Redemption is such a beautiful concept. The idea that our Father can lift a hideously fallen world, once so perfect and now so perverse, and reconcile it with himself is simply mind-blowing to me. Through justification, forgiveness, sanctification and regeneration, God draws us closer to perfection than we ever could by ourselves, and this is truly something to rejoice in, as Plantinga expresses in chapter four of Engaging God’s World.
A compelling idea in the chapter was the idea of God’s “double grace,” used for all of mankind to experience. The two graces, sanctification and justification, go back to the utterly unmerited forgiveness we experience through Christ: we are made holy by the blood of the Lamb, and as such we are made right with God and His Kingdom. Not by our actions, but by Jesus’ on the cross can we receive this double grace, and once we have, we have a duty to tell about it to the rest of the searching world.
Plantinga also writes about an interesting “rhythm” that we experience in our daily Christian lives. The idea that not only do we die and rise again with Christ at baptism but also every morning and evening of our existence was highly perceptive and representative of us as believers. Each day, we must rejoice in the burial of our old self and the resurrection of the new, reconciled, sanctified, justified child of the Lord. In this way, we are able to “identify with Christ” more and more as our lives progress, and experience a fraction (and I mean an infinitesimally small fraction) of the joy of the regeneration of Christ our Savior. As Plantinga quotes from The Canon of Dorts,
[Regeneration] is an entirely supernatural work, one that is at the same time most powerful and most pleasing, a marvelous, hidden, and inexpressible work, which is not lesser than or inferior in power to that of creation or of raising the dead.
However, as Plantinga rightly points out, “The preaching of the Gospel is a corporate event,” just as the rest of our Christian life is. We must not lose sight of the fact that we must not only rejoice in our own sanctification and justification, but in that of others as well. The body of Christ must support each member in their search for God, making the endeavor highly communal and individual at the same time, and must therefore be done with great discernment and care in order to balance the two sides correctly.