Strachan: Actual Atonement

“The atonement doe not make salvation possible. When Christ died on the cross, he did not merely give us his best shot. He didn’t make a good faith gesture and hope things would turn out. He didn’t leave an offering of love and pine for us to take it. We cannot view the Cross as Jesus’ doing all he could to save us but without the actual power and ability to buy us back from the dead.

The Atonement does not make salvation possible; it makes salvation actual.

…Jonathan Edwards notes, the ‘precious blood of Christ’ has covered the sin of his ‘spouse,’ the collection of redeemed sinners known as the church. We are ‘redeemed’ in full by his work on the cross. We were in the worst state, the most desperate of circumstances; we had no hope, and no agency to spring ourselves from our miserable state. We were on our way to execution when Jesus suddenly intervened. He bought us for himself. He made us his own. He didn’t offer only the possibility of redemption; with a strong hand and a sure voice, he called us to himself, and we came.

When we think and sing of the Cross, we should know that our sin was canceled there, and our debts were removed (Colossians 2:13-15). There, the bride was washed (Ephesians 5:25-27). God effects and seals our salvation when he gives us faith to trust in the atonement of Christ—this is when we ‘become actually his,’ as Edwards makes clear. Ours is a sure and certain salvation.”

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. (Ephesians 5:25-26)

-Owen Strachan, Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards, 211.

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