Christ – Our Savior And Redeemer
As the one Mediator between God and men, it was necessary that God the Son be our Savior. To be our Savior, it was necessary that He be our Redeemer, for it is by redemption that Christ saves His people from their sins. It is to these two specific mediatorial offices that the Apostle Paul appeals as His ground of assurance in Titus. We who believe should expect final glory in heaven, and see ourselves as certain for heaven, because our Lord Jesus Christ has saved us, and He has saved us by way of redeeming us from all iniquity. Christ had to be both our Savior and our Redeemer to be a sufficient mediator between God and men.
The situation was such that for reconciliation to be made between God and men, the appointed Mediator had to become our Savior and accomplish salvation in a way that God could be just and yet justify sinners. There was a great barrier between God who is holy and His elect people who by nature are unholy. All men by nature are under the sentence of condemnation and death. For God to save any, He not only had to appoint a mediator, but He also had to appoint this mediator to be their savior. As savior Christ had to remove the ground of condemnation and establish the ground of justification. He did this by substituting Himself in our place to obey the law perfectly, and, having our sins imputed to His account, by suffering and dying on the cross to satisfy God’s justice. So He saves us by way of redemption. He established perfect righteousness whereby God could be just and justify the ungodly. This is revealed in the Gospel, God’s promise of salvation and redemption conditioned on Christ. Consider Christ our Savior and Redeemer.
I. CHRIST WAS APPOINTED AND SENT BY THE FATHER TO BE OUR SAVIOR AND OUR REDEEMER.
Sometimes in Scripture God the Father is called a Savior. Read Isaiah 45:21-22. We have to make a distinction in order to understand the offices each executed in our salvation. God the Father is our Savior in the sense that He is the Source and Originator of our salvation, and in the sense that He appointed and sent Christ to be our Savior. We are to look unto God the Father as the one who saves us by justifying the ungodly based on the righteousness of Christ. God the Son is our Savior in the sense that He is our Mediator who came and satisfied law and justice, who established the only ground of salvation by bringing forth the righteousness that enables the Father to be both a just God and a Savior. We are considering in this message the mediatorial office of Christ as our Savior.
Before the world was ever created, God the Father entered into a covenant relationship with God the Son to be the Savior of the world. God purposed to redeem mankind through a people of His sovereign choice, and He gave them to Christ. He put all of the responsibility of salvation upon God the Son. He appointed Him to their Mediator, and in this, He appointed Him and sent Him to be their Savior and Redeemer (Psalm 111:9; 2 Timothy 1:9-10). When the time of His incarnation came, it was announced as He is the One sent of the Father to be the Savior of the world (Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:47; 2:11). Christ Himself testified of this as that He in official subordination to His Father came with a mission (Luke 19:10). Christ Himself testified that He came to fulfill all righteousness for His sheep in that He would obey the law and die for them to redeem them.
II. CHRIST WAS QUALIFIED IN HIS PERSON TO BE OUR SAVIOR AND OUR REDEEMER – Two things were required of the Person of Christ that His offices might be effectual for the salvation of the elect:
(1) He must have a nature provided for Him, a nature like those whom He saves, without sin; and
(2) Yet, He must be more than man. He must have a divine nature from all eternity. So He must be both God and man, Godman/Mediator. Consider these two things:
A. Christ must become incarnate, and have a human nature provided for Him – It was for mankind that He exercised His mediatorial offices (Hebrews. 2:16). The Father provided Him with a human body (Hebrews 10:5). He had to identify with God’s elect (Hebrews 2:14). He was appointed to be our Representative and Surety to save us from our sins. Therefore, He had to come in our name and in our nature so that He could yield obedience to the law and suffer and die for our sins. We are going to see how this applies to all three of His major mediatorial offices as Prophet, Priest, and King, but, specifically, as our Priest, it was necessary that He be taken from among men (Hebrews 5:1) and that He have something of His own to offer (Hebrews 8:3). Christ offered Himself (Hebrews 9:14), His humanity upon the altar of His Deity. Redemption had to be accomplished by our next of kin, our kinsman-redeemer.
B. Yet, He had to be more than man. He had to be God. As our Savior He had to take away the sins of all for whom He is Priest, all whom He represents, all the elect of God. A mere man, not even a perfect man, could save the whole election of grace, because no mere man could produce an everlasting righteousness of infinite value that could be applied to a multitude of sinners. Only God could provide a righteousness that is infinitely valuable enough to save the entire election of grace, so Christ had to be more than mere man in order to be our Savior.
III. CHRIST WAS SUCCESSFUL AS OUR SAVIOR AND OUR REDEEMER.
To redeem means to purchase or buy back. God’s elect were His by creation, and they were placed under the headship of Adam. They were sold into bondage by Adam’s sin. But before this, they were given to Christ and to be saved by Him.
How would they be redeemed?
They were to be redeemed as Christ, their Mediator (Representative, Substitute, and Surety) would pay the price of their redemption.
How would He do that?
The price was perfect satisfaction to God’s law and justice. To pay this price He had to be made under the law, obey that law perfectly, and suffer the full penalty of the law due unto them. He did this by shedding His own blood to put away their sins (Acts 20:28; Revelation 5:9; 1 Peter 1:9,18ff.; Titus 2:14).
