Monthly Archives: September 2011

“For Us and For Our Salvation”


“For Us and For Our Salvation”

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

Titus 3:4-5 ESV

Q. Why did the Son of God come down from heaven?

A. For us and our salvation, as it explained in the Nicene Creed.

Q. What does it mean when the Creed says the Son of God came down from heaven, “For us”?

A. This phrase teaches us that He came to earth neither for one nation or for some people only, but for all.

Q. What does it means when the Nicene Creed says, “for our salvation”?

A.  Salvation is God’s deliverance of men and women from the effects of the Fall through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection by bringing full and complete restoration to creation, transformation of our hearts and lives, and renewal of God’s intentions and purposes.

Q.  Is this salvation effective for our past sins, present ills, and future judgment?

A.  In fact, salvation has three tenses, past, present and future. We have been saved (in the past) from the penalty of sin by a crucified Savior.  We are being saved (in the present) from the power of sin by a living Savior.  We shall be saved (in the future) from the very presence of sin by a coming Savior.

Q.  What did Christ come to save us from?

A.  Christ came to save us from the world and its influence, sin and its bondage, the flesh and its passions, the devil and his temptations, and death and its finality.

Salvation is a big and comprehensive word.  It embraces the totality of God’s saving work, from beginning to end.  In fact salvation has three tenses, past, present and future.  I am myself always grateful to the good man who led me to Christ over forty years ago that he taught me, raw and brash young convert that I was, to keep saying: ‘I have been saved (in the past) from the penalty of sin by a crucified Saviour.  I am being saved (in the present) from the power of sin by a living Saviour.  And I shall be saved (in the future) from the very presence of sin by a coming Saviour’. . .

If therefore you were to ask me, ‘Are you saved?’ there is only one correct biblical answer which I could give you: ‘yes and no.’ Yes, in the sense that by the sheer grace and mercy of God through the death of Jesus Christ my Saviour he has forgiven my sins, justified me and reconciled me to himself.  But no, in the sense that I still have a fallen nature and live in a fallen world and have a corruptible body, and I am longing for my salvation to be brought to its triumphant completion.

John Stott, “The Messenger and God: Studies in Romans 1-5”, in Believing and Obeying Jesus Christ, ed. J. W. Alexander (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity, 1980), 10 (paragraphing mine).


Seven Images of the Cross

Images of Salvation in the Cross

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 2:24 ESV

Q. How does the death of Jesus Christ upon the Cross deliver us from the world, the flesh, sin, death, and the devil?

A. The Cross was not a defeat, but the astonishing victory of God over the world, the flesh, sin, death, and the devil.  Seven images (metaphors) are used in scripture to describe the finished work of Christ on the Cross:

  1. Propitiation is taken from Temple worship: God satisfies his own wrath by offering himself to suffer the just punishment for our sins (Rom 3:25; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2, 4:10 NASB).
  2. Redemption is taken from the marketplace: Jesus becomes our ransom paying the debt of sin we could never repay (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Tim. 2:6).
  3. Justification is taken from the law court: God’s declaration that by faith in Christ we are declared righteous before him (Rom. 3:21-26; Gal. 2:15-16).
  4. Reconciliation is taken from the home: the Cross restores our broken relationship with the Father (Rom. 5:10-11; 2 Cor. 5:16-21).
  5. Victory is taken from the military: Christ has conquered Satan and his oppression, our sin and its enslavement, and death and its control (1 Cor. 15:57; Heb. 2:14-15).
  6. Adoption is taken from the family: we are granted legal status as sons of God and heirs of the Kingdom (Rom. 8:17, 23; Gal. 4:1-7).
  7. Healing is taken from the hospital: we are restored and all creation from the brokenness created by our sin (Isa. 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24-25).

Christ’s substitution is the foundation for all these images for he took our place, and paid the price for our salvation by absorbing the just judgment we deserved. Christ’s death was penal in that he bore our penalty. Christ’s death was substitutionary in that he took our place when he suffered for our self-absorption, self-centeredness, and self-conceit (Isa. 53; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24, 3:18).

Again throughout his theology, (Thomas F.) Torrance emphasises that in Jesus Christ we have the act of God and of man, of God as man in his one person. Justification, reconciliation and redemption therefore must be thought of not simply as the act of God for our salvation, but also as the real act of man, of God as man for us. the importance of this for Torrance’s theology and for understanding it cannot be overstated.

Justification is not simply the act of God judging sin, atoning for it himself and declaring us righteous in his beloved Son, it is man saying amen to the righteous judgement of God and at the same time fulfilling all righteousness in his own perfect life and humanity.

Reconciliation is thus not simply God reconciling the world to himself in Christ, but reconciliation worked out, achieved and realised by Christ as man within his own person, in his own mind, life, heart and soul.

Redemption is the mighty act of God in which mankind is liberated from bondage and decay into the new creation through the resurrection of the man Jesus Christ from the dead in the fullness of physical existence.

Thomas F. Torrance, Atonement: The Person and Work of Christ, ed., Robert T. Walker (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), xlv. (paragraphing mine)

HT: The Evangelical Calvinist 



The Deeper Christian Life

Real Victory

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Romans 8:37

The deeper Christian life is a victorious, holy, faith-centered, Spirit-empowered, Christ-dependent, surrendered, fruit-bearing, broken, overcoming, sustained life. Abiding in Christ is another way of describing the deeper Christian life: a life of an on-going conversational relationship with Christ. This “life abundant” is maintained by faith through gratitude in the midst of life disappointments, dependence on the Spirit, and acknowledgment of our numerous weaknesses and failings. The deeper Christian life is daily experiencing the presence of Christ by allowing him to live his life in and through us. Christ lives the Christian life in us because by our own efforts we cannot imitate Christ’s love and selflessness.

It is by the grace of God that we can be conquerors. To be a conqueror, one must allow God to live His Life in and through us. Again and again he has to break us; that is to say, He breaks the things in us that protect and maintain “self.” We must surrender totally to Him, and let Him do all that is necessary. Thus he gets more and more room in us. He does not want only a part of us, but to fill our whole heart with His power; to fill us more and more with Himself. That means a closer fellowship with Him. That is glory!

Corrie ten Boom quoted in His Victorious Indwelling, ed., Nick Harrison (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 240.