Bible Doctrine

Doctrines of Grace studies: Reformed Evangelical Bible Doctrine

(Bible Truths Explained Series)

Acknowledgment: To a greater or lesser extent, the Bible Truths Explained series is  based on Dr Charles Hodge’s 3-volume Systematic Theology.

Although providing a fairly comprehensive study of each Bible doctrine, the series is intended only as an introduction to this subject. Theology students are encouraged to seek more detailed information in their recommended textbooks, although they may find the studies here useful for summarising each of the major Bible doctrines. In these studies, each theme is supported throughout with extensive quotations from the Scriptures. The doctrinal studies have been written from a Reformed perspective, and therefore expound the doctrines of grace.

Copy / Republication Notice: The author’s copyright of these documents has been retained and the original author’s name and approriate copyright notice must appear on all copied or republished documents. With this proviso, you are free to copy, distribute, translate, or republish – in full or in part – any or all documents in the Expository Notes (NT Commentaries) series or the Bible Truths Explained (Bible Doctrine) series, provided they remain free of charge to the end user.

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A Synopsis of each Bible study is provided below. The related hyperlinks will permit you to read or download the full version of these studies in Bible doctrine. (PDF format):

BTE01 Divine Inspiration of the Bible – KJV

Synopsis: The Divine Inspiration of The Bible. The Bible is plenarily inspired. This means that it is entirely or absolutely inspired. From Genesis to Revelation, every part of the sacred Scriptures is God-breathed. In its original form and languages, (Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic) God transmitted his words (or his revealed will) to selected godly men. The Lord did this by the direct operation, guidance, and inspiration of his Holy Spirit. The Bible is not in any sense the expression of man’s mind, will or thoughts. Rather, it is the revelation to humanity of God’s mind and will. The Bible includes and teaches everything that is necessary for salvation; for assured hope for the future, and for godly daily living. Among the principal matters revealed in God’s Word are the subjects of Creation, Providence, and Redemption. The Bible is inspired, authoritative, and infallible in all matters of which it speaks, including matters of doctrine, principle, morals, practice, history, geography and science. The doctrine of plenary inspiration stands opposed to the doctrine of partial or limited inspiration.

BTE02 The Fall of Man – KJV

Synopsis: The Fall of Man. When God created Adam and Eve, they did not have a corrupt or sinful nature. Rather, the LORD God created Adam and Eve originally righteous. When seduced by the subtlety and temptation of Satan, however, our first parents sinned by disobeying God’s command, and eating the forbidden fruit. By this sin, they fell from their state of original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in soul and body. Since Adam and Eve were the root of all humanity, the guilt of this sin (original sin) was imputed (reckoned) to all their offspring descending from them by natural procreation. Similarly, death—which included the total corruption of their nature—was transmitted to all their offspring. Thus, today, everyone in the world has a corrupt, sinful nature, inherited from Adam and Eve, their first parents.

BTE03 Sin – KJV

Synopsis: Sin. Sinful thoughts and practices originate in man’s corrupt mind (or heart). Sin is not only deliberate wrongdoing. All kind of wrongdoing is sin; including the failure to do the good that we ought to do. All coming short of God’s righteous requirements or demands is sin. This includes failure to observe God’s moral standards. It includes mistakes and errors. It includes deliberately transgressing (i.e. overstepping the bounds of) God’s standard of righteousness. Sin also includes iniquity, or the wilful and deliberate practice of sin, or the practice of particularly evil or heinous acts. Again, sin includes lawlessness or disregard for both the civil law and God’s law; and it includes unrighteousness or a general disregard for moral order or decency. All forms of sin incur guilt, making men justly liable to punishment. The penalty of sin is death—spiritual, physical, and eternal death. Excepting Christ alone, every human being is guilty of sin—in thought, attitude, word, and deed.

BTE04 Free Will – KJV

Synopsis: Free Will. When God created man, he created him originally righteous and with complete freedom of the will. Adam had perfect liberty to choose between good and evil, and the ability to implement that choice. Indeed, since at this stage, Adam did not have a fallen sinful nature, and since he had no inward tendency to sin, it was as easy—if not easier—for him to choose good than evil. Because of the Fall, however, and the resulting corruption of his nature, Adam—and all mankind—lost the ability to do that which was good in God’s sight. In his or her fallen state, no one has the ability to live righteously. For the same reason, no one has the ability to exercise saving faith in Christ of his own free will. Unless, by the free and sovereign grace of God, the Holy Spirit draws a sinner to Christ, that person cannot be saved. Salvation, therefore, is not of man’s desire or effort, nor of man’s free will, but of God’s sovereign grace and mercy.

