The following series was a paper submitted for the course ST 711 at Reformed Baptist Seminary. It has been adapted into blog posts.
This table was adapted from Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 594-595. Bavinck does hasten to clarify that “These benefits, though distinct, are not separate. Like faith, hope, and love, they form a threefold cord that cannot be broken,” 595.
|What is sin?||Sin is guilt, for it involves a breaking of the covenant of works||Sin is pollution, for it involves a loss of the image of God||Sin is misery, for it involves a subjection to the power of corruption|
|How did Christ deliver us from sin?||Christ delivered us from the guilt of sin by His suffering||Christ delivered us from the pollution of sin by His meeting the demands of the law||Christ delivered us from the misery of sin by His victory over death|
|What are the benefits of Christ’s works of redemption? What are the blessings of Christ?||(a) He restores the right relation of man to God and to all creatures by justification, including the forgiveness of sins, the adoption of children, peace with God, and glorious liberty.||(b) He renews man in the image of God by regeneration, internal calling, conversion, renewal, and sanctification.||© He preserves man for his eternal inheritance, delivers him from suffering and death, and puts him in possession of eternal salvation by preservation, perseverance, and glorification.|
|How does the work of the Spirit apply these things to the beneficiaries of Christ’s salvation work?||The first group of blessings is granted unto us by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, is accepted by faith, and sets our conscience free.||The second is imparted to us by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, renews us, and redeems us from the power of sin.||And the third flows to us by the persevering, guiding, and sealing work of the Holy Spirit as the earnest of our complete redemption, and delivers us, body and soul, from the dominion of misery and death.|
|How does the anointing of the Holy Spirit relate to the blessings of Christ’s work of redemption?||The first group of blessings anoints us as prophets.||The second group of blessings anoints us as priests.||and the third group of blessings anoints us as kings.|
|How do we appropriate these blessings in Christian life?||In connection with the first we look back to the finished work of Christ on the cross, where our sins were atoned.||In connection with the second we look up to the living Lord in heaven, who as High Priest is seated at the right hand of the Father.||And in connection with the third we look forward to the future coming of Jesus Christ, in which He will subject all enemies and will surrender the kingdom to the Father.|
This table was adapted from John Frame, A Primer on Perspectivalism (2012, http://frame-poythress.org/a-primer-on-perspectivalism/); John Frame. The Doctrine of the Christian Life (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Publishing, 2008), 31-27. “Neither of these functions without the others. So each is a perspective on the whole process of salvation… there are dangers in overemphasizing one of these over against the others” (Frame, Primer on Perspectivalism).
|Human epistemology||God’s Lordship/ Questions about the 3 perspectives of knowledge:||Ethics (secular ethics errs in trying to separate the deontological, teleological, and existential lines, but biblical ethics includes all three perspectives)||Offices of Christ, and those brought into union with him;|
(Aspects of salvation…)
|Normative||Norms/rules of knowledge (logic, reason, etc.)/God’s authoritative revelation (mediates knower and known)||God’s authority for human knowledge/“What do God’s norms direct us to believe?”||Normatively, we seek to obey God’s authoritative word, his law (i.e., deontological ethics).||Christ’s prophetic office represents his authority as the Word of God; we too are prophets in the sense that we bear the gospel message to the world|
(Aspects of salvation: God speaking an authoritative word to proclaim his grace and to indicate his people’s continuing obligations to him (the “law of God”)
|Situational||Object/what is known/the world||Control: the world God made and maintains/“What are the facts?”||Situationally, we seek to apply that law to situations (which are themselves a general revelation) so as to maximize divine blessing, the highest happiness (i.e., teleological ethics)||Christ’s kingship represents his control; we too are kings in that “all things are ours” (1 Cor. 3:22-23)|
(Aspects of salvation: Redemption accomplished: God acting mightily in history to redeem his people, his controlling power expressing itself in grace)
|Existential||Subject/knower/ person who lives in the face of God||The knower, standing in the presence of God/“What belief is most satisfying to a believing heart?”||Existentially, we seek the inner satisfaction of living as God designed us to live, in his presence (i.e., existential ethics).||Christ’s priesthood, his presence, represents his work on behalf of his people in history; we too are priests in the sense of the priesthood of all believers, following 1 Pet 2:4-5|
(Aspects of salvation: Redemption applied: God coming to be among and within his people.)