November 17, 2019

What Did the Work of Christ Accomplish?

Posted in Gospel, Uncategorized tagged , , at 5:30 PM by chriswadams

The work of Jesus Christ to justify his people is a necessary consequence of the Justice of God. God the Father imputed the sins of his elect people to Jesus Christ, and then poured out the full wrath of his offended Justice upon Christ (2Co 5:17, 1Pe 3:18). God was therefore just in punishing a man who, in his own character and conduct, was completely innocent (Luk 23:14-15, Heb 7:26, 1Pe 2:22). Furthermore, God imputed the righteousness of Christ to the elect, so that even though they are sinful in their character and conduct, he may bless them justly (Psa 85:10, Rom 5:9, Col 2:13). The righteousness of Jesus Christ, and the blood that symbolizes it, is therefore central to the Gospel message, because according to the Justice of God, the righteousness of Christ demands the salvation of any person to whom it is given (Rom 8:34). If God were to give that righteousness to a person, and then send that person to Hell anyway, he would be unjust in doing so; he would, in effect, be demanding double payment for the same sins. Further, he would also be unjust in requiring that his Son suffer for the sins of a person, and then refusing to give his Son the reward which was promised (Isa 53:12).

The Biblical doctrine of the work of Christ is summarized in the Christian Confession of Faith:

When He became incarnate, Jesus Christ was made subject to the law of God and obliged to obey all its precepts. He did this perfectly, to the minutest detail. [Psa 40:8; Isa 50:5; Mat 3:15; 2Co 5:21; Gal 4:4; Heb 2:14-15; Heb 4:15; Heb 7:26; 1Pe 2:22-23; 1Jn 3:4-5]

Christian Confession of Faith, IV.C.1

The consummate act of obedience that Jesus Christ paid to the law was in suffering the ultimate penalty for the disobedience of His people that the law demanded. Thus, while upon the cross, Jesus Christ, as a perfect representative, substitute, and sacrifice for His people, became a curse for His people and suffered the unmitigated fury of God the Father, which was equivalent to suffering the very pains of hell. This was not for any guilt He had contracted Himself but for the sins of His people. Their guilt was imputed to Him, and He suffered the penalty their sins deserved. His finished work on the cross appeased God’s wrath in full toward all for whom He died and paid the ransom price in full for all for whom He died, guaranteeing the salvation of all for whom He died. [Gen 22:13; Exo 12:3-13; Lev 16:21-22; Lev 17:11; Psa 22:1-18; Psa 32:1; Isa 53:1-12; Dan 9:24-26; Zec 13:7; Mat 26:28; Mat 27:35-50; Mar 15:24-37; Luk 23:33-46; Luk 24:46; Joh 11:49-52; Joh 19:16-30; Act 17:3; Act 20:28; Rom 3:24-25; Rom 5:6-11; 1Co 1:30; 1Co 5:7; 1Co 6:20; 1Co 15:3; 2Co 5:21; Gal 1:4; Gal 2:20; Gal 3:13; Gal 4:5; Eph 1:7; Eph 2:13-17; Col 1:14; Col 1:20-22; Col 2:13-14; 1Th 5:10; 1Ti 2:6; Tit 2:14; Heb 2:9-10; Heb 2:17; Heb 9:12-14; Heb 9:26-28; Heb 10:10-18; Heb 13:12; 1Pe 1:18-19; 1Pe 2:24; 1Pe 3:18; 1Jn 1:7; 1Jn 2:2; 1Jn 3:5; 1Jn 4:10; Rev 1:5; Rev 5:9]

Christian Confession of Faith, IV.C.2

Let’s look at some of the verses that the Confession refers to, and notice what they have to say about the work of Jesus Christ. In particular pay close attention to what the Bible has to say about what the work of Jesus Christ accomplishes on behalf of all people for whom it was intended:

Exodus 12: (13) And the blood shall be a sign to you, on the houses where you [are]. And I will see the blood, and I will pass over you. And the plague shall not be on you to destroy, when I strike in the land of Egypt.

The blood of the lamb, which typifies the blood of Jesus Christ, caused God to pass over the house. The blood was not put on every house in Egypt, but only on the houses of Israelites. And the blood did not fail to cause God to pass over the house; no Israelite had to add his works or decisions to the blood on the doorposts, because the blood alone was sufficient to cause God to pass over the house. Each and every house that had the blood of a lamb on the doorposts was saved from destruction; there were no exceptions.

Now consider how this verse relates to the doctrine of Universal Atonement. If Universal Atonement were true, then the blood of Jesus Christ ought to cause the wrath of God to “pass over” the sins of all human beings without exception! Yet it manifestly does not.

Isaiah 53: (11) He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul; He shall be fully satisfied. By His knowledge the righteous One, My Servant, shall justify for many, and He shall bear their iniquities.

The work of Jesus Christ caused many people to be justified. It did not potentially justify a people, if only they would do their part; it actually justified many people, just as Jesus actually bore their sins. Each and every person whose sins were borne by Jesus Christ was justified by his work.

Now consider how this verse relates to the doctrine of Universal Atonement. If Universal Atonement were true, and the work of Jesus Christ were intended for all people without exception, then the work of Jesus Christ ought to have justified all people without exception. But again, it manifestly does not.

Romans 5: (9) Much more then, being justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath through Him.

The blood of Jesus Christ justifies his people, and saves them from the wrath of God. Each and every person who is justified by the blood of Christ is saved from the wrath of God. And again, if Universal Atonement were true, and the blood of Jesus Christ were intended to justify every person without exception, then every person without exception would be “saved from the wrath” of God. Yet they are not.

2 Corinthians 5: (18) And all things [are] from God, the [One] having reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and having given to us the ministry of reconciliation, (19) as, that God was in Christ reconciling [the] world to Himself, not charging their deviations to them, and having put the Word of reconciliation in us.

Jesus Christ reconciles his people to God. Each and every person for whom the blood of Christ was poured out, is reconciled to God, and does not have their deviations charged to them. If Universal Atonement were true, and the blood of Jesus Christ were intended to justify every person without exception, then every person without exception would be “reconciled to God”. Yet they are not.

Galatians 1: (4) who gave Himself for our sins, so that He might deliver us out of the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

All for whom Jesus Christ gave himself for their sins are delivered from the present evil age. And if Universal Atonement were true, and the blood of Jesus Christ were intended for every person without exception, then every person without exception would be “delivered out of the present evil age”. Yet they are not.

Hebrews 5: (9) and having been perfected, He came to be [the] Author of eternal salvation to all the [ones] obeying Him,

All for whom Jesus Christ died receive eternal salvation. And again, if Universal Atonement were true, and the blood of Jesus Christ were intended for every person without exception, then every person without exception would “receive eternal salvation”. Yet they do not.

This selection of verses is only a small fraction of the verses which show the effectual benefits of the blood of Jesus Christ towards all for whom his blood was intended. Every one of those verses gives the lie to the doctrine of Universal Atonement, because those benefits are plainly intended for all people for whom Christ died, yet they plainly do not extend to all people without exception.

This goes back to what the work of Christ shows us about the justice of God revealed in the Gospel: the righteousness of Christ demands the salvation of all for whom Christ died (Rom 8:34). Any doctrine that denies this basic truth is a denial of the Gospel.