BTE05 Sovereignty of God – KJV

Synopsis: The Sovereignty of God. Sovereignty is the right of absolute dominion, power and authority: a right that belongs to God alone. As Absolute Sovereign, all other things are subject to God’s almighty rule, while God himself is subject to no one. From eternity, God decreed everything that would take place in the process of time. By his divine sovereignty and divine decrees, God oversees, controls, sustains, governs, and directs all events in the universe according to his wise plan and purposes. God is in absolute control of all circumstances surrounding the lives of every individual man, woman and child in the world, and of every other living creature. Nothing can occur in the life of a believer unless, according to his own wise counsels, God either ordains or permits that event to occur. However, although God is Sovereign over all, this does not make him the author or approver of sin.

BTE06 Predestination – KJV

Synopsis: Predestination. Predestination of the elect (otherwise known as election) is the unalterable purpose of God—decreed from before the creation of the world—in choosing out of fallen mankind certain individuals to inherit salvation through faith in Christ. In this way, God would deliver these individuals from the bondage of sin, and from his just and holy wrath and curse on sinful mankind. Election is not founded on God’s foreknowledge, but on his own sovereign will and pleasure. All those whom God has elected from eternity, are—in process of time—effectually called or drawn to Christ, from whom they receive all the benefits of salvation. This salvation, together with the ability to repent and believe of one’s own free will, is freely bestowed upon them as a gift of God’s grace. None, except the elect, can inherit the kingdom of God. However, since God will gather his elect from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation, the gospel is to be preached to all mankind without distinction of persons.

BTE07 Faith – KJV

Synopsis: Faith. Faith is that gift of God’s grace which, at the proper time, he freely bestows upon all the elect by the working of his Holy Spirit in effectual calling. God does this with the intent that those who receive the gift of faith might be enabled—freely and willingly—to repent of their sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. All who believe are delivered from the punishment due to sin, and saved from the wrath of God. Faith includes wholehearted trust in, and commitment to, the Son of God as one’s personal Saviour and Lord. Everyone who repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ does so because he or she has been effectually called and regenerated by the Holy Spirit (i.e., born spiritually anew from above). Regeneration is not effected through water baptism, but through the almighty inward working of the Holy Spirit in a sinner’s life. Upon their regeneration, God justifies (or declares righteous) all those who believe on his Son. Every believer’s new life in Christ must be characterised by holiness.

BTE08 Repentance – KJV

Synopsis: Repentance. Repentance unto life is the gift of God whereby condemned sinners—otherwise destined to perish—are enabled by the grace of God to turn in faith and wholehearted contrition to the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sin. This gift is wrought in the sinners’ soul by the working of the Holy Spirit in effectual calling. The innermost desires of the sinners’ soul are so changed that they seek with all their hearts after the cleansing power of Christ’s redeeming blood, and the full remission of their many sins. In virtue of the redemption secured for them by Christ Jesus, God forgives all those who repent and believe on his Son. By his Spirit, he regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies and grants to them life eternal. A believer proves his repentance toward God by bringing forth spiritual fruit in his life. This fruit is the outward evidence that the Holy Spirit has accomplished a true inward and spiritual work of grace in that person’s life, which has resulted in their regeneration and conversion.

BTE09 Regeneration – KJV

Synopsis: Effectual Calling and Regeneration. Because of the Fall, all humanity is dead (spiritually) in trespasses and sins and utterly alienated from God, their Creator. Effectual calling is a work of the Holy Spirit, who, in sovereign grace, irresistibly draws a person to Christ, illuminates their mind to understand the basic truths of the Gospel message, and regenerates that person to newness of life. As an immediate and almost simultaneous consequence of the Spirit’s convicting, convincing and converting operations, the sinner is enabled to apprehend fully his or her great spiritual need and danger, to repent of their sins, and to believe wholeheartedly on the Son of God as their personal Saviour and Lord. Regeneration is the actual and instantaneous birth of an entirely new spiritual life. A person who once was spiritually dead; in total darkness to spiritual truths, and alienated from God by sin, is made alive spiritually and is reconciled to God. The Lord Jesus delivers that person from the kingdom of darkness, and transfers him to the kingdom of light. The Lord releases this person from slavery to sin, to the freedom to live unto God in holiness of life. The Lord also delivers the believer from the fear of death, replacing it with the gift of eternal life and peace with God. As with effectual calling, regeneration or the new birth is a work of the Holy Spirit. Regeneration, repentance and faith are followed by justification, sanctification, and, ultimately, glorification.

