Soteriology -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 102:408 (Oct 1945)
Article: Soteriology
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


Lewis Sperry Chafer

(Continued from the July-September Number, 1945)

The Savior

A. The Person of the Savior

V. The Sufferings of Christ

2. Sufferings in Death

The centrality of the cross has been acknowledged by all devout minds from its day to the present hour. The unregenerate see in it little more than a “stumblingblock”—which it is to the Jew—, and “foolishness”—which it is to the Gentile; but to those who are the called, both Jews and Gentiles, it is “the power of God”—since by it God’s saving power is released—, and “the wisdom of God”—since by it the greatest problem is solved which ever confronted God, namely, how God can remain just and yet justify the ungodly who do no more than to believe in Jesus (1 Cor 1:23, 24; Rom 3:26; 4:5). When it is asserted that the cross is to the Gentile foolishness, it is not implied that they are ridiculing it, but rather it is indicated that the interpretations they give to Christ’s death are foolish in that those interpretations are not worthy of the Son of God; and such is every interpretation save the one assigned in the Word of God, which is that of a blood-sacrifice for sin offered by a substitute who dies in the room and stead of sinners. To the Apostle Paul, the cross became the supreme theme of his boasting. He said, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal 6:14).

In the opening paragraph of his book

The Atonement and the Modern Mind, Dr. James Denney asserts: “It will be admitted by most Christians that if the Atonement, quite apart from precise definitions of it, is anything to the mind, it is everything. It is the most profound of all truths, and the most recreative. It determines more than anything else our conceptions of God, of man, of history, and even of nature; it determines them, for we must bring them all in some way into accord with it. It is the inspiration of all thought, the impulse and the law of all action, the key, in the last resort, to all suffering. Whether we call it a fact or a truth, a power or a doctrine, it is that in which the differentia of Christianity, its peculiar and exclusive character, is specifically shown; it is the focus of revelation, the point at which we see deepest into the truth of God, and come most completely under its power. For those who recognize i...

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