4 Man in need of redemption

259 What is the result of accepting this election?


God elects human beings for their own salvation as well as the salvation of others. Whenever God elects anyone, there is a certain task or responsibility associated with it. Acceptance of one’s election in faith means following Jesus Christ, the author of salvation, conscientiously. This involves arranging one’s life in accordance with the gospel. This attracts the blessing of God.

Election also has effects for the future: when Jesus Christ establishes His kingdom of peace, the royal priesthood will proclaim the glad tidings of salvation in Christ to all human beings. Those who partake in the first resurrection are elected to this task.


Salvation: see Questions 243→ et seq. Royal priesthood: see Question 577→ First resurrection: see Questions 574→575→

260 What is blessing?


Blessing is an expression of God’s loving care, which no one can earn. To be blessed means to receive good things from God. Blessing contains divine strength as well as the assurance that God grants His help and guidance. The opposite of blessing is curse.

261 How is blessing attained, and how does it unfold?


God often imparts His blessing through human beings who have been commissioned by Him to this end. No one can bless himself.

Blessing can unfold when it is grasped in faith. Whether it has enduring effects also depends on the attitude and conduct of the person being blessed.


Blessing is a gift of God that can always be renewed. Blessing can, however, also extend beyond the person who received it to future generations.

262 How is God’s blessing revealed in the creation?


God has blessed His creation and laid the law of multiplication into everything that lives. He has entrusted the creation to man and has blessed him for the task associated with this.

Although this blessing of God was limited in its effect through the curse of sin, it was not suspended. God even renewed it after the great flood. The promise of God clearly states what this blessing includes: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).

The New Testament also attests to this blessing in the creation: “For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God” (Hebrews 6: 7). This blessing serves to the benefit of all human beings.

“For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”  Matthew 5: 45b

263 How was blessing experienced in the old covenant?


The promise of blessing is a component of the covenant which God made with Israel. In the old covenant, the blessing of God was revealed primarily through earthly wellbeing. For example, this included such things as victory in battle against enemies, long life, wealth, numerous descendants, and fertile land.

Abraham was blessed by God: “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12: 2-3). This blessing extended beyond the promise of personal wellbeing. It also enabled Abraham to become a blessing for others.


Old covenant: see explanation of Question 175→

264 What were the implications for the Israelites if they accepted or rejected the blessing of God?


For the Israelites, the blessing of God depended on whether or not they obeyed God’s commandments and served Him alone. Disobedience toward God was associated with curse for the people. This decision lay in the hands of the people themselves: “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 11: 26-28).

265 From whom does blessing emanate in the new covenant?


Divine blessing in the new covenant emanates from Jesus Christ.


New covenant: see explanation of Question 175→

266 How did Jesus bless?


Jesus blessed through His word, His miracles, and His conduct. He placed His hands upon children to bless them, and forgave sinners. The greatest blessing is that He gave His sinless life as a sacrifice for the reconciliation of all human beings.


Jesus’ sacrificial death: see Questions 90→99→177→ et seq.

267 Where does the emphasis of the blessing of Jesus Christ lie?


The blessing of God, which is made accessible through Jesus Christ, has its emphasis in the spiritual domain. Concerning this, Ephesians 1: 3 states: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

268 What constitutes this spiritual blessing?


This blessing includes

  • election before the foundation of the world (cf. Ephesians 1: 4),
  • redemption and forgiveness of sins (cf. Ephesians 1: 7),
  • insight into the will of God (cf. Ephesians 1: 9),
  • predestination as heirs of future glory (cf. Ephesians 1: 11),
  • the knowledge of divine truth in the gospel (cf. Ephesians 1: 13),
  • sealing with the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Ephesians 1: 13).

269 How can this blessing be attained and how should it be treated?


Many divine blessings are made accessible to the believers in the divine service. Sacrifice also brings blessing—this is the fundamental experience of the Christian.

Human beings are called upon to pray for the blessing of God and to conduct themselves in such a manner as to show themselves worthy of this blessing.


Believers demonstrate their gratitude for the blessing of God through a life defined by the fear of God, obedience, and faith.


Sacrifice and blessing: see Question 738→

270 What constitutes the fullness of blessing?


The fullness of blessing consists of sharing in the glory of God eternally.

271 Did God give His people a law in the old covenant?


Yes. God gave the people of Israel a law through Moses. It is contained in the Torah and is called the “Mosaic Law”. Its principal contents are summarised in the Ten Commandments. The commandments to love God and one’s neighbour are also part of the Mosaic Law.

272 What is the purpose of the Mosaic Law?


The Mosaic Law provides instruction for God-pleasing conduct. It is a help in life given by God, which shows the way to goodness and helps avoid evil.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”  Micah 6: 8

273 How was the Mosaic Law assessed in Old Testament times?


In Old Testament times, the Mosaic Law was considered the highest binding order by the people of Israel. It was understood as the path to salvation. People assumed that human beings could please God and be accepted by Him by strictly observing this law.

274 How is the Mosaic Law assessed from the perspective of the gospel?


From the perspective of the gospel, the Mosaic Law is not the way to salvation, but it points to the way that leads to salvation: Jesus Christ.

No one can keep the whole of the law. For this reason it is not possible to attain salvation through one’s own endeavour alone. The individual must come to the conclusion: “I am a sinner and need forgiveness of sins.” However, forgiveness of sins requires belief in Jesus Christ.


Salvation, attaining salvation: see Questions 243→248→ et seq.

275 What is the content of the gospel?


The content of the gospel includes the activity of God in Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind. The gospel encompasses everything that Jesus taught and everything that has to do with His person, from His birth to His crucifixion, to His resurrection, and His return. The gospel makes it clear that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation.

276 What other names are there for the gospel?


The gospel is also known as the “message of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1: 18) and the “word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5: 19).

277 What is the relationship between the law and the gospel?


Both the law and the gospel reveal God’s will to help sinners come to salvation. The law primarily lists commandments and prohibitions that instruct human beings with regard to God-pleasing actions. The only human being who perfectly fulfilled this law without any violations is Jesus Christ: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil” (Matthew 5: 17).

The elements of the Mosaic Law that are always valid and necessary were summarised by Jesus Christ into the commandment to love God and one’s neighbour: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. [...] You shall love your neighbour as yourself ” (Matthew 22: 37, 39).

After His resurrection, He explained to the disciples that everything written in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, had found its fulfilment in Him (cf. Luke 24: 44).

From this follows that Christ is both the fulfilment and the goal of the law. The old covenant’s understanding that the law was the way to salvation has come to an end through Christ. Jesus has established a new way, the way of grace.

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”  Romans 10: 4

278 What are the fundamental prerequisites for obtaining the grace offered in the gospel?


First of all, the individual must recognise that he is a sinner. Then he must come to believe that it has become possible for the sinner to be reconciled with God through Jesus Christ, and that the sinner can attain the righteousness valid before God through belief in Christ: “Therefore, as through one man’s offence judgement came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life” (Romans 5: 18).

Righteousness before God / justification: to be righteous before God—in other words, to have attained justification—means: the believer is pleasing to God. God accepts the sinner, and grants him grace and forgiveness.

279 What is the relationship between a person’s good works and his redemption?


Redemption cannot be earned through good works. It can only come from the grace of Christ. This requires belief in Christ.

Good works are the expression of a living faith. Thus an individual’s faith should lead him to strive for holy conduct, which is also demonstrated in his works.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” The response of the individual to this should be to “live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”  Titus 2: 11-14