To put away sin is to abolish it so as to make it null and void to have no power to condemn those for whom He died, all whom He purchased. He bore all the iniquities of all His people in His own body on the cross. He made full satisfaction to divine law and justice for them. He brought in righteousness that demands their eternal salvation and final glory in heaven. If He paid the price of redemption for them, then none of them can perish. This is the kind of Savior, Redeemer, Surety, Mediator we have in Christ. All whom He redeemed must be saved (Isaiah 53:10-12). If even one of them could perish, then the redemption He provided is worthless. But this is not so, thank God.
The Bible tells us that as our Savior Christ obtained redemption for us through His blood (Hebrews 9:12), that this redemption He obtained for us through His blood results in the justification of all for whom He lived and died (Romans 3:24). And justification means the complete pardon of all sins, the “forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14), complete acceptance into God’s favor and presence, and the full right and title to the whole inheritance of grace (Hebrews 9:15). For this reason Christ is said to be our “redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Christ will have all whom He redeemed. They shall be saved, and salvation includes final glory in heaven.
The truth of redemption exposes universal atonement for what it is — conditional works salvation that denies our Lord and Savior. If you believe Christ died for all without exception, then you must believe He redeemed all without exception. Therefore, you must believe all will be saved. This denies God’s testimony concerning multitudes who perish in unbelief. What we realize is this: Those who claim Christ died for all conditionally do not preach redemption. They preach a blanket pardon with no justice. They claim that all are redeemed but that most will perish in unbelief. This dishonors God and denies the Lord Jesus Christ. It puts no real value upon His blood of redemption. A person can claim that their only hope is in His blood, but as long as they do not believe Christ’s blood demands the salvation and final glory of everyone for whom it was shed, they place no real saving value upon His blood. They believe His blood really did no more for those in heaven than it did for those in hell. It is their faith, not Christ’s blood, that makes the real difference between heaven and hell. That is unbelief.
If He did not redeem everyone, who did He redeem?
The redeemed of the Lord are those who actually experience the power of His redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14). They are those who believe God’s Gospel and who repent of dead works and idolatry. They come to faith in Christ, knowing that His blood and righteousness make the only difference between heaven and hell. They rest in Him and trust Him alone, not their faith, but His righteousness as the only ground of salvation.
CONCLUSION: What about verses that seem to teach universal redemption?
1. John 3:16-17 – The problem many seem to have with this verse is the word “world.” But “world” here does not mean every individual in the world. There are very few times in the Bible that it means every individual. This has nothing to do with the number of individuals whom God loved and purposed to save. When God created the “world,” He created Adam, one individual. Adam was the world at that time. Adam was mankind. Adam fell and the world became wicked, but God began to save some. The world then became divided into the world of believers and the world of unbelievers. That’s two worlds.
Read 1 John 5:19 – Here John separates believers who are of God from the world. So “world” here cannot mean every individual without exception. Neither does it mean this in John 3:16. In John 3:16 the word “world” is qualified by “whosoever believeth in Him.” The world will be saved, not by the salvation of every individual without exception, but through those who believe in Christ, who believe God’s promise of salvation conditioned on Him. God’s love is the fact that He purposed to save the world through His elect, the objects of His love, and save them through Christ. The race of mankind will be saved and preserved through them in Christ.
2. 1 John 2:1-2 – “Propitiation” means reconciliation by way of atonement. It has to do with redemption by Christ. If the “whole world” here means every individual without exception, then we must conclude that every individual without exception shall be saved because God is reconciled to them and they are reconciled to God. But we know this is not true because we know from God’s testimony that multitudes will die in unbelief and perish in hell. What John is teaching here is that Jesus Christ did not come into the world only to redeem and be the propitiation for the Jews alone, but for God’s elect throughout the whole world. God has a people out of every race and nation. His love and Christ’s atonement is not limited to the Jews, but it is also for the Gentiles who believe God’s promise of salvation based on the imputed righteousness of Christ.
3. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 – When the word “all” is used, it can mean “all without exception,” or it can mean “all without distinction.” The context determines its meaning. Here, the Apostle Paul is telling Timothy that we as believers are to pray for all sorts, all kinds, of men, from kings to slaves, from rich to poor. We cannot be respecters of persons when it comes to rank or position because no one is excluded from salvation based on these things. So when he writes that God would have “all men to be saved,” he is saying that God would have all kinds of men to be saved, not all without exception, but without distinction.
4. 1 Timothy 4:10 – Here Paul is not speaking of Christ in His mediatorial office as Savior and Redeemer. He is speaking of God the Father as Deliverer, Protector, and Provider of all men in a temporal, providential sense, not in a spiritual, eternal sense. God gave physical life to both wicked and righteous men. He provides and cares for both temporally. He causes it to rain on the just and the unjust. For example, if an unbeliever survives a major illness or an automobile crash, it is God who saved, delivered, and preserved him in a temporal way. It is true that God especially delivers believers, but He is the Savior of all men in this sense.
5. Hebrews 2:9 – “Every man” here is qualified and identified in the following verses to show that it is not every individual without exception but all who experience the power of Christ’s work of redemption.
6. 2 Peter 2:1 – “The people” here refers to national Israel under the Mosaic Covenant. God had redeemed them temporally and physically out of the land of Egypt. This was a temporal, national redemption, not a spiritual, eternal redemption. Again, this is not speaking of Christ in His mediatorial office of redeemer, but of God the Father who chose and redeemed the nation Israel in a temporal sense.