"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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    The Death of Christ by John Murray

    In dealing with the nature of the atonement it is well to try to discover some comprehensive category under which the various aspects of Biblical teaching may be subsumed. The more specific categories in terms of which the Scripture sets forth the atoning work of Christ are sacrifice, propitiation, reconciliation, and redemption. But we may properly ask if there is not some more inclusive rubric under which these more specific categories may be comprehended. The Scripture regards the work of Christ as one of obedience and uses this term or the concept that it designates, with sufficient frequency to warrant the conclusion that obedience is generic and therefore embrasive enough to be viewed as the unifying or integrating principle. We should readily appreciate the propriety of this conclusion when we remember that the one passage in the Old Testament that above all others delineates the pattern of Christ's atonement is Isaiah 53. But we ask: in what capacity is the suffering personage of Isaiah 53 viewed?

    It is none other than that of servant. It is by that designation he is introduced, "Behold my servant shall deal prudently" (Isa. 52:13). And it is in that capacity that he reaps the justifying fruit, "By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many" (Isa. 53:11). Our Lord himself puts beyond all doubt the validity of such a construction when he defines for us the purpose of his coming into the world in terms that precisely convey such a connotation: "I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of him that sent me" (John 6:38). And with reference even to the climactic event which is pivotal in the accomplishment of redemption, his death, he says, "On this account the Father loves me because I lay down my life in order that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it again. This commandment have I received from my Father" (John 10:17,18). And nothing to this effect could be more explicit than the words of the apostle. "For as through the disobedience of the one man many were constituted sinners, even so through the obedience of the one many will be constituted righteous" (Rom. 5:19). "He made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2 :7, 8; cf. also Gal. 4:4). And the epistle to the Hebrews also has its own peculiar turn of expression when it says that the Son "learned obedience from the things which he suffered, and being made perfect became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him" (5:8,9; cf. 2:10).

    This obedience has frequently been designated the active and passive obedience. This formula when properly interpreted serves the good purpose of setting forth the two distinct aspects of Christ's work of obedience. But it is necessary at the outset to relieve the formula of some of the misapprehensions and misapplications to which it is subject.[1]

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    Posted by Marco on April 25, 2014 10:54 AM

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