Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Analysis of the Covenant of Redemption 7

Another side issue, yet completely related issue to our discussion of the Covenant of Redemption is this question: Did Christ merit anything for Himself?

One might ask this question since everything He did and suffered was on behalf of the elect. These are not contradictory ideas. In His suffering for the elect and fulfilling all righteousness for them Jesus manifested such love and obedience toward God that, according to the Covenant of Redemption, He merited the promised benefits for Himself as Mediator.

Consider firstly that since a covenant contains conditional promises, the party that fulfills these conditions merits what has been promised. The Covenant of Redemption is such a covenant with conditional promises. Since Jesus has fulfilled the conditions, He has merited the fulfillment of the promises which were made to Him and the elect.

Secondly, Christ anticipated the payment of His wages. He says, “Surely My judgment is with the Lord, and My work with My God” (Isa 49:4). There are two kinds of reward: one is of grace and is not according to merit; the other is a just reward that is according to merit. In this reference to Christ we see a contract that requires the payment of wages upon completion of the task. In this way we may say that Christ has merited a reward for Himself.

Thirdly, Jesus had an eye on His glory as a prize that was set before Him. “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Heb 12:2). This shows us that joy was set before Him upon condition of submitting to the cross. He had this joy in view and therefore He endured the cross, thereby meriting this joy for Himself.

Fourthly, this is also confirmed by all the Scriptures that point to His work as the cause of His exaltation. Christ humbled Himself, and therefore God exalted Him. “He shall see the travail of His soul. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, ... because He hath poured out His soul unto death” (Isa 53:11-12); “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows” (Ps 45:7); “And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him” (Phil 2:8-9). This language is so common that the mere observation of these texts confirms that Christ did not only obtain glory in consequence of what had previously transpired, but also merited it.

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