Catherine Booth on Jesus obeying for us

‘Another modern representation of the Christ is that of a substitutionary Saviour, — not in the sense of atonement merely, but in the way of obedience. This Christ is held up as embodying in Himself the sum and substance of the sinner’s salvation, needing only to be believed in, that is, accepted by the mind as the atoning Sacrifice, and trusted in as securing for the sinner all the benefits involved in His death, without respect to any inwrought change in the sinner himself.

This Christ is held up as a justification and protection in sin, not as a deliverer from sin. Men and women are assured that no harm can overtake them if they believe in this Christ, whatever may be the state of their hearts, or however they may, in their actions, outrage the laws of righteousness and truth.

In other words, men are taught that Christ obeyed the law for them, not only as necessary to the efficacy of His atonement for their justification, but that He has placed His obedience in the stead of, or as a substitution for, the sinner’s own obedience or sanctification, which in effect is like saying, Though you may be untrue, Christ is your truth; though you may be unclean, Christ is your chastity; though you may be dishonest, Christ is your honesty; though you may be insincere, Christ is your sincerity.

The outcome of such a faith only produces outwardly the whited sepulchers of profession, while within are rottenness and dead men’s bones. The Christ of God never undertook to perform any such offices for His people, but He did undertake to make them “new creatures,” and thus to enable them to perform them for themselves. He never undertook to be true instead of me, but to make me true to the very core of my soul. He never undertook to make me pass for pure, either to God or man, but to enable me to be pure. He never undertook to make me pass for honest or sincere, but to renew me in the spirit of my mind so that I could not help but be both, as the result of the operation of His Spirit within me. He never undertook to love God instead of my doing so with “all my heart and mind and soul and strength,” but He came on purpose to empower and inspire me to do this. The idea of a substitutionary Christ accepted as an outward covering or refuge, instead of the power of “an endless life,” is a cheat of the devil, and has been the ruin of thousands of souls. I fear this view of Christ, so persistently preached in the present day, encourages thousands in a false hope while they are living in sin, and consequently under the curse not only of a broken law, but of a Saviour denied and abjured. Let me ask you, my hearers, what sort of a Christ is yours? Have you a Christ who saves you, who renews your heart, who enables you to live in obedience to God, or are you looking to this outside and imaginary Christ to do your obeying for you?’

source: Catherine Booth, It’s false Christ’s compared to the Christ of God.

catherine booth bible


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