Systematic Theology II - Lesson 8

The Work of Jesus Christ: Summary

The most significant aspect of the past work of Christ is the atonement. Some people teach that the extent of the atonement is limited, while others teach that it is unlimited. Christ's present work is mediator and Lord. His future work is coming judge and reigning king.

Bruce Ware
Systematic Theology II
Lesson 8
Watching Now
The Work of Jesus Christ: Summary

The Work of Jesus Christ: Summary

4. Extent of the Atonement

a. Issue is not the sufficiency of Christ’s death as the atonement for all sin

b. Offer of salvation is extended to everyone

c. Issue: What is God’s intention in offering his son as an atoning sacrifice?

1. It was God’s intention to save people by his Son’s death

2. It was God’s intention to provide a payment for sin for all people whereby if people believe they are saved

d. Limited Atonement: Since Jesus died to save people from son Since only the elect are saved he only died for them

1. Christ died to save people. Since all are not saved, he died for the elect

2. Ethical Argument: how could God hold people accountable to pay for their sin if it was already made by Christ

e. Unlimited Atonement: Christ died to pay the penalty of sin for all people

1. Universal Divine Love: How could God not make the payment for sin available to all people?

f. Un/Limited Atonement: Whole debate skewed by question? Instead ask: What were God’s intentions in the atonement?

1. Purpose of securing the sure and certain salvation of the elect

2. Died to pay the penalty of sin for all people making it possible for all people to be saved

3. Christ died for the purpose of making a genuine offer of salvation available to all people

4. Christ death on the cross provides additional basis for human’s condemnation

5. Christ died to reconcile all things to himself

B. Present work of Christ: work as mediator and Lord

C. Future work of Christ: work as coming judge and reigning king

1. Work as judge

2. Reign as king

  • Both the Old and New Testaments teach that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully human. The Old Testament contains specific references to His pre-incarnate existence. The New Testament teaches that the incarnation is an historical event that was prophesied in the Old Testament. Christ fulfills the roles of prophet, priest and king. His deity is emphasized by the names of God that are ascribed to Him.

  • The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ had attributes belonging solely to God, and did works that were done by God alone. Christ was worshipped and accepted worship. He Himself claimed to be God.

  • Christ was fully human, as well as fully God. The Old Testament prophesied it and His historical life demonstrated it. Philippians 2: 6-8 uses the word kenosis to explain the relationship between Christ's human and divine natures.

  • The "impeccability" of Christ deals with the question of whether or not Christ could have sinned. The answer to this question has implications for both His life and ministry. (At the 51 minute mark, the reference to "John the Baptist," Dr. Ware meant to say, "John the Apostle.")

  • Delegates at the Council of Chalcedon tried to explain the hypostatic union of Christ's natures. The theological bases for the work of Christ on the cross focus on the sin of humanity and God's holiness and mercy. The atonement is God's self-satisfaction through self-substitution

  • Christ's atoning sacrifice was comprehensive. The different aspects of the atonement may be compared to light refracting through a diamond – you can see different colors, but they are all light. Three aspects of the atonement are sacrifice, substitution and redemption.

  • Three more aspects of the atonement are propitiation, expiation, and reconciliation. Christ's resurrection is a ratification of the efficacy of the atonement.

  • The most significant aspect of the past work of Christ is the atonement. Some people teach that the extent of the atonement is limited, while others teach that it is unlimited. Christ's present work is mediator and Lord. His future work is coming judge and reigning king.

  • Throughout Scripture, the Holy Spirit is referred to as having the attributes and performing the actions of a person. He is also shown to have the attributes of God, and is declared to be God. Both the Old and New Testaments cite examples of the work of the Holy Spirit in empowering people.

  • The work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is characterized by the empowerment of selective individuals for a temporary period of time, for the purpose accomplishing a specific task. The Old Testament prophets record a vision of the role of the Holy Spirit in the latter days.

  • The Holy Spirit had a central role in the life and ministry of Jesus. Many Old Testament passages prophesied the coming of a Spirit empowered Messiah. The New Testament records specific examples of the involvement of the Spirit in Jesus' life and ministry. Jesus also promises the future coming of the Holy Spirit and describes what he will do.

