Christ the Saviour of sinners

The doctrine of redemption: The person of the Redeemer.

Below are questions from the Westminster Shorter Catechism with answers and supporting Scripture proofs. Explanatory notes follow.

 

Q: Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?

A: The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ1, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man2, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person3, for ever4.

1 1 Timothy 2:51 Timothy 2:5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  

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— For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

2 John 1:14John 1:14
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14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.  

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— And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

3 Romans 9:5Romans 9:5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.  

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— Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

4 Hebrews 7:24Hebrews 7:24
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. an...: or, which passeth not from one to another  

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— But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

 

The covenant of mercy that God made in eternity past to save a remnant of fallen sinners was entirely based on the work of a Redeemer. A Mediator was necessary because no man could save himself, man was no longer capable of direct dealings with God. A Redeemer of a very special constitution was necessary to discharge the conditions upon which the promises of the covenant were based. Who could discharge such a role?

 

I  THE REDEEMER’S IDENTITY AND WORK.

A. The full title of the Redeemer is used here — the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who know the Saviour in this way are ever inclined to savour the use of this name.

1. He is the Lord. Cp Acts 10:36Acts 10:36
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ:  

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2. He is Jesus, Matt 1:21Matt 1:21
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. JESUS: that is, Saviour, Heb  

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The Saviour!

3. He is the Christ. He is the One ‘anointed’ by the Father with the Holy Ghost to the office of Redeemer. His Divine appointment is in view in this name.

 

He alone is the Redeemer, Acts 4:12Acts 4:12
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  

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B. His work was to redeem the elect. The redemptive work of Christ is particular — particular redemption is a much better term than ‘limited atonement’. Redemption involves not only the payment of the price for sin but also the securing of victory and liberty. He did both by His death, I Pet 1:18-19, Hebrews 2:14-15Hebrews 2:14-15
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.  

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II  HIS PERSON AND NATURES.

1. He is the eternal Son of God. This is a Trinitarian title — He is the uncreated Son of God, co-eternal, equal with the Father in power and glory; of the same substance, very God of very God. The base of Christ’s theanthropic person is the Trinitarian person of God the Son. At the incarnation the Person of God the Son took into union with Himself a human nature, not a human person.

2. He became man. Cp John 1:14John 1:14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.  

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, I Tim 3:16, Phil 2:6-8, Gal 4:4Gal 4:4
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4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  

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. The incarnation was necessary so that the Divine Redeemer could die to pay the penalty of sin. It was necessary that He could act as the High Priest of His people, Hebrews 2:16Hebrews 2:16
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. took not...: Gr. taketh not hold of angels, but of the seed of Abraham he taketh hold  

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. It was necessary that the Redeemer be both God and man in order to make an infinite sacrifice. Divine justice is infinite and demands infinite satisfaction.

3. The Divine and human natures are combined in one Person. Yet, without loss of distinction — “without conversion (i.e. of the one nature into the other), composition (i.e. amalgamation to produce a new third substance), or confusion (i.e. a muddling up of the two)” [WCoF Chap 8 sect 2]. Christ’s unipersonality can be proved from the following:

a. Personal pronouns are used by Him and of Him as if He were a single person whether the Divine nature or human nature are in view. His own references to Himself are always “I” and not “we”.

b. Human attribute/actions are ascribed to His person when the Divine nature, Acts 20:28Acts 20:28
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28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  

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, I Cor 2:8.

c. Divine attributes/actions are  ascribed to Him when designated by a human title, John 3:13, 6:62John 3:13, 6:62
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13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  

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d. Both human and Divine attributes/actions ascribed together to the one person, Col 1:14-15Col 1:14-15
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14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:  

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, Hebrews 1:3Hebrews 1:3
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3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;  

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4. The union between His deity and humanity is indissoluble and everlasting. Cp Hebrews 13:8, 7:24Hebrews 13:8, 7:24
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8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. 7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. have the rule: or, are the guides  

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. He continues forever as the God-man representing His people as their High Priest before God.

 

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