All Sufficient Christ (4)

Affirming the Reformed Distinctive

Having outlined the several aspects pertaining to the nature of Christ’s atonement (found here and here) we come now to address the heart of the Reformed distinctive, or that which separates our view from all other schools of thought.  To state it concisely, the biblical and Reformed doctrine is that God had a definite saving purpose in the mission of His Son, so that Jesus Christ was sent into the world – not merely to make the salvation of all men possible, nor simply to remove the legal obstacles which stood in the way of their full acceptance with God — that he certainly did.  

More specifically though, the satisfaction of Jesus Christ was designed to infallibly secure the total salvation of his own people (Matthew 1:21).  This affirmation is not just unique to the Reformed Faith; it is indispensable to the biblical doctrine.  In other words, the atonement of Jesus Christ was a purpose driven atonement.  It was for this reason our Savior said to his Father, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do,” and again “that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him (John 17:4, 2).  The connection between the definite saving purpose of God, and the definite saving work of the Son cannot be denied.  Again and again we see these two points linked together.

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All Sufficient Christ (3)

The Applicability of the Atonement

In our previous post (found here) we saw that the design of the atonement should always be distinguished from the question of its inherent value.  Following the Hodges, moreover, we find that the same thing is true concerning its applicability.  But what exactly does the term “applicability” mean, and more importantly, what is the biblical basis for such an unfamiliar affirmation?

To begin with, the applicability of the atonement is an objective concept not to be confused with the subjective application of the atonement.  While the latter is particular, and therefore limited to the elect, the former is unlimited and therefore universal.  It may be helpful to point out that “applicability” simply means that the righteousness of Jesus Christ is able to be applied to every member of the human race.  It does not mean that it is, or ever will be so applied.  To conclude such would be to collapse the very categories we have labored so hard to distinguish.

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