The Scheme of Redemption

The Scheme of Redemption
The Redemption of Man in Two Parts

Stan Cox

God's plan for redeeming man runs like a scarlet thread throughout scripture. Beginning with the promises God made to man in the Genesis account, and man's subsequent fall from God's favor, until the closing of the New Testament canon, where the Apostle John recorded the beautiful invitation, "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17), God's scheme is the primary theme of scripture. It is both simple and sublime. God's requirements for man, that he may be redeemed, can be understood even by children. At the same time, the enormity of His Son's sacrifice and what it means for us dwarfs our comprehension.

The following material in this month's Watchman Magazine is intended to give an overview of that sublime plan. It is our intention to both document the great expression of God's grace in sending His Son to die in our stead, and the divine requirements mandated by God that we might receive the benefits of such a gift. No study of Redemption is sufficient that does not explain both God's part, and man's part in securing that safety.

A Prevalent Error

Calvinistic theology has gained an upper hand in Denominational Christendom. This is not because the scriptures validate its tenets, but rather because the Protestant Reformation, which gave birth to the myriad denominations, was greatly influenced by the teachings of John Calvin. Calvinism can be summed up by the acronym TULIP:

You may note that each of the tenets of Calvinism is predicated upon the belief that man plays no part in his own redemption. The Calvinist incorrectly argues that man is born into the world totally depraved. His every thought and intent is evil. He is incapable of doing good. Even the attempts to do good are evil, as his depravity is total. Since this is the case, it is God alone who determines who will be saved and who will be lost. Never mind that this makes God a respecter of persons, and a capricious Being who condemns at His whim those who are not culpable in their sin.

This fatalistic atttitude toward redemption has its comforts. After all, if God saves me, I am saved, and there is nothing I can do to invalidate my redemption. Conversely, if I am lost, I can do nothing about it, so there is no use in concerning myself with spiritual matters. The problem is that Calvinistic doctrine does not jibe with the tenets of scripture.

This short refutation of Calvinistic theology serves to point out a central aspect of our theme in this month's Watchman Magazine. The Redemption of Man consists of two parts. God has His part, and fulfilled the requirements regarding man's redemption by sending his Son Jesus to die as a vicarious sacrifice for sin. Man too has a part to play in his own redemption. Only those who faithfully execute the commands of God can rejoice in the promise of eternal reward.

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