Christmas: Easter in Seminal Form

23 12 2009

Posted by Bobby Grow at The Evangelical Calvinist:

Here is a really good summary on what Incarnation is all about. Incarnation is inextricably tied to atonement. So that while we are celebrating Christ’s birth at this season, we also celebrate Easter in seminal form. This is a touchstone truth for Evangelical Calvinism, and thus a reason why I wanted to share this:

Christian faith starts with the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ. In that knowledge we are concerned not only with the duality of God and man in the unity of one person, but with the unity of Christ’s person and his act in the one work of salvation. Jesus Christ is one person whose word is wholly involved in his act and whose act is wholly involved in his person. We cannot therefore think of his person apart from his atoning work, or of his atoning work in abstraction from his person. We begin with the person of Christ, but it is his person who carries out the work of salvation, and in the strict sense it is Jesus Christ himself, the mediator, who is the atonement. It is Christ atoning who concerns us here. Therefore even when we begin with his incarnation and with his birth at Bethlehem, we are beginning right away with the atonement, for his birth, as the beginning of his incarnate person, is one end of the atoning work, with the resurrection and ascension as the other end. But when we begin with the person of Christ, it is the Christ who has revealed himself to us that we are concerned with, the Christ whom we know through his own word, as well as through his own work. We are concerned with the Christ who isthe word, who utters the word and whose word is identical with his saving work. Revelation and atonement are thus inseparable, Christ revealing and Christ reconciling, for the speaking of the word and the working out of the atoning deed are done within the one person of Christ, and partake of the unity of his deity and humanity in that one person. At every point it is in that perspective of Christ’s wholeness that we are to consider christology and soteriology. (Thomas F. Torrance, “Incarnation,” 37)

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