In this article, the author puts forward a strong case for studying theological doctrines in such a way that each individual doctrine falls within a particular larger theological field. He thus proposes that the doctrine of the atonement should be defended as falling within the covenant of grace. In this regard, the gospel call is made to everyone outside, but the one who really calls, Jesus Christ, does so from within the covenant of grace.
The article shows how the history of covenant theology extends beyond the Reformation, all the way back to the time of the early church.
The author reviews our understanding of a covenant. Involved in the analysis are comparisons with the present-day secular understanding of contracts and litigation and the sinfulness of humanity. The author finds an example of a covenant or contract in the one between the creator God and the created man, Adam and Eve, at the beginning of creation.
This article focuses on the signs that God has given to demonstrate and confirm his covenant love: the Sabbath, circumcision and baptism as signs of admission, and the Passover meal, and the Lord’s Supper. The article also discusses how baptism has replaced circumcision, and the Lord’s Supper has replaced Passover (among the other OT feasts).