Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sufficient Atonement

"Can the Romanist view that Christ rendered only a partial satisfaction for sin be proven from the Bible? No. The Bible clearly teaches that the satisfaction for sin that Christ offered in His death was perfect and totally sufficient. Jesus removed every bit of a believer’s guilt for sin. This includes all judicial punishments both eternal and temporal. God requires no more propitiatory offerings (e.g., the mass) or satisfactions of any kind for sin (e.g. penance and purgatory). Christ satisfied all the claims of the law for believers. The idea that Christ removed the guilt of sin but not its punishment is absurd. If Christ totally removed all the guilt of sin, then He also has removed the punishment for sin both temporal and eternal. “There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). Christ’s expiation of sin for His people was either full and complete or it was not. The Bible teaches that Christ’s perfect obedience is the ground of our justification (Rom. 5:18-19); that by His death He removed all guilt and every penalty (Rom. 5:21; 8:1, 32-34; Heb. 10:14; Ps. 103:12; Isa. 44:22, etc.); that He actually achieved reconciliation with God (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18); that He completely propitiated God’s wrath against the elect (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 2:17); that He paid the ransom price in full (Gal. 3:13; Rom. 7:4, 6; Heb. 9:12; Rev. 5:9; Isa. 53:6; 1 Pet 2:24). “As a creditor does not liberate a surety from prison unless a full payment has been made, so neither could Christ be set free unless he had satisfied to the full. Therefore, since he rose again so gloriously and was raised by the Father himself, there is no room left for doubt concerning the perfection of satisfaction and the full payment of the price of redemption....” Once this perfect satisfaction is established, “the Roman dogmas of the sacrifice of the Mass, of human merit and satisfaction in this life and of the purgatorial punishments to be endured hereafter are at once overthrown. For such things cannot be allowed without either accusing his satisfaction of insufficiency or God of injustice (exacting a double price and a double punishment of the same sin).”"

Exerpt from:
Justification by Faith: An Examination of the Biblical Doctrine of Salvation by Brian Schwertley

11 comments:

Machaira said...

Carrie,

Amen. Another fine post. At this point, I'm a bit burned out on this topic, so hey, everyone have at it! I'll just watch . . . well . . . maybe. ;)

David Waltz said...

Brian Schwertley (as so many other polemicists) is confusing SUFFICIENY with EFFICACY. As with grace, the atonement in Catholic theology is SUFFICIENT to accomplish salvation in the fullest sense. Schwertley is creating a false dichotomy by failing to understand how the atonement is applied; and in doing so has turned something which is truly SUFFICIENT, into something which is EFFICACIOUS—Schwertley thinks they are the same thing, but they are not, as I have clearly demonstrated in the past:

http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2007/08/james-whites-confusion-concerning.html

And -

http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2007/08/more-on-sufficiency-of-grace_13.html

I shall also recommend my thread on false dichotomies:

http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2007/10/polemics-and-false-dichotomies.html


Grace and peace,

David

Matthew said...

"Brian Schwertley (as so many other polemicists) is confusing SUFFICIENY with EFFICACY."

Regardless of this distraction you're attempting to cause by splitting words and meanings; Christ's death and resurrection is both fully sufficient and fully efficient for those for whom it was made.
If you believe his death was sufficient to satisfy the punishment of the law against sinners, then by extension it must be efficient for sinners. The fact that it is sufficient is the reason it is efficient. Otherwise, it wouldn't be sufficient.

Saint and Sinner said...

"Brian Schwertley (as so many other polemicists) is confusing SUFFICIENY with EFFICACY."

Perhaps that's because they don't operate with such a dichotomy and simply use the words interchangeably.

David Waltz said...

Hello Matthew and SS,

With all due respect, I think I shall side with one of the greatest Reformed scholars on this issue, namely Charles Hodge. Hodge agrees with Pohle (and so many other great scholars) in seeing a clear distinction between “sufficiency” and “efficacy”. Further, the use of these two terms in many different applications demonstrates that something can be sufficient without necessarily becoming efficient. IMHO no amount of sophistry will change this truism.

David

EgoMakarios said...

"Jesus removed every bit of a believer’s guilt for sin. This includes all judicial punishments both eternal and temporal."

If you mean that his sacrifice provides the basis by which he will remove all sin and guilt from from those who walk in the light, I see no problem with that. But if you are saying that as soon as he died, all of person-X's sins were removed and their guilt completely gone, then you are in direct contradiction to 1 John 1:7-9.

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:7-9)

Repentance and confession, i.e. walking in the light, are not "satisfactions" for sin, but they are conditions of receiving forgiveness. Jesus sacrifice has the power to save all, but none are saved without these conditions being met in their actual lives. When you say "Jesus removed every bit of a believer’s guilt for sin" with no mention of the conditions you appear to be denying their existence, and to be setting forth the idiotic notion of Christ's sacrifice being an execution swap rather than a real sacrifice in the Pascal sense.

Matthew said...

David said:

"Hodge agrees with Pohle (and so many other great scholars) in seeing a clear distinction between “sufficiency” and “efficacy”."

No one is arguing with the meaning of the words being different. The context, however, demands they both be realities in the case of the atonement. If the crucifixtion was a sufficient penalty made to remove the wrath of God from a sinner (that is, that God the Father fully accepted the payment for sin that Christ made, and cemented that by raising Him from the dead), then once it is applied to the life of a believer, it will be efficacious in saving that sinner simply on the basis of Christ's work.
To state that Christ made a sufficient atonement, but once it is applied to a sinner, requires that the sinner add to it through merit, satisfaction, etc, then it is deficient to save the sinner, and thus, the payment Christ made for that sinner on the cross is insufficient to save him.

Matthew said...

egomakarios said:

"If you mean that his sacrifice provides the basis by which he will remove all sin and guilt from from those who walk in the light, I see no problem with that. But if you are saying that as soon as he died, all of person-X's sins were removed and their guilt completely gone, then you are in direct contradiction to 1 John 1:7-9."

I would agree with that, ego. It is not an orthodox Reformed position that sinners are justified by God prior to faith and repentance. Some have held that view, but it's fairly aberrant. It is a condition for justification. Of course, being monergistic we would say it is God who grants that gift of faith, but it's still required for forgiveness.

EgoMakarios said...

Thanks, Matthew. But I think you downplay it a bit when you say "Some have held that view, but it's fairly aberrant." You're the first Reformed person I've met who doesn't hold to it.

Matthew said...

ego said:

"You're the first Reformed person I've met who doesn't hold to it."

I assume that the entire subject we're discussing here is eternal or pre-existant justification? The idea that sinners are justified prior to faith. I am curious if you could give a list of Reformed theologians or confessions that hold this position?
I find it hard to believe I am the first who doesn't hold that position. You must hang around a lot of heretical Calvinists! lol

Jason said...

I have only met a few (less than I can count on one hand) Reformed folks (and these were online, not in person) that believed anything like "eternal justification" and even they had enough shame not to cotton to it under that title (even though, best I could tell, this is what they believed.)

Maybe Ego doesn't see a difference between Matthew's view and that extreme minority view due because, in the prism of his tradition, both those views work out to the same thing.