Lesson 24 – Particular Redemption
This will be our final study on the subject of Particular Redemption. Most of the studies have been devoted to a defense of this doctrine against those who advocate Universal Redemption (the doctrine that Christ died for all men indiscriminately–for those that will be damned in hell as well as for those that will be saved in heaven.)
We will end our study of Particular Redemption on a positive note. This study sheet will concentrate on what redemption actually is, not on what it is not.
Redemption concerns the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. But there are great differences as to the MEANING of the death of Christ.
What did Christ actually accomplish by His suffering and death?
There are several important things that Christ accomplished by His death on the cross. First of all, Christ made SATISFACTION to a just God for the sin debt of His people. Because of sin, God’s people were in DEBT to God. They were liable to punishment. That debt must be paid. If, among men, such satisfaction is made of a debt of $1000, then as soon as that satisfaction is made, that debt is gone. If satisfaction of the debt of sin is made for any man, then that man’s debt of sin and guilt is gone. God Himself, for the sake of His own justice and righteousness, cannot hold that debt against the man for whom satisfaction has been made.
Satisfaction, while not itself a Scriptural word, is the key idea in Scriptural terms like “propitiation” (Romans 3:25); “ransom” (Matthew 20:28); and “reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:19).
“Propitiate” means “to appease one who has been offended.” This can only take place when satisfaction has been made.
“Ransom” means “to obtain the release of a captive by paying the demanded price.” This can take place only when satisfaction (the price) has been made.”
“Reconciliation” means “to restore to friendship.” Friendship between a holy God and guilty sinners can only be achieved when satisfaction has been made.
The second main element of redemption is that of SUBSTITUTION. The necessity of that substitution lies in the fact that we are unable to make satisfaction ourselves.
We are sinners!
Substitution means that Jesus Christ became the Substitute–He stood in the stead–for those for whom He died. Before the bar of God’s justice He represented His people. He was their Substitute in a legal sense.
Put together the ideas of satisfaction and substitution and you have a very exact relationship. If one man satisfied the debt on one thousand other men at the First National Bank, then the debt of these one thousand men is paid. Others who owe debts to the bank are not affected. Whoever are in Christ, whoever are represented by Him on the cross, their debt is paid. If all men were in Him, then the debt of all men is forever gone. If the elect were in Him, then the debt of the elect is gone.
This is taught plainly in Matthew 20:28. “Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give His life a ransom for (instead of, in the place of) many.”
This is also plainly taught in II Corinthians 5:21: “For He hath made Him to be sin for (in behalf of) us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
The third element of redemption is that of its INFINITE VALUE. The truth of the infinite value of the death of Christ answers such questions as these:
How could the death of one cover many sinners?
How could sin, which is against the infinite majesty of God and which deserves the infinite wrath of God in everlasting punishment,–how could that sin be paid for in a MOMENT in the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ?
All the terrible wrath of God was concentrated in that moment when the cry was pressed out of Jesus’ soul, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).
The truth of the infinite value of the death of Christ also answers this question:
How could we be raised out of our totally lost condition, not just back to the state of Adam in paradise, but with an everlasting righteousness which we could never lose?
The answer to all these questions is that it was the Son of God, the eternal and infinite God Himself, in the likeness of sinful flesh, but as a real and perfectly righteous and holy Man, Who brought that satisfaction (Hebrews 2:9-18; Romans 1:3-4; John 11:50-52).
A fourth element of the redemption of Christ is that it is PERSONAL. Christ did not die indefinitely. He did not die merely for a number of men, whoever they might turn out to be. But Christ died for all the elect and for each of them personally. There are many passages of Scripture which teach this beautiful truth. Let us look at two:
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep.”
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for ME.”
Every other child of God can make this personal confession. See John 10:3.
1. Can God justly hold a man guilty if his sin debt has been paid by the Lord Jesus Christ?
2. What does “propitiate” mean?
3. What does “ransom” mean?
4. What does “reconciliation” mean?
5. For whom did Christ die as a substitute?
6. How could the one Christ pay the debt of many sinners?
We have memorized Matthew 1:21; John 10:11; Matthew 20:28; Hebrews 9:12; I Peter 1:18-19; I Peter 2:24; Hebrews 9:28; II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13, and I Peter 3:18.
Let us memorize Romans 3:24.