We're in the middle of our five-part series on 'Soteriology' - our doctrine/s of salvation. Having established the Power of the Cross (the Servant King enduring horror and shame, 'for us and for our salvation'), we looked last Sunday at the Work of the Cross. How exactly did Jesus' death procure our salvation? How did he win our redemption?
As we discovered last time, the Cross is at the centre of Christianity. Paul says in Gal 6:14 that he will boast in nothing else. Indeed, the history of the Church has been one long story of reckoning with it! With that in mind, we looked at how the ancient Church understood the death of Christ on the Cross, how the medieval Church understood it, and then how the Reformers reckoned with it - all in conversation with Scripture.
On the Cross, Christ is the great Victor - conquering Satan, sin, death and hell.
On the Cross, Christ is the God-Man - standing in our place, doing what we never could.
On the Cross, Christ is our True Example - showing us what love really means.
All of these are good and true answers, and consistent with scripture to a greater or lesser extent. But these are all but melodies without a harmony. There is one answer that unites them all. It's there in the early Church. It's there in the medieval Church. It's there in the modern Church. And it's there in the Scriptures. What is this answer?
On the Cross, Christ is our substitute - pierced for our transgressions.
He became sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God.
Following God's good interruption last week, we focused yesterday on the Work of Cross - how (exactly) did Christ's death procure our salvation?
We saw how Scripture (and the Church) has spoken with many voices on the way in which God saved us. Christ's death was like a ransom, conquering the power of Satan and buying us out of bondage. Christ's death satisfied the legal demands of God, which was possible only because he was the God-Man. Christ's death displayed the love of God and provides us with an example to follow.
But all these are melodies without a harmony, a body without a spine. My suggestion last night was that our theology of the Cross must be supported with the truth that the Son willingly subjected himself to the Father's wrath, all for his people. This has been a controversial doctrine - but with Scripture and the Church triumphant, we confess it to be true.
Find notes for last night's session below!
Second year TTS students - click here for the S12 notes!
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