  • At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came into the world and filled the lives of every believer. The first great work of the Holy Spirit is bringing people to Christ. He also empowers believers for service in the Church where we are remade and conformed to the image of Christ. The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is for us to serve one another.

  • The Holy Spirit has come to glorify Christ and bring attention to Jesus. He does this by empowering believers in the areas of evangelism and discipleship. There are specific gifts of the Spirit and He gives specific gifts to each believer. There is a question about whether all the gifts are still active today. There is also a distinction between people having a certain gift and God performing mighty acts.

  • The Holy Spirit accomplishes the work of regeneration in a person by bringing them new life. The Spirit also indwells and fills a believer, produces fruit and gives us the freedom to become what God created us to be. The Holy Spirit is also the guarantee of the hope of our eternal future in God's presence.

  • Rob Lister, a Garret Fellow, introduces concepts that are basic to the Biblical doctrine of salvation. Salvation is both physical and spiritual, includes all of creation, it is "already, but not yet," and the goal is the glory of God. Election is a key concept in Scripture. Some people think that there is a conditional aspect to election.

  • Rob Lister continues by reviewing the Arminian position (conditional election), then explains the Calvinist view. The Calvinist position is based on God's sovereign rulership over everything, salvation by grace alone, and God's love and justice. There are major differences between the ideas of conditional and unconditional election.

  • Among those who hold to the view of unconditional election, there are those who believe in single predestination, and those who believe in double predestination. There is also a difference between a "general call," and a "special" or "effectual call."

  • Continuing in the logical order of salvation, Rob Lister examines regeneration, conversion, justification, adoption and sanctification.

  • Christ is Lord of the Church and it is formed by the Spirit. As a community, we testify to what God has done in our lives through the ordinances, the proclamation of the word and the testimony of our lives. We worship God together, and Jews and Gentiles are united in one community, testifying to the preeminence of our identity in Christ.

  • The "mystery" of the Church refers to the truth that was formerly concealed, but now revealed. Another aspect of the "mystery" is the inclusion of Jews and Gentiles in one community of faith. There is some debate about whether or not Israel and the Church are the same. The "Body of Christ" and "Bride of Christ" are two metaphors used in the New Testament that refer to the Church.

  • An additional New Testament metaphor for the Church is a "Building," which is made up of the "Cornerstone," "Foundation" and the "Living Stones." "Christ's Flock" is also a metaphor for the Church and relates to Jesus as the "Good Shepherd." There are also passages in the New Testament that give us insight into local congregations by referring to elders as the leaders.

  • New Testament passages give specific instructions about the functions of elders in local congregations. There are also lists qualifications for elders that emphasize character qualities. The roles and qualifications for deacons are also given.

  • The question of the role of men and women in ministry is a significant issue. The main question is, "According to Scripture, is gender particularly and uniquely relevant in assessing whether or not a person is qualified for a given ministry in a church or home?"

    You can download the Roles Handout by right-clicking on the link and selecting the "Save Link As" option. 

  • Different denominations have chosen different models of hierarchy and leadership based on their understanding of Scripture. The two ordinances of the Church are Baptism and the Lord's Supper. They are ordained by Christ, point to the Cross, and are to be done in remembrance of what He has done for us.

  • There is value in studying eschatology besides curiosity about what will happen in the future. The three most common views of the millennium that can be supported by Scripture are postmillennialism, amillennialism and premillennialism. Also related to eschatology is the Scriptural teaching regarding physical death and the intermediate state.

  • Within the premillennial position, there is a difference of opinion on whether the rapture will be pretrib, midtrib or posttrib. Regardless of your position on the millennium, there is clear teaching in Scripture about the final judgment and our eternal state. There will be a final judgment and everyone will spend eternity either in heaven or hell.

The second of a two semester class on Systematic Theology.

1. The Doctrine of the Person and Work of Christ

    II. The Work of Christ

       A. The Past Work of Christ, The Atoning Savior

           1. Theological basis for the cross

           2. Aspects of the Atonement

           3. Ratification of the Efficacy of the Atonement through Christ’s Resurrection

(Lecture begins here)

4. Extent of the Atonement

(note: Much of this topic is covered in handout given by Dr. Ware to the Class, we do not have that available)

a. The issue

The issue regarding the extent of the atonement is not over the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning death. People of both sides of the issue of the extent of the atonement agree that were it God’s purpose to save everyone in the world the death of Christ is sufficient to pay for all sin. They differ over whether or not God actually did that but not over whether He could have; that is in principle if the death of Christ, His payment is sufficient. Those who hold limited atonement do not hold it for the same reason that you are careful about how much you put in your shopping cart; I don’t know if I have enough money for this. Limited atonement is not a function of I bought all I could, namely the elect and that was it, I would of liked more but that is all I could fit in the cart. That is all that Christ’s death was worthy of. That is absolutely rejected. Both sides agree that his death was sufficient for all.

