Soteriology -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 103:410 (Apr 1946)
Article: Soteriology
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


Lewis Sperry Chafer

(Continued from the January-March Number, 1946)

The Savior

Things Accomplished by Christ in His Sufferings and Death

I. A Substitution for Sinners

4. Substitution with Respect to the Judgment of Sin

A previous paragraph has lent itself to the consideration of the force of the doctrine of substitution as expressed by the words ἀντί and ὑπέρ. This doctrine is not only clearly taught in the Bible, but its truth has done more to engender trust in God for the pardon of sin than all the ethical teachings of Christ, as such, and His life-example combined. It is well to note, also, that it is not the doctrine of Christ’s death for sin but rather the death itself that provides relief to the burdened heart. The study of theories becomes the student of theology, but that which the burdened sinner needs is the truth that Christ actually died in his room and stead.

Perhaps more has been written on the theme of Christ’s death than on any other subject in the Bible. Passages have been classified and analyzed with utmost care. The Biblical assertions are convincing and confirming that “Christ died for our sins; He bare our sins; He was made to be sin for us; He was made a curse for us.” Remission of sin and deliverance from wrath are said to be wholly through His death for sin: “He gave his life a ransom for many.” His death was a redemption, a reconciliation, and a propitiation.

Every objection that human learning could devise has been hurled against these declarations, but to no avail. The truth is self-justifying, and it is difficult indeed to argue against that which always produces the blessing it proffers. In this connection a statement from William Ellery Channing (1780–1842), “the apostle of Unitarianism,” is of interest. He declared, “We have no desire to conceal the fact, that a difference of opinion exists among us (Unitarians) in respect to an interesting part of Christ’s mediation; I mean in regard to the precise influence of his death on our forgiveness. Many suppose that this event contributes to our pardon, as it was a principal means of confirming his religion, and of giving it a power over the mind; in other words, that it procures forgiveness by leading to that repentance and virtue which is the great and only condition on which forgiveness is bestowed. Many of us are dissatisfied with this explanation, and think that the Scriptures ascribe the remission of sins to Christ’s death, with an emphasis so peculiar that we ought to consider this event as having a special influence in removing punishment, though the S...

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