Five Purposes of God in the Work of Redemption

Five Purposes of God in the Work of Redemption

The final portion of Jonathan Edwards’ first sermon on “A History of the Work of Redemption” relates five designs of God in the great work that he carries on from the fall to the end of the world.

  1. According to 1 Corinthians 15:25 and 1 John 3:8, “one great design of God in the affair of redemption was to reduce and subdue those enemies of God till they should all be put under God's feet.”
  2. God’s design was “perfectly to restore all the ruins of the fall,” including both souls and body of elect men, and the physical world, so that there is a new heavens and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17).
  3. God aims “to bring all elect creatures in heaven and earth to an union one to another, in one body under one head, and to unite all together in one body to God the Father” (Ephesians 1:11).
  4. God designed “to advance all the elect to an exceeding pitch of glory, such as eye has not seen.” This glory includes the beauty, excellency, pleasure, and joy of the church and the elect angels.
  5. “In all this God designed to accomplish the glory of the blessed Trinity in an exceeding degree. God had a design of glorifying himself from eternity, to glorify each person in the Godhead… It was his design in this work to glorify his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in this great work, and it was his design by the Son to glorify the Father (John 13:31–32; 17:1). And [also] that the Son should thus be glorified and should glorify the Father by what should be accomplished by the Spirit to the glory of the Spirit, that the whole Trinity conjunctly and each person singly might be exceedingly glorified.”

Conquering evil, restoring the world, uniting all things, beautifying the elect, and glorifying the Godhead: This is what God aimed at in his great work of redemption.

Joe Rigney (@joe_rigney) is Assistant Professor of Theology and Christian Worldview at Bethlehem College and Seminary and author of Live Like a Narnian: Christian Discipleship in Lewis’s Chronicles.