This book is an excellent, concise theological work on Christ’s atoning work on the cross and how it is applied to the life of believers to save them, from its very inception until its final consummation. It is absolutely essential for believers to understand the depths of the value of the work of Christ on the cross and how that saves them, from the first granting of faith, to our glorification with Christ at His revelation when He returns to judge the world in righteousness. If we do not understand from the details given in the Scriptures of how we were saved, how we persevere in our faith (by Christ’s power in us), and what will become of us in the end, we will not appreciate how amazing the plan of God has been from all eternity to save His people.
The first part of the book, consisting of five chapters, deals with the atonement of Christ, particularly its necessity, its nature, its perfection, its extent, and finally concluding remarks on the subject. The second part then deals with the Ordo Salutis, that is, the order of salvation. Before you even go into the Ordo Salutis though, you must first grasp the presentation of the work of Christ on our behalf in the Word. A fundamental misunderstanding at this point affects ultimately how you view that work applied to the life of the believer. I will not go into this here; you will just have to read the book. 🙂
In the second part, Murray shows from Scripture the process from beginning to end of how Christ’s work is applied to us.
1) The believer to be saved by the atoning work of Christ is first effectually called by the Holy Spirit through the indiscriminate preaching of the Gospel.
2) Then, by the power of God alone in that call to salvation, the sinner to be saved is regenerated out of that state of sin we are all naturally born in, under the blindness and hardness of the wrath of God; that is by nature we were children of wrath like the rest of mankind (Ephesians 2:3).
3) Next, as a result of this regenerative work of the Holy Spirit, faith and repentance are produced in the soul (by Christ’s atoning work), where the sinner desires Christ more than their sin, seeing it as repulsive and Christ as a beautiful and merciful Savior. In this work of the Spirit, we are given eyes to see, ears to hear, our hearts of stone are effectually taken out and a heart of flesh is put in its place that is loving, obedient and responsive to God, fulfilling the word of the Spirit spoken in Ezekiel 36:26-27.
4) Then as a result of this faith in Christ granted as a gift by the Father (Ephesians 2:8-9, John 6:44) that we may surely be saved, we are justified and counted righteous by Christ’s work on our behalf.
5) Next, because of our justification, we are received into the fellowship of the saved, as a child of God, adopted into His kingdom as fellow heirs with Christ.
6) Over the life of the believer, sanctification occurs and the redeemed in Christ are progressively (albeit imperfectly) made more into His image (though this process is never perfected in this life until we die, which always keeps us in a humble state of empty-handedness before Him knowing we can only receive that which is granted by His loving hand).
7) As a result of the supernatural faith-sustaining power of God over the believers’ life, never shall they turn back and abandon their Savior and thus be lost because they are born anew, adopted and can never lose that status. However it is not by their power but God’s sustaining them.
The flip side of this coin though, or the negative side, is that if you see no supernatural, progressive, effectual work in your life (though not perfect of course!) and yet claim Christ as your Lord, it may be you don’t have divine faith imparted by God, something the Scriptures tell us to confirm (Philippians 2:12, 2 Peter 1:5-11). A truly saved person will always be supernaturally changed by the work of God. To say otherwise is to call God’s work of giving people new birth (i.e. spiritual birth from among the dead) a lie. The new birth always creates a new person, redeemed in the image of Christ (though, again, not perfect). No saved person permanently slides into and continues in deadly, soul-destroying unbelief concerning the things of God, manifested in visible evidences of blatant, perpetual sinning (i.e. the Carnal Christian heresy, spoken against clearly in 1 John). God will always work to preserve the saved by His power, and though they may stumble in grave sin even, God will always work to bring them back to Himself.
– Before speaking on glorification in the final chapter, Murray discusses how in each of these points within the sinner that is being saved, they are all in relation to our being united to Christ. This is important to note because each of these can seem to be separate from Him in some fashion. But rather, each of these is directly as a result of our being united to Him, and this unity pervades every point of the life of the believer, from beginning to end.
8) Finally, Murray makes the important note that many view glorification as occurring simply at death. However, he makes very clear that final glorification occurs when our bodies are reunited with our souls and we are resurrected from the death in the same manner as Christ was raised from the dead. He notes that it is a grave error to simply think of glorification in terms of just being done with this life and going to be with Christ (though that is definitely part of it). Rather he shows how we need to always be looking forward to the final resurrection when everything will be made anew and all of His people will be without sin, and we can enjoy our Savior forever in His presence, our greatest joy in all things.
This is an excellent book and should be read by every believer as a part of basic Christian curriculum because of how the process of our salvation in Christ is laid out so eloquently and beautifully by Murray.
Here is a link to order the book now on MonergismBooks.com:
http://www.monergismbooks.com/Redemptio … 16909.html