John Allen Hudson
It is utterly impossible to discuss all the parts to the wonderful scheme of human redemption. But there is the same evidence of plan and purpose there as in nature, where again it would be impossible to discuss all the parts, or even name them, in one brief article.
Suffice it to say that every part is related to the Lord Jesus Christ and His expiating death on Calvary, just as in nature every part is related to every other part and the whole to a congruous plan. Jesus, the Sun of righteousness is the center of the scheme of redemption as the sun is the center of this solar system.
God planned, when the first couple sinned, to save man. He was the original planner or designer.
Jesus Christ purposed to enter into man’s condition and thus prepare Himself to represent man’s cause, to go between God and man and effect a reconciliation. He was the mediatorial cause. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).
The Holy Spirit, the third person in the Godhead, became the revealing cause, for after the death and departure of our Lord from the apostles, Jesus had the Holy Spirit to come and be their Comforter and to bring all things to their minds whatsoever He had said unto them (John 14:25-26; 16:13-25). This was the special, superior, and distinct work which the Holy Spirit did beginning with the first Pentecost after the resurrection of our Lord (Acts 2). Hence, the Holy Spirit was the third divine causation in the scheme of redemption.
The blood of Jesus Christ was the procuring cause of man’s redemption. “Without the shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22), but it was not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. No. Only the blood of Christ could save. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
The apostles were the instrumental agency or cause in men’s redemption. They were appointed to treat with men and women and to offer redemption to all mankind. Hence, they were called ambassadors for Christ.
In the first sermon preached by them, recorded in Acts 2, man was offered complete forgiveness in the name of Christ for the first time in the history of the world. In that sermon the apostles manifested the place and position that God had assigned them in the scheme of human redemption. They were the vessels and bearers of the message of salvation. What a lofty mission! And for that they had been intensively trained—trained as never were men trained before. They had been with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for three and one-half years day and night. In the crowded villages, on the lonely plains by the sea, He had instructed them unto the kingdom of God. Then He gave them the Holy Spirit to safeguard their utterances and to have them say just what heaven wanted them to say in the momentous plan of saving the eternal spirits of men and women. What a work, indeed! “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ,” said the apostle to the Gentiles (2 Cor. 5:20).
The gospel was the didactic and prescribing cause. It makes man to know his condition and God’s grace in contrast therewith. Jesus said for the apostles to go and teach all nations. He said for them to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. His commission of authority and commission of duty upon them was most explicit. “All authority is given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have said unto you and, lo, I am with you alway; even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:18-20). “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:15-16). Wherever they should go from Jerusalem unto the uttermost parts of the earth, their message was to be one and unchanging. It was to be the gospel. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16-17).
Finally, faith exercised in the heart, would be the appropriating cause. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mk. 16:16). “He that believeth not is condemned already” (John 3:18). “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth, in him, should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
When the people on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus heard, for the first time in the history of the world, the gospel in its fullness offering from God complete forgiveness, Peter said to them, “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).
Faith—faith in their hearts was required. “Then being cut to their hearts, they cried out, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). They believed, and coupled with that faith was this obedience: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:38-39).
Have you obeyed the gospel plan of salvation? Do you now enjoy the peace with God that comes through the remission of your sins? If not, why not obey the Lord today and be baptized for the remission of sins?