21. The Sacerdotal Office Of Christ.


The SACERDOTAL OFFICE OF CHRIST or MUNUS SACERDOTALE is the work of Christ through which in our stead He satisfies the righteous demands of God, intercedes for us as our eternal High Priest and advocate with the Father and blesses us. 

When we compare the office of the High Priest in the Old Testament as a type with Christ as an antitype we find many similarities, but we also discover one dissimilarity of very special importance, viz., that Christ was both the High Priest and the Sacrifice. Christ was the Lamb that was led forth to the slaughter, but also the officiating Priest in the sense that He voluntarily offered Himself. Aaron must needs make sacrifices for himself, but Christ did not need to do this, because He was sinless. The priestly office of Christ was therefore wholly vicarious. The first priestly service of Aaron was performed at the- altar situated at the entrance to the tabernacle. There the sacrifice was made. Then Aaron blessed the people and entered into the sanctuary. Christ also did the same after His sacrificial sufferings when He, after His resurrection, blessed His disciples before His ascension on high to enter the Holy of Holies. Concerning the entrance of Christ into the Holy of Holies the author of the letter to the Hebrews writes: “But Christ having come a high priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption” (Heb. 9: 11, 12). Our High Priest is there now and intercedes for us. But as Aaron came forth and blessed the people, so Christ shall come again and bless His own and shall punish the ungodly with fire. Cf. Lev. 9. Concerning the type of the great deed of Christ and His suffering on the great day of atonement or Good Friday, compare Leviticus 16. But not only Aaron and the priests of the Old Testament, or the priesthood, are types of Christ, the antitype; Melchizedek, who blessed Abraham, is also a type. Cf. Heb. 6: 20—7: 4. And yet, although the blessing is a part of the functions of the high priest, still the sacrificial suffering or the atonement and the intercessory prayer occupy the chief places. The blessing is poured out upon us in the kingdom of grace and will be imparted to the Church of Christ in complete measure when Christ shall come again. We shall therefore deal first with the doctrine of atonement and afterwards with the high-priestly intercessory prayer of Christ.



There are some who have considered that the atonement would not be necessary in case God were the object, but such a view fails to grasp the meaning of the atonement, at the same time involving a misconception of the nature of God and man. The love of God is misinterpreted at the cost of His holiness, while the depth of human sinful corruption is overlooked. The main conception in every religion is reconciliation or atonement. Man himself feels the need of atonement. On this account all religions speak of sacrifice, and the Christian religion has realized what the other religions have sought for. Christianity is the religion of reconciliation or atonement. The special revelation of God in Christ makes clearly manifest the necessity of the atonement. Concerning this necessity the following points may be considered:

1) Man is conscious of his guilt as a sinner (both in harboring and doing sin), reatus culpae, and of his liability to punishment, reatus poenae. The fact is incontrovertible that all men, to a greater or less extent, feel that they are not what they ought to be, and for this reason fear a future retribution. The consciousness of guilt remains, although the special sin that has been committed may have been forgotten. But as man sins day by day, so the guilt increases, and even if he does not always consider, but rather forgets, that he is a debtor, still he cannot always turn a deaf ear to the warning voice of conscience. 2) The voice of conscience denotes that the will of one person has violated the will of another, which in this case can be no other than the will of God, whose Law man has transgressed. Man realizes in every sinful act that he has not only transgressed, it may be, some human law, but that he has sinned against a higher power, or God. Even the heathen are conscious of this to a greater or less extent. Cf . Rom. 2: 15: “They show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them.” 3) Inasmuch as the evil conflicts with the essence of God, therefore He reacts against it, since He is absolutely holy. Sin arouses the hatred and the wrath of God, and because the sinner and sin cannot in reality be distinguished, therefore the sinner becomes the object of the wrath of God. The following passages may be quoted: “Why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?” (Ps. 74: 1); “The wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3: 36; cf. Rom. 2:5); “Children of wrath” (Eph. 2: 3; 5: 6). 4) Love does not prevent such a reaction as this, inasmuch as the character of love in the divine essence is such that He loves Himself as the Holy One. God’s love cannot be separated from His holiness. God is holy love. For this reason we cannot compare the love of God with the indulgent love of sinful men, which very often is not real love, but the opposite. God is perfect in His love and just as perfect in His holiness. The one attribute cannot abrogate the other. 5) The reaction of God against sin and the sinner implies punishment, which denotes exclusion from the communion with God, or death, which has a negative side, or the loss of life, and a positive side, or damnation. The word death includes therefore both bodily and eternal death. 6) The sinner cannot again be received into communion with God if the demands of God’s justice are not satisfied. Inasmuch as God is unchangeable not only in His love, but also in His righteousness, therefore He cannot act arbitrarily. The demands of the Law must be fulfilled, since otherwise God would not be the absolutely Holy One. There can be no compromise, for if there be any diminution of the holiness of God, which is made manifest in His punitive justice, then the love of God might be subject to diminution at the cost of some other attribute. The attributes stand in the closest relationship to each other, but in this relationship each attribute is unchangeable as to its nature and activity. 7) Man cannot satisfy the demands of God’s righteousness; hence there would be no salvation, if God had not in His great love prepared the way of salvation. This inability of man is clearly presented in the Word of God and is confirmed in the personal experience of man. The love of God, revealed in the sending of His Son, is presented in many places, as in John 3: 16; Eom. 8: 3, 32; 1 John 4: 10, etc. This proves the evident necessity of the atonement. 8) The sending of the Son was the only way in which God could combine His love and righteousness in relation to man. If God had not been absolutely holy, then salvation could have been accomplished without the atoning work of Christ. In that case God could in His goodness like an indulgent father have granted to men the privileges that they had forfeited through sin. But the love of God was an absolutely holy love, and for this reason an atonement became necessary. The atonement was needed, and in His goodness God willed the salvation, of men. Inasmuch as man could not make atonement, God sent His Son. There was no other way. In this manner both the love of God and His righteousness as justice were satisfied in relation to man.


The subject of the atonement is God. It may seem strange that God is both the subject and the object, but inasmuch as man could not make satisfaction, and furthermore, since the atonement was absolutely necessary, therefore God Himself in His great love brought about the work of reconciliation between Himself and mankind. Although the sending of the Son is specially ascribed to the Father, still the Son was willing to be sent. Opera oeconomica are indeed minus indivisa in comparison with opera attributiva, which are indivisa, but all opera ad extra are still in a sense indivisa or communia. Therefore God is the subject as a Trinity, although the Father is especially named as the subject when we consider the content of John 3: 16, where it is stated that God as the Father gave His only begotten Son. Compare Rom. 8: 32, where we read: “He that spared not his own Son.” Compare also the high-priestly intercessory prayer of Christ in John 17, where He prays to His Father. In 2 Cor. 5: 17, 19, we read that God reconciled.


