Today I’m sharing some material about the doctrine of the work of Jesus Christ. This blog post is based on the Evangelical Free Church of America’s Statement of Faith which reads:
The Work of Christ. Article #5. We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.
Lippo Memmi (1291-1356)
I. JESUS AS OUR “REPRESENTATIVE” AND “SUBSTITUTE”
In Christ’s death he “represented” us because he died “instead of” us (Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45), he died “in the place of” us (Luke 11:11), and Christ died “for” us (Rom 5:6-8; 2 Cor 5:15, 21; 1 Tim 2:6; 1 Peter 3:18). In this Christ was the substitute for the deaths of all (1 John 2:2) those who deserved to die.
II. HOW JESUS’S DEATH AND RESURRECTION BRINGS SALVATION
While Christ died in our place and took the sinners’ just punishment (Matt 20:28; Lev 1:1-5; Rom 5:6-8), his death satisfied God’s wrath. Ever since the Fall in Gen 3 and the subsequent attempts by priests, judges, kings, and prophets to get God’s people to follow the Law and live righteously, the people have never done that. They have always been separated from God. God’s holy anger against our sin is satisfied through Christ’s death (Isa 1:21-26; Jer 4:27-28; John 3:36; Eph 5:6). God’s wrath against us and our sin is affirmed several times (John 3:36; Eph 5:6) and also his anger (Rev 14:10; 19; 19:15). With Christ’s death because of our sins, that wrath and anger of God are satisfied (Rom 5:25;-26; Heb 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).
III. AN EXPLANATION OF SALVATION
Salvation is the gracious work of God that liberates from sin and brings life. Salvation includes three aspects:
- (1) Justification (past) as the moment of faith in which God gives a believer God’s righteousness and therefore delivers that person from judgment (2 Tim 1:8-9; Acts 16:30-31);
- (2) Sanctification (present) as the ongoing experience of a believer’s liberation from sin and reflection of the victory of Christ (James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:9; Luke 9:23-24; Matt 10:37-39; Matt 16:25-26; John 12:23-26; Phil 2:12-13);
- (3) Glorification (future) as the anticipated complete liberation from the effects of sin when glorified with Christ (Rom 13:11; 2 Tim 2:20; 3:15; 1 Peter 1:5).
IV. JESUS AS THE ONLY GROUND FOR SALVATION
The Bible makes it perfectly clear that it is only through our faith in Jesus Christ that we are saved. He is the only ground for salvation because it is only through Christ that people can go to the Father (John 14:6; Acts 17:16-34), and the Gospel is what saves people (1 Cor 15:2).