II. The persons on whose behalf and for whose benefit this covenant is made.
We hinted at this briefly in the last paragraph of yesterday's post. The beneficiaries of this covenant are those who are elected in Christ. Of the elect, Christ says, "Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me.” For this reason, they are said to be written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 21:27).
In an manner wholly consistent with His holiness, God would permit that they would sin by their own free will and therefore be concluded in sin. Because of this, they would be by nature children of wrath. It was necessary that there be a Surety to satisfy God’s justice so that the infinite mercy and grace of God could be bestowed upon them in freeing from them this state and bringing them to salvation. The Father gave the elect to His Son as Surety. The Son accepted them and became Surety for all of them, and for them alone. He wrote their names in the book of life and promised to accomplish His Father’s will and good pleasure in bringing them to salvation.
Without going off on a tangent, it is here that the "L" of TULIP becomes so absolutely clear. I think of Owen's arguments in his "The Death of Death in the Death of Christ." Can Christ ask for something in prayer and not get it? Of course not! Scripture tells us that Christ is interceding for us in Heaven. Now, to put it quite bluntly, if Christ intercedes for those who will eventually perish, (and millions certainly already have perished) doesn't this mean that Christ asks for much in prayer that he is never given? This is sheer blasphemy. Christ Himself says, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me" (John 11:41, 42). The book of Hebrews ties Christ's intercession to His Mediatiorial office. Moreover, Christ Himself, in His high priestly prayer, specifically says, "I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given Me" (John 17:9).
Much fruitless speculation has been made regarding the infinite value of Christ's death. We have probably all heard something like: Christ's death was sufficient to atone for a million, billion worlds." Or, "Christ's death is sufficient for all, but efficient only for the elect." All I can say is that Scripture NEVER goes there. Scripture never deals in possibilities. Scripture always and only deals with what Christ's atoning sacrifice actually accomplished, not what it could possibly have accomplished. We must not impugn God's wisdom. He did what He did in the atonement precisely because His wisdom saw that as the most perfect and glorifying way to accomplish what He wanted done. Scripture does not give us license to go beyond that.