RECONCILIATIO ( καταλλαγή, Versohnung, forsoning), which comprises and constitutes the result of satisfactio and expiatio, denotes the objective restoration of the original relationship between God and the human race that had been disturbed and nullified through sin. Atonement means the relationship of peace, since the reaction of the justice of God against sin or the wrath of God has been appeased, so that it is possible for God without violating His justice to be gracious toward sinners. For this reason the following assertion is true: Christ has reconciled God to the world and the world has through Christ been reconciled to God. The atonement is also called redemption (ἀπολύτρωσις) , but in that case the satisfaction of Christ is considered more especially in relation to man, as to how he was redeemed from the power of sin and Satan to God. The two elements that enter into reconciliation are satisfactio and expiatio. These terms seem indeed to express the same thing, so that satisfactio denotes expiatio and vice versa, but expiatio implies more than satisfactio. The definition of reconciliation would not be complete with satisfactio. The two terms complement each other, rendering the conception more perfect.

1) SATISFACTIO (satisfaction, Genugthuung, tillfyllestgorelse) is that part of the high-priestly work of salvation of Jesus Christ through which in our stead He fulfilled the demands of the divine righteousness by means of His active and passive obedience. The two terms that are employed to characterize satisfactio are therefore the following: a) obedientia activa, which consisted in the most perfect fulfilment of the Law in our stead, with the result that those who believe in Christ are liberated from the guilt of sin; b) obedientia passiva, which is satisfactio in the sense that Christ suffered the punishment of sin in our stead, so that the believers are liberated from the punitive suffering on account of sin. His satisfaction or vicarious obedience was sufficient for all, but application by faith in Him was necessary. Among Scripture passages that refer to the obedience of Christ the following may be noted: “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous” (Rom. 5: 19); “One died for all” (2 Cor. 5: 14); “Who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree” (1 Peter 2: 24; cf. Isa. 53: 5); “Christ also suffered for our sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous” (1 Peter 3: 18). The whole life of Christ was one of active and passive obedience, although His suffering culminated toward the end. He not only suffered for our sins, that we might be liberated from punishment; through His active obedience He procured a righteousness which He Himself did not need, and which therefore redounded to the benefit of mankind in the determined way. This righteousness was the fruit of His active and passive obedience. The wages of sin was eternal death. The death of Christ was therefore a vicarious death as a punishment for the sin of man. In Heb. 2: 9 we read: “By the grace of God he should taste of death for every man.” This could not have been done, had He not borne the sins of the world. It is not necessary to cite the many passages which present this matter. However, compare Χωρίς άμαρτίας in Heb. 9: 28 and 4: 15. From this it is plainly evident that He Himself was sinless, and still had sin, the sin of others. Therefore He suffered for our sins and was obedient unto death, the death of the cross. Jesus Christ was made to be both άμαρτία and κατάρα for us. Compare 2 Cor. 5: 21; Gal. 3: 13. Being sinless Himself He could satisfy the divine demands. His satisfaction as to its active and passive obedience possessed valid power, so that He was our λντρον or kopher. According to the Hebrew idiom it is he that pays, or he for whom the ransom is paid, that is covered with the price. Inasmuch as Christ Himself was sinless, but bore our guilt, therefore He became our Redeemer, and inasmuch as He was covered through His satisfaction, therefore it was really we that were covered. This means that God considers the whole transaction objectively as if the satisfaction had been performed by man. By reason of this kopher the state of guilt was annulled and the punishment inhibited. Christ blotted out the bond (Col. 2: 14) that was against us, which implied both guilt and punishment. With regard to the two terms used to describe satisfactio, they must not be separated, since they stand in the closest possible relation to each other, so that the obedientia passiva was also active (obedientia activa) and the obedientia activa was also passive (obedientia passiva).

2) EXPIATIO (kippurim, ίλασμός, Suhnung, atonement, expiation) is not only satisfaction but propitiation and expresses the modus of the atonement as the voluntary self-sacrifice of Christ throughout the whole of His life as an atoning sacrifice, implying the voluntary suffering of the wrath of God by reason of sin, causing indescribable and intensive anguish or passion, which at the same time constituted the greatest deed. As will be observed, the ethical element enters here, so that Christ not only suffered the punishment of sin and fulfilled the demands of the Law, but of His own volition He performed the work of reconciliation with the right spirit, the spirit of an absolutely righteous person, who offers Himself as a sacrifice to reconcile the sins of humanity. For this reason the sacrifice of Christ became not only a satisfaction, but also a satisfying atonement and an atoning satisfaction. This is expressed in the Hebrew kippurim, which comes from the verb kipper, to cover. That which is covered is sin and therefore also the sinner. In this manner the guilt is blotted out or paid. The atoning sacrifice of Christ explains therefore how God can be both δίκαιος and δίκαιων, so that He is able without nullifying His righteousness or justice to love and save the sinner in the determined way. Some one has said that satisf actio et expiatio vicaria is the “ἕυρηκα” of the great and holy love of God.

The sufferings of Christ were not of a calamitous nature, as the reason for this suffering was not secret, neither were they disciplinary, as He had done no wrong. His sufferings were vicariously retributive. If He also suffered as a martyr, that was not the real reason why He suffered and died. His suffering was a punishment for our sins. He suffered both physically and mentally. The physical pain He endured was extraordinary, but His mental suffering in the soul is inexplicable, having no parallel in human consciousness.

