Faith in  Christ   leads to action



Atonement page 7 of 14

humans) can pay the debt for someone else. A sinless person, however, would be free and could pay this debt.”[13] Since the debt was incurred by humans, the person paying the debt must be human; however, a mere human could not completely satisfy a holy God. Thus, the solution to this dilemma was for God to send His Son, Who is fully divine and also became fully human.

            In Anselm’s view, the love of God and the wrath of God were both significant in satisfying the problem of sin, which dishonors God. God’s wrath was stirred by His rebellious subjects. However, God’s wrath did not compel His Son’s sacrifice. “Anselm does not present a wrathful God punishing Christ in our place; rather, Christ satisfies, or pays, a debt we owe.”[14] The love of God in Christ is demonstrated by the work of Christ, Who acts willingly on our behalf to repay our debt and thereby satisfy God’s honor. As such, Anselm’s satisfaction theory “emphasizes that Christ died to satisfy a principle in the very nature of God the Father.”[15]

            Although Anselm’s satisfaction model may seem antiquated to us today because it was based on an earlier societal system, it demonstrates important points about the atonement, including the seriousness of sin, which can be overcome by a loving God in Christ.

            The greatest merits of Anselm’s exposition are that he perceived clearly the extreme gravity of sin (as a wilful rebellion against God in which the creature affronts the majesty of his Creator), the unchanging holiness of God (as unable to condone any violation of his honour), and the unique perfections of Christ (as the God-man who voluntarily gave himself up to death for us).[16]

             The satisfaction view illuminates unlimited atonement in that all humans have sinned (offended and dishonored God)—therefore, everyone has a debt to God which cannot be repaid by human efforts. Furthermore, the debt is greater than a simple transaction or reimbursement. “For in taking from God what is his, we have injured him; and even after what we have taken

[13] Green and Baker, Recovering, 131.
[14] Green and Baker, Recovering, 133
[15] Millard J. Erickson, Introducing Christian Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2001), 253.
[16] John R. W. Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 119

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.

The Atonement