Particular Redemption (I)
Who can escape the just judgment and punishment of God, put forth against those who have offended His infinite majesty? God’s justice is the result of His goodness. If God were not a righteous Lawgiver and just Judge, He would be corrupt and wicked. People would celebrate God’s law and justice much more if humanity was not the guilty criminal in God’s story.
Man is not good. He is not righteous (Rom 3:10–12). His inclination is only evil all the time (Gen 6:5). Man is the object of God’s wrath because of his incessant ungodliness and unrighteousness (Rom 1:18).
Man is a notorious self-justifier. He sets his own standards, or he produces religion. Religion is the man-made idea, where man sets the terms of God’s salvation for him. People imagine that God requires man to be good, forgetting that God knows about original sin. When there is doubt about his goodness, man performs what he thinks are good works that somehow must be accepted by God.
In reality, man’s depravity is total. His plight is irrecoverable, by his efforts or earnestness. What man needs is mercy from God. God’s mercy is the result of His goodness, too. God does not neglect justice when He shows mercy toward unjust sinners. Thus, mercy and justice are both observed at the cross of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
At the cross where Jesus died, God made Him who was without sin, to be sin for the ones He came to save (2 Cor 5:21). In other words, God took the sins of His people (Mt 1:21), and He imputed them all to the fleshly body of the Son of God. God then unleashed His wrath upon His only begotten Son, who suffered and died as the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29).
The Lamb that was slain is Old Testament typical imagery. The unblemished lamb was offered as a substitute sacrifice for the sins of the nation of Israel. Jesus Christ died in the place of His people, the Israel of God (Gal 6:16), His bride (Eph 5:25), the church (Col 1:18, 24). His death on their behalf removed the curse of the Law, under which, they were disobedient sons of Adam. His atoning death removed their sins, as divine justice was satisfied (Eph 1:7; Rev 1:5).
The infinite value of Christ’s one time, once for all His people, atonement is because of His identity. If Jesus were just a good man (Jehovah’s Witness heresy), then His vicarious atonement would not be of infinite value. He is the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world (Rev 5:12; 13:8). Christ’s redemption of God’s chosen people is eternal (Heb 5:9; 9:12). This is blessed assurance because the Judge looks at our Surety, who is Christ Jesus, the same yesterday, today, and forever — and He is eternally satisfied with our Substitute (Lev 16; Acts 17:31; Heb 7:22; 13:8).
The extent of this atonement has long been an issue with heretics by various names. They claim that Christ died without exception for everyone, everywhere, and at all times. They claim that God’s justice is satisfied by Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. We would argue: sufficient for ten thousand worlds!
What the Universalist, the Pelagian, and the Arminians miss is that particular redemption is not limited by some governor at the cross. Redemption is limited by election. The limitation preceded the creation! God did not sovereignly choose all humanity throughout all history to receive His salvation. God’s election is the limitation that reveals particular redemption.
Jesus Christ saved His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). He justified the many (Is 53:11), for whom He gave His life a ransom payment (Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45). His blood shed for many, not all, is according to the covenant of grace (Mt 26:28), which is cut by Christ, the Head of His holy nation (1 Pet 2:9), the body of Christ (Col 1:18, 24).
It is His church that He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28), the full payment for all the transgressions of God’s people (Is 53:8). This full redemption was accomplished for His people…He saved us (Lk 1:68; Titus 3:5).
In love (Rom 5:8), Jesus Christ gave Himself for His beloved bride (Eph 5:25), laying down His life to redeem her (Jn 10:11, 14–15; Titus 2:13–14). He came to seek and to save that which was lost (Lk 19:10). He died for us, so He would redeem us (Rom 5:8, 10; Gal 3:13). He bore our sins in His body on the tree (1 Pet 2:24), so that many people, not all people, might be made righteous (Rom 5:19).
In love, God the Father predestined a people for His own possession (Ex 19:5; Dt 7:6; Eph 1:4-5; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet 2:9). In love, Christ died for these people (Rom 5:8; Eph 5:25). In love, the Holy Spirit has made His permanent abode in the heart of God’s elect, redeemed, children (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11). He has made His saints to be lovers of God, by circumcising their hearts (Ezek 36:26).
He has made us glad, by making us His adopted children (Rom 8:15, 23; Eph 1:5). He loves us with an everlasting love, and there is proof…Christ died for us, and His Spirit was given to us, poured out into our hearts (Rom 5:5) as a token of His love (2 Cor 5:5). Here is our right to be called, “children of God (1 Jn 3:1,10).” Thank you, Father, for electing your people. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for redeeming your people. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for baptizing and permanently indwelling your people. We are eternally grateful!
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 16, 2021