The dispute is not over the efficacy of the atoning death of Christ in the sense that all agree that only those who believe in Christ will be saved and only those who do not believe in Christ will not be saved.

The offer of salvation is not an issue. All agree that everyone should be extended the offer of salvation. When I say “everyone” I am aware of the fact that there is a hyper-Calvinist position that would say God is going to save them, He elected them, we don’t have anything to do with it. There is that hyper Calvinist position but it is a minority view. It does not represent Calvin or the majority of his successors. I think that it fair to say that in the Reformed tradition as indicated by William Carey, Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor, John Piper (one of the most mission minded pastors I know and he is a very committed Calvinist). In the Reformed tradition there is a very strong conviction that the Gospel needs to be proclaimed to all people.

The issue is what is the intention of God in offering His son as an atoning sacrifice?. How you answer that question, what is God’s intention as He offers Christ, you get the two main views; limited and unlimited atonement.

One answer to that question is that it was God’s intention to save people by His Son’s death. Don’t phrase this one as it is His intention to save the elect. Don’t phrase it that way or you will cloud the issue. The issue is His intention is to save, not just make that salvation possible, but His intention is save people. Then the next question is how many? The elect. Why is not all are not saved? Because God did chose to save all. The atonement actually succeeded in saving people as opposed to the second the second answer to the question, what is God’s intention in this? His intention is to provide a payment for any and all people. At this point it does not specify whether there is an elect or not, there could be, there might not be. It doesn’t specify that. The point is that the death of Christ provided a payment for all people which payment is only effective as a savingly belief. In answer to the question, for whom did Christ die? The limited atonement position will say for the elect. Why do they say that? Because His death saves. So why must His death be only for the elect? Because only them are saved and all of them are saved. If His death saves and there is no election or it is universal in its scope then you have universalism. This was part of the fear in the early Calvinist Arminian debate on this issue was Calvinist in the way they were thinking, the atonement saves. If you say the atonement is for all people therefore all are saved. How do avoid universalism? The answer to that from the unlimited atonement view is to say the atonement does not save, it provides a payment by which any who believe will be saved when they believe. But apart from belief they won’t be. For whom did Christ die? The elect. For whom did Christ die? The world would be the two different views.

b. Positions

(1) Limited Atonement View

(a) Statement of the position

Christ died for the purpose of actually and certainly saving people. Since all are not saved, it requires that He died for and hence saved certain people; the elect.

(c) Key texts

These are passages which indicate the Church, or His elect or something like that. Christ laid down His life for His sheep

John 10:11“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

There is a specificity in those texts to a limited number of people.

(c) Key Theological arguments

The efficacy Argument

This is a strong one in the Reformed tradition. It would say that Scripture clearly teaches that Christ came to save His people not just provide something potentially but to save them. Therefore we ought not think of the atonement in potential terms but we ought to think of the atonement in actual terms (actual salvation) because that is what Scripture says.

The Ethical Argument

John Owens makes this point in the Death of Death in the Death of Christ. How could it be just of God to hold people accountable, namely the non-elect, the non-believer, for paying for eternal condemnation if that payment had been made for them? If Christ died for the sins of the world then the payment has been made. Then how could God justly require what appears to a second payment?

(2) The unlimited Atonement View

(a) Statement of the position

I am presenting the classic Arminian position which is not my own although mine looks something like it in certain respects. It also looks something like the Limited Atonement view in certain respects. The Classic Arminian view states that Christ died with the purpose of paying the penalty for sin of all people making it possible for any to be saved.

(b) Key Texts

These are one that emphasize a broadening of the atonement beyond the elect. These are texts that indicate a generality in the atoning work of Christ.

