consequent absolute necessity
“The view that the atonement was not absolutely necessary, but as a ‘consequence’ of God’s decision to save some human beings, the atonement was absolutely necessary”1
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…. (Galatians 1:3-4 ESV)For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. …
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:10, 14-17 ESV)
[F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:23-26 ESV)
- From The London Baptist Confession, Chapter 8
1._____ It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, …to be the mediator between God and man; the prophet, priest, and king; head and saviour of the church, … unto whom he did from all eternity give a people to be his seed and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.
10.____This number and order of offices is necessary … for in respect of our alienation from God, and imperfection of the best of our services, we need his priestly office to reconcile us and present us acceptable unto God….
- From Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware:
Did Jesus really have to die in order so save us from our sin? Could God have done the same thing some other way? Many Christians have asked these kinds of questions over the years, and if they are clear about Scripture’s teaching, they know the answers. Yes, Jesus did have to die; and no, there was no other way.
…The problem of mercy is this: how can a holy, just, and righteous God show mercy and kindness to sinners who deserve the judgment that he, as God is obligated to execute? Remember, he cannot ignore sinners’ sin. He cannot pretend they’re no guilty. As God, he must exercise justice, and to fail to do so would be to fail to be God!
So here is the genius of the cross. God made a plan by which our sins and its full guilt would be charged against God’s own Son. As his Son, the God man, bore our sin and its guilt in himself, the judgment that we deserved was directed at him, not at us. On the cross, then, Jesus bore our sin and paid the punishment for our guilt, and this did two things at once. Jesus’ payment for our sin 1) satisfied the full demands of God’s justice against our sin, while 2) it provided everything God’s mercy and love sought to accomplish in bringing forgiveness to sinners. In Christ on the cross, the fullness of God’s just wrath against our sin and the richness of God’s mercy and love toward sinners meet and are satisfied. As Paul says, God the Father gave his Son, Christ Jesus, “as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the cross” (Romans 3:25-26).
- From Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray:
[W]e are constrained to conclude that the kind of necessity which the Scriptural considerations support is that which may be described as absolute or indispensable. The proponents of hypothetical necessity do not reckon sufficiently with the exigencies involved in salvation form sin unto eternal life: they do not take proper account of the Godward aspects of Christ’s accomplishment. If we keep in view the God which must be met in salvation from it, then the doctrine of indispensable necessity makes Calvary intelligible to us and enhances the incomprehensible marvel of both Calvary itself and the sovereign purpose of love which Calvary fulfilled. The more we emphasize the inflexible demands of justice and holiness the more marvellous become the love of God and it’s provisions.
- Wayne Grudem and Jeff Purswell, Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith: The Necessity of the Atonement
- Kim of Hiraeth: Consequent Absolute Necessity (notes from John Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied)
- Jonathan Edwards: Necessity of Atonement
1Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
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