Christ’s Glorious Atonement
Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, slain from before the foundation of the world. In God’s eternal counsel, it was His will that the Son of God would be elect, in order that He might come into the world to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21).
The just wrath of God is directed against all people. Justice claims that fallen man has broken the law of God, and wrath is warranted. In order for one to be shown mercy by God, justice must first be satisfied. Sinful man has no capacity to pay his debt of sin because no blood sacrifice could be rendered pure before an offended, holy God.
Jesus Christ entered the world without the blemish of sin, and He remained unstained by sin, even to the place of His death on the cross. There, God made Jesus, the Son of God, to be sin and a curse for us. God imputed the sins of His people to Christ. His death, a shedding of His precious blood, propitiated the infinite wrath of God, satisfied God’s justice, and redeemed His people.
The infinite worth of Christ’s perfect sacrifice was sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world and ten thousand worlds besides. The reason for this valuation is that Jesus is the Son of God, the God-man, who is the second person of the Trinity. His successful payment for the sins of God’s elect made Him a surety for their salvation. He gave Himself as a guaranteed substitute.
It is the promiscuous preaching of the Good News, of who Christ is and what He has done to save His people, effectually calling the elect to salvation through regeneration. Whosoever believes in Christ crucified, he is the elect of God, who receive the grace of God, granting them faith. This gift of faith was decreed by God in eternity.
The grace of God to believe in Christ does not excuse the unbeliever from responsibility for his own sins. Men are punished in eternal fire because of their sins against the infinite majesty of God. They are also responsible for the sin of disobeying God’s command for them to repent and believe the Gospel. The guilt for sin rests entirely upon each man, whether it be inherited sin from Adam or practiced sins.
The vicarious death of Christ, a substitutionary atonement, via blood sacrifice on the cross, demonstrates God’s righteous attitude towards sin and sinners. He hates those who do iniquity (Ps 5:5; 11:5). The wrath of God poured out on Christ, satisfied the justice of God and permitted mercy. Mercy came in the person of Jesus Christ for those God intended to show mercy (Gen 17:7).
Just Jesus died in the stead and on behalf of unjust, ungodly, sinners, who happened to be the elect people of God. He bore our sins in His body, one time, once for all His people, a particular redemption, paid with His blood. He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (Is 53:5).
The death of Christ is payment-in-full for the believer’s entire debt of sin (Col 2:14). This includes the removal of a guilty conscience, which would only torment the saved sinner. The forgiveness of all sins demonstrates the sufficiency of Christ’s death. The fact that only elect believers have this remedy for sins, shows the efficiency of Christ’s sprinkled blood upon His own. Election determines redemption. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. It was for this reason He appeared: to take away sins.
Jesus took the sins of all His people upon Himself. He took the wrath of God for those sins, upon Himself. The wrath of God killed Jesus Christ, but as death drew nigh, Jesus claimed, “It is finished (Jn 19:30).” His death had accomplished its intended purpose. He saved His people, all of them, who had or would ever live.
All that stood between God and His beloved people, the church, was removed. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. The ransom was paid to the Law of God, which had kept God’s people justly jailed in their body of death, but now these captives were free. Death no longer threatened them while they were incarcerated, pending the day of judgment to come. The token of life replaced the sentence of death in them.
With the death of Christ, God has imputed the righteousness of Christ to the believer. By no merit of his own, the believer in Christ has right standing before the holy God. Because Christ is ever before God the Father, His position is unchanging and immovable. This is the reason that nothing can separate the believer, the child of God, from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:35).
The only and most perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the sole reason for God’s mercy and His grace to visit His people. Without Christ crucified, even the elect would be without God and without hope in the world. Redemption illumines the meaning of election. The sure election of the Father, coupled with the sure sacrifice of God the Son, is finally complemented with the sure application of the death of Christ, a sprinkling upon those who can be sure of the covenant that makes our salvation sure…from election to glory!
Spokane Valley, Washington
August 5, 2021