1 Timothy 4:10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

Doesn’t that indicate that believers are a sub category that of the first statement that He is Savior of all men.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

(c) Key Theological arguments

Universal Divine Love.

This argument is huge in Classic Arminianism. How could it be any other way given the love of God for the world that He would not provide a payment for everyone.

Universal Saving Desire Argument.

This matches the Universal Divine Love Argument. He wants everyone to come, He is not willing for anyone to perish but all to come to repentance and go into the world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. So God wants all to be saved, He wants the Gospel to go to all people, He loves all people (God so loved the world). How could He not provide and atonement that would make it possible for anyone and everyone to come. This Arminian argument is bases on texts. I pick up around here sometime a “cocky Calvinism” and think that “cocky Calvinism” is naive. You have to look long an hard at arguments of other positions. You ought to feel the weight of what is there. There is a reason why Arminianism has a staying power. I don’t hold the view, but there is a lot about it that does commend it to people from Scripture. There are also parts of it that are commended in ways that people aren’t aware of; our culture values contribute to that.

(3) The Un/Limited Atonement View

(a) Statement of the position

I don’t know quite what to call it because it means to be a hybrid of the two. Here is why. I am not trying to just to be novel for novel sake or anything like that. I am trying to account for all of Scripture; that is my goal is to be faithful to everything Scripture teaches about the atonement. The judgment I came to a number of years ago in studying this through was that the whole debate was skewed from the very beginning by the very the question was framed. The question was framed in terms of: What was God’s intention (notice the singular word) in providing His Son as a payment for sin? Was it to save the world; provide a payment for the whole world? Was it to save the elect? What was His intention? It strikes me that this issue can be resolved and all the texts accounted for by asking the question instead; what were God’s intentions (plural) in providing Christ? Doesn’t it make sense that a least on the surface that there might have been more than one thing He had in mind? We do that all the time with just simple little things that we do. We talk about killing two birds with one stone, that sort of thing. Wouldn’t it possible that God had in mind more than one thing in this? It is possible. Now go to texts and see. Does the text provide you with different reasons for the atonement or different intentions that were accomplished by the atonement? My argument is yes, it really does help.

(b) I give five intentions.

1. Christ died for died for the purpose of securing the sure and certain salvation of His own; that is the elect.

I put it in that language “securing the sure and certain salvation of the elect.” I think that there are significant problems (theological as well as biblical) with making this point the way five point Calvinists do. Namely, it was God’s intention to save the elect. How can this be? Given the fact that every elect person who ever lives is born into this world not saved. I thought Christ saved them, but that means they are saved when they put their faith in Christ. Paul in Ephesians 2

Ephesians 2:2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Ephesians 2:3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

So tell me Paul how is it Christ died for your sins, right? Yes that is right. And that was done before you were ever born? True (Paul was probably a little tike). Christ died for your sins, yes. It is an accomplished fact, yes. But here you are in this world under God’s wrath, yes. But what about that death of Christ? Didn’t He pay for your sins? Yes. If He paid for it, then how is God is holding it against you which I take it must be case if he is under wrath? What solves this problem? Justification by faith. One of the ironies in my view, of the Calvinist’s five point position is that in principle its articulation of the atonement undermines the necessity of one of the hallmarks of the Reformation; namely justification by faith. Why? Because we have been saved by the death of Christ. So I put it in this language that Christ died for the purpose of securing the sure and certain salvation. In my judgment that accounts for the texts that Christ laid down His life for His sheep and He died for the church etc. There is no question in my mind that when Christ was dying on that cross He knew that this was for in a very specific sense but not the only one. It was not the only one that was being accomplished here but in a very specific sense He was dying for and through this would save His own whom the Father had given to Him. None of them would perish and He would raise them on the last day. His death was doing that. So can you say that He died for the church? Yes, the church are only one of whom He know and He does know this that they will be saved by His death as they come to believe. So that is a sure and certain thing and He knows that.

2. He died for the purpose of paying the penalty for the sin of all people making it possible for all who believe to be saved

I see that as a summary statement of other texts of Scripture that indicate the broader general statements. He is the propitiation for our sins and for those of the whole world (1 John 2:2).