When Christ as the atoning sacrifice suffered the punishment of sin. He endured in His soul the anguish of hell, which the Dogmaticians express in Latin terms as follows: poenae infernales, poenae damnatorum, mors aeterna cum doloribus, angoribus et cruciatibus infernalibus. This He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and especially on the cross, where His sufferings reached their culmination in the derelictio. This suffering is not to be considered extensive as to time, but intensive. Christ bore in death the punishment which our sins had deserved, so that He suffered the eternal punishment in our stead. He suffered the eternal punishment- in an eternally intensive way. The derelictio, or the consciousness of being forsaken by God, expresses the culmination as well as the nature of the eternal suffering. The strong crying of Jesus as being forsaken by God was not a sentimental outcry by reason of great bodily pain or soul anguish; it was caused by the realizing sense of being actually forsaken, although not in the absolute sense. The dereliction went as far as it was possible without really severing the ties that bound the Father and Son together. The Son experienced the judgment on sin in all its terrible reality. PHILIPPI endeavors to explain the suffering as intensive in such manner that men sinned against an infinite God and were therefore in accordance with the retributive justice of God adjudged guilty of an intensive and infinite punishment. But as finite creatures they could not endure such a punishment, and its infliction would have annihilated them. For this reason God changed the intensive and infinite punishment to an extensive and infinite. But Christ as divine was capable of suffering the originally decreed intensive punishment, for which reason He did not need to suffer extensively as to time. Bjorling criticised partly the explanation of Philippi in the following way: “This view overlooks the fact that the spirit of man, while created and individual, and in this sense finite, is nevertheless a partaker of the infinity of God. because he is created in the image of God. Sin is in itself intensively infinite and the punishment of sin has therefore also the same property. Nothing can be taken from this intensive infinity of the punishment to be replaced by an extensive infinity, and since Christ in love to us took upon Himself in our stead the guilt and punishment of sin in order to satisfy the holiness and justice of God, He took this upon Himself in the same manner as it must be experienced by sinful men, both in an intensive and extensive way.” But the solution is to be found in the fact that the question concerns states or conditions that partake of eternity, and mathematical calculations are not necessary. The infinite worth of the person of Jesus, eternal in His essence, implies a character who made perfect satisfaction. The fall into sin and our disobedience are in reality finite, but infinite in guilt, because the transgression is committed against an infinite absolute personality. The active and the passive obedience of Christ together with His death were momentary as to time or finitae, but as to merit they are infinitae.

The Socinians claim that Christ could not suffer the eternal punishments, nor was it necessary, as God did not require a vicarious atonement. They evidently had a wrong conception of eternity as it would affect the God-man, for they denied His real divinity and only ascribed to Him a titular divinity. According to the Socinian view Christ only suffered as a martyr. There are others who hold that Christ should have suffered as the damned, extensively, and since this was not the case, they claim that He did not suffer eternal punishments. These persons think that God is reconciled by the endless punishments. The condemned cannot reconcile God’s justice by their punishments. They rejected the vicarious atonement of Christ and are in a condition where conversion is not possible. Only Christ was able to reconcile God. His intensive and complete satisfaction and expiation or propitiation satisfied the demands of the holiness, righteousness and justice of God. We should not speculate in regard to the mode as to how Christ experienced hell’s torments, but be assured from the Scriptures that He fulfilled the Law in our stead and that He suffered fully what was required to appease the justice and wrath of God. If the sufferings were not identical, they were equivalent and of greater value intrinsically. If a person receives a loan in ragged paper money and pays it back in shining gold, it is at least fully equivalent. When Christ, who could experience a timeless existence, offered Himself as a ransom and suffered intensely, we should not discuss identical modes of punishment. When God was satisfied, we should not make mathematical calculations. What Christ did can never be estimated.

We would call attention to the following Scripture passages: “Take thy censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and lay incense thereon, and carry it quickly unto the congregation, and make atonement for them” (Numbers 16: 46). The means of atonement steps between the wrath of God and the people. Compare Lev. 16 concerning the atonement on the great day of atonement. “The life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life” (Lev. 17: 11) . In like manner Christ was offered on the altar of the cross, and His blood became an atonement. Christ became the perfect antitype of the principal sacrifices: the sin-offering implied expiatio, the trespass-offering indemnificatio, the burnt-offering oblatio, the peace-offering conciliatio. The same holds with regard to the offering of the covenant in Ex. 24, the offering of consecration in Lev. 8, and the offering of the Passover, since Christ is our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7). He suffered in silence and willingly. Cf. Isa. 53. Christ foretold His own suffering and did not spare Himself, as He could have done. In Phil. 2: 8 we read that He was “obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.” Expiatio or ίλασμός; is used for atonement in 1 John 2:2: “He is the propitiation for our sins.” Compare also Heb. 5: 7, 8, which speaks of His suffering and obedience, implying as a prerequisite a voluntary sacrifice of Himself. “Christ suffered for sins once” (1 Peter 3: 18). That the one sacrifice was sufficient, so that Christ did not need to suffer extensively as to time, is evident in the light of Heb. 9: 25, 26: “Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place year by year with blood not his own; else must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once at the end of the ages hath he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”


We ascribe to satisfaction and the atonement or expiation the following attributes: 1) vicaria or vicarious. If it be formally regarded there is required: a) a surrogation by which some one else is substituted for a debtor, with the understanding that the debt is charged to the surrogate or substitute; b) a payment of the debt or penalties. The Socinians objected to the vicarious atonement and stated that the act of one man cannot be the act of another. But an act may be considered from a physical and a moral standpoint. From the latter point of view an imputation may take place. The question must not be considered from the mathematical standpoint, but in a dynamic way. The idea of substitution is not a foreign one in the conditions of human life. A father, a mother, and others, often act vicariously. The one person often does that which another ought to do. The opponents of the doctrine of satisfactio et expiatio vicaria argue that if Christ has died in the stead of all, then no one should be damned by God, or if Christ has paid the debt, then God cannot enforce repayment. But this objection embodies a misinterpretation of the conditions that obtain in the moral world and in the realm of freedom. While an objective atonement has been accomplished, still God cannot arbitrarily force anyone to become subjectively reconciled to Him. The debt is not a monetary one, although the terms used are mercenary. Furthermore, with regard to the objection that no one ought to die, since Christ has died for us all, real death is not the bodily death, but the spiritual and the eternal death. The believers themselves, who have been reconciled in the subjective sense, are subject to bodily death, provided Christ does not in the meantime return, when the Christians will not be unclothed, but clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life (2 Cor. 5:4). But those who will not obey the laws in the moral world must suffer eternal death, in spite of the vicarious death of Christ, because they have not fulfilled the conditions of subjective salvation. Under such conditions God deals with perfect justice, inasmuch as such persons have rejected the reconciliation of Christ and have themselves chosen death. Furthermore, the objection has been raised that God could not impute our debts to Christ, who was guiltless. But Christ voluntarily assumed the guilt of our sin. The Scriptures declare most plainly that the death of Christ was vicarious. In Matt. 20: 28 we read that “the Son of man came to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many (λυτρον αντι πολλων).” The expression reads therefore, ransom instead of many. Cf. 1 Tim, 2:6: “Ransom for all (αντιλυτρον υπερ παντων).” The idea of substitution is also seen in the translation of the Hebrew kopher by λύτρον in the Septuagint. Therefore the Lord gave His life in the stead of the many. Cf. John 6: 51; 10: 11. Ὑπἑρ does not nullify the meaning of ἀντί, rather it strengthens it and complements the sense, so that while it was done “instead of,” it also was done “in favor of.” Doctrines are fortified and explained through the analogy of faith. In 2 Cor. 5: 19 we read: “Not reckoning unto them their trespasses,” having imputed them to Christ, in accordance with verse 21, “Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf.” Could the substitution be more clearly expressed? Compare Gal. 3: 13; Eph. 1:7; Col. 2: 14. In 1 Peter 2: 24 we read: “Who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree.” The expression ἀνήνεγκεν corresponds to the same verb used in the translation of Isa. 53 in the Septuagint. Cf. Heb. 9: 28. We ought also to remember that Christ is the head of the race, that He is the second Adam, the Son of man, and therefore by reason of His organic relationship with humanity He can act in the stead of men. Compare Rom. 5: 12–19; 3: 25 (ίλαστήριον). The Greek word corresponds to the Hebrew (transliterated into English) kapporeth, from kaphar, to cover. We will quote the following passages: “Whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God” (Rom. 3: 25); “Having a golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was. . .the tables of the covenant, and above it the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat” (Heb. 9: 4, 5). Notice propitiation and mercy seat! The kapporeth became the propitiation and mercy seat covering the tablets of the Law as the Law accuses the sinner. The blood of the atonement was sprinkled upon the kapporeth which, therefore, was called the mercy seat. The sins of which the sinner was accused were covered by the blood in order that God should not see the sins and the sinner. This means that God was propitiated or reconciled. 2) Universalis, i. e., that it was an atonement for all. This term is used against the Calvinists, who teach that Christ died only for the elect. 3) Sufficientissima et consummatissima, because the atonement was in the complete sense of the word sufficient and perfect.


