The Active Obedience of Christ

What did the Messiah need to do in order to be the Lamb of God, in order to make an atonement for the people of Israel? We know that Jesus came to die for our sins, but why didn’t he simply come down from heaven on Good Friday, go to the cross, arise on Easter, and go back to Heaven? It was because Christ’s work on the cross was only half of His mission. In order for Jesus to die for our sins, it was first necessary for Him to fulfill the role that Adam failed to fulfill. He had to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus had to pass the test in the wilderness. He had to resist temptation. And He had to obey the law of God. In other words, we are saved by two things — the death of Christ and the life of Christ. The death of Christ covers our sin, but the life of Christ provides the merit and the righteousness that we must have in order to enter into heaven. So Jesus’ life is as important for us as His death. He lived to fulfill all of the law of God.

—R.C. Sproul
A Taste of Heaven

A few hours before he passed away on New Year’s Day in 1937, J. Gresham Machen, the founder of Westminster Theological Seminary, sent the following telegram to his friend and colleague John Murray:

I’m so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. No hope without it.

—J. Gresham Machen