In our last post, we began to look at the special responsibilities the Lord Jesus undertook on behalf of believers, or the elect. We noted that He was their Representative and as such became their Substitute. As their Substitute, satisfying all the requirements of God’s Law and justice by living a sinless life, and dying on a Roman cross, He also became their Redeemer. We stopped last week after seeing that He satisfied the requirements for redemption.
In this post, we want to look at the second aspect of His becoming Redeemer.
b. He secured the reality of redemption.
I use the word “reality” deliberately. Most Christians believe that He only secured the “possibility” of redemption, and that it’s up to us to make it “real”. It’s usually taught that Jesus only died to make men “salvable,” that is, able to be saved, but His death doesn’t actually “save” anyone until and unless they “accept” Him. While we in no way deny man’s obligation to “repent and believe the Gospel,” the Scriptures teach that Jesus did far more on the Cross than the vague generalizations most people have of His death.
1). Hebrews 1:3 says, …when he had by Himself purged our sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…. Hebrews 10:12 repeats this: …this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sin forever, sat down at the right hand of God….
“Purge” means “to cleanse.” He sat down to demonstrate that redemption had been accomplished, not just “attempted.” This is significant. No Old Testament priest could ever sit down because his work was never done.
For years I heard it said, and believed it myself, that there was no seat in the tabernacle. This isn’t strictly true. What did the High Priest do when he went that one day a year into the Holy of Holies? He sprinkled blood on the Mercy Seat. He would never have dared to sit on that seat because he had no right to it. His work wasn’t done. However, the Lord completed the work of redemption. Nothing could be added to it, and nothing needed to be added to it. I won’t be dogmatic about it, but I believe that when He sat down in Heaven, in the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man, Hebrews 8:2, He sat down on the Mercy Set. Not only was there blood on the Mercy Seat, but the One whose blood it was is there, as well. Sin has been cleansed, and the One who did it sits on the Mercy Seat as proof.
2). Hebrews 9:12, not with blood of bulls and goats, but with His own blood, He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Hebrews says that He obtained eternal redemption, He didn’t just make it “possible” for us to obtain. Throughout the book, the writer demonstrates the superiority of the Lord Jesus in the areas of revelation and redemption over several OT persons or ceremonies, in that He fulfilled or finished the things which they themselves did or typified.
The Law had a shadow of good things to come, but the Lord Jesus came as the High Priest of those things, Hebrews 9:11. The OT sacrifices could never take away sin, Hebrews 10:11: He has…put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, Hebrews 9:26. Because He died, sin has been paid for and “put away.” The word translated “put away” means “to set aside,” “to annul,” “to reject.” By His death, the Lord Jesus “set aside,” “rendered null and void,” “rejected” the sins of those for whom He died. By “rejected” is meant that He got rid of them. And in the words of Hebrews 1:3, He did this “by Himself.” His payment for sin doesn’t require the “acceptance” of those for whom He died in order for it to be “effective.” He…put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
3). Romans 8:28-30, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His son,…Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.
Romans 8:28-30 has been called, “The Golden Chain of Redemption.” There used to be a TV show called, “The Weakest Link.” There are no “weak links” in this chain. It was planned in eternity past in the wisdom and purpose of God the Father; it was forged in the fires of Calvary by the grace and suffering of God the Son; it stretches from eternity past to eternity future , if we can refer to eternity like that, through the activity and power of God the Holy Spirit. We’ve already looked at those who think that all this was simply the result of what God “foresaw” that we would do. In contrast, the Bible talks about what God will do.
4). Romans 8:33, Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
The words, “it is,” have been supplies by the translators. I believe the verse could be framed as a question: who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? God who justifies [them]? This verse ties together God’s election of some to be saved, as we saw in the last post, and Christ’s redemption of them in accordance with God’s will. According to Paul, in His purpose, God has already “justified” His elect, Romans 8:30, but what does “justified” mean? Basically, it means “to declare righteous.” Sometimes a play on the word is used to say that it means, “just as if I’d never sinned.” This is true as far as it goes, but there is so much more to it than that. What it really means is, “just as if I’d always obeyed,” which to my mind is something far greater! Since God has already, in His purpose, cleared us of wrong-doing, and credits us only with “right-doing,” who is successfully going to charge us with anything? God has already accepted us as His righteous children in Christ. Who is going to be able to nullify or question that decision?
