According to theologian Thomas F. Torrance, “It is curious that evangelicals often link the substitutionary act of Christ only with his death, and not with his incarnate person and life—that is dynamite for them!”
There seems to be a lot of focus among Christians on the crucifixion alone. A lot of Christians focus only on the benefits of what they can get out of Christ’s death and they forget about the person and life of Jesus Christ himself. Truly the death of Christ on the cross is a very important atoning work of Christ for all. But Christ’s atoning work not only includes his death on the cross but also includes his birth, life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension—that is, the total person of Jesus Christ both human and divine. Christ is for us in all aspects of our lives.
Christ For Us in Everything
The atoning work of Christ involves all of Jesus, the incarnate person. It involves all that the Lord has done as our substitute and representative to save all of humanity. The atoning work of Christ not only began on the cross but it started even earlier when he was born in Bethlehem. The atoning work of Christ involves all of him—his incarnation, his life, his crucifixion, his burial, his death, his resurrection and his ascension. It is a finished work of atonement. Christ is for us and takes our place in every respect.
Something is missing if we focus only on the crucifixion and not the total person of Jesus Christ. It is equally missing the point if we claim that the incarnation in and of itself alone constitutes salvation. We must look at the atoning work of Christ as a whole, as one complete finished atoning work of the incarnate person Jesus Christ for all. Let us not forget that he is our High Priest who is doing all these on our behalf. When he comes back, our atonement will be finally, completely and fully realized. This is the final fulfillment of our “at-one-ment” with the Lord. We shall see him face-to-face, and we will be with the Lord forever. This is something to look forward to even as we enjoy life and love in Jesus Christ at the present time.