The object of the reconciliation may be presented from three points of view: a) objectum proprium is God, the Triune, but by reason of opera oeconomica in the doctrine of the Trinity, the objectum proprium is especially the Father; b) objectum personale is humanity or the world; c) objectum reale is sin, both peccatum originate and peccata actualia. However, the last two conceptions include the first, so that, strictly speaking, God is the object of the objective reconciliation.

There have been and still are Socinian tendencies that deny that God is the object of the reconciliation. Among other reasons advanced in defense of the Socinian position, it is stated that nowhere in Scripture is it said that God is reconciled. Of course they say that God is love and did not need to be reconciled. Either they ignore the justice of God or else they confuse His justice with His love. But even if the expression is not found in the Bible, still the substance is there. The word justice cannot be translated by love or any of its synonyms. In this connection we would call attention to the content of Heb, 2: 17, where we read ιλασκεσθαι τας αμαρτιας. In the classical Greek the verb is used only with the gods as an object, but is not so used either in the Septuagint or the New Testament. The reason is evident when we consider the meaning of the corresponding Hebrew word kipper, which means tegere or abstergere, since it cannot properly be said that God is covered, but that the atonement covers the sinner before God. But if the atoning sacrifice intervenes between the wrath of God and the sinner, so that the sinner is covered, then in reality it is equivalent to the reconciliation of God. Since Christ has become the propitiation for our sins, therefore a sinner may cry out in supplication: “God, be thou merciful to me, a sinner!” Christ is also called our Advocate with the Father. The sacrifices in the Old Testament were offered before the Lord as a sweet savor. Cf. Lev. 1: 9. Also cf. Eph. 5:2: “Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell.” Also Heb. 8: 12: “I will be merciful to their iniquities.” In comparing such passages as those quoted with Rom. 5: 9, 10; 2 Cor. 5: 18, 19, etc., it becomes clearly evident to every conscientious reader of the Bible that God is the object of the atonement, and not only the world or the sins of men.

The Socinians and other advocates of the Moral Theory claim that there was no need of propitiating God, as He loved mankind and was desirous of convincing every human being of this fact, and that no atonement was necessary. According to them Christ was only a man. Our doctrine of the atonement rests upon the fact that Christ was both human and divine. If Christ had been a sinless man only, God, being just, would not have punished the innocent instead of the guilty, and if He had done so, no redemption would have resulted. No human could have removed the guilt of the world. If a creature had suffered for the sins of the world in an atoning sense, God would not have made any sacrifice, but we remember the statement in Rom. 8: 32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,” which proves the great sacrifice of God. Some imagine that God has no feeling, because emotions would interfere with His blessedness. His love, justice and other attributes prove that He has feelings, but His intrinsic blessedness is not disturbed by the various emotions. Vicarious atonement is supreme proof of the most intense love and justice. The offended God sends His own Son to be incarnated to atone for the sins of the world. God does not only demand atonement, but offers the atonement Himself. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” This proves the absolute requirement of reconciling God. It is evident that atonement was necessary and that God was the object of propitiation.


Briefly stated, it may be said that the effectus of the reconciliation is the merit of Christ with all that is implied therein, which He has gained for our benefit, inasmuch as He did not need it for His own sake. In Eph. 1: 7 we therefore read: “In whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to tho riches of his grace.” In an objective sense the debt has been paid, and redemption as a reconciliation has been completed. In this sense we have been redeemed from sin, death and the devil. This Christ has done and can therefore bestow His merit which has been secured for all men. Cf. Rom. 5: 8–18. We may also say that in principle the power of sin has been broken. Cf. Rom. 7:4: “Ye were made dead to the law through the body of Christ”; Titus 2: 14: “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession.” In principle death is also conquered. Cf. Heb. 2: 15: “And might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” In the same sense He also overcame the devil. Cf. Heb. 2: 14, etc. But the great significance of the merit of Christ shall appear more clearly when redemption in a practical sense is completed. The Lamb, who purchased unto God with His blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people and nation, shall alone be worthy to open the book with the seven seals. Cf. Rev. 5.

