CHRIST’S OBEDIENCE & SUFFERING MERITED A DEBT-FREE/GRACE-ALONE STATUS FOR HIS PEOPLE

Christ’s whole life was one of suffering because unlike the first Adam, he was born into a world corrupted by sin. We see the contrast of his temptations in the wilderness. How much they differed from the plush confines of the garden that Adam was tempted in. He was 40 days without food, and physically weakened, yet, He overcame and sent Satan away. His whole life was one of suffering, and yet all the while obeying the father. In John 8:29 we see that He said “And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”  This is the difficulty that Jesus had to face under the covenant of works in a postlapsarian world.  This is why our confessions speak of His obedience and sacrifice (WCF 8.5;11.1,3). The cross was the culmination of His suffering life. He was a man of sorrows, despised and rejected by men, acquainted with grief (Isa 53:3). Christ’s was a conditional relationship where His obedience was required as a covenant of works under the law (Mat 5;17; Gal 4:4-5) to earn (as a man) the promised reward of eternal life (Luk 10:28) and the blessings of God.  

Through faith alone, our relationship with God in Christ is now one of grace. It’s not a debt, or “owing God something” type of relationship. It’s all grace, so we seek to obey out of gratitude, we seek to obey from the heart (Rom 6:17), out of love, and joy for what has been accomplished for us, what has been secured, and what waits for us (1Pet 1:3-5). The law is said to be still binding of all man, but our confession makes clear that it’s not as a covenant of works (WCF 14:6) , but as a guide to the will of God and that we might see our continual need of the perfection of Christ and His obedience on our behalf.