As the 33rd volume of the New Studies in Biblical Theology series, Bradley G. Green’s Covenant and Commandment – Works, Obedience and Faithfulness in the Christian Life tackles the question of the significance of Christian obedience in salvation. Green begins by outlining the debate, stating, “While evangelicals can generally agree that one enters into a covenant relationship with the God of the Bible by grace (even solely by grace) apart from works, there is often much more disagreement over how to construe the nature of works, or obedience, inside this covenantal relationship” (17). He continues, “My argument is that in the new covenant, works are a God-elicited and necessary part of the life of the converted person, a constant theme in the New Testament. In short, works are necessary for salvation because part of the newness of the new covenant is actual, grace-induced and grace-elicited obedience by true members of the new covenant” (17). Throughout the rest of the book, Green argues persuasively for the importance of works, obedience, and faithfulness for salvation in the Christian life.
As with the other works in the series, the book is very well-written, clear, and free from distracting details. Green argues thoroughly and persuasively for his thesis. And while I’m not convinced that the language of covenant theology in places like chapter 7 is necessary or particular helpful, Green’s approach does not depend upon the adoption of any particular theological system of interpretation. This book is a welcomed addition to the ongoing debate of the relationship between faith and works in the Christian life, even though it is a little disappointing that Green was not able to interact with N.T. Wright’s latest work on this subject in Paul and the Faithfulness of God, due to it being published later in 2014.