1 John 2:2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

We can quarrel over interpreting, which is totally legitimate, but I have never be convinced that “world” in First John means world of the elect. Look in John at how “kosmos” (κόσμος) is used in it is used one of two ways. It is used as I do not love the world or things of the world, it is used like that; the evil of this world. Or it is used in the comprehensive sense of everybody in the world. It is used on one of those two ways. If it is used of the world of the elect it happens in I John 2:2 there only. That strikes me as weak evidence for the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world (the world of the elect). It is weak evidence for that, it looks like special pleading to me. So I am not convinced of that argument. I think it really does mean the whole world. He really does mean in these other passages that were used earlier under the unlimited view.

2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

The word “bought” is the word for redemption; agorazō (ἀγοράζω). It clear that they are not saved from the context. There is no question he is talking about unsaved people who are going to be judged and says of them they are denying the Master who agorazō (ἀγοράζω) redeemed them.

This second point argues that there is a broader sense in which He paid the penalty for all.

3. Christ died for the purpose of securing the bona fide offer of salvation to all people everywhere

So when you go out, in my view, you can say to people that Christ died for your sins. If you hold the five point Calvinist view you cannot rightly utter those words. You have to say something like Christ died for sinners like you and me. The question is: Are we really offering people the Gospel or not? What is this? Biblically what is the offer? Even J. I. Packer who wrote the forward to Owens Death of Death where he argues for a limited atonement or particular redemption view (I heard a tape of him at a Bethlehem Pastor’s Conference) concede that there was no way to understand the Gospel offer of salvation without it being (1) a true bona fide offer to all people and (2) grounded in the atonement itself. He acknowledges that the text is clear on this and that we have got to qualify our understanding in a way that will accommodate the Gospel being offered to people. Did Christ do anything for them or not?

4. Christ died for the purpose of providing an additional basis for condemnation

Some of the texts talk about this, that His death on the cross actually provides greater basis for condemning as people see, harden their hearts and reject.

5. Christ died for the purpose of reconciling all things to the Father

So passages like Colossians 1:20

Colossians 1:20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

The language, He reconciled all things through the blood of His cross, unmistakably atonement. “things I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven” how do you account for this with an answer to question; for whom did Christ Die? The elect. How do account for He reconciled all things through the blood of His cross.

I think that this issue can solved by taking the best from both views and perhaps adding a thing or two more and seeing the intentions of God as being accomplished in the atonement.

(4) The Cosmic Triumph Purpose

This view was not discussed in class but the students were encouraged to read about it.

(5) Necessity of Saving Faith Argument

This view was not discussed in class but the students were encouraged to read about it.

Think of the word propitiation. He is our propitiation. What does that mean? It means that He satisfied God’s wrath. Or think of redemption. It means that He bought us. What He died for He bought. How can what He bought not be His own? If He is propitiated, how can He not be satisfied? How could there be ongoing demands upon those for who He has been propitiated. Here is the answer to all of those. If it is true as you say (to the five point person) that when Christ died for the sins of the elect He propitiated the wrath of God, there is no wrath against them; He redeemed them, He owns them they are His; He reconciled them, there is no longer any alienation. How do you account for an unsaved elect person? Because an unsaved elect person is still one upon whom the wrath of God is directed. They must believe or face the wrath of God. An unsaved elect person is someone who taking the analogy of Paul in Colossians 1:13, still needs to be transferred from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of His beloved Son.

Colossians 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

This hasn’t happened yet. So where are they now? In the dominion of darkness.

Think of Romans 7, they are dominated by the flesh. They are slaves to sin. But I thought you said all the elect are redeemed. Reconciliation, the same idea. If it cuts this way against the unlimited atonement view that Christ died for the sin of the world, that must mean that they are all propitiated. So the answer to both if these is; Whatever happens in the atonement it also requires faith for a person to be saved. So salvation of people is not sufficiently accounted for by the objective death of Christ apart from subjective appropriation. Both are necessary, which means the death of Christ by itself is not going to save apart from faith. How do people get faith? Here is where my Calvinism shines through. Because God elects some to the objects of His efficacious call upon their lives; Opening blind eyes, enlightening hearts to see the truth of the Gospel of the glory of Christ and believe, saving. So I ground the salvation of the elect, the certainty of the salvation of the elect in election as worked through the cross, efficacious calling and I don’t see the atonement in the way limited atonement people see it who see the atonement as being the ground of their full salvation. No it is bigger than that. It is the atonement plus election, plus the Spirit, It is Father, Son, Spirit, the Father elects, Son dies, the Spirit regenerates. It is a bigger thing than that. Altogether the elect are saved, absolutely and only the elect are saved, absolutely.

