Faith in Christ leads to action
Atonement page 6 of 14
work on behalf of everyone. Atonement is unlimited. Yet, this idea is not without its questions that need to be worked through for a full understanding of salvation. “The Christus Victor understanding of Christ’s work raises some of the same problems as Irenaeus’s idea that Christ effects salvation by uniting the divine to the human. If ‘man’ in general, ‘who had been led captive in times past,’ has been ‘rescued from the grasp of his possessor’ (5.21.3) and ‘loosed from the bonds of condemnation’ (3.23.1), then are not all people saved? Or is it only those who come to faith who have been rescued, so that the rest remain under the devil’s power?” Surely the latter idea cannot be true, under the Christus Victor view (or any other biblical view), for God has ultimate control over the devil. The devil’s power is limited in scope and duration.
Christ is victorious over the evil forces that have entrapped humans. People are set free from spiritual bondage, freed to live a life in Christ, a life pleasing to God. As a result of the atonement, the groundwork has been laid by God in Christ for all to come into right relationship with God. People need to accept by faith in Jesus Christ Who has made it possible.
The satisfaction view
Anselm of Canterbury lived in the eleventh century and formulated his model of the atonement in the feudal setting of his day. “Both honor and satisfaction were of extreme significance in the medieval world of chivalry and feudalism, of knights, lords and vassals.” Anselm viewed sin as a serious affront to God’s honor. Humans have failed to give to God what is due Him, and as a result, deserve God’s wrath. A penalty is owed by each person (for all have sinned against God) in order to satisfy the honor due to God. “The penalty can be paid by another person, but no person who already has a debt demanding death (the situation of all
 David A. Brondos, Fortress Introduction to Salvation and the Cross (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007), 57-58.
 Joel B. Green and Mark D. Baker, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: Atonement in New Testament & Contemporary Contexts (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 127.
2Co 5:18-19 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.