Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | February 3, 2008

Lord’s Day Quote: Meredith Kline

The function of probationer that Christ assumed as the true Israel-Servant was more basically his in terms of his identity as second Adam (Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:45-47). The covenant with the first Adam was a works-probation arrangement. Hence, for the Son to covenant with the Father to become a second Adam meant he must win the promised messianic exaltation (which he shares with his own) as the reward for a victory of obedience in a probationary mission. This is implicit in CH (central hinge) in the Branch’s role of building the temple of the Lord (Zech. 6:12c, 13a), for, as we have seen, the prelude to and qualification for temple construction was regulary the faithful waging of the Lord’s battle against his enemies. Messiah’s temple building presupposes his victorious warfare against Satan. That was the specific probationary task whose accomplishment established his right to requisition the materials and build God’s temple, and indeed to take his place on the divine throne in the holy of holies.  

As advertised by his birth under the Torah covenant of works (Gal. 4:4), Christ came to earth as one under the intratrinitarian covenant of works. It was by fulfilling the probation of that supernal works covenant that he became the mediator of the Covenant of Grace, the covenant in which his people become by faith joint-heirs with their Lord of the eternal kingdom of glory (Heb. 9:14; Rom. 8:17). Law is thus foundational to gospel; gospel-grace honors the demands of divine justice as definitively expressed in law covenant. In Rom. 3:31 Paul makes this point forcefully: “Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? God forbid; nay we establish the law.” The apostle is not concerned here with the normative nature of the Mosaic laws but with the law as a covenant governed by the principle of works in contrast to the gospel with its principle of grace. And even though he is arguing that we are justified not by works but by grace through faith, he insists emphatically on the continuing validity of the works principle as foundational to the gospel order. It is by the obedience of the one that the many are made righteous (Rom. 5:19).  

Messiah’s exaltation would follow humiliation. The way to the Sabbath throne on Har Magedon led through the abyss of Gehenna. As stipulated in his covenant with the Father, the Son must become incarnate in human likeness and be obedient unto the death of the Cross (Phil. 2:5-11). It would be because of his obedience as the suffering Servant of the Lord that he was lifted up very high (Isa. 52:13-53:12). In CH, Messiah’s descent prior to his ascent is intimated by the designating of him as the Branch who comes forth from the human line of David (Zech. 6:12a, b; cf. Isa. 53:2), the Branch who is the suffering Servant (Zech. 3:8).

Sharpening the point that Christ earns his exaltation as a due reward is the identification of his inheritance possession as something he has purchased. “Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people for his own possession” (Titus 2:13, 14; cf. Eph. 1:14). Giving the redeemed to him as his allotted portion is an act of justice, pure and simple. They belong to him by virtue of his paying the purchase price as stipulated in the supernal covenant of grant.

And the purchase price itself tells us again of the humiliation and suffering that was the appointed way to Christ’s ultimate exaltation. “You were redeemed … with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Pet. 1:18, 19; cf. Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:12). It was “with his own blood” that the Lord acquired the church, his bride (Acts 20:28; cf. Rev. 7:14, 19:7, 8; 21:2, 9). This note sounds forever in the music of heaven acclaiming the exalted Redeemer: “You are worthy to take the book and to open its seal;47 for you were slain and have purchased to God by your blood (a throng) from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).

Meredith Kline, The Exaltation of Christ (http://www.kerux.com/documents/keruxv12n3a1.asp)

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Responses

  1. Great quote!

    And Christ carries us up in the train of His robe of victory!

  2. I recommend the whole essay as well.


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