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“The Manifold Wisdom of God”
Redemption — The Revelation of God’s Glory
Ephesians 3:10 — Isaiah 43:21
The Lord God has made all things for himself, for his own praise and glory. And all things in creation and providence serve that purpose. In one way or another all his works praise him. God’s glory is revealed in them all. But as one star differs from another in glory, so the glory of God shines more brightly in some of his works than in others. All God’s other works are stars of light, for which we are very thankful; but redemption is like the sun shining in its strength to show forth the great glory of God.
In Ephesians 3:10 the Spirit of God declares that the redemption of our souls is the showing forth of “the manifold wisdom of God.” Here is the manifold wisdom of God. — Redemption reveals the manifold wisdom of God, for our redemption in and by the Lord Jesus Christ secures God’s universal and eternal praise as the greatest possible revelation of his glory.
In Ephesians 1 the Apostle Paul tells us three times that the whole purpose of God in the covenant of redemption is that we who are redeemed should be to the praise of his glory (vv. 6, 12, 14).
In Isaiah 43, we see Israel in captivity and bondage. But their bondage was not by accident. Yes, it was the result of their unbelief and sin. God brought Israel under the yoke of the Babylonians because of their sin. But long before Israel sinned against him, and long before the king of Babylon captured them, God determined to glorify himself in the redemption of his elect nation from Babylonian captivity. He says, in verse 21, “This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.”
A Chosen People
There is an elect multitude of men and women in this world, whom God has formed for himself. They are, like all other people, fallen, depraved, condemned sinners by nature, in bondage to sin and Satan, “children of wrath, even as others.” But God says, concerning this elect multitude, “They shall show forth my praise.” God’s saints show forth his praise in many ways. Our faith in Christ shows forth God’s praise. God’s saints show forth his praise in their manner of life, living “soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” The consecrated life of the heaven-born soul shows forth praise to the God of all grace. And we show forth the praise of our God as we bear witness of Christ and the Gospel of the grace of God.
But the Lord God is not talking about us showing forth his praise by something we do for him. That fact is made obvious in verses 22-26. Here the Lord God declares that we show forth his praise by the great work he does for and in us — Redemption. The redemption of sinners in, by, and for the Lord Jesus Christ shows forth the praise, honor, and glory of the triune God.
Redemption glorifies the triune God because redemption is God’s work alone. “Redemption signifies the obtaining of something by paying a proper price for it” (John Gill). Generally, when we talk about redemption, we limit our thoughts to the price that Christ paid for our ransom upon the cross. We think only about the suffering and death of Christ. But that is a mistake. Redemption is a term that is almost synonymous with salvation. Certainly, our redemption was obtained by the precious blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:12). But redemption is more than the death of Christ for us. It encompasses all the glorious consequences of Christ’s death, which are effectually and infallibly applied to God’s elect by his grace. This redemption, from beginning to end, is the work of God alone.
Throughout the Word of God, wherever redemption is spoken of, wherever it is spoken of prophetically, portrayed in type, and taught, it is set forth as an effectual work of God’s almighty grace. It is not the work of man’s will, or man’s decision, or man’s obedience. It is the work of God alone. God chose the people he would redeem. God provided the Redeemer. God accomplished the work of redemption. And God applies the redemption he accomplished to the people he has redeemed.