God’s Redemptive Character
God’s redemptive character, how God reveals Himself in salvation, is His chief glory. We cannot properly identify the God of redemption, and, therefore, call on sinners to believe unto salvation, until we preach the particulars revealing how He justifies the ungodly based on the righteousness of Christ. Everything we preach by way of encouragement, warning, exhortation, and instruction, whether it be to lost sinners to believe and be saved, or whether it be to saved sinners to persevere, to grow in knowledge and obedience, is to be preached in this light.
Many preach truths about God without identifying the particulars that show Him to be both a just God and a Savior. They may preach God as Creator, and we must respect Him as such. They may preach God as totally and absolutely sovereign, and we must bow to Him as such. Many say that salvation is bowing to the sovereignty of God and the Lordship of Christ, and this is true.
But what does that mean?
They may preach God as immutable, and we must acknowledge this great truth. We could name everyone of God’s attributes individually, and we could properly claim that this is the only true and living God with which all men have to do. Sinners will bow to this God or they will perish. But bowing to God in such a way as to avoid perishing has to do with seeing God as the one who justifies the ungodly based on the merits of the obedience and death of Christ.
A person may have some understanding of certain aspects of God’s character, and they may even preach the truth about these particular aspects. But until they have preached the particulars revealing how God justifies the ungodly based on the righteousness of Christ, they have not properly identified the God of salvation, a just God and a Savior. In these particulars we see every attribute of God’s holy character revealed, honored, and magnified in the salvation of sinners conditioned on Christ alone. This is God’s redemptive character and redemptive glory. It is God’s highest glory, the greatest revelation of Himself.
In the Scripture, all of God’s attributes are revealed to lead sinners to this great truth. Keep in mind, as we preach the character of God, that…
These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
1 John 5:13
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Everything God reveals in His Word is revealed ultimately to glorify Him as both a just God and a Savior, and to lead sinners to believe on Him as the God who justifies the ungodly based upon the righteousness of Christ. Remember, the Gospel is God’s promise of eternal salvation and final glory conditioned on Christ alone.
The Gospel reveals how every attribute of God’s character is revealed, honored and magnified in that salvation based on the righteousness of Christ. The Gospel begins with God who is the Source and Originator of salvation. It concerns His Son who is the only Mediator between God and men, and by whose obedience and death God is enabled to justify the ungodly. The first thing revealed in God’s Word, after the Fall of man, was the promise of salvation conditioned on Christ (Genesis 3:15).
Everything revealed about God from then on is revealed to encourage sinners (fallen, depraved, active idolaters) to believe this promise and repent from idolatry and dead works. None of it is revealed to discourage sinners, to frighten sinners away, or to promote legal fears or legal repentance.