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Labor Redeemed

Every aspect of human existence, however mundane, has been redeemed by Christ.


He entered also, as we have every reason to conclude, into the primeval curse of labour. When we find Him designated not only the carpenter’s son, but the carpenter (Mark vi. 3), the language plainly refers to the fact, that during the course of His private life the Lord Jesus followed the occupation of a carpenter. We are constrained, both on exegetical and on dogmatic grounds, to decide for this interpretation. There seems no ground to doubt that Jesus earned His bread by the sweat of His brow, whether we look at the plain words used by the evangelist, or at the necessity devolving on the substitute of sinners of entering into every part of our curse. And He has in consequence transformed the curse of labour into a blessing, and sanctified not only manual and mental labour in every form in which it can be viewed, but also the entire earthly calling to all His followers till the end of time.

—George Smeaton, Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement (Banner of Truth, 2009), 138.

This should not be taken to mean that labor itself is a part of the curse. Adam was given a job to do in Eden (Genesis 2:15). Indeed, God is said to have completed and rested “from all his work which he had done” (vv. 1–3). He is working even now (Philippians 2:13), and surely, he is not subject to the curse. Work, therefore, is good. The “curse of labour” refers to the difficult and often unproductive nature of our labor in a world cursed with sin (Genesis 3:17–19).

Posted 2018·05·15 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Atonement · Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement · George Smeaton

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