Turretin: Christ Is Our Substitute In Whom Mercy And Justice Meet

XXVII. The grace of God and the merit of Christ are not opposed, but subordinated because they are viewed here in different respects (kat’ allo kai allo): grace in respect of us, both in the giving of the surety and in the acceptance of his satisfaction for our justification; but merit in respect of God’s justice, which could not leave sin unpunished (which the apostle asserts are in the highest degree consistent with each other, Rom. 3:24, 25).

XXVIII. Although the remission of God and of men are similar in various points as to the thing (and most especially in the sincere and genuine pardon of offenses), it does not follow that they are exactly similar. Men are private persons to whom the right of punishment does not necessarily belong, but God is a Judge whose prerogative it is to punish sinners.

XXIX. If God promises remission of sins in the new covenant, this does not deny but supposes the satisfaction of Christ because it is promised in the name of Christ (Acts 10:43), i.e., through his virtue and merit. Nor is there any remission without the shedding of blood (haimatekchysia, Heb. 9:22). And if the elders are said to have obtained pardon by faith (Heb. 11), Christ is necessarily included (whom faith regards as its proper object); indeed inasmuch as he was crucified who ought to lay down his life as a sacrifice for sin (Is. 53:10) and to be made a sin offering (2 Cor. 5:21) and a curse (katara, Gal. 3:13). For other matters bearing upon this point, see Volume I, Topic III, Question 19; and Disputation 1 and 2, on the Necessity of Satisfaction (De Satisfactionis Christi Necessitate, in Opera [1848], 4:385–435).

—Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, trans. George Musgrave Giger, vol. 2 (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1992–1997), 426. (14.10.27–29)

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
    Author Image

    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!