Theology, 531-539; Baird, Elohim Revealed, 601; Wilberforce, Incarnation, 208-272, and New Birth of Man?s Nature, 1-30. Per contra, see Park, Discourses, 117-136.
3. Consequences of this Union as respects the Believer.
We have seen that Christ?s union with humanity, at the incarnation, involved him in all the legal liabilities of the race to which he united himself. This union enabled him so to assume the penalty of its sin as to make for all men a full satisfaction to the divine justice, and to remove all external obstacles to man?s return to God. An internal obstacle, however, still remains ? the evil affections and will, and the consequent guilt, of the individual soul. This last obstacle also Christ removes, in the case of all his people, by uniting himself to them in a closer and more perfect manner than that in which he is united to humanity at large. As Christ?s union with the race secures the objective reconciliation of the race to God, so Christ?s union with believers secures the subjective reconciliation of believers to God.
In Baird, Elohim Revealed, 607-610, in Owen, on Justification, chap. 8, in Boston, Covenant of Grace, chap. 2, and in Dale, Atonement, 265-440, the union of the believer with Christ is made to explain the bearing of our sins by Christ. As we have seen in our discussion of the Atonement, however (page 759), this explains the cause by the effect and implies that Christ died only for the elect (see review of Dale, in Brit. Quar. Rev., Apr. 1876:221-225). It is not the union of Christ with the believer, but the union of Christ with humanity at large that explains his taking upon him human guilt and penalty.
Amnesty offered to a rebellious city may be complete, yet it may avail only for those who surrender. Pardon secured from a Governor, upon the ground of the services of an Advocate, may be effectual only when the convict accepts it, there is no hope for him when he tears up the pardon. Dr. H. E. Robins: ?The judicial declaration of acquittal on the ground of the death of Christ, which comes to all men ( <450513>Romans 5:13), and into the benefits of which they are introduced by natural birth, is inchoate justification. Inchoate justification will become perfected justification through the new birth of the Holy Spirit, unless the working of this divine agent is resisted by the personal moral action of those who are lost.? What Dr. Robins calls ? inchoate justification? we prefer to call ?ideal justification? or ?attainable justification.? Humanity in Christ is justified, and every member of the race who joins himself to Christ by faith
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