The Last Passover, the First Lord’s Supper, and the New Covenant -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 06:3 (Summer 1997)
Article: The Last Passover, the First Lord’s Supper, and the New Covenant
Author: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.


The Last Passover, the First Lord’s Supper, and the New Covenant

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Atonement may be the most important word in Christian theology. There is no question that it is one of the most important words, for it refers to that which Jesus Christ accomplished in the restoration of the shattered relationship between sinners and a holy God. The price demanded by heaven for the restoration of the relationship was the death of the Son of God. It is this fact that liberal Christianity has been unable to accept and still is unable to accept. Some years ago Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, one of the twentieth-century giants of theology, put his finger on the essential difference between genuine Christianity and its liberal imitation. Warfield wrote,

Liberal Christianity has always ... sought to keep the word Christianity and the word redemptive, but eliminate the historic Christian conviction that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in His sacrificial death on the cross, wrought the reconciliation of men with God. For faith in a crucified Redeemer whose life is a ransom for sinners they have substituted a Christlike attitude, or a religious feeling, or even membership in the redemptive community

It has been said that liberal Christianity lacks the power to originate a church and can only exist as a parasite, growing upon some sturdier stock. I believe this to be true, but whether it is true or not, there is no doubt but that liberal Christianity is not Christianity at all. The man who believes that he is redeemed by the blood of a divine Savior dying for him upon a cross is of a totally different character from the man who thinks that he may redeem himself by a Christlike attitude wrought out from within his own being.1

Warfield goes on to say,

There is indeed no alternative. The redeemed in the blood of Christ, after all is said, are a people apart. Call them “Christians” or call them what you please, they are of a specifically different religion from those who know no such experience. It may be within the rights of those who felt no need of such a redemption and have never experienced its transforming power to contend that their religion is a better religion than the Christianity of the cross. It is distinctly not within their rights to maintain that it is the same religion as the Christianity of the cross. On their own showing it is not that.2

Many passages in the New Testament give our Lord’s own teaching on His death. For example, in Matthew 20:28 our Lord s...

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