Anyway, in Chapter 14, Dr. Morecraft covers questions 57-61 (or rather, I should say, what these questions discuss).
To begin then...The Accomplishments of Redemption:
Being God the Son in human flesh, Jesus Christ accomplished what He set out to do—redeem His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). Jesus gave Himself up “to redeem us from every lawless deed” (Titus 2:14). By His death on the cross, He actually “obtained eternal redemption,” for everyone for whom He died (Heb. 9:12). (278)
Redemption means to be delivered from the tyranny of sin, the power of Satan, and the curse of broken Law by the purchase (ransom) of Christ’s obedient life and sacrificial death as our Substitute....Christ was slain to “purchase for God” with
His blood, “men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). (278-279)
The Bible emphasizes that Christ not only intended to redeem us by His death; but that He actually did redeem us by His death. When, on the cross, He cried, “It is finished,” He was declaring His decisive completion of His divine assignment to save God’s chosen people from their sins. In this victory-shout, He was addressing
God, Satan, those whom He redeemed and the lost world. (279)
The Larger Catechism says that Christ has “procured” our redemption....A procured salvation is a secured salvation, one actually accomplished and put into effect. (279)
So then, Christ has actually accomplished, for all for whom He died, redemption from sin, Satan, and bondage to the Law’s curse, “once-for-all” in His death on the cross. Notice how the Bible speaks of the accomplishments of Christ’s death in the past tense: “redeemed, purchased, bought, obtained, finished.” The emphasis of the Bible is not how Christ will or may redeem us sometime in the future, if we let Him do so; but rather, its emphasis is on the fact that He has fully, finally and eternally redeemed all those for whom He died on Calvary. (279-280)
Hebrews repeatedly emphasizes that Christ’s death was a “once-for- all” settlement of our salvation (Heb. 9:26, 28; 7:27; 9:12; 10:10)....Our High Priest became our substitutionary Victim. His self-sacrifice was so perfect, so pleasing to God, that it fully satisfied God’s justice, totally removed the curse of the Law and completely broke the tyranny of sin for all those for whom He sacrificed His life. In the words of Hebrews 9:12, He actually “obtained eternal redemption” for us. (280-281)
First, Hebrews 9:15–20 is rooted in the “pledge-to-death” ritual inaugurating the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 15:8 and the Mosaic Covenant in Exodus 24:8f....In this ritual, the covenant participants pledge themselves to a life-and-death bond. The emphasis in Genesis 15 is that God the Creator binds Himself to Abram and His descendants (Gal. 3:29) by a solemn blood-oath, a self-maledictory oath, saying, in effect, “May I die, as these animals have died, if ever I am unfaithful to My covenant promises.” ...Throughout the Old Testament, allusions to this ritual confirm the unity of the Biblical covenants....God’s pledge to His people draws out from them a corresponding commitment. Hebrews 9:15 interprets the death of Christ in terms of the “pledge-to-death” ritual inaugurating the Abrahamic Covenant and re-enacted in the Mosaic Covenant. God promises to execute covenant-breakers with the death-curse. Hebrews 9:15f explains that God also promises deliverance from thatcurse for penitent covenant-breakers by placing that death-curse on Christ in their place. (282-284)
Second, the dominant key word in Hebrews 9:15–20 is the word “covenant” (diatheke in Greek)....
The sprinkled blood mentioned here refers to the ritual of Moses by which God and Israel consecrated themselves to one another in a bond of life-and-death friendship. In that sense, it can be said that His death sealed, confirmed, established and made effective the covenant bond....So then, Christ’s death, at one and the same time, perfectly removed the curse of the Law from God’s people, and activated the blessings of the New Covenant to them. (284)
Christ accomplished our salvation in history. He now, as the exalted, reigning Christ, sends His Holy Spirit to apply that salvation in the life-histories of individual believers. (285)
"[W]e must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us.… Yet since we see that not all indiscriminately embrace that communion with Christ which is offered through the gospel, reason itself teaches us to climb higher and to examine into the secret energy of the Spirit, by which we come to enjoy Christ and all his benefits.… To sum
up, the Holy Spirit is the bond by which Christ effectually unites us to himself." 8. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1960), 1:537–38. (285-286)
The covenant benefits of redemption are received by faith in Christ alone; and the faith by which we receive them is itself a gift of God purchased for us by Christ and given us by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:8–9)....As Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44). (286)
Faith is not only the work of God, it is also the duty of man: “Believe on the Lord Jesus” Acts 16:31 commands us. But because fallen man is totally depraved and incapacitated by his sin, he cannot and will not believe in Christ (Rom. 8:7, 8)....
