The Work Of Christ -- By: John T. Ward

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 072:287 (Jul 1915)
Article: The Work Of Christ
Author: John T. Ward


The Work Of Christ

John T. Ward

In what way does the work of Christ on earth make any difference as to our salvation? What difference does it make with God in his forgiving sin? Could not God forgive sin without it? Could not men repent and be saved without it just as well as with it? In these and various other ways, people ask about the work of Christ.

Concerning this it may be said as a preliminary that, whatever our view may be, or whatever our lack of an understanding of the subject may be, it is manifest that God saw the work to be important and even necessary. With unmeasured love to his Son and to men, the Father “spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.” Or, as stated in words . much appreciated by every Christian heart, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” This implies a serious sacrifice on God’s part, to meet a serious necessity, in order to accomplish an important result. Is it possible for us to see a real necessity practically met and a real difficulty practically overcome by the work of Christ?

I.

We may reasonably believe that men situated as they were could have turned from sin without this work of Christ. They had the power of choice, and sin is the wrong use of that

power. Men choose to do evil things, to think evil thoughts, to indulge evil propensities; and, in so choosing, they sin. These choices are in their own power. Their power to choose amiss involves power to choose aright; otherwise it would not be real choice, there would be no responsibility for the act and no moral character would result from it. Men sin because they do not use their power as they should. Could men, then, repent? Yes; for they could discontinue the wrong use of their power and disapprove their past choices of this kind; and this is a chief element in repentance, if indeed it is not the whole of it. Men could have done this, even without the work of Christ. It was their duty to do so.

But would men have repented without the helpful influences which come from Christ’s manifestation on earth? We may not have the data for judging this matter; for we cannot fully measure the position of men without the influences from Christ — for example, the work of the Spirit, etc.— which are operating and have been for a long time. But, even with them, many do not repent; and we cannot be certain that any ever would have repented without them. Indeed, we feel certain that they would not, and Christ declares that none do.

The work of Christ brings a mighty influence persuading men to repentance. Christ...

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