Presbyterians Understand the Bible Covenantally
God deals with His people by way of covenant (Matthew 26:28, Luke 1:72, 2 Cor 3:6, Heb 8:13). A covenant is a solemn arrangement between God and His people. God entered into a covenant of works with Adam in the garden of Eden, demanding Adam’s perfect obedience. Adam’s failure would mean death for him and his posterity. By Adam’s fall, sin and death entered the world, and there was no hope from that point forward that we could win eternal life through the covenant of works (Rom 5:12).
But God was not content that His people would perish, and immediately at the time of Adam’s fall, God instituted a covenant of grace. In the covenant of grace, the obedience and death of a Messiah would provide all that was necessary for our forgiveness. The perfectly sinless life of Christ and his death on the cross (followed by His resurrection) assure us that the Lord has accomplished His gracious plan for His people.
This one great arrangement of grace has two administrations that are referred to in the Bible as the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Under both of these administrations, the people of God were granted eternal life only by the grace of God, and only through faith in the perfect work of a substitute that God would provide. As New Testament believers we live after the coming of that great Messiah, while Old Testament believers lived in faith as they awaited the future coming of the Lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the world.
Because there is one arrangement of grace throughout the whole Bible, there is much from the Old Testament Administration that is still in effect today. But there is much that has been fulfilled in Christ. All of the Bible is essential for our life of faith today, because all of the Bible speaks of Christ, the Son of God and Savior of sinners. (Luke 24:27)