It is everybody’s duty to believe in Jesus because God commands everybody to do so (1 John 3:23; Acts 17:30). The command of God is everybody’s warrant to believe in Jesus Christ, if he will. But to will to believe and to believe are gifts of the Spirit, beyond the reach of fallen man in his own strength. A person must be given the gift of faith by the Holy Spirit or he will never believe in Christ. (288)
Since it is impossible for a person to believe unless enabled by the Spirit of God, who, like the wind, blows wherever He desires, some have wrongly concluded that in evangelism, we should not press people to believe in Jesus. Are we not trying to do the Spirit’s work in pressing, urging, and trying to persuade people to believe in Jesus immediately?...In evangelism God has called us to do all we can legitimately do to press the lost sinner to believe in Christ TODAY: “Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation’” (2 Cor. 6:2)....We present the claims of the gospel in this manner for several reasons. (1) We crave the conversion of the sinner, and so we are emotionally involved in our presentation of the gospel to him. (2) There is an urgency in his believing, for he has no promise of tomorrow. (3) The presentationof the gospel is from real human beings to real human beings,
and we must present the whole gospel to the whole man. (288)
[Warfield says] "It affirms only that there is no natural strength within us by which we may attain to belief. But this is far from asserting that on making the effort we shall find it impossible to believe. We may believe, in God’s strength. Our case is parallel to that of the man with the withered hand. He knew he could not stretch it forth: that was the very characteristic of a withered hand—it was impotent. But Christ commanded, and he stretched it forth. So God commands what He wills and gives while He commands. ...”11
Warfield goes on to give three helpful and practical words of advice on how to press lost and helpless sinners to come to Christ in faith.
First, "Something may be done toward removing the difficulty by pointing out the nature of the puzzle into which the mind has fallen.… No man can know, then, whether he is unable save [except] by striving to act.… the doctrine of inability does not affirm that we cannot believe, but only that we cannot believe in our own strength." 12
Second, " In order to incite to the requisite action we may uncover the frequent commands of God to believe and the frequent unlimited and universal promises of acceptance. We may show that man has nothing to do with God’s part in the work, but only with his own; and pressing the commands and pleading the promises, excite to the effort, depending on God’s promises." 13
Third, "To drive home the appeal we may emphasize the dangers of delay, and the roots of it in a sinful state.… “God’s reign in your hearts is pressed upon you.… But you say you can do nothing without grace; you are waiting for it. Ah, there is reason to fear that to all thy other sins thou art adding the sin of hypocrisy. Thou art not waiting for grace, but in thy secret heart for something very different. Determined to cherish thy self-righteousness, thou art waiting for self-indulgence,
waiting for earthly goods and pleasures. God does offer thee grace, but thou wishest to remain graceless. Thou mightest be made humble, but thou art determined to remain proud.…Friend, I would strip you of these false pretexts by which thou art deceiving thyself, but by which thou canst not deceive God.… Let there be a surrender at once of thy self-will. Commit thyself at once and implicitly into God’s hands.”… This seems to me an admirable specimen of faithful dealingwith such souls: they are not to be argued with but pressed to come at once to Jesus." 15
11. Warfield, Selected Shorter Writings, 2:726.
12. Warfield, Selected Shorter Writings, 2:726.
13. Warfield, Selected Shorter Writings, 2:726–27.
14. Warfield, Selected Shorter Writings, 2:727.
15. Warfield, Selected Shorter Writings, 2:727–28. (289-291)
The Bible is emphatic and unequivocal: everybody who truly believes in Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior will certainly be saved from sin and hell (Rom. 3:26; Acts 16:31), having been chosen, regenerated and enabled by the Holy Spirit to believe the gospel. And the Bible is just as unequivocal in its declaration that all those who do not believe in Jesus are lost; and if they die in their unbelief, they
will be in hell forever. (291)
But the question always comes up: what about those who have never heard the gospel? Are they saved or lost? The only conclusion we can draw from the Bible is that they are unsaved. This is certain for at least three reasons.
(1) Without the Biblical gospel no one can know Jesus Christ. We cannot know God personally except through Christ (John 17:3); and we cannot know Christ personally except throughHis revealed gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16). ...
(2) Without personal knowledge of Christ, we cannot believe in Christ....No one can have faith in Christ unless he hears the voice of Christ in the voice of the church of
Christ sent out with the gospel of Christ...
