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§ 1. Statement of the Doctrine.

The Symbols of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches agree entire1y in their statement of this doctrine. In the “Augsburg Confession”401401I. iv. 2; Hase, Libri Symbolici, 3d edit. p. 10. it is said, Christus “sua morte pro nostris peccatis satisfecit.” In the “Apology for the Augsburg Confession”402402III. 58; Ibid. p. 93. it is more fully expounded, “Christus, quia sine peccato subiit pœnam peccati, et victima pro nobis factus est, sustulit illud jus legis, ne accuset, ne damnet hos qui credunt in ipsum, quia ipse est propitiatio pro eis, propter quam nunc justi reputantur. Cum autem justi reputentur, lex non potest eos accusare, et damnare, etiamsi re ipsa legi non satisfecerint.” “Mors Christi non est solum satisfactio pro culpa, sed etiam pro æterna morte.403403VI. 43; Ibid. p. 190.In propitiatore hæc duo concurrunt: Primum, oportet exstare verbum Dei, ex quo certo sciamus, quod Deus velit misereri et exaudire invocantes per hunc propitiatorem. Talis exstat de Christo promissio. . . . . Alterum est in propitiatore, quod merita ipsius proposita sunt, ut, quæ pro aliis satisfacerent, quæ aliis donentur imputatione divina, ut per ea, tanquam propriis meritis justi reputentur, ut si quis amicus pro amico solvit æs alienum, debitor alieno merito tanquam proprio liberatur. Ita Christi merita nobis donantur, ut justi reputemur fiducia meritorum Christi, cum in eum credimus, tanquam propria merita haberemus.404404IX. 17, 19; Ibid. p. 226. In the “Form of Concord” this doctrine is not only presented but elaborately expounded and vindicated. It is said,405405III. 14, 15; Ibid. p. 684, 685.Justitia illa, quæ coram Deo fidei, aut credentibus, ex mera gratia imputatur, est obedientia, passio et resurrectio Christi, quibus ille legi nostra causa satisfecit, et peccata nostra expiavit. Cum enim Christus non tantum homo, verum Deus et homo sit, in una persona indivisa, tam non fuit legi subjectus, quam non fuit passioni et morti (ratione suæ personæ), obnoxius, quia 481Dominus legis erat. Eam ob causam ipsius obedientia (non ea tantum, qua patri paruit in tota sua passione et morte, verum etiam, qua nostra causa sponte sese legi subjecit, eamque obedientia illa sua implevit) nobis ad justitiam imputatur, ita, ut Deus propter totam obedientiam (quam Christus agendo et patiendo, in vita et morte sua, nostra causa Patri suo cœlesti præstitit) peccata nobis remittat, pro bonis et justis nos reputet, et salute æterna donet.

The Reformed Confessions are of like import. The Second Helvetic Confession406406XV.; Niemeyer, Collectio Confessionum, Leipzig, 1840, p. 494. says, “Christus peccata mundi in se recepit et sustulit, divinæque justitiæ satisfecit. Deus ergo propter solum Christum passum et resuscitatum, propitius est peccatis nostris, nec illa nobis imputat.” The Belgic Confession says,407407XXI.; Ibid. p. 373.Credimus, Jesum Christum summum ilium sacerdotem esse, . . . . qui se nostro nomine coram Patre ad placandam ipsius iram cum plena satisfactione obtulit, sistens se ipsum super altare crucis, et sanguinem suum pretiosum ad purgationem peccatorum nostrorum profudit.” The Heidelberg Catechism says,408408 XII.; Ibid. p. 432.Deus vult justitiæ satisfieri; quocirca necesse est, vel per nos, vel per alium satisfaciamus.” In the following answers it is taught that man cannot satisfy the justice of God for himself, nor any creature for him; that it was necessary that He who, as our substitute, would make satisfaction in our stead, should be both God and man. In answer to the question,409409XL.; Ibid. p. 439. Why it was necessary that Christ should die, it is said, “Propterea quod justitiæ et veritati Dei nullo alio pacto pro nostris peccatis potuit satisfieri, quam ipsa morte filii Dei.” The Heidelberg Catechism being the standard of doctrine in all the Dutch and German Reformed churches in Europe and America, is one of the most important and authoritative of the symbols of the Reformation.

In the “Formula Consensus Helvetica”410410XV. 32, 33; Ibid. pp. 734, 735. it is said, “Ita Christus vice electorum obedientia mortis suæ Deo patri satisfecit, ut in censum tamen vicariæ justitiæ et obedientiæ illius, universa ejus, quam per totius vitæ suæ curriculum legi . . . . sive agendo sive patiendo præstitit, obedientia vocari debeat. . . . . Rotundo asserit ore Spiritus Dei, Christum sanctissima vita legi et justitiæ divinæ pro nobis satisfecisse, et pretium illud, quo empti sumus Deo, non in passionibus duntaxat, sed tota ejus vita legi conformata collocat.

The “Westminster Confession”411411Chap. viii. § 5. says, “The Lord Jesus, by 482his perfect obedience and sacrifice of Himself, which He through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of his Father; and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven for all those whom the Father hath given unto Him.”

This, however, is not a doctrine peculiar to the Lutheran and Reformed churches; it is part of the faith of the Church universal. The Council of Trent says,412412Sess. vi. cap. 7; Streitwolf, Libri Symbolici, Göttingen, 1846, pp. 24, 25.Jesus Christus, cum essemus inimici, propter nimiam caritatem qua dilexit nos, sua sanctissima passione in ligno crucis nobis justificationem meruit, et pro nobis Deo patri satisfecit.” “Christus Jesus, qui pro peccatis nostris satisfecit.413413Sess. xiv. cap. 8; Ibid. p. 63. The Roman Catechism says,414414I. v. 11; Ibid. pp. 155, 156.Hoc in passione, et morte Filius Dei salvator noster spectavit, ut omnium ætatum peccata redimeret ac deleret, et pro eis Patri abunde, cumulateque satisfaceret.” “Prima satisfactio et præstantissima illa est, qua pro scelerum nostrorum ratione, etiam si Deus summo jure nobiscum velit agere, quidquid a nobis debeatur, cumulate persolutum est. Hæc vero ejusmodi esse dicitur, quæ nobis Deum propitium et placatum reddidit, eamque uni Christo domino acceptam ferimus, qui in cruce, pretio pro peccatis nostris soluto, plenissime Deo satisfecit.415415II. v. 53 (lxxxvii. or 63), Ibid. p. 401.


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