Kingdom through Covenant, 2nd ed., 655). Meyer appeals to the phrase heqim berith in Genesis 6:18 in support of his position. He holds that this phrase is not used of making a new covenant but is used to refer to “perpetuating a previously existing covenant” (106). Gentry and Wellum agree with this understanding, but they claim that Genesis 6:18 refers to the perpetuation of the creation covenant in the Noahic covenant. Meyers rightly responds that the creation covenant was a covenant of works violated by Adam. The Noahic covenant is “the establishment of an altogether different covenant, on different terms, with different requirements” from the original works covenant.
Meyers argues that the phrase heqim berith in Genesis 6:18 is exegetical evidence for the covenant of grace. “Prior to God’s covenantal interaction with Noah, there was a previously existing covenant that was concerned with the salvation of God’s people and that was of such a character that it could be meaningfully renewed with subsequent generations of human beings. This previously existing, redemptive, transhistoric covenant was the covenant of grace” (107).
This is the best exegetical argument I’ve encountered for a unified covenant of grace. However, it depends on heqim berith never being used with reference to making a covenant. Contrary to Meyer (and Gentry and Wellum), the phrase heqim berith is used of making a covenant in Exodus 6:4; Ezekiel 16:60, 62 and, arguably, in Genesis 6:18; 9:9, 11, 17.
Meyer’s final argument for a unified covenant of grace is that God has a unified goal (dwelling with his people), that this goal is realized for individuals in a unified way (by faith in God’s gospel promises), and that throughout redemptive history there has been one unified people of God. However, progressive covenantalists and progressive dispensationalists both affirm all three of these truths while not holding to a unified covenant of grace. A unified plan of God advanced through distinct covenants is also compatible with these points.
Myers developed the best exegetical case for the covenant of grace that I’ve read, but I remain unconvinced of this aspect of covenant theology.