This chapter will be divided up into a couple sections because of its length. Owen tells us that the agent of our salvation is the Triune God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit(Owen 51). He issues the caveat that, though humans were the “instrumental causes” in the death of Christ, insofar as they, in some sense, carried it out, this was only because God had predestined it to take place(Acts 4:28)(Owen 51), and because Christ allowed himself, according to the obedience which he offered to the Father, to be killed (Jhn. 10:17, 18)(Owen 51). While humans were the instrumental causes in Christ’s death, the final cause of the work of salvation can only be attributed to the Triune God. Owen then states his intention to describe the individual offices or roles which each Person of the Trinity played in the work of procuring salvation for the Church(Owen 51).
He begins with the Father. First, the Father sent his Son into the world in order to die for the sins of the Church. Second, the Father punishes the Son for the sins of the Church. Because of the love that the Father has for the world, he sends his Son to be killed, in order that the world might be saved (Jhn. 3:16, 17)(Owen 51). He sends the Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, and condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us (Rom. 8:3, 4)(Owen 52). He sent Christ to be a “propitiation through faith in his blood”(Rom. 3:25)(Owen 52). God sent his Son, born of a woman to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4, 5). Owen points out that in over 20 places in the Gospel of John, Christ describes himself as the One sent by the Father (e.g., Jhn. 5:37, 10:36)(Owen 52). Owen notes that this is in accord with God’s promise by the pen of Isaiah (Isa. 19:20, 48:16). It is for this reason, Owen tells us, that the Father is sometimes called our Savior (Lk. 1:47, 1 Tim. 1:1, 4:10, Tit. 2:10, 3:4, Deut. 32:15, 1 Sam. 10:19, Ps. 24:5, 25:5, Isa. 12:2, 45:15, Jer. 14:8, Micah 7:7, Hab. 3:18)(Owen 52).
Next, Owen describes the office of the Son in the salvation of the Church. He notes that Christ plays the role of mediator(Owen 52). This mediatorship, in which Christ became as a servant (Phil. 2:6-8)(Owen 52), Owen says, entails two parts: On the one hand, God had destined his Son to assume this role. Both Christ’s kingship (Ps. 2:7, 8) and his high priesthood (Ps. 110:1, 4) were appointed by the Father. He appointed Christ to be the “heir of all things(Heb. 1:2) and “Judge of living and dead”(Acts 10:42)(Owen 53). This happened “before the foundation of the world”(1 Pet. 1:20) and was according to God’s sovereign decree (Rom. 1:4, 8:29)(Owen 53). Like all of God’s decrees, and everything in general, it was part of God’s counsel before creation (Acts 15:18)(Owen 53). Secondly, The actual admission of Christ into this position, in accord with God’s decree thereof. God commits all judgment to the Son(Jhn. 5:22), having made him Lord and Christ(2:36) and appointed him over the whole house(Heb. 3:1-6)Owen 53). He was anointed by God(Dan. 9:24, Ps. 45:7)(Owen 56). Owen points out that, just as everything consecrated by the anointing of oil under the Old Covenant thereby foreshadowed Christ’s entrance into his office as king and priest(Exod. 30:25-28) in the New Covenant, Christ himself was anointed to this office. The angels declare him Savior (Lk. 2:10, 11) and rejoice (Lk. 2:14). God himself then declares “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”(Matt. 3:17, 17:5, 2 Pet. 1:17)(Owen 53).
The actual steps toward this admission to office entailed: The preparation of a body for Christ(Heb. 10:5), and the bringing of Christ into the world, upon which all the angels were bid worship him (Heb. 1:6). Next, the Spirit alighted upon Christ as a dove, upon his baptism (Matt. 3:16), enduing him with the Spirit, for the purpose of accomplishing his commission, whereupon the Father declared him his beloved Son. Lastly, Christ resurrected, ascended and sat down at the right hand of the Father (Heb. 1:3). Christ had formally and functionally assumed his kingship(Ps. 2:6) and all authority was given him(Matt. 28:18, Heb. 2:7, 8, Phil. 2:9-11). The angels (Lk. 24:4, Acts 1:10), the dead (Matt. 27:52) and the living (Acts 2:32, 1 Cor. 15:6) witness to this(Owen 54). His salvation then goes out to all the first (Isa. 49:6)(Owen 54).
Owen, John. The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2007. Print. 51-54, 56.