BTE10 Justification – KJV

Synopsis: Justification. Justification is a judicial declaration that all the claims of God’s justice upon a sinner have been fully met and satisfied; that all the demands of God’s holy and righteous law have been fulfilled, and that all the penalties for transgression of that law have been fully paid. The justified sinner’s past, present, and future sin has been taken into account, and all has been atoned for and forgiven. None of this has been achieved by the sinner himself. Rather, all of God’s demands against the sinner have been met by a sinless substitute—Jesus, the Son of God. From before the creation of the world, God appointed his Son to be the Lamb slain for the sins of his people. He is the perfect atoning sacrifice for sinful men and women. In virtue of his vicarious and atoning death, and on account of his subsequent resurrection, God imputes the perfect righteousness of his Son to all who believe on him. Through their faith in Christ, God fully and forever justifies them or declares them righteous in his sight.

BTE11 Adoption – KJV

Synopsis: Adoption. Adoption is the placing of a justified sinner into the family of God, and affording to the adoptee all the rights and privileges of sonship. These rights and privileges include full acceptance into covenant relationship with God, together with all its duties and responsibilities, and the full entitlement to the promised inheritance in glory. As the special object of his or her heavenly Father’s love, each adopted child becomes subject to the Father’s care, preservation, and discipline. Every adopted child becomes a real and permanent member of God’s family, and he can never lose his rights and privileges of sonship and inheritance. Only those whom God has called, regenerated and justified can be placed into God’s family. God affords to no others the rights or privileges of adoption, nor does he entitle any others to call themselves the children of God.

BTE12 Sanctification – KJV

Synopsis: Sanctification. Sanctification is that work of the Holy Spirit in the inward life of a believer which progressively changes that person’s old sinful manner of life to the new holy manner of life: a life that produces righteous behaviour and good works. Sanctification is the gradual renewal of the whole person after the image of Christ. This involves the changing of that person’s character and conduct from one degree of glory to another, until the Holy Spirit perfects him in holiness of life (glorification). Sanctification is a life-long process, and it is never finally completed during this life. When the Lord takes the believer into his presence, then he will finally complete his sanctification. Then, and then only, will the believer experience glorification, and then the Lord will present him faultless and blameless before the throne of God. Sanctification must immediately follow regeneration and justification. No unregenerate and unjustified person can ever benefit from the Spirit’s work of sanctification, but all genuinely regenerated and justified children of God must produce the fruit of a sanctified and holy life.

BTE13 Good Works – KJV

Synopsis: Good Works. Good works, righteous acts, or deeds of merit cannot in any respect contribute toward a sinner’s justification, nor can they assist in keeping a believer’s salvation secure. Salvation is entirely of God’s grace, and not by a person’s works of righteousness. Regarding seeking justification by one’s own efforts, good works can never merit God’s favour. Nevertheless, good works can and do find God’s favour when they issue from a heart renewed by God’s unmerited grace. Good works resulting from a renewed heart are the fruits or evidence of a regenerated and sanctified life. The believer has been saved by grace: but God has saved him unto holiness of life and unto good works. God prepared these works beforehand that the believer should practise them or walk in them. All such good works as issue from love to God, and from justice, mercy and compassion toward one’s neighbour, are commanded by God and are commendable in his sight. While adding nothing to the believer’s salvation or eternal
security, it is works of this nature that contribute toward the believer’s reward in heaven.

BTE14 Providence – KJV

Synopsis: The Providence of God. The Providence of God is the ordering of all events in the universe according to the sovereign purposes of God’s own will, and in fulfilment of his foreordained plan for all creation. By his providence, God sustains the course of the universe; governing and preserving every individual star, planet, and other heavenly body. By his providence, God supplies the needs of all created beings, including both mankind and animals. The life of every living creature is in God’s hands, and he upholds and preserves them by his acts of providence. Health, strength, ability, and all other faculties or endowments are gifts of God’s providence—as is life itself. The ordering of all affairs in the lives of individuals and nations is in accordance with God’s working in providence. God executes temporal judgments upon individuals and nations by specific acts of his providence, such as sword (war or conflict), famine, or plague. God’s providential dealings with his own people are accompanied by his infinite wisdom and never-ending love, mercy and compassion.