I know that it is a huge subject and that I am out of step with a lot of my colleagues whom I love but disagree with on this point. Not all of them though. There are a lot of sort of four pointers around here with different views on how exactly this works. We all agree that it is an issue that we ought to agreeably disagree on. I have been in places where major churches have split over the question of limited atonement and I think that this is tragedy. I know of a mission field, this is Madagascar (I spent a summer in Madagascar when I was young). This whole Christian movement within Madagascar was split over the issue of limited atonement because some Dutch Reformed missionaries who came down and had an ax to grind and they ground it into the ground. It really wrecked havoc. Don’t use truth with a sludge hammer attached to it. Jesus was full of grace and truth. We need to be very careful. It one thing to pronounce judgment like the prophets; it is another thing in dealing with Christian people how we deal with them. We need to be careful.

B. The Present Work of Christ: Christ as Mediator and Lord

1. Christ As Mediator

Paul tells us in Romans 8:34

Romans 8:34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

In Hebrew 7:25 it affirms that Christ always lives to make intercession for His people.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

So amazingly this Lord Jesus Christ of ours is seated at the right hand of the Father. What is the significance of that? Position of favor and honor. The Father is one who governs everything and He is at His right hand so He has, as it were, direct contact with the Father who is the sovereign over all. The same Father who has given to the Son the right to rule over the nations of the world. So we have this picture of authority and here is Christ as mediator, intercessor, the one who is praying for His people. As wonderful as it is to have a grandmother who prays for you as I have until she passed away or a mother (my mother prays for me so much, I will only know in heaven, my dad does to, I shouldn’t leave him out he is a great Christian man, wonderful man he does to, but my mother in particular has a real burden to pray for her son) the Lord Jesus Christ is interceding for you constantly. It is an incredible thing and He longs for your growth and holiness, prays fervently. The wonderful thing about His prayers is that they are according to His will. He knows what to pray and is interceding for us. It is really remarkable.

2. Christ As Lord

The other thing that we learn is that not only is mediator but at that right hand of the Father He is also Lord over this world.

Ephesians 1:19-22 is probably the strongest statement of this. It is so glorious.

Ephesians 1:19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might Ephesians 1:20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, Ephesians 1:21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

He is covering all the bases in terms of other authority or power out there now or in the future, Heaven or in earth, anywhere.

Ephesians 1:22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,

Read the newspaper in the morning with biblical glasses on. Don’t fear terrorist who (1) at the most can kill the body. They can’t touch your soul. (2) Those terrorist out there (Saddam Hussein), even George Bush are under the authority of Christ. They can’t do a cotton picking thing that doesn’t pass through the screen of His all wise universal plan for this world. So take hope. Don’t become distraught and discouraged and depressed and anxious. He is on the throne.

Ephesians 1:22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,

Another way to read the newspaper with Christian eyes is to realize the number one agenda of Christ is not politics. It is not This Week in Review, or the McLaughlin Report; it is not politics. The number one interest that God has in Christ is building His church. Somehow everything that is happening with Saudi Arabia and everywhere else, Russia, China, Indonesia has to do with purposes God has which He is accomplishing through the work of His Son in building the church. Sometime we can see and sometimes we can’t in terms of how that gets done but take great comfort, He is Lord, absolute Lord.

C. The Future Work of Christ: Christ as Coming Judge and Reigning King

1. Christ as Coming Judge

In John 5:22,27 Christ informed the Jews who were questioning Him that the Father had given all judgment to the Son, put it into His hands.

John 5:22 “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,

John 5:27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

This is a remarkable thing in John. Why is it remarkable that He says that the Father has given all judgment to the Son? John 3:16 everyone knows.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

So His first coming is not for judgment, but His second coming will be. People have distorted views of Christ for many reasons but one is a failure to see that the same Lord Jesus Christ of Revelation 19 who comes with a sword extending from His mouth on a great white horse with armies accompanying and wipes out the nations of the world is the same Jesus who touched the leapers, healed them, walked on the water; the same Jesus and He will come as judge over all.

