The Cause of Our Redemption by Christ
2 Corinthians 5:18
Writing to the saints at Corinth on the subject of redemption and salvation by Christ, the Apostle Paul says, “all things are of God.” As in all other aspects of salvation, our redemption by Christ is attributed to the Lord God alone. As we read the Scriptures, we cannot avoid being confronted with the fact that in this matter of salvation nothing is ever ascribed to us, caused by us, or dependent upon us. But “all things are of God.” That is the language of the Bible (Deuteronomy 7:6-9; Psalms 106:8; 115:1).
The cause of our redemption by Christ is to be found in the Lord God Himself, and in Him alone. This fact is as plainly revealed in the Word of God as the noonday sun. Yet, it is a fact that is as precious as rubies, as sparkling as diamonds, as deep as the mines from which they come, and as profound as God Himself to those who are enabled by grace to behold it. The cause of our redemption by Christ must be found in the love, grace, mercy, and purpose of God.
The redemption of our souls by the precious blood of Christ originates in, rises, and flows to us from the everlasting love of God for us (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10, 19). The cause of our redemption, the original source from whence it springs and flows is the everlasting love of God for His elect. Indeed, this is the source and spring of every blessing of grace: election and adoption, regeneration and effectual calling, and redemption, justification, sanctification, preservation, and glorification (Ephesians 1:3-6).
The gift of Christ to be the Redeemer of His people flows from God’s everlasting love. Christ was given to be a Redeemer before He was sent into the world to redeem us. When He was given for a covenant to the people, He was given in the covenant to be our Redeemer. This gift of Christ by the Father was the effect of His love. To this Christ Himself ascribes it: “God so loved the world (the world of his elect), that He gave His only begotten Son.”
God gave His Son to be our Redeemer long before He actually came to redeem us. In the earliest days of time Job knew the Son of God as his living Redeemer (Job 19:25-27). All the Old Testament saints waited for Christ to come as the Lamb of God to redeem His people from their sins (Genesis 22:8). The mission of Christ in the fulness of time to be the propitiation for our sins and to redeem us from all iniquity was given as a manifest, clear, and undoubted instance of His everlasting, free love for us. “In this was manifested the love of God.” “Herein is love.” In the words of John Gill, “God’s not sparing His Son, but delivering Him into the hands of justice and death, to die in the room and stead of sinners, while they were such, is a full demonstration and high commendation of His great love unto them.”
We trace our redemption by Christ to the free and sovereign grace of God in Him. Whenever I mention the grace of God, I commonly use the adjectives “free” and “sovereign” to describe it, because few in these days of religious darkness and delusion understand that grace is of necessity both free and sovereign. It is the free grace of God because grace, if it is not altogether free, is not grace. This is, like the love of God, unmerited, clear of all conditions, merit and motives in the creature. It is sovereign grace because it is bestowed entirely, according to the will of our great, Divine Benefactor (Romans 9:13-18). The foundation and basis of our redemption by Christ is God’s free and sovereign grace. We are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
That redemption which is in and by Christ is the work of God’s free and sovereign grace. The gift of Christ is a free grace gift (1 Corinthians 9:15). His being sent and delivered up to death are owing to the grace of God. It was “by the grace of God he tasted death” for His people (Hebrews 2:9). This cannot be attributed to any merit or desert in those for whom He died; since we were without strength, ungodly, wicked, the chief of sinners, and enemies in our minds by wicked works. We contribute nothing to the work of Christ in redemption, not even by our faith. Our faith in Christ is the fruit and effect of redemption, not the cause. We receive the atonement by faith; but we do not make atonement by faith. Read Romans 5:10-11.
We trace our redemption by Christ to the sovereign mercy of God. Mercy, which is the love and grace of God exercised towards miserable creatures, gives rise to this blessing of redemption. It is through the tender mercy of our God that Christ, the Dayspring from on high, visited and redeemed His people and performed the mercy promised to us (Luke 1:68, 69, 72, 78). Therefore, God is said to save men according to his mercy. Mercy is glorified in our salvation and redemption by Christ. We, therefore, sing of mercy to praise the Lord our God and give thanks unto Him for it (Titus 3:5; Psalms 107:1, 2; 136:23, 24). It was by the love, grace, and mercy of God to sinful men that His will was determined and His resolution fixed to redeem us.
We trace our redemption by Christ to the purpose of God. It was according to that eternal purpose He purposed in Christ, who was foreordained before the foundation of the world. In order to redeem us from our vain conversation, with His precious blood, our Savior was set forth in the decree and purpose of God to be the propitiation for sin. God appointed Him to be the Redeemer and Saviour; and appointed us, not unto wrath, which we deserved, but to obtain salvation by him as vessels of mercy afore prepared for glory.
Being moved by His love, grace, and mercy to redeem and save His elect, His wisdom found the way to accomplish the work in total consistency with His justice. A council was held in which God was in Christ, forming a scheme of peace, reconciliation, and redemption; in which He has “abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence,” laying help for us upon One that is mighty. Christ was and is the only proper person to be our Redeemer. The only means by which the holy Lord God could be “a just God and a Savior,” the only means by which He could accomplish redemption for us was by the substitutionary, penal sacrifice and death of His dear Son in our place for the satisfaction of justice.
This great work of redemption, executed in time according to the purpose of God, was finished in the purpose of God before the worlds were made.
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