BTE15 Perseverance – KJV

Synopsis: The Perseverance of the Saints. The perseverance of the saints involves the absolute and infallible assurance that every regenerated and justified child of God will certainly continue in his or her faith and calling unto the day of final redemption in glory. Perseverance does not depend on the degree of faith of the believer nor on his degree of assurance. Perseverance depends on the immutable decrees of God in election, which he purposed in Christ Jesus from before the creation of the world. All those whom God has called to himself in Christ Jesus will, without fail, persevere in their calling unto the end. Perseverance applies only to the elect of God—none of whom can ever perish. Once saved, they can never be lost. Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of every child of God to make their calling and election sure by producing consistently in their lives the fruit of the Spirit, and by engaging in spiritual warfare in the strength of the Lord.

BTE16 Assurance – KJV

Synopsis: Assurance of Grace and Salvation. The believer’s assurance of continuing grace and salvation rests on the promises and faithfulness of God. God has promised to all his people a full and free redemption in Christ Jesus, accompanied by the gift of eternal life. In addition, God promises that all whom he calls to inherit the heavenly kingdom will be kept secure by his almighty power until the day of final redemption. God, who is faithful to all his promises, and whose gifts and calling are irrevocable, has covenanted to bring every regenerated and justified believer into the place his Son has prepared for them in heaven. God cannot change, nor can he prove unfaithful to his word. Therefore, this promise of final redemption cannot fail of accomplishment. This is the believer’s assurance in this life, and his certain hope for the life to come.

BTE17 Resurrection – KJV

Synopsis: The Resurrection of the Just and of the Unjust. The resurrection of the dead is the restoration to physical life of both the righteous dead and the unrighteous dead at the glorious second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It involves the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous for final judgment. At his coming, the Lord Jesus will send forth his angels to gather his elect from among all nations, and from one end of heaven to the other. The dead in Christ will rise first; then those believers who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. The believer’s newly resurrected body will be reunited with his immortal soul. The body will be changed or translated to an imperishable body, suitably adapted for eternal existence in glory. At his judgment seat, the Lord Jesus Christ will judge everyone according to his or her works. When the righteous stand before him, the Lord will reward them with the everlasting life and glory, which he promised them, together with the reward of their good works. When the unrighteous appear in his holy presence, he will punish them as their deeds deserve—with everlasting shame and contempt. The unrighteous will be excluded forever from the glorious presence of the Lord, enduring for all eternity the unremitting torments of hell and final separation from God. However, the righteous will dwell in the presence of God and of the Lamb forever and ever, enjoying his immediate and loving presence and joining with the holy angels in worship, praise and service to God.

BTE18 The Second Coming – KJV

Synopsis: The Second Coming or Second Advent. At the second coming of the Lord in his glory, with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones, the Lord will send forth his angels to gather his elect from the ends of the earth. There will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. The bodies of those who have died in Christ will be raised and reunited with their immortal souls. These resurrected saints will then be caught up, together with those still alive, to meet the Lord in the air. Both the righteous and the wicked will appear before the judgment seat of Christ—although not necessarily at the same time. The Lord will then judge the righteous and reward them in proportion to their faithfulness to God. Those who have been unfaithful to God will lose their reward; but not their salvation. The righteous will be glorified, presented faultless and blameless before the throne of God with rejoicing, and will dwell with God and with the Lamb forever and ever. At the judgment seat of Christ, however, the Lord will judge the wicked and consign them to hell: that place of eternal torments prepared for the devil and the fallen angels.

BTE19 The Last Judgment – KJV

Synopsis: The Last or Final Judgment. The Last or Final Judgment is the great Court Session, which will be held in heaven following the second coming of the Lord in glory. Mankind and angels will be arraigned before the judgment throne, where they will give an account to God for every thought, word and deed. All who appear before the judgment seat of Christ, will—on the one hand—be constrained to confess the grace of God in showing mercy to those undeserving of mercy; and—on the other hand—to recognise the righteousness and justice of God in executing wrath on those deserving of wrath. The wicked will be judged and punished according to their works. Then, they will be consigned to hell—the lake of fire—with its everlasting torments of body and soul. The righteous will be judged and rewarded—or will lose their reward—according to their works. Concerning the righteous, the final judgment carries with it no possibility of condemnation. In virtue of Christ’s perfect obedience to, and fulfilment of, the law of God, and by the merits of his vicarious and atoning sacrifice, God justifies everyone who believes on his Son. Every truly regenerated child of God will be accepted into heaven, and will live and reign with Christ in his glorious and everlasting kingdom.

