The Scheme of Redemption

The Scheme of Redemption
The Extension of God's Grace

Stan Cox


The Origin of the Scheme of Redemption

Nothing is haphazard with God. He is sovereign in the universe, and the only Being capable of "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure..'" (Isaiah 46:10). Scripture clearly reveals that God understood before the world ever began the consequence of creating man in His own image. Paul stated that man's redemption was secured by the foreknowledge and power of God before he ever walked the face of this earth. He wrote in Ephesians 1:4-6, "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved."

God knew before he created man that such a creature would disappoint Him by rebelling against His divine will. This is the nature of free moral agency, which is the greatest gift God gave us in His design of humanity. All God created He pronounced "very good", and this included man (cf. Genesis 1:31). Some today want to blame God for the evil that is present in our world. Such is wrong, as James clearly explained, "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed" (James 1:12-14). Man himself is responsible for his sin, and for the resulting evil that is the consequence of such rebellion against the will of the Almighty.

But some argue, 'God made us this way!' No, he didn't. Man's nature is not depraved and evil. Man's nature is neutral; he is a free moral agent. Again, this is a sublime gift bestowed upon man. God did us a great favor in creating us this way. It is a wonderful privilege to determine for ourselves to serve Him. All of the physical creation bows in obeisance to the grand Creator (cf. Revelation 5:13), but only man does so willingly. Surely we would not denigrate such privilege by complaining that God made us this way? To do so is to tread thin ground. As Paul stated:

It is the height of arrogance for the ignorant creature (man) to question the omnipotent Creator (God). Some do so, but at their own peril.

The Inevitability of Sin

Shortly after God created man and placed him in the pristine Garden of Eden, sin entered the picture. It is not the purpose of this treatise to discuss the theoretical implications of the question, Does man have to sin? We are here interested only in the fact that Adam and Eve did sin (cf. Genesis 3:1-6), and that sin is a pervasive scourge upon mankind, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). This pervasiveness of sin indicates that all are in need of a Redeemer. All have sinned and have been separated from God by that sin. Paul said, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:20-22, "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive."

God knew that His creation (man) would sin. God realized that sinful man would need a Redeemer. So God, before the world ever began, devised the plan He would implement in man's Redemption. The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation gradually records the unfolding of that plan. Notice the following major highlights in God's Scheme of Redemption:

Christ, Our Redeemer

God's Scheme of Redemption is centered in His Son. All of the plan preceding his appearance on earth was preparatory to his coming. The angels rejoiced at His birth. "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'" (Luke 2:13-14).

The book of Hebrews does a good job describing the nature of Jesus' contribution to God's plan. It is a book of contrasts, showing that while the old covenant God has with Israel was important, it was only a "shadow" of the actual culmination of God's plan for man. Notice the contrasts which serve to establish the importance of Christ as our Redeemer:

The writer of Hebrews ends his epistle with some powerful sentiments regarding our obligations in view of the greatness of Christ's accomplishments on our behalf. He wrote in chapter 12, verse 25, "See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven." And, in verses 28-29, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire."

The Fundamentals of the Gospel of Christ

In order for us to gain access to the privileges afforded by the life and death of Jesus, we must first believe in Him (cf. Mark 16:16). Here then are the fundamental components of the good news regarding our Savior:

Conclusion

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

In this section of our study we have sought to give an overview of the Plan of Redemption formed in the mind of God before the world began. We have emphasized the constituent elements which made up that grand design, emphasizing the sacrifice God made in sending his Son as a vicarious sacrifice for the sins of mankind. We have not yet delved into the responsibilities of man in securing his redemption (cf. Philippians 2:12).

We affirm that our salvation is made available through the freely given and unmerited favor of God. He sent his Son to earth not because we deserved such treatment, but because He loved us. We have access to His eternal presence only because of His good grace. However, it is clear from scripture that not all gain access to the blood of Christ. God demands that conditions be met before man can enjoy the privilege of remission of sins. In affirming this we do not claim that man earns his salvation. The debt is too great and our efforts too imperfect to accomplish such a feat. We do, however, have to submit to God's will in order to be saved. What must man do to be saved? This will be the question answered in our subsequent articles.


e-mail this author at stancox@watchmanmag.com

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