Puritans on Atonement
Chapter 23 - The Blood of Christ in Piety
Puritans focused more on sanctification, since earlier Reformers had already written much on the atonement. This chapter looks especially at Charnock, Goodwin and Ambrose.
The remedy was ready before the injury occurred, Goodwin said.
Cleansing happens in three senses:
Objective - removal of guilt secured at the cross and resurrection.
Subjective - forgiveness sought at conversion
Sensible - justification felt as the conscience is eased and assured of salvation.
Method and Results of Cleansing
Substitution - Jesus takes our place, bleeding and dying for us, who should have.
Imputation - much like substitution from a legal angle. God reckons our sinful stain to the account of Jesus, and reckons His righteousness to us sinners. This "is possible throuh our legal and covenantal union with Christ" (362), just as our guilt was imputed to us from Adam's original sin.
Justification - God had a charge or debt against us, but Jesus paid and cancelled it - Col 2:13-14. His payment involved not only His suffering and death, but His obedience to the Law for us. "Not everyone agreed with this view, especially not the Socinians" (363). [I believe there were several orthdox Puritans at Westminster who also disagreed, but Beeke/Jones give them no airtime at all, interestingly.]
Faith in the Blood of Christ
Faith receives the blood as an atonement for sin. Faith is not itself the righteousness we need, but "reach[es] out to His blood" (Charnock, pg. 364). Faith is more than an emotional response, and less than the thing that justifies us. "The efficacy is in Christ's blood, the reception of it in our faith" (365).
Remembering the blood of Christ increases our repentance, faith, prayer, holiness and comfort.
Though we are not free of all sin on earth, we "may know victory through Christ's blood already in this life in terms of sin's 'condemnation and punishment' " (367).
Heaven is achieved by Christ's blood.
Mercy for us comes only by the blood of Christ, cleansing us from all sin. So we should mourn our sins and treasure His blood.