BTE20 Heaven – KJV

Synopsis: Heaven. Heaven is the holy dwelling place of the Almighty, Sovereign and Eternal God, and the place of his majestic and glorious throne. It is also the realm of the holy angels, and of the souls of departed believers. It is the eternal inheritance promised to all those who belong to Christ, and for whom he has gone to prepare a place. In heaven, there is no sin, sorrow, suffering, pain or death; nor does anything impure or unclean ever enter in. There is no need of the sun to give light, for the Lamb of God is its eternal light and everlasting glory. There is no night there; for—in the blessed presence of God our heavenly Father, and of his Son—eternity is one never-ending ‘day’. In our Father’s house, we will share fellowship with God and with all our brothers and sisters in Christ. Those in Christ whom we have loved on earth will meet with us again in heaven. Following the Lord’s second coming; the resurrection of the dead and the subsequent reunion of glorified body and soul, the children of God will worship the Lamb and will enjoy everlasting peace and happiness in the new heaven and the new earth. Over this new creation, we will reign with Christ in his glory, for ever and ever.

BTE21 Hell – KJV

Synopsis: Hell. Hell is the place of endless suffering that God has prepared for Satan and the fallen angels, and for fallen and impenitent mankind. Hell has been reserved for all those who wilfully refuse to repent and seek God’s mercy through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also for all those who carelessly neglect to seek God’s mercy. This includes everyone whose name has not been written in the Lamb’s book of life. Hell is that place and state of everlasting condemnation and separation from God, and from his redeeming love, mercy and compassion. It is a place and state of exposure to the endless mental torments of an accusing and unforgiven conscience. Hell is often likened to a place of burning, or a lake of fire. This is because those who are consigned to hell suffer the same intensity of torments as one would endure if cast alive into a lake of fire—for all the ages of eternity. In hell, the wicked cannot die, but must forever endure the righteous wrath of Almighty God in body and soul. Similarly, the demons—who do not possess a material body—will suffer eternally as fallen spirits.

BTE22 Miracles – KJV

Synopsis: Miracles. A true miracle of God is an extraordinary and supernatural sign that is intended to exalt and magnify the name of the Lord. By means of these miraculous signs and wonders, the majestic glory of the Lord is shown forth, and his omnipotence and sovereignty over all creation is clearly demonstrated. As a sign, a miracle provides unmistakable evidence of God’s power and ability to operate outside and above the regular laws of nature, or so to modify those laws that particular events are brought to pass in a supernatural manner and in accordance with God’s express purposes. Also, as a sign, a miracle provides irrefutable evidence of God’s power and ability to visit mankind, either in mercy or in judgment. In addition, God used miraculous signs to authenticate as genuine his divinely appointed servants, such as the holy prophets and apostles. In a unique sense, God the Father used miracles to authenticate the earthly ministry of his one and only Son, and to testify to the world that his divine Son was speaking with the Father’s full power and authority. Miracles showing forth the glory of God must be distinguished from counterfeit miracles, false claims to miraculous occurrences, lying signs and wonder (pseudo-miracles) or satanic or occult operations and deceptions.

BTE23 Angels – KJV

Synopsis: The Holy Angels. Holy angels, as distinct from fallen angels or demons, are the highest order of created intelligences in the universe. These glorious moral and rational beings constitute an innumerable host of spirit beings who are mighty in power, but all of whom are subject to the will of the Almighty, Sovereign and Triune God. Once created, angels do not die; nor, since they are spirits, do they marry. There are several distinct orders of holy angels, including cherubim and seraphim. In the Bible, the only two angels known by name are the archangel Michael and the angel Gabriel. Angels are created to worship and serve God, and to act as ministering spirits on behalf of all his elect people. Although they are spirits, angels are capable of assuming human-like form. They are also capable of leaving the heavenly realms (at God’s command), and of entering this earthly realm, occasionally appearing visibly in the form of a man.

