The Present Work of Christ Part VI: The Present Work of Christ in Heaven (Part 4) -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 122:486 (Apr 1965)
Article: The Present Work of Christ Part VI: The Present Work of Christ in Heaven (Part 4)
Author: John F. Walvoord

The Present Work of Christ
Part VI:
The Present Work of Christ in Heaven
(Part 4)

John F. Walvoord

The Work of Christ as the Great High Priest in His Sacrifice

The false doctrine of perpetual offering by Christs presence in heaven. Another point of view which has been advanced by some Protestants is a variation of the Roman view. Adherents of this position deny that Christ today is offering a sacrifice in heaven, but they affirm that Christ’s sacrifice is essentially one of life and that in this sense Christ is now offering His life on our behalf in heaven. This concept is expanded by pointing out that on Calvary Christ gave His life for us and that in heaven He is living for us to make intercession. Hence, the presence of Christ in heaven is held to constitute a sacrifice which continues in some sense His sacrificial work.1

The objections to this theory are just as real as those against the Roman position. In brief, this viewpoint of a heavenly sacrifice destroys the objective reality of Christ’s one act of dying on the cross and minimizes its transcendent importance. It should be obvious that the work of Christ on the cross has to do with our guilt of sin, whereas His work in heaven is entirely different. Their viewpoint would make the

work of Christ on the cross only one phase of a broad sacrificial ministry. Second, this theory of heavenly sacrifice would destroy the substitutional character of the work of Christ on the cross. In the Scriptures, Christ’s death on the cross is represented as one of bearing the sins of the world in His sacrifice. In thus bearing the sins of the world, He is temporarily estranged from God and cries out that God has forsaken Him. He also states at the conclusion of His work on the cross, “It is finished.”

By contrast, the heavenly intercession of Christ is not a distinctive event accomplished in one day and is not substitutional. It is part of the exercise of privileges obtained through His previous act of dying on the cross. It claims the merit of this sacrifice in its application to the individual believer. While this Protestant viewpoint is less serious an error than the Roman Catholic position, it is, nevertheless, destructive to a proper view of the atonement and the humiliation of Christ on the cross.

The orthodox view of the offering of Christ. The proper Christian doctrine of the offering of Christ is the doctrine of the Scripture that Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin on the cross and that this offering was complete at the moment of His death. On the basis of this accomplished sacrif...

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