Looking at Christianity, it seems that it is just the Reformed denomination that has a holistic view of ‘The Finished Work of Christ Atonement’. Though others Christian denominations claim to believe this too, it becomes known through discussion that this has not been revealed to them in its entirety. I was just listening to Joe Morecraft who was teaching on this same subject and he said some of the most profound things, which I would like to share with you all.
In most cases people believe that the atoning work of Jesus Christ has meaning only when you obediently follow God. This is how they put it when they want to say that we need to add to the atoning work of Jesus Christ to make it complete for us. However scripture teaches that the death of the Lord Jesus Christ purchased for His Church salvation and also everything else required with it that included obedience, which is made possible by the Holy Spirit working in the believer.
The Redemptive work of Jesus Christ encompasses the following in the life of believer
3. Justification & Regeneration
4. Faith and Repentance
7. Eternal Redemption
8. Eternal Perfection
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
‘Propitiation’ means the act overcoming the distrust and hostility of a person or peoples. You see, had predestination and election not existed as Biblical truth, the word ‘propitiation’ would not exist in the Bible. Yet we know that ‘the propitiation in His blood through faith’ is what is secured for the believer as the outcome of the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—
23 Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.
As Romans 5:12 says that sin entered the world through one man through which death came to all men because all sinned through this one man Adam. But through the obedience of Christ many (not all) have been reconciled and made righteous. The believer is thereby given a Spirit where he no longer boasts in himself but boast/exults (Romans 5:11, Jeremiah 9:23-24) in his reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ, which as part of the believers reconciliation has been purchased though Christ redemptive work for His Church. Just as thankfulness is an expression of faith (Luke 17:15-19), which is gift of God (Eph 2:8) so also is this.
3. Justification & Regeneration
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
1 Cor 6
11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
Justification is a reason, fact, circumstance, or explanation that justifies a person while Regeneration is the act of effecting a complete moral reform in that person. For a God who is just, we see that a person can never be justified by faith without being regenerated. So we see that from Romans 5:8-9 that the believer’s justification and regeneration is what has been acquired by Christ through the work of the cross.
We therefore see that God declared the believer not guilty on the basis of Christ’ finished work on the cross and adopts him into His family. The Perfection of Christ atonement is in this, that not a single person for whom Christ died will go to hell. This is the uniqueness of the Reformed doctrine, as Christ death on the cross secured the presence and the work of the Holy Spirit (washing and regeneration) for those whom Christ died. Justification imputes righteousness by faith while regeneration imparts righteous as a gift of the Holy Spirit.
1 John 3
9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
Note: We are all sinners (Romans 3:23), however 1 John 3:9 speaks not of committing sin but practicing sin. Just like a person may know his medication without practising medicine. In the same way a Christian is subject to sin before the grave but he is never a practicer of sin because he is born of God.
4. Faith & Repentance
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”–14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one.21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2
25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.
There is a lot to learn from the four scriptures mentioned above, we know that Christ was fully God and fully man. As Gal 3 puts it, He was not for one party only i.e. in Him was met the full justice of God and the full redemption of His Church. Many Non-Reformed Christian denominations read Gal 3:13 out of its context and term the Law of God as a curse; however such interpretations come through when the Bible is not used to interpret the Bible. We see from Gal 3:21-22 that the Law is in keeping with the promise of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ because the Law measured man and counted him as deserving of nothing more than the full justice of God, which was met in Jesus Christ. The Law by itself imparts no righteous to the person who practices for it deems him a sinner already and so it was that the Law’s weakness was in the person (Rom 8:3). However The Father offered His Son Jesus with the purpose to also purchase for the Christian that righteousness that was required and measured by the Law (Rom 8:4) that the believer would walk not in the flesh but in the Spirit.
3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
From Gal 3:14 we see that Christ’ sacrifice was to secure for the believer the promise of the Holy Spirit through faith. Eph 2:8 says that Salvation is by grace through faith, which is NOT OF OURSELVES but a gift of God. So faith therefore is not an exercise of man as the Arminians put it. From Act 20:21 we see that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can never be preached without first preaching repentance unto God. It is for this reason that the person John the Baptist was to make straight the way of the Lord by preaching repentance to the people (Mat 3:1-3) so that they may then receive faith (2Pe 1:1) in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:29-34). We see from 2 Timothy 2:25 that repentance too is what God gives the believer, as a matter of fact even if a person seeks after repentance with tears (Heb 12:17), it will still not be given to him unless God Himself grants it.
