Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Instead of our death there is His: Leon Morris on ransom

"There is no need to water down the language of the biblical writers, to reduce their colourful metaphors to a uniform drabness. They did not intend ransom to be taken as a full and sufficient statement of what the atonement was and did, but as far as it goes it gives a picture of one aspect of that great work. It is a metaphor which involves the payment of a price which is plainly stated in several places and understood in others to be the death of Christ. From the very nature of the imagery this involves a substitutionary idea; instead of our death there is His, instead of our slavery there is His blood. All of our verbal juggling cannot remove this from the New Testament." ((Morris, Leon. The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965. Print.53)

One of the issues many of the theologians of the atonement continually return to is the desire to incorporate and defend all of the figurative depictions of Christ's work. They decry the depreciation of any of the atonement metaphors and it seems that the concepts most under attack are those which place mankind in the worst light. We are those in need of ransom and reconciliation and representation. Why lessen the magnitude of Christ's great work by minimizing or ignoring certain aspects of the atonement? It seems to me that we should be trying to expound this multifaceted miraculous mediation! What can we expect but a more glorious apprehension of His grace if we pursue a full and robust perspective of atonement that entails all of the Bible's explanations of it?

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