(e) The influence of Christ?s example is neither declared in Scripture nor found in Christian experience to be the chief result secured by his death. Mere example is but a new preaching of the law, which repels and condemns. The cross has power to lead men to holiness, only as it first shows a satisfaction made for their sins. Accordingly, most of the passages, which represent Christ as an example, also contain references to his propitiatory work.
There is no virtue in simply setting an example. Christ did nothing, simply for the sake of example. Even his baptism was the symbol of his propitiatory death (see pages 761, 762). The apost!e?s exhortation is not ?abstain from all appearance of evil? (1Thess. 5:22, Authorized Version) but ?abstain from every form of evil? (Revised Version). Christ?s death is the payment of a real debt due to God and the convicted sinner needs first to see the debt, which he owes to the divine justice paid by Christ, before he can think hopefully of reforming his life. The hymns of the church: ?I lay my sins on Jesus,? and ?Not all the blood of beasts,? represents the view of Christ?s sufferings, which Christians have derived from the Scriptures. When the sinner sees that the mortgage is cancelled, that the penalty has been borne, he can devote himself freely to the service of his Redeemer. <581211>Hebrews 12:11 ? ?they overcame him [Satan] because of the blood of the Lamb.? As Christ overcame Satan by his propitiatory sacrifice, so we overcome by appropriating to ourselves Christ?s atonement and his Spirit; cf.
<620504> 1 John 5:4 ? ?this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith.? The very text, upon which Socinians most rely, when it is taken in connection with the context, proves their theory to be a misrepresentation of Scripture. <600221>1 Peter 2:21 ? ?Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps? ? is succeeded by verse 24 ? ?Who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed? ? the latter words being a direct quotation from Isaiah?s description of the substitutive sufferings of the Messiah ( <235305>Isaiah 53:5).
When a deeply convicted sinner was told that God could cleanse his heart and make him over anew, he replied with righteous impatience: ?That is not what I want, I have a debt to pay first!? A. J. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 28, 89 ? ?Nowhere in tabernacle or temple shall we ever find the laver placed before the altar. The altar is Calvary and the laver is Pentecost; one stands for the sacrificial blood, the other for the sanctifying Spirit. So the oil which symbolized the sanctifying Spirit was always put ?upon the blood of the trespass-offering? ( <031417>Leviticus 14:17).? The
<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->
Was this article helpful?