Monday, December 23, 2013

Christ's All-Encompassing Sacrifice: Our Only Means of Reconciliation

In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them.  (2 Cor 5:19)

Therefore the Epistle [of Hebrews] is occupied to a great extent with the topic that the ancient priesthood and the ancient sacrifices were instituted not for the purpose of meriting the remission of sins before God or reconciliation, but only to signify the future sacrifice of Christ alone.  For in the Old Testament it was necessary for saints to be justified by faith derived from the promise of the remission of sins that was to be granted for Christ's sake, just as saints are also justified in the New Testament.  From the beginning of the world it was necessary for all saints to believe that Christ would be the promised offering and satisfaction for sins, as Isaiah 53:10 teaches: When you shall make His soul an offering for sin.

Since, therefore, in the Old Testament, sacrifices did not merit reconciliation, unless by a figure (for they merited civil reconciliation), but signified the coming sacrifice, it follows that Christ is the only sacrifice applied on behalf of the sins of others.  Therefore, in the New Testament no sacrifice is left to be applied for the sins of others, except the one sacrifice of Christ upon the cross.

Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXIV.54-56

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