The Atonement, then, on the part of God, has its ground
(1) in the holiness of God, which must visit sin with condemnation, even though this condemnation brings death to his Son.
(2) In the love of God, which itself provides the sacrifice, by suffering in and with his Son for the sins of men, but through that suffering opening a way and means of salvation.
The Atonement, on the part of man, is accomplished through
(1) the solidarity of the race of which
(2) Christ is the life, and so its representative and surety and
(3) justly yet voluntarily bearing its guilt and shame and condemnation as his own.
Melanchthon: ?Christ was made sin for us, not only in respect to punishment, but primarily by being chargeable with guilt also (culpe et reatus)? ? quoted by Thomasius, Christi Person und Werk, 3:95, 102, 108, 107, also 1:307, 314 sq . Thomasius says that ?Christ bore the guilt of the race by imputation. As in the case of the imputation of Adam?s sin to us, imputation of our sins to Christ presupposes a real relationship. Christ appropriated our sin. He sank himself into our guilt.? Dorner, Glaubenslehre, 2:442 (Syst. Doct., 3:350, 351), agrees with Thomasius, that ?Christ entered into our natural mortality, which for us is a penal condition, and into the state of collective guilt, so far as it is an evil, a burden to be borne; not that he had personal guilt. Rather, he entered into our guilt-laden common life, not as a stranger, but as one actually belonging to it ? put under its law, according to the will of the Father and of his own love.?
When, and how, did Christ take this guilt and this penalty upon him? With regard to penalty, we have no difficulty in answering that, as his whole life of suffering was propitiatory, so penalty rested upon him from the very beginning of his life. This penalty was inherited, and was the consequence of Christ?s taking human nature ( <480404>Galatians 4:4, 5 ? ?born of a woman, born under the law?). But penalty and guilt are correlates; if Christ inherited penalty, it must have been because he inherited guilt. This subjection to the common guilt of the race was intimated in Jesus? circumcision ( <420221>Luke 2:21); in his ritual purification
( <420222>Luke 2:22 ? ?their purification? ? i . e., the purification of Mary and the babe; see Lange, Life of Christ; Commentaries of Alford, Webster
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