John Murray: Redemption Accomplished and Applied

One book that I constantly come back to in my studies is John Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied.  I first read it in college, which in part was one of the reasons I fell in love with systematics.  Five years later, I’m still utterly moved by the clarity and biblical depth of grace Murray spells out in this book.  Here’s a paragraph from the second page of the book (which is around 22o pages total, depending on which printing you have).

“It is necessary to underline this concept of sovereign love.  Truly God is love.  Love is not something adventitious; it is not something that God may choose to be or choose not to be.  He is love, and that necessarily, inherently, and eternally.  As God is spirit, as he is light, so he is love.  Yet it belongs to the very essence of electing love to recognize that it is not inherently necessary to that love which God necessarily and eternally is that he should set such love as issues in redemption and adoption upon utterly undesirable and hell-deserving objects.  It was of the free and sovereign pleasure of his will, a good pleasure that emanated from the depths of his own goodness, that he chose a people to be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.  The reason resides wholly in himself and proceeds from determinations that are peculiarly his as ‘I am that I am.’  The love of God constrains to the atonement as the means of accomplishing love’s determinate purpose (p. 14).”

This is worth reading a few times.  Murray reflects Scripture so well: it is not something inside a person that compels God to love him; it is not the atonement of Jesus that compels God to love the sinner.  It is because of something “in Him,” – his sovereign good pleasure (eudokia) –  that he loves his people and sent his Son to save/atone for sin.

If you need to brush up on the gospel truths of how Jesus secured redemption and how he applies it to his people, read or re-read this book!  Murray discusses the necessity, nature, perfection, and extent of the atonement along with the order of application (calling, regeneration, faith, repentance, justification, adoption, etc – the ordo salutis).  Also, you should be able to get it to your door for around $10 – it’ll pay for itself in three weeks or less!

shane lems

sunnyside wa

3 thoughts on “John Murray: Redemption Accomplished and Applied”

  1. I had a question about God not ‘choosing’ to be love: doesn’t He though ‘choose’ to be love, in the sense that everything God is, God wills Himself to be (I don’t know if this is the right theological terms — I’m sorry): in that His nature is not somehow a separate entity, binding His will but that He is ‘pure act’ or fully actualized will?


  2. Kamelda:

    I think I get what you’re saying. Murray said that God doesn’t see love and then say he should be it. Love is an essential characteristic of who God is. So in that sense, you’re right – it is not a separate entity, but part of who he is. Its not as if he doesn’t want to be love! He didn’t “tack” it on; it is one of his essential attributes.

    Bavinck said so well (over and over!) that God is all his attributes all the time.

    If this is too confusing, read the broader context of Murray there or the appropriate sections in Berkhof.



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