WORK OF REDEMPTION
by Jonathan Edwards
How Christ was capacitated for effecting his purpose.
As the incarnation of Christ was necessary in order to his being in a near capacity for the purchase of redemption; so his resurrection and ascension were requisite in order to the success of his purchase.
1. His resurrection. It was necessary in order to Christ’s obtaining the end and effect of his purchase of redemption, that he should rise from the dead – For God the Father had committed the whole affair of redemption to his Son, that he should not only purchase it as priest, but actually bring it about as king; and that he should do this as Godlyman. God the Father would -have nothing to do with fallen man in a way of mercy but by a mediator. But in order that Christ might accomplish the success of his own purchase as God-man, it was necessary that he should rise from the dead. Therefore Christ, after he had finished this purchase by death, rises from the dead, to fulfil the and of his purchase. This matter God the Father had committed unto him, that he might, as Lord of all, manage all to his own purposes:
"For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living." (Romans 14:9.)
Indeed Christ’s resurrection (and so his ascension) was part of the success of what Christ did and suffered in his humiliation. For though Christ did not properly purchase redemption for himself, yet he purchased, eternal and life and glory for himself as a reward of what he did and suffered: Philippians 2:8, 9. "He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also bath highly exalted him." And it may be looked upon as part of the success of Christ’s purchase, since he did not rise as a private person, but as the head of the elect church; so that they did, as it were, all rise with him. Christ was justified in his resurrection, i.e. God acquitted and discharged him hereby, as having done and suffered enough for the sins of all the elect: Romans 4:25. "Who was delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification." And God put him in possession of eternal life, as the head of the church, as a sure earnest that they should follow. For when Christ rose from the dead, that was the beginning of eternal life in him. His life before his death was a mortal life, a temporal life; but after his resurrection it was an eternal life: Romans 6:9. "Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him." Revelation 1:18. "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen." – But he was put in possession of this eternal life, as the head of the body; so that the whole church, as it were, rises in him. And now he who lately so much, is to suffer no more for ever but has entered into eternal glory.
This resurrection of Christ is the most joyful event that ever came to pass; because hereby Christ rested from the great and difficult work of purchasing redemption, and received God’s testimony, that it was finished. The death of Christ was the greatest and most wonderful event that ever came to pass; but that has a great deal in it that is sorrowful. But the resurrection of Christ, that sorrow is turned into joy. The Head of the church, in that great .... [rest is missing in Ages version]
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