Monday, January 19

The Objectivity and The Subjectivity of the Atonement

Here is more of what I have been mulling over lately in regard to the work of Christ. As I see it (and I think I can back my viewpoint up with scripture) there are two sides to what Christ has done: the objective side--what Christ's work on the cross demonstrates to the world; and the subjective side--what it accomplishes for me.

There is the Saviour on the cross, before the eyes of all--proof that there is a righteous way by which God can count as righteous the one who has faith. Sins can be forgiven because there is a means of propitiation--a perfect propitiatory sacrifice displayed publically, by which God's wrath toward human beings can be taken out of the way. There is a just way to justify through faith. Christ is the bridge that spans the river and anyone who desires can cross.
...God displayed [Christ] publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. {This was} to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, {I say,} of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:25,26 NASB)

This is the objective truth of the atonement, and it is a beautiful truth, but it is not the end of the story. It comes to us joined with another beautiful truth--the subjective one.
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption... (1 Corinthians 1:30 NASB)

Not only is the Saviour set before everyone on Calvary, but believers are joined with Him there. It is by God's doing that we are in Christ Jesus, and it is for those united with Him that His death becomes justification and sanctification and redemption. Christ is the bridge that spans the river and a little girl standing on a pew in a small church in rural Idaho is carried across.

One whole glorious story founded on two glorious truths. The one Saviour is our Saviour. The one mediator is our advocate. The centerpoint of human history becomes our personal turning point. And it is all by God's doing.

Let Him who boasts, boast in the Lord.