Devotional on Larger Catechism Q&A 34

Devotional on Larger Catechism Q&A 34

Devotional on Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 34

Question 34: How was the covenant of grace administered under the Old Testament?

Answer: The covenant of grace was administered under the Old Testament by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances, which did all fore-signify Christ then to come, and were for that time sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins and eternal salvation.


The Old Testament is rich with the grace of God, woven through every story, prophecy, and law. These elements were not mere religious rites or historical markers; they were the means by which God administered His covenant of grace before Christ’s advent. Each promise, prophecy, and ordinance was designed not only to govern the lives of God’s people but also to point them to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. They were sufficient for that time because they communicated God’s promise of salvation and were made effective through the Holy Spirit.


Seeing Christ in Old Testament Rituals: As we study the Old Testament, we should see beyond the surface of historical events and ritual laws to discern how they reveal Christ. For example, sacrifices were not merely about animal offerings but pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the cross for the sins of humanity.

Faith in Promises: The Old Testament saints believed in the promises of a coming Messiah, and this faith was credited to them as righteousness. In a similar way, our faith in the promises of God—now seen clearly in Christ—must be the foundation of our lives. Let us hold fast to the promises of God, trusting Him as fully as those who came before us.

The Role of the Holy Spirit: The same Spirit who worked in the hearts of the Old Testament believers to build them up in faith is active in us today. This should comfort and encourage us that our spiritual growth and understanding are also wrought by God’s Spirit, not by our efforts alone.

Gratitude for Greater Revelation: While Old Testament believers had only types and shadows, we have the reality in Christ. Let us be deeply thankful for the clearer revelation and simpler administration of the covenant of grace we enjoy. This gratitude should be evident in our worship and in our eagerness to share the gospel with others.

Addressing Possible Objections

Some might wonder, “If the Old Testament believers were saved by their faith in the promised Messiah, how is that different from our faith today?” The substance of faith remains the same—trust in God’s promises of salvation through a Savior. However, the administration of the covenant and the clarity of revelation have changed. They looked forward to the fulfillment of the promises; we look back to their fulfillment in Christ. This does not change the efficacy of God’s covenant but highlights the progressive unfolding of His redemptive plan throughout history.

In reflecting on Q&A 34 of the Westminster Larger Catechism, we see God’s faithfulness and grace extending throughout all of history, guiding His people towards the ultimate revelation in Jesus Christ. Let this historical depth enrich our faith and strengthen our commitment to God’s unchanging promise of salvation through Christ alone.