In apostolic preaching the future judgment of Christ is mentioned regularly.

In Acts 10:42 Peter in his sermon to Cornelius includes among the things he said,

Acts 10:42 “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Acts 10:43 “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

We do better in preaching the Gospel that you believe in Christ and be saved. But be saved from what? In other words meet Christ in one of two ways. Meet Christ as Savior by bowing to Him or meet Christ as judge. It will be one or the other. People need to know this.

Acts 17:31 Paul’s sermon at Areopagus

Acts 17:30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, Acts 17:31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

Will believers be judged? Yes, 2 Corinthians 5:10

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

recompensed –rewarded or punished is includes both of those concepts. The punishment will come in the form of no rewards, lacked opportunity, wood hay and stubble that is burned and there is nothing to show for it. I wonder how many people’s ministries, building their own kingdoms, assuming the best that they truly are saved people will have so little to show for so much glitz? The punishment to believers will not be in the form of torment, actual punishment but it will be in the form of lack of reward that would have been given for faithfulness. At the end of the semester we will talk about this discriminate judgment in regard to punishment and discriminate judgment in regard to reward or relative degrees of depending upon the person. People in Hell are judged according to their works, it is not just class action judgment. There is a sense in which that is true but it is each individual person giving an account of what they have done.

The Judgment of Unbelievers

2 Thessalonians 1:7-10

2 Thessalonians 1:7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 2 Thessalonians 1:8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 2 Thessalonians 1:10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.

This passage indicates that the very same moment of Christ’s return which will be for some necessarily unimaginable torment and for others unspeakable joy. Those who are experiencing the unspeakable joy can witness the torment and give God praise. If this is not true, when we see things as they really are, as God sees them, both judgment and salvation are praiseworthy then what God has done cannot be justified. Our eyes will be opened. I often think my good friend Tom Schreiner who teaches here whom I love dearly (We have been friends for 26 or 27 years and went to seminary together and have tracked a fair bit through our lives. He grew up in a Roman Catholic home and most of his brothers and sisters are not saved and his father died recently and there was no confidence that he was saved. Unlike me I grew up in Christian home and all of my family are saved). For Tom it is more of an extensional question in terms of the salvation of loved ones. He has them, unsaved, catholic family lots of kids. Tom has shared with me his confidence that he will one day understand what is not very difficult and that is it was good and right. And the only right thing God could do or should do is to save some and not others. That not others is going to be some of his family, some of his kin.

This text indicates there is one day when Christ comes dealing out retribution. He does this when He comes to be glorified.

Revelation 20:11:15

Revelation 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Revelation 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

2. Christ as Reigning King

He not only comes to be judge of all but to reign as king, the supreme and uncontested rulership of Christ over all is one of the main themes of both Old and New Testaments. When you think of David and kings and how Israel looked for a son of David to come who would be king over them and one who would reign over his kingdom forever and even promised to David in 2 Samuel 7:13

2 Samuel 7:13 “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

You think of the promise in Isaiah 9:7 where this child born, this Son given would have a government that would never end. His rulership would be over all the earth forever.

Isaiah 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

Jeremiah 23:5 which speaks of this righteous Branch who will reign as king

Jeremiah 23:5 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land.

Daniel 2:44 and Daniel 7:14 speak of a coming kingdom of all nations and every language will serve the king.

Daniel 2:44 “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

Daniel 7:14 “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

Zechariah 14:9 the whole earth will belong to the king who is over all.

Zechariah 14:9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.

The whole Bible points up to this coming of Christ. When we read in Revelation 19-22 that He comes as King of Kings and Lord of Lords we realize the promise is now fulfilled. Even now. Christ who is Lord of all is working in a world by His choice. Could He wipe Satan out? Yes. All of this spiritual warfare stuff that elevates Satan and demotes God make me noxious, to be honest with you because God holds Satan’ life in His hands the way you and I can hold a Cheerio and decide to keep it whole or crunch it up into little tiny pieces. This is God and Satan. Let’s get off this thing about this great cosmic war. This is not dualism. God is omnipotent.

When Christ reigns, and His reign is over by His choice of one who is currently the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2), the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). So even now we have not seen the display of the kingdom of Christ in the way that it will be. What a wonderful glorious future this will be when Christ reigns as king.