THE ANSWER OF CHRIST
As at the first, in order to a correct understanding of the meaning of Christ's mission, it was necessary to consider the nature and extent of the calamity which constituted the call for Christ, so now at the close of the articles it will be profitable to contemplate how perfectly He has responded, in the plenteous redemption He has provided.
The statement of the case concerning that provision may be made in three propositions, which correspond to the threefold statement concerning man's need,
1st, Man restored to God by Christ.
2nd, Man knowing God through Christ.
3rd, Man-made like God in Christ.
The actual experience of the threefold redemption in human life always results from the direct work of the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father had promised, and Who was given through the Son on the day of Pentecost dispensationally, and to each individual for indwelling life, when in response to His work of conviction from without, Jesus is glorified. As these articles are to be devoted rather to an examination of the resulting facts than to the initial act, it is fitting that that act should first be dealt with briefly, as to its condition and its actuality.
The first work of the Spirit with fallen man is that of producing conviction concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. All these subjects are dealt with, however, from the center of Christ and His work. Sin is shown to consist in the rejection of the Savior; righteousness is declared to be possible through the fact of His ascension; and judgment is pronounced against all rebellion, "Because the prince of this world hath been judged." (John 16:8-11) The initial work of grace therefore is that of bringing the sinner to a consciousness of the truth concerning these vital matters. At this point human responsibility commences. If man refuses to yield to the truth understood, he remains outside the sphere of salvation. If on the other hand, he responds to conviction by submission to Christ, and trust in Him, then the spirit performs the stupendous miracle of regeneration. By communicating to the man "dead through trespasses and sins," (Eph. 2:1) the life of Christ, He quickens his spirit. This act of God restores man to his own true balance and proportion, lifting to the throne of his personality the spirit so long neglected, and dethroning the flesh so long having occupied the place of power. More than this, the Spirit of God enters now into a PERPETUAL PARTNERSHIP with the spirit of man, and thus initiates the life of power and of victory.
Upon the basis of this statement it is now possible to pass to an examination of the redemption provided, under the propositions stated.