The Cause of Our Redemption By Christ
“All things are of God.” -- 2 Corinthians 5:18
Writing to the saints at Corinth on the subject of redemption and salvation by Christ, the Apostle Paul tells us, “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” 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 man, caused by man, or dependent upon man. But “all things are of God.” That is the language of the Bible (Deut. 7:6-9; Ps. 106:8; 115:1), and the language of all true faith (1 Cor. 15:10).
What is the cause of our redemption? To find the answer to that question, we must look to the Word of God alone. But the answer is not difficult to find. It is written out in plain, simple, constantly repeated words. The cause of our redemption by Christ is to be found in the Lord God himself, and in him alone. “Salvation is of the Lord!”
The Love 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. The holy Lord God so loved the world of his elect that he gave his Son so that we might have life through the merits of his sin-atoning blood (John 3:16; Rom. 5:6-8; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10, 19). The first 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 (Eph. 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 a covenant to be the Redeemer of them. 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 into the world to redeem us. In those earliest days of time before the flood, Job knew the Son of God as his living Redeemer. All the Old Testament saints waited for Christ to come as the Lamb of God to redeem his people from their sins (Gen. 22:8). The mission of Christ in the fulness of time to be the propitiation for our sins, and to redeem us from them is 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.” John Gill wrote, “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.”
The Grace of God
We trace our redemption by Christ to the free and sovereign grace of God in Christ. Whenever referring to 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 (Rom. 11:6). It is sovereign grace, because it is bestowed entirely according to the will of our great, Divine Benefactor (Rom. 9:13-18).
The foundation and basis of our redemption by Christ is God’s free and sovereign grace. We have been “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:24-26).
That redemption that is in and by Christ is of free grace. The gift of Christ is a free grace gift (2 Cor. 9:15). Our dear Savior was sent and delivered up to death by the grace of God. It was "by the grace of God he tasted death for everyone,” for everyone of the chosen, adopted sons of God (Heb. 2:9). This cannot be attributed to any merit or worth in those for whom Christ died since we were without strength, ungodly wicked sinners, the chief of sinners, and enemies in our minds by wicked works. We do not contribute anything to the work of Christ in redemption, 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 (Rom. 5:10-11).
The Mercy of God
We trace our redemption by Christ to the mercy of God. Mercy is the love and grace of God exercised toward and freely bestowed upon sinners. Mercy gives rise to redemption. God resolved to have mercy on sinful men, and determined to redeem and save them by the sacrifice his own dear Son. It is through the tender mercy of our God that Christ, the Day Spring from on high, visited and redeemed his people, and so performed the mercy promised to his people (Luke 1:68, 69, 72, 78).
The Scriptures declare that God saves us according to his mercy. Mercy, like justice and truth, is magnified in the redemption and salvation of God’s elect by Christ. We delight to sing of the mercy of God and praise him, giving thanks to him for redeeming mercy (Titus 3:5; Ps. 107:1, 2; 136:23-24). It was by the love, grace, and mercy of our Father for chosen sinners that he determined to redeem us.
The Purpose of God
Redemption is according to an eternal purpose of grace, which he has purposed in Christ before the world began (Rom. 8:28-34; 2 Tim. 1:9-10; Eph. 1:7-12). The Lord Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God, was foreordained before the foundation of the world (1 Pet. 1:18-20), to redeem us from our vain conversation, with his own precious blood. He was set forth, in the decrees and purposes of God, to be the propitiation for our sins. God the Father appointed his Son to be our Redeemer and Savior and appointed us, not unto wrath (wrath which we fully deserve!), but to obtain salvation by him. The Lord Jesus Christ is that Lamb of sacrifice, slain in the mind, purpose, ad decree of God, from the foundation of the world (Rev. 17:8) for the redemption of God’s chosen vessels of mercy before prepared for glory.
The Wisdom of God
Being moved by his love, grace, and mercy, moved by that which was found only in himself, to redeem and save his people, God in infinite wisdom found a ransom for his chosen in his own dear Son (Job 33:24). In Christ, the holy, just, and true God found a way to justify sinners, while fully maintaining his justice for the praise of the glory of his grace. In the everlasting covenant of grace and council of peace, the triune God “abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence.” So great and wise is God’s purpose of grace in redemption that it is described as the revelation of “the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 1:7, 8; 3:10).