The great vicarious work of Christ was finished on Calvary, when He cried: “It is finished,” John 19: 30. The objective reconciliation, including satisfaction and atonement, was then completed. But the same Christ will also be the Redeemer in the practical sense, and the word will go forth: It is done! Compare Rev. 16: 17. The transactions leading up to this event are depicted in the seven seals, the seven trumpets and the seven bowls. In Rev. 5 the Saviour is called the Lamb on account of His work on Calvary and He is called the ‘Lion in reference to His final redemptive work at the Second Advent. The book with seven seals and the events connected in the symbolism transfer us to the life of the Old Testament, when properties were lost and mortgage deeds were given in the form of book-rolls. One of these books or mortgages (as there were two copies) was closed by seals and contained specifications and conditions of redemption. Opening the seals was a symbol of buying back. A relative who would buy back or redeem such a mortgage roll was called Goel or redeemer. When we transfer the figurative language in this case, the lost property is Paradise and Christ is the Goel or Redeemer who can change Paradise lost to Paradise regained. The opening of the seals means many conflicts and troubles to dispossess the princes of the evil world and the Prince of darkness, who have taken unlawful possession of the property of God and His people. Besides, there is a constant appeal to individuals to take interest in the kingdom of God. The objective reconciliation has as its aim the subjective. In 2 Cor. 5: 20 we read: “We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God.” In God’s own time the final redemption will be realized. Rev. 10 describes one of the grand scenes in taking final possession. And in the seventh verse we read: “In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then is finished the mystery of God.”


HOLLAZIUS defines intercession as follows: INTERCESSION is the second act in the sacerdotal office of Christ, through which Christ the God-man, on the ground of His infinite merit, really and properly intercedes for all men and especially for His elect, without in the least diminishing His majesty, to the end that He might obtain for them whatsoever things He knows to he salutary for them in a temporal and especially in a spiritual sense.” 

The nature of intercession is more particularly defined by the following negative and positive terms: a) negative: 1) non nuda interpretativa, as though Christ interceded for us not by real prayers, but by His merit alone; 2) non σαρκικῶς seu δουλικῶς, so that He as a suppliant upon His knees and with outstretched hands should make a vocal outcry for mercy, inasmuch as this would conflict with His exalted and glorified state; b) positive: 1) realis, inasmuch as He really prays for us; 2) vocalis, since He intercedes audibly or with words; 3) θεοπρεπῶς, or in a manner befitting the Son of God; 4) specialis, since He prays especially for the elect; 5) generalis, since He prays for all that still are in the kingdom of Grace.

The following passages may be observed: “It is Jesus Christ that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom. 8: 34); “He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7: 25); “A priest for ever” (Heb. 7: 17); “I will pray the Father for you” (John 16: 26; cf. John 17; also John 14: 16); “An Advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1). There is a temple of God in heaven. Cf. Rev. 11: 19; Heb. 8: 1–5. Dogmaticians differ as to whether the intercession of Christ shall continue through eternity or cease at the last judgment when Christ shall deliver up the kingdom of God. QUENSTEDT believes that the intercession will continue through eternity, because Christ is a Priest for ever. On the other hand, LUTHER said that intercession would continue until the end of the world. The Lord Jesus Christ is indeed a Priest and a King for ever, so that even after the consummation He is considered as the eternal High Priest, but intercession in the real sense will no longer be needed after the words of 1 Cor. 15: 24 have been fulfilled. The work will then have been finished both in a juridical and an actual sense, and the blessed will forever have inherited all the results of the reconciliation.

Dogmaticians have also directed attention to Rom. 8: 26: “The Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Cf. verse 27. On the basis of these passages some have considered that the Holy Ghost also intercedes for us, but QUENSTEDT interprets these words to mean that the Holy Ghost merely urges us to pray, teaches us to pray, and assists us, as it were, dynamically, to formulate our prayers. Quenstedt does not use the word dynamically, but the sense is the same. He also says: “The one intercession, i. e., that of Christ, is θεανθρωπική, the other is merely θεική. The one is mediatorial; the other is not. The intercession of Christ is founded upon His suffering and death, which cannot be said of the intercession of the Holy Ghost.”


In the earliest period there was no formulation of the doctrine of reconciliation, and yet reconciliation occupied the central position in the teaching of the Church. The frequently recurring celebrations of the Lord’s Supper prove that the majority of the Christians emphasized the atonement. In the Apologetic period and partly in the Polemic period it was asserted that the ransom was paid to Satan. The significance of the death of Christ was set forth from three points of view: as a redemption from death and the devil, as a reconciliation with God through sacrifice, and as a means to reach everlasting life. Irenaeus presented the so-called theory of “recapitulation.” Gregory of Nazianzus rejected the theory that the ransom was paid to Satan and declared that it was paid to God. Even during the Scholastic period the old theory was still advocated that the ransom was paid to Satan. But during this period the following theories of reconciliation appeared: The theory of Anselm, the moral theory of Abelard, the doctrine of “satisfactio superabundans” of Thomas Aquinas together with the ”acceptation theory” of Duns Scotus. Among these theories that of Anselm, in spite of its defects, occupies the most prominent place. Abelard and Duns Scotus were forerunners of Calvinism, teaching, as they did, that Christ died only for the elect. Among the mystics the teachings of Gerson, Tauler and John Wessel approached the doctrines of the Church, while others, such as Weigel, Bohme and Denk departed from and rejected the orthodox doctrine of satisfaction. During the period of the Reformation the doctrine of the atonement was presented especially by the Lutheran Reformers in a very complete way. The Scriptural immediacy of the Apostolic period again makes its appearance, while the internal experience of the infinite guilt of sin and the wrath of God upon the sinner prepares the way for a more profound conception of the objective reconciliation and redemption from the power of sin, death and the devil. The relationship between the love and justice of God is clearly set forth. Christ bore all our sins and the wrath of God. The two natures of Christ participated in the atonement. The active and passive obedience of Christ are presented. God was reconciled through the vicarious satisfaction of Christ. The doctrine of the Reformed Church suffers from the influence of the doctrine of predestination. After the Reformation had sown the seeds of life-giving truth, Socinianism began to sow tares. They rejected all the essential points in the Church’s doctrine of satisfaction. The Arminians followed partly in their footsteps and advocated the “acceptation theory.” Hugo Grotius set forth the so-called “government theory,” in accordance with which God as a regent inflicted the punishment of our sin on the Son as a warning example. The Supranaturalists presented the atonement in a heretical way and considered that satisfaction was the most suitable way. Philosophical Rationalism advocated the theory of self-atonement. The vulgar Rationalists, of course, rejected the doctrine of the Church. Hegelianism presents the self-atonement of God in accordance with the tenets of Pantheism. Schleiermacher rejected the orthodox doctrine of atonement and emphasized a subjective redemption, which he placed before the atonement. The atonement becomes a subjective state in man. Von Hofmann set forth the so-called “mystical theory,” which presents the organic union of Christ with the human race, so that we were reconciled to God, not through Christ, but in Him. He therefore denies the vicarious suffering of Christ. Maurice and Bushnell resurrected the old moral theory. The Hofmann theory has been refuted by Thomasius, Delitzsch and others. Ritschlianism places justification before reconciliation and rejects the orthodox theory of atonement altogether. There have been many, however, who have powerfully refuted the empty doctrine of atonement that Ritschlianism set forth and have presented the juridical doctrine of reconciliation. Many of the recent theologians would substitute the ethical theory of atonement for the juridical conception of punishment, but the conservative Lutheran theologians have indeed presented Suhne and consequently the ethical element, but not at the cost of the conception of the suffering and punishment from the juridical standpoint, rather they have harmonized the two conceptions. We now pass to the more detailed consideration of the development of the doctrine through the various periods.

