The Practical Implications of the Covenant of Redemption
As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied (Isaiah 53:11).
We all know we ought to be lifting up Jesus every time the Holy Spirit opens up a door to speak to someone of his glorious person and work. If you are like me, however, perhaps you are prone toward ambivalence in this great calling. You know Jesus is your magnificent Lord and Saviour. You know he has delivered you from the domain of darkness and transferred you into his eternal kingdom. You know the wrath of God you so justly deserve has been taken from you and placed on Christ, but you still find yourself, from time to time, cold hearted, perhaps fearful of speaking his blessed name to others. This may even be true of my street preacher friends. You men are the most bold, courageous, and zealous evangelists I know, but still perhaps you find yourself, every now and then, simply going through the motions as you proclaim the glad tidings of great joy. And I have observed, in my own street preaching ministry (though I have a long way to go in becoming proficient in this glorious work) that while I preach the law of God (we must do so for the law is the tutor which drives people to Christ so that we may be justified by faith, Gal. 3:24), and people are often arrested and convicted, the greatest attention from people comes when I am lifting up our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I have often said, however, that I feel utterly inadequate in giving Jesus his due. My lack of theological depth in Christ’s person and work, my limited mind power, and my paltry vocabulary prevent me from proclaiming to people the glory, majesty, dominion, and authority of the Lord Jesus. I often feel like someone who is learning a second language in which he is not yet proficient, searching for the right word to convey what is on his heart.
So, I am purposing to spend a great deal more time studying and meditating on the person and work of Christ so that I may become far more proficient in lifting up our great Saviour to sinners everywhere. At our recent Samuel Davies Conference on Evangelism, Dr. Nathan Parker, Pastor of the Pinelands Presbyterian Church in Miami, gave four outstanding lectures on the evangelistic methodology of the seventeenth century Puritan preacher John Flavel. Among the many gems Nathan gave us was his recommendation that we read Flavel’s classic on the person and work of Christ, ‘The Fountain of Life’.1
I want to make this very simple and practical so that you can use this in your own evangelistic efforts. I want you to be moved in your heart as you consider the amazing, eternal love the Triune God has for sinners. For now, consider what we mean by the covenant of redemption. There has always been a perfect love between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The trinitarian God is utterly complete and does not need us. Yet God’s plan, from before the creation of anything, was the salvation of his people to the praise and glory of his marvellous grace (Eph. 1:3-14). In the context of his divine decree God allowed Adam and Eve to go their own way into rebellion, bringing the sentence of death and condemnation upon all people (Rom. 5:12-14). In the covenant of redemption, theologians are saying that the Father and the Son entered into a covenant (a contract) before anything was created. The Father promised to provide Jesus with the three-fold office of prophet, priest, and king. He promised to be with Jesus, to sustain him when he came to earth in his incarnation and humiliation. The Father promised to crown Jesus’ work with success. His death would bring the salvation of his people. He promised to accept the Son’s work on the cross as the propitiating or atoning death for his people. The Father promised to make Jesus’ work effectual, that it really would work to accomplish our redemption. And he promised to exalt and honour his Son above everyone and everything. For his part, God the Son willingly agreed to become man, to live, to suffer, to die, and experience hell, for the salvation of his people. Paul puts it this way, ‘He saved us according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity’ (2 Tim. 1:9).
After eating the Passover meal with his disciples, Jesus gave his disciples the marvellous words of love and assurance found in John 14-16. He knew they were fearful, so he said, ‘Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful’ (John 14:27). He said, ‘No longer do I call you slaves but I call you friends’ (John 15:15). He said, ‘It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you’ (John 16:7). But after saying these things to his disciples, Jesus prayed to his Father, asking, among other things, that his beloved disciples be with him where he was going, that they too may see his glory, because the Father had loved Jesus before the foundation of the world (John 17:24).
My dear friends in Christ Jesus, the glorious, magnificent truth is that the Triune God has always loved you. In spite of your sinful rebellion against him, in spite of the judgment you deserve, in spite of the fact that you were enemies of God, actively waging war against him in your unbelief; God the Father’s eternal plan was your salvation. In order to accomplish it, he knew there must be a Redeemer and that Redeemer had to be perfect, sinless, without guile. But from where would such a Saviour come? Could we manufacture our own redemption? Could we look to Buddha, Confucius, or Mohammed for relief? Jesus freely and willingly agreed to take on human flesh, to live perfectly, to die a sinner’s death, to take the wrath you and I deserve, to take hell itself to fulfil God’s righteous requirements. Jesus knew what he was doing. He knew that the utter anguish of separation from his Father was coming. But Isaiah prophesied, ‘As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied. By His knowledge, the Righteous One My servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities’ (Isa. 53:11).
If you have ever lost a child, perhaps standing by as your child died a slow death from some horrible disease, then you know the anguish of having part of your flesh, as it were, ripped from your body. The pain seems unbearable. Will it ever subside? In an infinitely greater way, the Father stood by and watched his only begotten Son (the One with whom he and the Spirit had been united for all eternity) suffer a criminal’s arrest, trial, and crucifixion for you. And the Son willingly took the horrendous death because of his love for you.
My friends in Christ, see how great a love the Father has for us that we shall be called children of God! Ask the Father to apply his love to your heart, soul, mind, and will. Allow his love to spill over into the lives of those around you. You are his and he promises never to leave you nor forsake you. He promises to stick to you closer than a brother. He promises to save you to the uttermost because he always lives to make intercession for you. Your salvation is utterly and completely secure because of the covenant made in eternity between the Father and the Son.
- Flavel’s sermons on this theme are contained in Volume 1 of his Works, published by the Trust.
6 Volume Set
As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied (Isaiah 53:11). We all know we ought to be lifting up Jesus every time the Holy Spirit opens up a door to speak to someone of his glorious person and work. If you are like me, however, perhaps you […]
Rev. Allen M Baker is an evangelist with Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship, and Director of the Alabama Church Planting Network. His weekly devotional, ‘Forget None of His Benefits’, can be found here.
If you would like to respond to Pastor Baker, please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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