Question 1. What do we mean when we speak of Christ’s atonement for us?
Answer: Every part of who Christ Jesus is reconciles our sinful humanity to God (2 Cor. 5:18-19). The sin existing within our sinful humanity estranges us from God, leading to death (Ezk. 18:4, Rom. 6:23). Yet through Christ himself, mended this broken relationship, restoring shalom, the state of nothing lost, nothing broken. Because he assumed our sinful flesh, he was able to heal it by bringing it up into the inner life of the three person God (Phil. 2:5-8). He suffered and died as our substitute. Now he bids us to come and die, that we might be raised with him (Rom. 6:4). Through participation in his suffering, we are made like him.
Question 2. What is meant by Christ’s active and passive obedience, and how does his obedience benefit us?
Answer: Christ came to save his people, body, mind and soul. He took on our sinful flesh, assuming our mundane humanity (Phil. 2:5-8). While dwelling in sinful flesh, Christ never sinned, but obeyed the will of his Father perfectly (Heb. 4:15). Every word spoken of the Messiah was perfectly fulfilled in him. He offered himself to be killed by his own people (John 1:11-12). Because Christ was our spotless lamb, the perfect sacrifice, his righteousness is imputed to us.
Question 3. Was Christ’s saving life and death penal and substitutionary? How so?
Answer: Christ’s saving life and death were both penal and substitutionary. The presence of sin in the heart of every human person demanded a sacrifice (Heb. 9:22). Christ took the wrath of God on himself, as our willing substitute (1 John 4:10). Every part of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection was offered up to God as an obedient sacrifice. Through the gift of Christ himself, our sins are expiated; covered and blotted out by his very blood. God’s wrath is propitiated, appeased, and borne away in Christ’s flesh (Rom. 3:25, Heb. 2:17).