Whether we are preaching the word to those who are lost, seeking to persuade them of their need of salvation; or to those who are already believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, the persuasive power of the message is found neither in its logic, nor even in the attractiveness of what it promises; but rather in Jesus himself. Because of who he is, the life he lived, the death he died and the resurrection, exaltation and enthronement by which he has been vindicated, he uniquely ‘puts flesh’ on the gospel.
In the two preceding articles on what it means to ‘preach Christ’ we have already noted the connection between God’s promise of salvation and the covenant he made with Abraham in relation to his seed. However, the question arises as to with whom exactly was this covenant made and by whom it is ultimately guaranteed.
It can be tempting to answer it by focusing on ourselves as the individuals who are the beneficiaries of this covenant promise – those to whom God has bound himself through his saving grace. Whereas this may be true up to a point, it fails to capture the full depth and dimensions bound up with this covenant relationship as it is revealed throughout the Scriptures.
The Westminster Larger Catechism addresses this question directly and provides us with the clearest and most biblical answer:
Q. 31 With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and
in him with all the elect as his seed.
The Westminster divines were, of course, simply highlighting the central importance of union with Christ in our understanding of salvation. As Paul spells out in the opening section of Ephesians, God is to be praised because he has ‘…blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ’ (Eph 1.3). None of these blessings can be ours in isolation. We only have them by virtue of our being joined to Jesus in salvation.