Repost Sunday: A Reason Why You Should Believe in the ‘Vicarious Humanity’ of Christ as the Soteriological Paradigm

*I am going to start doing a new series here; it is going to be called “Repost Sundays,” and it will entail me, obviously, reposting previous posts from various blogs I have done in the past. The first one, to kick this off, is taken from my most recent blog, to this one, The Evangelical Calvinist. In this post, I am highlighting the centrality that the vicarious humanity of Christ should take for us as we conceive of a doctrine of God, and how that impinges upon our soteriology.

A Evangelical Calvinism is committed to the doctrine of the vicarious humanity of Christ, in a rather literal and stipulated way. In other words, Jesus’ humanity ‘for us’ is the locus wherein the divine/human (both Godward/manward) reconciliation takes place (both “objectively/subjectively”). It is this belief that renders Evangelical Calvinism, Calvinist; in the sense that God’s choice ‘for us’ is made in the affirmative through the Son’s election of our humanity for Himself [this is what the mirifica commutatio ‘wonderful exchange’ is about]. This also ‘personalises’ grace (grace being God’s choice for us in the Incarnation), so that the communication and response of salvation that inheres between man and God; does so (first) through the triune reconciling work of the Son and the recreative activity of the Holy Spirit. Here is how TF Torrance articulates some thoughts on the vicarious action of the Son:

. . . But this economic condescension has its counterpart in a movement of prokope. The fathers have in mind here the Lukan account of the obedience and development of the child Jesus who ‘cut his way forward’ (prokopte) as he grew in wisdom and favour with God and with man (Luke 2.52). In other words Jesus’ growth in wisdom was regarded as opening up a way for man to rise to true knowledge of the Father. Jesus Christ is not only the Truth who has accommodated himself to us in order to reveal himself, not only the Word become flesh, but he is also Man hearing and obeying that Word, apprehending that Truth throughout his life on earth, so that he provides for us in his own obedient sonship within our human nature the Way whereby we are carried up to knowledge of God the Father. ‘We understand by Way that prokope to perfection which is made stage by stage, and in regular order, through the works of righteousness and the illumination of knowledge, ever longing after what is before, and reaching forth unto those things which remain, until we shall have reached the blessed end, the knowledge of God, which the Lord through himself bestows on them that have trusted in him. For our Lord is an essentially good Way, where erring and straying are unknown, to that which is essentially good, to the Father. For no one, he says, comes to the Father but through me. Such is our way up to God through the Son’ (De Spiritu Sancto I8.I8). [T. F. Torrance, Theology in Reconstruction, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1966), 38-9]

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