Trinitarian Reformational

An integrated vision

The True Reformed understanding of the Atonement

This is a response to the Sandlin article posted on Refwrite classifying the types of Reformed Theology into True Reformed, and Catholic Reformed as well as (liberal) Reformed. In terms of that classification I would class myself as True Reformed, in that I hold to an undiluted understanding of the penal substitution of Christ for us – that we are justified before God solely on the basis of faith in Christ’s sacrifice for us. But I understand myself to be True Reformed, like Calvin, in a full Trinitarian sense fully taking into account the insights of Western and Eastern Church traditions, as well as the crucial breakthrough at the Reformation with Luther.

Christ as the high priest is the only sacrifice on our behalf having died once and for all for all as a propitiation for our sins (not simply washing away our sins, but eternally as our representative to the Father through the Spirit, bearing up his own sacrifice of himself from all eternity to all eternity). This is specifically a sacrifice of the Son in his own person, in which we cannot share actively, both only received as empty-handed beggars. At the same time, the sacrifice of the Son is a prophetic act, demonstrating God’s love to us and provoking us to active covenantal obedience. In this respect, we are called to the imitation of Christ, as we, in the words of Romans 12, present ourselves as living sacrifices to God in a response of love, praise and holy living. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is also the Victor over sin and death. But neither of this two other understandings of the atonement is possible except on the basis of Christ’s once for all propitiatory sacrifice. They do not diminish the force or effect of that unique act of self-giving in any way, only underline its overall Trinitarian context.


November 13, 2006 Posted by | Christian Worldview | Leave a comment