[13]    Christ: Death, Resurrection and Atonement

45.    How does the death of Christ affect us?

a. Christ died under a judicial sentence and was counted with the transgressors (Isa 53:12). By suffering the Roman punishment of crucifixion, He died an accursed death, bearing the curse for us (Dt 21:23; Gal 3:13). With this, He completed the work of atonement.

b. Definition of atonement:

c. Necessity of atonement: d. Nature of atonement: e. Characteristics: (1) Sacrificial: the sacrificial act by which a covenant was ratified between God and a New Israel, just as the old covenant was ratified in the blood of the sacrificial animals on Sinai (Ex 24:8); Christ is decribed as the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29), or the Passover Lamb (1Co 5:7)

(2) Universal: available to all humanity

(3) Triumphal: proclaims Christís victory over the evil spiritual powers in the cosmos (1Co 15:24-25; Col 2:15)

f. Mistaken theories of atonement:

(1) Ransom theory or Payment to Satan theory: Christ redeemed man with His blood and exchanged His soul for our souls. He gave His life to Satan as a ransom for those who were in bondage to Satan. (held by some Church Fathers such as Origen, Augustine)

(2) Satisfaction theory: Obedience is the honour man owes to God, and disobedience detracts from God what belongs to Him and it brings Him dishonour. The sinner owes to God a restoration of obedience as well as a satisfaction or reparation for his disobedience. Christís life is sinless; He owes God nothing and the righteousness of His life outweighs the evil of all sin. The obedience of His life has merit to offer to Godís honour to make amends for the dishonour perpetrated by man. Godís honour is restored by Jesusí obedience, not by Jesusí suffering. (held by Anselm)

(3) Moral influence theory: The work of Christís suffering and death reveals Godís love for the unworthy in such a way as to inspire a response of gratitude and bring the sinner back to obedience to God. The work of Christ thus inspires moral renewal of man as a result of feeling grateful. (held by Abelard, Ritschl, Bushnell)

  (4) Governmental theory: Justice is the need for orderly government and constitutional justice in a moral universe. Sin is an offense against public order and punishment involves only the restoration of order, not retributive compensation for injury. Punishment serves a deterrent purpose in a moral government. Christ voluntarily accepts the punishment deserved by all, and Godís hatred of sin is vindicated by the example of Christís suffering, with the result that individual sinners will be deterred from evil by this exhibition of Godís wrath. Thus the moral influence of fear serves to maintain order. (held by Grotius)
g. Christ descent into Hades:

46.    Why is Christís resurrection important in our salvation? What is His resurrected body like?

a. Importance of Christís resurrection: b. Body of Jesus after resurrection: c. Ascension of Jesus:

47.    How can we summarize the work of Christ?

a. Prophet (Dt 18:15; Lk 13:33) b. Priest (Ps 110:4; Zec 6:13; Isa 53) c. King (Mt 28:18; Rev 19:16)