“He bore…the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race….”

January 1, 2008 § Leave a comment

Q37: What do you understand by the word “suffered”?
A37: That all the time He lived on earth, but especially at the end of His life, He bore, in body and soul, the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race; in order that by His suffering, as the only atoning sacrifice, He might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the grace of God, righteousness and eternal life.

I want to revisit this Q&A from Lord’s Day 15 of the Heidelberg Catechism. I have already posted this but did not comment on it. This clearly shows a more moderate Calvinistic view of the suffering of Christ for the sin of the “whole human race” than is found to be more popular today. This same idea of sufficiency is also expressed in the Cannons of Dort here:

The Canons of Dort, Second Head of Doctrine
The Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby – Articles of Faith

Article 6
And, whereas many who are called by the gospel do not repent nor believe in Christ, but perish in unbelief, this is not owing to any defect or insufficiency in the sacrifice offered by Christ upon the cross, but is wholly to be imputed to themselves.

If we compare these two statements from the 3 Forms of Unity can we not properly infer that the unbelief and rejection of the gospel is “wholly to be imputed” to the unbeliever because there is nothing lacking in the atonement for him because the unbeliever, being a member of the human race, Christ in his place bore his wrath against his sin according to Q&A 37?

Blessings in Christ,
Terry W. West

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