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Doctrine (Part 6). Soteriology.

August 23, 2009

Soteriology is the study of salvation. Salvation brings reconnection with God. Sin has separated humanity from God; every man and woman is powerless to restore the relationship (Rom 6:23). The only vehicle by which people are reunited to God and saved from hell is through the life, work, death, and resurrection of Jesus (John 14:6). Without his life there is no perfection sacrifice and we would remain separated from God (Rom 5:10). Without his work we do not have an advocate and would remain hopeless (1 Tim 2:5). Without his atoning death humanity would still be cursed to death by sin (Isa 53:5). Without his victorious resurrection true life would not be possible (Rom 8:11).

Jesus Christ never sinned (though he was tempted, Heb 4:15). He was perfect; he never missed the mark (Heb 7:28). His flawless nature is essential to the salvation of human souls. Following the order of the Levitical Law, not just any sacrifice is sufficient for divine appeasement (Lev 22). Thus the New Covenant could not be ratified by just any human sacrifice, but it must have been a perfect one (Heb 5:9-10). The perfection of Jesus qualifies him alone as the ideal sacrifice to conquer Satan, sin, and death and grant believers God, righteousness, and life (Rom 8:2). Jesus was in fact the unique righteous sacrifice who was given to become sin, so that we who are trapped by the grip of sin could become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21).

Jesus Christ had to die (if we were to be saved). His death was the plan and desire of God the Father (Acts 2:23). His death brought glory to God the Father (John 12:28). His death created hope for the unrighteous to be made holy (Gal 5:5). Jesus knew this was the reason he had come to earth (Mat 16:22). God told the first couple that eating of a particular fruit would result in death or separation (Gen 2:17). Following their transgression God made a sacrifice, covering them with the skins of the animal (Gen 3:21). From that point on blood was the compensatory payment needed for forgiveness (Lev 22:21; cf. Heb 9:22). He was the once and for all sacrifice who died on the cross as the propitiation for all humanity (John 3:16).

Jesus Christ lived perfectly and died sacrificially for our salvation (2 Cor 5:21). The Atonement monumentally encompasses the complexity of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as the simplicity of our human response to him–Jesus is Lord (John 1:12). Jesus is that sufficient ransom (Mat 20:28), the one who is able to intercede on behalf of God’s children and take the weight of the world’s sins to the cross (Is 53:6). Through the penal substitutionary atonement Christ died for sins (Rom. 4:25).

Consequently, the Lord Jesus redeems his people by grace through faith, reconnecting humanity to God and instilling in believers a like-minded Gospel mission to live, Spirit-filled lives in the world, equipped with the Gospel message of hope joined together as Christ’s Church (John 20:21).

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