15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
If all God did was to offer salvation to anyone who believes in Jesus Christ but does not enable them to believe in Christ, no one would ever believe in Christ and be saved. However scripture indicates that in this Covenant of Grace, God’s plan of Salvation not only freely offers the sinner, life and salvation in Jesus Christ but He also offers the faith He requires of the believer in Him for salvation. If this were not to happen, nobody would come; nobody would ever want to come. After all how many steps can a man dead in spirit take towards God? Not one! Faith is a gift and a person cannot believe anytime he wants to, unless it is granted to him by God. The reason God brings the Elect to repentance is because of the perfect atonement of Christ’ death on the cross, which purchased perfectly what God required of His elect.
18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”
Hence everybody for whom Christ died will sooner or later believe and repent of their sins.
4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Westminster Confession of Faith (Chapter XII – Of Adoption)
All those that are justified, God vouchsafes, in and for His only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption,[Eph 1:5, Gal 4:4-5] by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God,[Rom 8:17, John 1:12] have His name put upon them, [Jer 14:9, 2Co 6:18, Rev 3:12]” receive the spirit of adoption,[Rom 3:5] have access to the throne of grace with boldness,[Eph 3:12, Rom 5:2] are enabled to cry, Abba, Father,[Gal 4:6] are pitied,[Ps 103:13] protected,[Pro 14:26] provided for,[Mat 6:30,32, 1Pe 5:7] and chastened by Him as by a Father:[Heb 12:6] yet never cast off,[Lam 3:31] but sealed to the day of redemption;[Eph 4:30] and inherit the promises,[Heb 6:12] as heirs of everlasting salvation.[1Pe 1:3-4, Heb 1:4]
We can hence deduce from sound reasoning that everyone for whom Christ died will be adopted as sons and daughters into His family
Sanctify means to make holy, set apart as sacred, consecrate and purify from sin and this precisely is what Christ achieved for His Church on the cross.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
A believer may go through enormous trials in his life that burn the dross in his personage, yet it is not the man but the Lord who sanctifies (Ex 31:13). Sanctification gives the Christian a matchless moral superiority (Titus 2:11-14) that is uncommon among the sons of Adam. This too Christ acquired for His bride His Church, which is beautifully metamorphosed in the Songs of Solomon.
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
13 “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.
7. Eternal Redemption
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
When it says that he entered the tabernacle, not made with hands, it could mean that He entered the body i.e. the Church of His elect (1Cor 3:16), after all the believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:19), right?! A Church He entered having obtained Eternal Redemption for her through His own blood. Just as the Good Shepherd, who is also the owner of the sheep, He enters through door into the sheep fold, having laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:1-18).
8. Eternal Perfection
10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
We can deduce from the above scripture that everyone for whom Christ died shall attain sinless perfection in the presence of God, which speaks of the perfect atonement acquired by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ death accomplished what God predestined for it to accomplish that the good pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in Christ Hand because God is satisfied having seen the travail of Christ over attaining Eternal Perfection for the Christian. Christ shall see the result without fail of the anguish and agony of the cross.
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The JOY in Heb 12:2 was that of Christ knowing that His agony and death was then and there saving His dearly beloved bride, His Church from Her sins. With Love He experienced JOY in the midst of horror and shame on the cross because he was then and there rescuing from hell His own sheep i.e. those whose names were on His heart.
So having said all this, the question often comes to, well then why evangelize? The answer however is because just as all of the above is spoken of in scripture so is evangelism, God commands it in The Great Commission of Mat 28:16-20. Salvation accomplished in the life of a believer is nothing more that Christ’ finished redemptive work.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
So we are to offer anyone who would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and repent of their sins knowing as we preach, teach and bear witness to the Gospel that God is going to cause for whom Christ shed His blood to respond to it and believe (Acts 16:31) in Jesus.