The Work of Christ - Introduction

The Work of Christ
Past, Present and Future
by A.C. Gaebelein

arno gabeleinThe Word of God reveals, that all things were created by and for the Son of God. "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3). "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him" (Col. 1:16). When this perfect creation was ruined by the entrance of sin, when man fell and all creation on account of that fall was brought into the bondage of corruption, the work of redemption became a necessity. No creature of God was fitted or fit to do this. Only the Son of God, the Creator Himself, could undertake this mighty work and accomplish it to the Praise and Glory of God. To do this great work, He had to appear on this earth in the form of man.

A Threefold Aspect.

This work of the Son of God has a threefold aspect. It is a past work, a present work, and beyond the present, there is His future work. His work and service will terminate when He delivers up the kingdom, so that God will be all in all (1 Cor. 15:24-28). This threefold aspect of His work corresponds to His threefold office as Prophet, Priest and King. It has a special meaning for the church. In Ephesians 5:25-27, we read of this. He loved the church and gave Himself for it; this is His past work. Since then He is sanctifying the church by the washing of water by the Word, and in the future He will present it to Himself, a glorious church. In virtue of this threefold work of our Lord, believers are saved, are being saved, and will be saved. This threefold work has also a significance for the people Israel. When he came and went to the cross, He died "for that nation." (John 11:51-52). During the present age His earthly people are not cast away; their miraculous preservation on earth, their continued, separate existence is due to Himself. In the future when He appears as their Redeemer and claims the purchased possession, He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. And to this we might also add the relation of His work to creation itself, the nations of the earth, and to Satan and his rule.

These brief remarks show the importance of distinguishing between this threefold aspect of His work. A Christian who is ignorant of it must be confused in his conception of the truth. He is unable to understand the Word of God, and is unsettled, and even miserable in his Christian experience. Such, alas! is the present condition of a large number of professing Christians. Many are ignorant of what the finished work of Christ on the cross means. On account of this ignorance, they are ever trying to do what God has done for them. How many more are at sea about their position in Christ, and know next to nothing of the priestly work of Christ. The confusion is the greatest in respect to His future work as King. Our theme is therefore an important one. But even God's people. who in a measure have laid hold of these truths, need constantly to be reminded of it and need to have all this through the Spirit's power, as a greater reality in their lives.