Nathan A. Finn

Historian, Theologian, Teacher, Preacher



April 2013



The Gospel’s Redeeming Relationships

Written by , Posted in Books, Ministry, Theology

I’m currently reading Robert Cheong’s new book God Redeeming His Bride: A Handbook for Church Discipline (Christian Focus, 2012). I’m really enjoying it so far, and though I haven’t quite finished it, I’m confident that I can recommend it as a helpful resource for pastors and other church leaders. The combination of theological exposition and practical suggestions make a welcome contribution to the growing literature related to church discipline, polity, practical ecclesiology, etc. If you want to study this important topic, especially if you are a pastor, you should also check out Jonathan Leeman’s excellent book Church Discipline: How the Church Protects the Name of Jesus (Crossway, 2012) and the relevant chapters in Those Who Must Give An Account: A Study of Church Membership and Church Academic, 2012).

Incidentally, church discipline is not the subject of this post. In his opening section on the nature of redemption, Cheong provides a wonderful short summary of how the “moral” attributes of our Triune God are modeled in our redemption and ultimately reflected, through sanctification, in the lives of the redeemed.

The redeeming work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit provides a beautiful and comprehensive portrait of our redeeming God. The story of God’s redemption of rebellious, hopeless, self-exalting, idolatrous, and unbelieving humans reveals:

  1. God the Father’s patience, mercy, sovereignty, justice, wrath, forgiveness, and love towards us;
  2. God the Son’s humble, sinless, sacrificial, self-giving, and redeeming life, death, and resurrection; and
  3. God the Spirit’s abiding, comforting, interceding and sanctifying work in us

God brings about progressive gospel change in His people through the relationship and work of each person of the Trinity so that we might live as a family in the Kingdom of God by faith in Christ and conform more and more to His image.

Evangelicals, especially those with more reformed inclinations, have a fairly solid track record when it comes to discussing the primary role each member of the Trinity plays in our redemption. For example, many would agree that the Father takes the primary role in electing us for redemption, the Son takes the primary role in securing our redemption, and the Spirit takes the primary role in the application of our redemption. I see Cheong’s short summary as a fine complementary argument about the Triune Lord who redeems us and how he forms us to reflect his character for his glory.