J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 1.)
The promise, without condition, is given of God, and must surely be accomplished, but it does not raise the question of righteousness, but it does not satisfy it either, and while we lean merely on that, we cannot have peace. Conscience is before promise, not only responsibility, but knowledge of good and evil, or right and wrong.
(Note: the bruising of the serpent's head is only a revelation of the second Adam, and His glory and title, not a promise to the first; Abraham's is a promise, the blessing of the nations being connected with the seed.)
Hence, man cannot really meet God till his conscience be purged, or by meeting, feel the absolute present need of it, not of help, but of present purging, his state being made sensible to him by God's presence.
The law raises the question of righteousness, in claim on the conscience, and condemnation on God's part, necessarily, if not fulfilled.
The promise here depends on man's fulfilment of the condition, but the question of righteousness is raised; the promise may encourage, but it has nothing to do with satisfying the claim of righteousness.
Christ comes (man rejected also the fulfilment of promise in Him), He purges the conscience, accomplishes righteousness, makes us the righteousness of God in Himself. The fulness of the effect of all promises is in Him, and is the testimony, and accomplished proof of divine love, which indeed lifts the Church above all promise. Conscience, promise, law, all find their close in Christ, only promise rests on the same basis as He that is absolute, perfect, sovereign grace.