BTE24 Defeat of Satan and Demons – KJV

Synopsis: The Defeat of Satan and the Demons. Satan is the chief of the fallen angels, who, in rebellion against God before the creation of mankind, were cast out of heaven to await their final doom. Satan (which means ‘adversary’) is otherwise known as the devil (Gk., diabolos, meaning ‘accuser’; ‘slanderer’.) Again, Satan is sometimes designated as ‘the destroyer’ (Apollyon). He is described as having been a murderer from the beginning. All other fallen angels are designated as demons (Gk., δαιμονίων, daimonion) or unclean and evil spirits, but not ‘devils’. Again, Satan or the devil is sometimes known as ‘the god of this world’ (or ‘this age’), and the ‘prince of the power of the air’ (or ‘the ruler of the kingdom of the air’). Probably, this is because he exercises his remaining malignant power over this world (or during this present age) tempting mankind to sin, and inciting them to commit all manner of evil deeds. As angelic beings, Satan and the demons formerly possessed mighty, but not unlimited, power. However, at Calvary, Christ destroyed or laid waste the mighty power of Satan and the demons or evil spirits. Both Satan and the entire horde of demons will be cast into the lake of fire, which God has prepared for them, there to suffer eternal torments.

BTE29 God the Holy Spirit – KJV

Synopsis: God the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead or Trinity, co-equal in eternity, power and glory with the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is a person. All the attributes of personality are ascribed to the Spirit in the same way that they are ascribed to the Father and to the Son. The Holy Spirit has existed with the Father and with the Son from all eternity, and the Spirit is said to proceed from (and be sent by) both the Father and the Son. Concerning the work of redemption, the Holy Spirit convicts men and women of sin, righteousness and judgment; he converts sinners to God by regenerating them and bringing them to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Following conversion, the Holy Spirit continues the work of sanctification in the life of every child of God. To this end, the Holy Spirit indwells every truly born-again believer, signifying them as belonging eternally to God, setting them apart from the world to God, and setting God’s seal of ownership upon them unto the day of final redemption.

BTE30 The Work of the Holy Spirit

Synopsis: The Work of the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit is the Person of the Trinity through whom God the Father and God the Son execute or effect their plans and purposes for the created universe, for mankind in general, and for the church especially. The Eternal Spirit of God was present and active at the creation of the world. The Holy Spirit is present and active with all mankind, restraining them from unbridled evil and convicting them of sin, of the necessity of repentance toward God and of righteousness. Again, the Holy Spirit is present and active with the church worldwide, preserving it from ultimate harm and ensuring that the purposes of God and of his Son are fulfilled in and through the church. Similarly, the Holy Spirit is present and actively involved with every child of God, calling them to faith in Christ, regenerating, sanctifying, guiding and instructing them from the Word of God, and sealing them unto God until the day of final redemption. The Holy Spirit is not a power, force or influence emanating from God. Rather, the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is equal in power, glory and eternity with the Father and with the Son. Concerning his mode of subsistence and operation, the Holy Spirit is understood to be subordinate to the Father and the Son. This applies only to his offices or operations, however, and does not affect his complete equality with the Father and with the Son as a divine Person.

BTE31 Atonement and Redemption – ESV

Synopsis: Atonement and Redemption. All mankind has sinned and fall short of the glory of God; therefore, all mankind are alienated from God by their sin, are abiding under the just wrath of God, and are liable to the eternal punishment of God if they remain unforgiven and unreconciled to God. Fallen and sinful men and women are wholly unable to secure favour with God. Again, in their spiritually dead and sinful condition, sinful men and women are completely incapable of working or contributing toward their salvation and forgiveness of their sins. Nevertheless, in accordance with his own good pleasure and sovereign will, God has provided a way whereby sinners can be redeemed, forgiven and reconciled to him. Redemption, however, can be provided only on the grounds of sacrifice: i.e., on the grounds of blood shed and life given up as an atonement for sin. Again, this sacrifice of atonement must be completely pure, free from blemish, spot or stain, and altogether uncontaminated by sin. Furthermore, this unblemished sacrifice must be offered as a perfect and fully adequate substitute for sinful men and women. Under the old covenant, the LORD God instituted a series of atoning sacrifices and offerings for sin. However, the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin. They were intended only to foreshadow or typify the greater and perfect Sacrifice of Atonement yet to come. This final sacrifice was provided by the Lord Jesus Christ himself—the only truly perfect and righteous Man, and the Lamb of God. The Lord Jesus lived a perfectly righteous and holy life not only on his own behalf but also on behalf of (or vicariously for) all his elect people. As the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus yielded up his holy perfect life on the cross to endure the wrath of God on behalf of sinners, to bear their punishment, to redeem them for himself by his own shed blood, and to atone for their sins fully, finally and forever. This vicarious or substitutionary sacrifice of atonement, which the Lord Jesus provided at the cross, is effective for all his people of all ages from the beginning of the creation to the end of this present age.


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