5). Romans 8:34, Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Again, translators have supplied words. We could read the verse, Who is he who condemns? Christ who died…? In John 5:22, 27, Jesus said, “the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son, …and has given Him authority to execute judgment also….”
Paul’s question is, “Will Jesus condemn ones for whom He died?” Most modern Christians would say, “Yes, because they didn’t accept Him as their Savior.” We’ll have more to say about the importance of faith in a later post. For now, let’s just say that such an answer would have been the farthest thing from Paul’s mind. Christ didn’t just “die.” Listen as Paul piles evidence upon evidence that those for whom Christ died cannot and will not be condemned: Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us (emphases added). Paul says four things about what Christ did and is doing for sinners.
a). He died. He did indeed die, but His death wasn’t random, or an accident or mistake, as some blasphemously assert. It was a sacrifice, given as a ransom for many, Mark 10:35. The idea of “ransom” implies a particular, personal transaction. A “general ransom” is a contradiction in terms.
b). He rose again. Jesus was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification, Romans 4:25.
Jesus made certain claims while He was alive, most of which were rejected or ignored. The Resurrection was God’s “Amen” to His Son. It was also, if you will, the receipt for the payment Christ made on the Cross. If He had not risen from the dead, we would have no way of knowing if His death did any good. The Resurrection is our assurance that it did.
c.) He was exalted. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be a Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins, Acts 5:31.
Leaving aside the implications of the phrase, “to Israel,” note that the exaltation of Christ declared Him to be the Savior, Who gives repentance…and forgiveness of sins. His death not only purchased the salvation of all for whom He died, but also the means of that salvation, namely, repentance and faith.
d). He intercedes for us.
The only time in His earthly life that Jesus said, “I will,” to the Father was in regard to this very thing. In John 17:24, He said, Father, I will that they, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am…[KJV]. It’s true that the NKJV and the ESV translate it, “I desire,” but it doesn’t matter. Will the Father not give the Son the one thing He ever said He wanted?
Jesus finished His request by saying, “for you loved Me before the foundation of the world.” The Father loved us “before the foundation of the world,” as well, gave us to His Son and sent Him to be our Redeemer and Savior. That’s what He came to do, and that’s what He did.
Furthermore, in this very prayer, our Lord said, “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world, but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours,” John 17:9. It’s strange that He would die for “the world,” as some insist, but He wouldn’t pray for it. If it be argued that He was praying for His disciples, vs. 6-8, that’s true, but in v. 20, He said, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.” In v. 21, He clearly distinguishes between those for whom He is praying, and “the world.”
Someone might object, “Now, wait! What about those verses which speak of Christ’s death for the world?” Lord willing, we’ll look at them next time, and then finish up with a look at Christ and the individual.
Further references: Matthew 1:21; John 10:10, 11, 15-16: Acts 20:28; Romans 4:7, 8; 8:31-32; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2:19, 20; 5:2, 25-27; Philippians 1:6, 29; Titus 1:2, 2:13, 14; Hebrews 2:17; 9:15; 10:10; 13:12.
1. What is the first aspect of Christ as Redeemer?
2. What is the second aspect of Christ as Redeemer?
3. What is the significance of the phrase, “He sat down”?
4. What kind of redemption did Jesus obtain by His death?
5. What did Jesus do with sin?
6. Does His death require the agreement of those for whom He died to be effective?
7. What does “justification” mean?
8. Can those for whom Christ died ultimately be condemned for their sin?
9. What four things did Jesus do, or is He doing, for sinners?
10. Write out one of the verses in “further references.” What does it say about the death of the Lord Jesus?