CLEMENT OF ROME: says that Christ gave His blood for us, and in accordance with his presentation it is evident that he taught that the death of Christ was vicarious. IGNATIUS says that Christ was a sacrifice offered to God in our stead. 

JUSTIN MARTYR sets forth, somewhat obscurely, perhaps, the vicarious death of Jesus. He says that Satan was overcome through the death of Jesus. Christ took upon himself the condemnation of all. IRENAEUS taught that the incarnated Son of God must conquer sin in all the grades of human existence. He was to pass through all the ages of man in order to sanctify them, and in such wise he recapitulated the whole history of man. With regard to the redemption he taught that since man had given his consent at the temptation, Satan rightfully possessed him in his power. Christ conquered the devil in a perfectly legitimate way. Irenaeus does not state expressly, however, that the ransom was paid to Satan. Christ has reconciled us to God, making God gracious, and thereby procuring the forgiveness of sins and immortality. TERTULLIAN beheld in the death of Christ a sacrifice. He used the word satisfactio, although not in the current theological sense, but as the sinner’s own satisfaction. CYPRIAN says that Christ conquered death through the victorious sign of the cross, reconciled us to God and procured for us forgiveness for the sins that were found or were committed before Baptism. ORIGEN taught that Satan had obtained power over man through the Fall. When man was to be liberated a ransom was necessary. Satan demanded the soul or the blood of Jesus, and he turned Him over to the Jews to be crucified. But he was deceived when he thought that he would secure the higher nature of Jesus together with His manhood. He could not retain the soul of Jesus permeated by the Logos, because this caused him great pain. The cross of Jesus became a net that took Satan captive. Origen speaks, however, of the reconciliation of God. He also taught that the redemption reached into the whole world of spirits. 

ATHANSIUS considered the death of Christ as vicarious. Christ set man free from the guilt of death through His death. GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS said that the ransom was paid to God. Although he taught that the death of Christ was vicarious, still he declared that God neither needed nor desired the atonement, but that it was of significance because men were sanctified through the manhood of Jesus. GREGORY OF NYZZA considered the redemption as a redemption from Satan. Satan demanded Christ because he liked Him best. God gave him Jesus and therefore arranged an exchange, but God had also made such arrangements that the human nature of Jesus became a bait for Satan. In the human nature of Jesus there was hidden the divine hook by which Satan was captured. The act of God was just, because Satan had deceived man. At the same time it was an evidence of love, since the connection with Jesus may at last save even the devil. AMBROSE uses the expression satisfactio in the right sense. He speaks of the beguiling of the devil as a pia fraus. CHRYSOTOM says that Christ died for us and thereby won the favor of the Father, whose wrath was aroused because of sin. The work of Christ was superabundant, like the ocean as compared with a drop of water. JEROME believed that Jesus offered Himself to Satan, who could not retain Him. AGUSTINE said that God had dealt legitimately with Satan and therefore the ransom was paid to Him. But he also speaks of a redemption from the wrath of God. Christ assumed our guilt and atoned for it, and His merit is more than sufficient. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA stated that the world-atoning power of the death of Christ was dependent on the fact that His blood was the blood of the Son of God. The Father gave the Son as a vicarious ransom. Cyril also says that the Logos offered Himself to God the Father. He speaks of satisfactio vicaria. GREGORY THE GREAT developed the theory of the deceiving of Satan, who is likened unto leviathan that is caught by Christ like a fish on a hook. He would not state that Satan had justly ruled over men, but only quasi juste. JOHN OF DAMASCUS declared that the ransom was paid to God, but also taught, however, that Satan had been deceived when he swallowed the bait, which was the body of Christ, and was caught by the hook of divinity. 

ANSELM presented his views in Cur Deus Homo. His starting point is the conception of guilt, and he rejects the juridical pretensions of the devil. Redemption from the devil presupposes redemption from sin and guilt. Sin is an insult to the honor of God and implies infinite guilt. God must demand a restitution. Such a restitution can take place through punishment and satisfaction. But the punishment would annihilate man. The other method or satisfaction implies a voluntary payment of that which was stolen, but more must be given, viz., something infinite, which man was not bound to pay. God could not forgive sins by His mercy alone, since that would overrule His justice. Man cannot make satisfaction. For this reason the Son of Man came. As man He could represent all men, but as God His life possessed unutterable value. His active obedience did not possess atoning value, because He was obligated to fulfill all righteousness for His own sake, but He was not obliged to give His life in death. When, therefore, Christ voluntarily sacrificed His life, it became a satisfaction of infinite worth. And because it was more than enough, it became necessary for God to repay, and this repayment redounded to the benefit of the children of men. He also taught that the salvation of men was intended by God to fill the void that had arisen through the fall of the angels. The weaknesses in Anselm’s theory consist chiefly in the following points: That he sets forth the glory of God at the cost of the divine holiness; that the work of Christ is considered from the quantitative standpoint; that the active obedience is excluded, and that the mathematical limitation disturbs the Christians’ assurance of salvation. ABELARD combatted the Anselm theory and set forth the so-called “moral theory,” in accordance with which the atonement became subjective, the love of Christ nullifying the enmity of man and arousing in his heart love to God. He says, however, that Christ was a ransom that was paid to the Father. Redemption was intended only for the elect. HUGO OF ST. VICTOR set forth the necessity of the divine assistance in order that man might be liberated from the power of Satan. Through the reconciliation God became willing to help man against the devil. He also taught that God could have carried out the redemption in some other way, but the way determined upon was the most serviceable. BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX conceived of the atonement objectively. God redeemed us through the blood of His Son. But the ransom was paid to the devil. In the doctrine of reconciliation he set forth the ethical element and that Christ as the head made satisfaction for the members. PETER LOMBARD stated that Christ had set His cross as a trap for Satan. ALEXANDER OF HALES said that Christ as the head made satisfaction for the members. But he confuses the objective and subjective conceptions of the atonement. THOMAS AQUINAS denied the absolute necessity of satisfaction. God could have forgiven the guilt without setting His justice aside, but the sufferings of Christ constituted the most suitable way. He presented the doctrine of “satisfactio superabundans” by reason of the great value of the life of the God-man and also because of the ethical element in the atonement. The sufferings of Christ, however, were limited to His human nature. He did not suffer the anguish of hell. The transfer of the merit of Christ to the children of men was made possible through the mystical union between Christ as the head and the congregation as the members. DUNS SCOTUS rejected the doctrine of “satisfactio superabundans” and stated that God had accepted the atonement of His own free pleasure. He therefore advocated the so-called “acceptation theory.” The merit of Christ was intended only for the elect. With regard to the sufferings of Christ he taught that it was only the human nature that suffered. He did not place high value on the sufferings of Christ and did not consider that they were necessary in an absolute sense, since every man could have made satisfaction for himself. But the atonement of Christ was nevertheless the best because through it we are influenced to love God. GABRIEL BIEL, on the other hand, placed the highest value on the atonement of Christ. One drop of the blood of Christ would have been sufficient for our redemption. He speaks of the vicarious death of Christ and sets forth the significance of the justice and love of God in redemption. 

