The Active Obedience of Jesus Christ
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This dissertation examines the doctrine of the active obedience of Christ. Chapter 1 defines the doctrine, surveys previous literature, offers warrant for the work, and previews the argument of the work. In short, the thesis of this work is that the active obedience of Christ is a biblical doctrine. Chapter 2 presents a historical survey, tracing theologians from the early church up to the present time to see the development of the doctrine. Special attention is given to the Reformation and Post-Reformation eras, during which the doctrine received its primary development. Chapter 3 examines God's original arrangement with Adam. This chapter argues that God established a covenant with Adam, and that had Adam obeyed instead of disobeying, all mankind would have been confirmed in eternal life. Chapter 4 examines human obedience after the Fall. Looking especially at the "do this and live" passages, this chapter argues that God requires perfect obedience from humans in order to gain eternal life. Chapter 5 traces the OT's presentation of the need for a Messiah to come who would represent his people in perfect obedience. This chapter moves through the OT covenants, the wisdom literature, and the prophets. Chapter 6 demonstrates the fulfillment of this movement of thought in the person of Christ. Beginning with the Gospels and moving on to the rest of the NT, this chapter shows that Christ represented his people in perfect obedience throughout the whole course of his earthly mediation. Chapter 7 first offers a systematic formulation of the doctinre. This chapter then answers some of the major objections put to the doctrine of Christ's active obedience, examining the views of opponents both ancient and contemporary. Chapter 8 summarizes the work. This chapter restates the conclusions of the other chapters, and it also suggests some possible avenues for further research. Finally, this chapter addresses the question of the relative importance of the doctrine.