Monday, September 24, 2012

God's Eternal Covenant (Plan) of Redemption

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord

The writer of Hebrews references the the eternal foundation of God's salvation by the words: "The Eternal Covenant".  It is this Eternal Covenant that gives the background and foundation for what would be God's redemptive plan of salvation.  This "Covenant of Redemption" merits our focus in today's blog, since apart from it we cannot have a complete picture of God's plan of salvation revealed in Scripture.  The Covenant of Redemption, or the Eternal Covenant as it is termed here in Hebrews, was an agreement between the God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  A quick tour of scripture reveals how the Triune God planned salvation in eternity.

1. God the Father planned redemption.
As we see in the text above, the "God of Peace" is the One who planned redemption.  God the Father is the Author, the Architect and Grand Planner of salvation.  Titus 1:2 states - "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." (King James Version)  This Covenant of redemption was worked out before He spoke the worlds into being.  2 Timothy 1:9 reveals - "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began"

As God the Father planned salvation, He entered into Covenant with God the Son.  We know the Son has been with the Father from all eternity, sharing the same Divine nature and loving relationship. (John 1:1; Hebrews 1:1-2)  There were no angels, no people, no created things.  Only God.  The Triune God.  God the Father wanted to give the Son a love gift, a redeemed humanity.  God the Son in turn responded, indicating His desire to pay the price for this redemption.

2. God the Son agreed to purchase redemption
With God the Father planning redemption, God the Son agreed to purchase redemption.  Hebrews 13:20 tells us - "Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord".  As early as John 1:29 we see Jesus Christ identified as "the Lamb of God" who takes away the sins of the world.  The Apostle John would further clarify Jesus Christ as the Lamb who "has been slain before the foundation of the world". (Revelation 13:8)

The cross and redemption were not a reactionary "Plan B" following the fall, but rather an eternal well organized plan by the Father, with the Son agreeing to pay the price with His blood.  Acts 2:23 reveals - "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain".  Both Old and New Testament scriptures tell us that the Son was the Chosen One to pay the purchase price of salvation. (Isaiah  53:3-7; 1 Peter 1:20)

The cross was no plan "b", it was the only plan, the "plan A" of God.  God the Father planned redemption, and God the Son willingly agreed to purchase it.  But notice thirdly....

3. God the Holy Spirit agreed to apply redemption
According to Ephesians 1:11, the plan of redemption was based upon God's "counsel".  This determinate counsel was like a board meeting of the Trinity.  We know in looking at other texts such as Galatians 4:4 and Ephesians 1:9-10, that God the Son came into this world to take upon Himself human flesh.  John 3:16 reveals - "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, the whosoever believe on Him will not perish, but have everlasting life." 

So how is it that anyone would believe upon the Son who purchased their redemption and the Father who planned it?  The Holy Spirit is revealed as the applier of redemption.  Jesus states in John 16:8-11 concerning the Holy Spirit -8And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged."

The Holy Spirit is the one who brings the grace of God to sinners, brings the divine giftings of faith and repentance wherein the sinner believes on Christ and repents of their sins. (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:25-26).  Faith alone is sufficient and necessary for salvation.  The decision of the human will occurs in the context of the Holy Spirit's convicting work.   Following saving faith, the Holy Spirit continues to apply the sanctifying work of redemption to the child of God.  The Spirit of God makes clear the scriptures which He authored through the Prophets and Apostles. (2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 1:20,27).  He aids prayer and preserves the child of God unto the end. (Romans 8:26; Jude 24-25; 1 John 1:20,27).  

No doubt the Christian is the one living the Christian life, while at the same time it is the Holy Spirit communicating to the believer the Person and work of Christ. (Philippians 2:12-13; 1 Peter 1:8)  By the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit, Christ's power and Personal presence are imparted to the Child of God.  Like a sweet aroma, Christ is made progressively known to the Christian by the Holy Spirit by way of scripture, the people of God and prayer. (2 Corinthians 2:14-17)  

Christian salvation is made possible by the Eternal Covenant of redemption: whereby the Father planned it, the Son purchased it and the Spirit applies it