(3) Without true faith in Jesus Christ we cannot be saved. (292)
Spiritual ignorance and unbelief are always presented in the Bible as the reasons why an unbelieving person, wherever he is, cannot be saved. Unbelief stands between all men and God until they have been given faith to believe Christ, according to the gospel. The fault lies in them, just as the credit for the believer’s salvation lies in God. (292)
People who have never heard the gospel are lost regardless of anything they may do to try to get right with God without the gospel. Regardless of their diligence in following “the light of nature,” they will perish....All attempts to reach God by reason or through experience will fail because of the incomprehensibility of
God, the perversion of man by sin, and the insufficiency of creation to reveal that which is necessary for salvation. Creation reveals God as Creator; but only the Bible reveals Him as Savior. (293)
Regardless of all his efforts to live by the laws of his religion, the person who has never heard the gospel and who lives and dies in that condition, will surely perish. Man cannot earn or merit his way to God for two reasons. (1) “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isa. 64:6). Sin pollutes and corrupts all aspects of the human being because it is rooted in the heart. Therefore, the righteous deeds that people do to “make points” with God are disgusting and filthy in the sight of God....(2) “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (Rom. 3:28).
God’s ONE way of salvation revealed in the Bible is through faith in Christ alone and not by meritorious observance of Laws. (293-294)
But one may ask: what about those verses in the Bible that call Christ “the Savior of the world?” In the light of our present discussion, what does this imply? In what sense is Jesus the Savior of the world? (295-296)
In 1 Timothy 4:10, the living God is said to be “the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.”...But how does He “save” all men?...God graciously and often delivers all people from temporal difficulties for His own purposes, especially
for the manifestation of His abundant generosity, so that we will be led to repentance (Rom. 2:4). Therefore, in some sense, God saves all people without exception, even the reprobate, from some of the terrible effects of sin in this lifetime. (296)
In 1 John 4:14, Jesus is called “the Savior of the world.” In John’s writings, “world” refers to sinful human society, estranged from God and under the dominion of Satan (2:15; 4:5). God sent His Son, Jesus, to bring salvation to a lost world in rebellion against God. (296-297)
But Jesus is also “the Savior of the world” in a deeper sense. As R. B. Kuiper has written:
"There is no contradiction in saying that Christ died for His people and that He died for the world. However few or many His people may be today or tomorrow, in the end His people will be the world.… The elect are not just so many individuals, but collectively they constitute the church. And men are not so many particles separated from one another as isolated units. On the contrary, they are members of that organism which is known as the human race. Therefore the divine plan of salvation deals not merely with individuals, but with the greater units of which these individuals are the constituent elements. God designed that Christ by His death should purchase His church and should redeem mankind." 17 ...
"It is helpful to remember that the salvation of the world, like the salvation of the individual, is a process. Individuals are saved by stages. Regeneration, conversion and active faith, justification and adoption, sanctification and glorification
follow one another… Every saved person on earth still needs to be saved.… Likewise the salvation of the world is a process. Only gradually and with many interruptions does it proceed to completion." 18
17. R.B. Kuiper, For Whom Did Christ Die? (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. EerdmansPublishing Co., 1959), 95–6.
18. Kuiper, For Whom Did Christ Die, 96. (Study Rom. 8:19–22; Eph. 1:10 and Col. 1:20f for Biblical support of this view.) (297)
The Larger Catechism goes even farther in saying that all those who hear the gospel and who grow up in the visible church, but who never truly come to Christ, are also lost, unless they are members of the invisible church....A profession of faith and church membership alone are not sufficient to save us. We are saved through faith in Christ alone. Anyone can make a profession of faith or join a church. (298)
Not every one in the “visible” church is saved, but everyone in the “invisible” church is saved; and ordinarily everyone in the “invisible” church is a member in the “visible” church. The visible-invisible distinction is an historical way of getting at the Biblical idea that mere membership in the institutional (visible), church does not guarantee one’s salvation....The invisible church, transcending all Christian denominations, is comprised only of the elect. These are not two different churches. (299)
The church of Christ may have visible and invisible aspects, but the church is the church, and it may not be despised or neglected. The church is "that visible entity that exists and functions in accord with the institution of Christ as its Head, the church that is the body of Christ indwelt and directed by the Holy Spirit, consisting
of those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints, manifested in the congregations of the faithful, and finally the church glorious, holy and without blemish." 23. Murray, Collected Writings of John Murray, 4 vols. (Edinburgh, Scotland: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1977), 1:236. (300)