Friday, August 5, 2011

Redemption Accomplished and Applied

Redemption accomplished and applied is one of the central concepts of Reformed thinking. You can find this link in many of the Reformed thinkers but especially in Bavinck and John Murray. There is a linking between the accomplishment of redemption and the application of redemption. I would argue that this linking is found in the Biblical text itself.

Working through Titus 3:3-7 we see this same sort of linking between accomplishment and applications.

Note the temporal clauses:

3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
The grammar moves from who we once were (῏Ημεν γάρ ποτε καὶ ἡμεῖς) to what happened when Christ came: ('but when' ὅτε δὲ). The long sentence in vv4-7 centers on the main action of God: "he saved us" and then delineates the means by which this salvation is worked out and applied.

So the temporal achievement or accomplishment of salvation is when Jesus appeared. Clearly a reference to Jesus' first coming if you follow the use of ἐπεφάνη and it cognates in the pastoral epistles.

2 Timothy 1:9-10 9 who saved us and called us toa holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
However notice the means by which this great day of redemption is worked out as 'he saved us':
"by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,"
The Father and the Son use the Holy Spirit for the application of this redemption. The Father saves us by means of the work of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit is poured out by the Son and lavished richly upon us. It is from his ascended position over all that he pours out the Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45; Eph. 2:4-8; 4:7-8). 

So the eschatological center of redemption which is the acts of Jesus in his appearing, is now carried out progressively as God is saving his people. He is effecting the New Covenant where the Holy Spirit is poured out through the agency of the Covenant Head, the Son.

The eschatology of the application of redemption is a "already" and a "now." It is already accomplished in the appearing of the Son and it is now being effected. The "not yet" is of course the hope to which we have been called and of which we are heirs--namely eternal life.

On the temporal clauses in Titus, George Knight writes:

The temporal location of "saved" (Tit. 3:5) is, therefore, in terms of the history of salvation, when God's kindness and love appeared eschatologically in Christ and also, in terms of the experience of those involved, when they receive the "washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit." The term "saved" is thus qualified from two sides. Salvation is accomplished in the appearing of God's "kindness and love toward mankind" in Christ and applied when the Holy Spirit is actually "poured out" on those who are thereby renewed. The Pastoral Epistles, p.340
It is obvious here that the works of the Trinity are indivisible. Those whom the Father saves are those whom the Spirit renews. Those whom the Spirit renews are those whom the Son has lavished the Holy Spirit richly upon. The work of Christ has abolished death and brought immorality to light. So because Christ came, God the Father can perfectly save. Our Triune God works as one in the accomplishment and the application of redemption.

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