LUTHER considered the atonement from two points of view. In the first place he set forth the concept of atonement, clearly presenting its vicarious character, that Christ fulfilled the Law in our stead, thereby appeasing the wrath of God. The vicariousness of the atonement is looked upon as an exchange, the Lord Christ taking upon Himself our sins and suffering our punishment. He also set forth the redemption, implying a victorious fight against the evil powers, a redemption from the power of sin, death and the devil. MELANCHTHON agreed with Luther and took as his point of departure the justice of God which was satisfied with the punishment. A mediation was necessary between the divine righteousness and love. Christ became the Mediator who suffered the punishment of sin, the eternal damnation, and therefore bore the wrath of God. Melanchthon also set forth the ethical element in the atonement. BRENZ stated that the wrath of God had been reconciled. CALVIN and the Reformed theologians on the whole taught about the same as the Lutheran theologians, except that their doctrine of predestination made necessary the concomitant doctrine of satisfactio limitata. Their standpoint in the Christological question also exerted its influence so that their doctrine of the atonement was not as complete as Luther’s. The theologians of the Catholic Church held the doctrine of satisfactio superabundans, which is controlled by the Church. Despite this fact they taught that the satisfaction of Christ was sufficient from the practical point of view for original sin, but for other sins other satisfactions were necessary, although these must stand related to the merit of Christ. The satisfactions have reference especially to earthly punishments and the pains of purgatory. Out of the theory of Anselm the Lutheran Church retained such points as the following: Not only man needed reconciliation, but God also demanded a reconciliation; reconciliation implied a removal of the guilt of sin, while the atoning sacrifice must be the equivalent of the burden of sin to be removed. Of course, the weaknesses of Anselm’s theory were rejected. But in addition the Lutherans set forth: That God was interested in the reconciliation for man’s sake also; it was not so much the honor of God that demanded reconciliation as His righteousness and love; Christ bore the wrath of God and therefore suffered the punishment of sin, and this voluntarily; both the active and passive obedience of Christ possess significance as satisfactions, wherefore the reconciliation is the presupposition of the forgiveness of sins and justification; finally, it may be stated that the Lutherans taught that the atonement of Christ was intended for all. The Socinians reject the doctrine of the vicarious death of Christ. The principal points in their doctrine are the following: No satisfaction is necessary, since God can forgive without it. Guilt, punishment and merit cannot be transferred from one person to another. It would be unjust if the innocent were to suffer for the guilty. If God were to demand both punishment for sin and also the fulfillment of the Law, He would be requiring pay twice over. If Christ has fulfilled the Law in our stead, then God can demand nothing of us. So far as sufferings were concerned Christ could not suffer the eternal punishment of hell. Moreover, Christ was Himself as a man obligated to fulfill the Law (obedientia activa), and His suffering was merely that of a martyr. If He died in the stead of all men, then no man ought to die. His death was merely a confirmation of His teaching and a test of love. They reject the high-priestly office of Christ and mostly emphasize His calling as a teacher and the moral example of His life. God was not reconciled through the active and passive obedience of Christ, but revealed Himself as reconciled in all that Jesus did. Since Christ in recompense for His service was glorified and received divine glory and regal honor, therefore He is able to serve us continually and to liberate the faithful from their sins. PARSIMONIUS and PISCATOR (especially the latter) advocated the view that obedientia activa was the personal obligation of Christ and had therefore no significance for us. The Arminians like the Socinians rejected the doctrine that Christ had suffered our punishment. But they say that the work of Christ was a sacrifice that procures for us forgiveness. Still the sacrifice was not an adequate satisfaction, but God accepted it as valid. HUGO GROTIUS set forth the so-called “government theory.” He denied the ground of satisfaction in the punitive righteousness of God. God is not considered as being personally offended, but as a regent. As a regent He must maintain the majesty of the Law and punish transgression. The Son of God was delivered unto death for us and the punishment of sin was visited on Him in order that He might become a warning example. By reason of the suffering of the Son, God could exercise commutatio and forgive sins. It is not necessary to set forth in detail the views of our old orthodox Dogmaticians. We would simply call attention to QUENSTEDT’S doctrine of derelictio. He teaches that a separation took place between the Logos and Jesus during derelictio. Of course, this view is misleading. 

