by John Murray
Chapter One Notes
The Necessity of the Atonement
The Who: John – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The Why: Rom. 5:8 – “ … but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The What: Rom. ,32 – “31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
The When: Rom. – “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
The Where: Eph. 1:4,5 – “4 … even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…”
**The love of God from which the atonement springs is not a distinctionless love; it is a love that elects and predestinates. God was pleased to set his invincible and everlasting love upon a countless multitude and it is the determinate purpose of this love that the atonement secures.**
The Concept: The Sovereign love of God. Love is not something that God may choose to be or choose not to be. He is love, and that necessarily, inherently, and eternally. It was of the free and sovereign good pleasure of his will, a good pleasure that emanated from the depths of his own goodness, that he chose a people to be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.
The Reason: Resides wholly in himself and proceeds from determinations that are peculiarly his as the “I Am that I Am.” The love of God constrains to the atonement as the means of accomplishing love’s determinate purpose.
The Necessity: The consequent absolute necessity. The word “consequent” points to the fact that God’s will or decree to save any is of free and sovereign grace. The terms: ‘absolute necessity’, indicate that God, having elected some to everlasting life out of his mere good pleasure, was under the necessity of accomplishing this purpose through the sacrifice of his own Son, a necessity arising from the perfections of his own nature. While it was not ‘inherently necessary’ for God to save, yet, since salvation had been purposed, it was necessary to secure this salvation through a satisfaction that could be rendered only through substitutionary sacrifice and blood-bought redemption.
The Notion: Hebrews 2:10, 17 – “10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” It was divinely appropriate that the Father in bringing many sons unto glory should make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings and that it behooved the Saviour himself to be made in all things like unto his brethren.
The Case: The exigencies (demands, needs) of the purpose of grace that the dictates of divine propriety required that salvation should be accomplished through a captain of salvation who would be made perfect through sufferings and that this entailed for the captain of salvation that he be made in all things like unto his brethren. The eternal peril to which the lost are exposed is remedied by the giving of the Son.
The Context: The transcendent efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice is required by the exigencies (demands, needs) arising from sin. This is an absolute. Heb. 9:23 – “Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” The Levitical sacrifices were patterned after the heavenly exemplar – patterns of the things in the heavens. Not the other way around – the Levitical sacrifice as the pattern for the sacrifice of Christ.
The Contrast: The heavenly as contrasted with the earthly, the eternal with the temporary, the complete with the partial, the final with the provisional, the abiding with that which passes away. The salvation which the election of grace involves on either view of the necessity of the atonement is salvation from sin unto holiness and fellowship with God. But if we are to think of salvation thus conceived in terms that are compatible with the holiness and righteousness of God, this salvation must embrace not merely the forgiveness of sin but also justification. And it must be a justification that takes account of our situation as condemned and guilty. The only righteousness conceivable that will meet the requirements of our situation as sinners and meet the requirements of a full and irrevocable justification is the righteousness of Christ. Justification could only been secured by our faith in Christ, otherwise another method would have been used.
The Demonstration: The cross of Christ is the supreme demonstration of the love of God. Rom. 5:8 and 1 John 4:10. The supreme character of the demonstration resides in the extreme costliness of the sacrifice rendered.The Cost:
Obedience and Love -- the whole thing in a nutshell -- Obedience and Love