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Life for the Dead


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“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

—John 6:48 58

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The inquiry into the proper import of the term Life, as used by Christ, is in the highest degree important, in the present state of exegetical research. That it holds a primary place in Christ’s teaching, and belongs to the fundamental truths of Christianity, must be evident to all who have devoted any attention to the words of Christ or His apostles. . . . The doctrine of Jesus, as derived from this and cognate sayings, may be given in a few words, though the subject is too wide to be fully entered upon in the present discussion. He presupposes man as without life, in the high and proper sense of the term, nay, as alienated from the life of God. The language which Jesus holds on the subject of spiritual life takes for granted that we are involved in death; the term employed by Him to designate that separation from God which sin involves (John v. 24), and which is defined as the condition where men have not the love of God in them (John v. 42). This leaves the heart vacant for any sinful substitute. The fact that life is procured and imparted by the Lord, presupposes a condition of spiritual death. For, according to a canon, of easy and universal application, constantly applied by Augustin and Calvin in their interpretation of the divine word, whatever is freely provided and bestowed by God, is a something of which man is destitute, considered in himself.

—George Smeaton, Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement (Banner of Truth, 2009), 276–267.



Posted 2018·06·01 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Atonement · Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement · George Smeaton · Total Depravity

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