KANT presents Christ as the ideal man from the moral point of view. The doctrine of the Son of God as a vicarious mediator is merely symbolic and implies that the new man in us is to suffer the punishment for the sins of the old man. Man must reconcile himself. In this reconciliation he ought to suffer in the same spirit as Christ. The Rationalists, such as WEGSCHEIDER, rejected the high-priestly office of Christ and merely set forth His prophetic office. The death of Christ was the death of a martyr. The Supranaturalists said that the sufferings and death of Christ constituted a warning example. Satisfactio was the most suitable way and the best means of deterring men from sin and urging them to repentance. While Kant taught the self-reconciliation of man, Schelling and Hegel, on the other hand, taught the reconciliation of God with Himself. HEGEL said that the death of the Son implied that the negative element had entered into the divine self-development, and that His resurrection constituted a negation of the negation. The objective reconciliation is the realization of the self-consciousness of God in man, while the subjective atonement is the realization of the unity of the finite spirit with the absolute. GOSCHEL belonged to the right wing of Hegel’s disciples. He teaches that the divine righteousness and love are one, and that the wrath of God’s righteousness is merely the zeal of love. He denies the absolute necessity of satisfaction. In a certain sense Christ is a vicarious mediator, but He did not suffer vicariously. The object of punishment is restitutio in integrum. The guilty person must enter into relationship with the mediator, or, figuratively, the sick portion of the body must be united with the sound organism, which suffers for the ailing part. SCHLEIERMACHER could not accept the Church doctrine of satisfaction because he did not have a right conception of the Trinity or of sin. The suffering of Christ was vicarious only in the sense that He shared with man the consciousness of sin, but it was not a satisfactio, since we all must share the sufferings of Christ. The death of Christ was the death of a martyr. Through the redemption that was procured through Christ there was implanted in the human race a new power of life, which is mediated through the Church. Christ possessed the consciousness of God in its fulness. In the Church is found the principle of redemption through which the divine consciousness is strengthened in us. Our redemption consists in our translation into the strong consciousness of the divine as it is in Christ, while our atonement consists in participating in the blessedness of Christ. The atonement, therefore, is merely a subjective state. MENKEN emphasized the love of God, which did not require any vicarious satisfaction. The reconciliation is conceived of in a subjective sense and consists in man’s reconciliation with God. He made violent attacks on the orthodox doctrine of atonement. The sufferings of Christ had no connection with guilt and punishment, but only with sin, which was to be annihilated. Christ was exposed to all kinds of temptations and sufferings, but He stood the test and presented a human nature without sin. Christ became the principle of purification for the salvation of men from sin. SARTORIAL presented the ethical element in the vicarious suffering of Christ. He says that the punishment does not atone, but the sacrifice. Nor is the suffering sufficient, the punishment must be endured with self-renunciation and with complete consecration to the will of God. VON HOFMANN presented the so-called “compensative theory.” The sacrifices were intended to teach men that God docs not forgive sins without further consideration; that man must make satisfaction through sacrifice. Like others, who in thought approach the position of Schleiermacher, he was a representative of the so-called “mystical theory.” We are reconciled in Christ by reason of the mystical union with Christ. The new humanity, well-pleasing to God, was presented in the person of Christ. Christ realized His calling as a Saviour, not as a mediator who suffered our punishment, but as the representative of the race, who endured the sufferings of humanity and stood the test perfectly. His sufferings came from beneath rather than from above. But this suffering did not imply an appeasing of the wrath of God. He therefore rejects the Church doctrine of the theory of satisfaction. MAURICE advocated the “moral theory.” He stated that the suffering and death of Christ constituted a perfectly consecrated sacrifice before God and then cites many examples to show the self-sacrifice which every man is obligated to make before God. BUSHNELL, was also an advocate of the moral theory of atonement. He stated that Christ suffered out of sympathy for us and because of the consciousness of solidarity with us, through all of which He acquired moral power over us. THOMASIUS together with other theologians opposed the theory of Hofmann and other related theories. He represents the Church doctrine of atonement and presents the doctrine from three aspects, viz., as satisfaction or Genugthuung, atoning or Suhnung, and reconciliation or Versohnung. In the second of these aspects he presents the ethical element of the atonement, but does not sufficiently emphasize the significance of obedientia activa. PHILIPPI in general adheres closely to the symbols and the older dogmatic development. He lays equal emphasis on obedientia activa and passiva. In relation to the sacrifice BAHR presented a “symbolic theory” and stated that as the sacrificial animals gave their life and blood to God, so man must submit himself to God, which takes its beginning in contrition and through justification is made complete in sanctification. KEIL said that the slaying of the animal did not per se imply any satisfaction, although the sinner must know that sin implied punishment. The reconciliation consisted in the blood, which is the symbol of life. By reason of the shedding of blood the sinner was received into fellowship with the God of love. KURTZ sets forth the juridical doctrine of reconciliation and views the slaying of the sacrifice as a punishment, while its suffering was considered as a satisfactio vicaria. Therefore the antitype must also suffer our punishment in our stead, so that His suffering might become a satisfactio vicaria. RITSCHEL was a disciple of Weisse and Lotze. Herein lies partly the explanation of Ritschlianism. Ritschl considers God only as love. The justice of God is merely the sequence through which the divine love cares for the welfare of those that belong to His kingdom. He rejects the doctrine of justitia punitiva. Christ has revealed the love of the Father. He was one with the Father only through His ethical obedience and subordination to the Father, while His redemption consisted in teaching men to will to do the Father’s will. Then we feel blessed and independent of all that happens. We must believe that the Father is not subject to wrath. Our atonement does not take place through satisfaction and expiation, but through our faith in God as unchangeable love. When we are liberated from fear and approach God, then we are reconciled. MARTENSEN acknowledges that the atonement has significance before God and that the opposition between the love and righteousness of God was solved in the objective reconciliation. However, his presentation of the objective reconciliation is not completely clear. GRANFELT takes the conception of love as his point of departure and emphasizes the solidarity between Christ and tho children of men. He calls his conception of the atonement the “ethical organic theory.” But he rejects the juridical conception. He makes comparisons between Von Hofmann and Thomasius, stating that he must needs side with the Church doctrine against Von Hofmann and with Von Hofmann against the Church doctrine. He criticizes Von Hofmann because of the latter’s position that Christ came in contact with sin only as an evil, which indeed caused Him great anguish, but that this suffering was not endured as a punishment in the place of all men. On the other hand, he criticizes Thomasius because he taught that Christ bore the guilt and punishment of sin. The theory of Granfelt is related to that of WALDENSTROM, and he acknowledges that they have a common starting point, but he criticizes the latter’s position for one reason, among others, because he does not set forth the solidarity between Christ and the children of men. Granfelt denies that the death of Christ is to be looked upon as being demanded by the punitive righteousness of God. Christ suffered as the head of the human race in such manner that He experienced in concentrated form the suffering which God had determined upon as an unavoidable consequence of sin, but God was not directly active in the Son’s passion. Many of the theologians of the Church of Sweden have strongly opposed the modern theories, which to a greater or less degree rejected the orthodox theory of reconciliation. Among these may be mentioned A. F. Beckman and M. Johansson. 

LUTHARDT states, on the one hand, that the Son, who united in Himself the human race, had to the uttermost experienced the wrath of God and suffered the punishment of human sin; on the other hand, the love of Christ, manifested in the willingness with which He obediently suffered and in His continuance in holiness in the face of all assaults, has constituted His sufferings as an act which in ethical import corresponds to the divine and as a sacrifice that was well-pleasing to God. Christ satisfied the holiness and love of God, or the holy will of His love, offered an atoning sacrifice for sin through the union of corresponding suffering and activity, through which in Himself He reconciled the human race unto God and redeemed it from sin and its effects.