Faith in  Christ   leads to action


been returned, there must be some additional compensation or reparation for the injury that has been done.”[17] No one can pay the debt—no one, that is, except the God-man Jesus Christ. Consequently, God provides the solution to human sin through the voluntary work of His Son. The atoning death and resurrection of Christ restores the honor of God—thus, God is satisfied. Moreover, the work of Christ repays the debt of every human being. “Anselm also makes the additional point that Christ’s obedience to God during his life and in his death endowed his sacrifice with sufficient merit to redeem human nature at large.”[18] Therefore, for these reasons, Christ’s atonement is unlimited; it covers all human beings.

            An interesting footnote to Anselm’s theological development is that he stops short of specifying what human response, if any, is needed in order to make the atonement effectual.


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

            The moral influence view

            This view is associated with Peter Abelard (1079-1142), a contemporary with Anselm, although it was further developed later, particularly during the Enlightenment in the nineteenth century. It holds that God sent Jesus into the world as an act of supreme love and that Jesus provided the highest example for humankind to love God and other people. The atonement is a

[17] Erickson, Introducing, 253.
[18] Alister E. McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction. Oxford (UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2007), 338.
[19] Gwenfair M. Walters, “The Atonement in Medieval Theology,” in The Glory of Atonement: Biblical, Historical & Practical Perspectives: Essays in Honor of Roger Nicole, eds. Charles E. Hill and Frank A. James III, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 249.

Remaining consistent with his emphasis on God’s role, Anselm did not dwell on humans’ responsibility in appropriating what Christ had done on their behalf. In fact, his relative silence on the subject was perhaps an expression of this very emphasis. Nevertheless, although he did not focus on the issue of whether humans needed to perform additional work to make the satisfaction complete, he did seem to allow an opening for the necessity of humans’ involvement by his phrase ‘provided they are willing to make an acceptable satisfaction and thereafter to mend their ways’ . . . (Even this reference needs to be weighed lightly, however, for it is uncertain whether Anselm wrote this line or whether it was a later interpolation.)[19]


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