Resources on the Work of Christ
Last semester I taught a class called Christ and the Cross in which we examined titles of Christ (Son of God, Lord, Prophet, etc) and metaphors for salvation (Redemption, Reconciliation, Victory, etc.). We studied the OT background for these concepts and what they mean. It was a huge blessing for me and the students (so they said!), and I can’t wait to do it again.
I’ve been studying these concepts for the past few years and I thought that my recommendations might be interesting. I realized that I never wrote my second post of recommended books, this time for Christ’s work. So here it is!
Salvation Accomplished by the Son by Robert Peterson. This is a fairly recent work that addresses the work of Christ and metaphors for salvation (redemption, victory, reconciliation, etc.). I really appreciated that Peterson approaches these themes Biblically rather than Systematically, so the majority of the time is spent in the relevant Biblical text(s). What’s also unique is that this book is split in half, with the first half devoted to Christ’s saving events. How do the resurrection, ascension, and Pentecost uniquely contribute to our salvation? So many books on salvation focus exclusively on the cross itself and neglect the importance of everything Christ did.
Pierced for Our Transgressions by Jeffery, Ovey and Sach. Pierced for our Transgressions is a solid work dedicated exclusively to articulating and defending penal substitutionary atonement (PSA) in light of its recent criticisms and opposition. The Bible says much more about the atonement than PSA alone, but not less. However, PSA is important because it is organically linked to the other metaphors. How can we have victory in Christ over sin, Satan and death, if we are guilty before God? How can we be reconciled to the Father when things have not been ‘made right’?
The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross by Leon Morris. This is a classic study on Greek salvation words. Morris studies justification, redemption, reconciliation, etc. in the Septuagint, Jewish literature, and the NT. In many ways this is similar to Salvation Accomplished by the Son with a more technical and linguistic focus, so less approachable to the average reader.
Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray. Another classic study on Christ’s work. The book is split in half, the first half discussing Christ’s accomplishment of salvation (including metaphors like redemption, etc), and the second half on the order of how salvation is applied (ordo salutis). This is a strongly Calvinistic work, and a little more systematic in focus, but Murray is distinctive for his systematic theology being grounded firmly in the text of Scripture. I actually shed tears reading his sections on Union with Christ and Glorification; he manages to be academic and devotional at the same time. This is somewhere between Morris and Peterson in terms of accessibility.
The Cross of Christ by John Stott. The last classic in the list. Stott takes a broader look at the cross than the other books on this list. I can’t recommend this book highly enough, even though I never finished reading it!
Death by Love by Mark Driscoll. One of these books doesn’t belong here… but honestly, this was what got me first started on the study of the metaphors of salvation. When I first read this book I had never really noticed that Scripture uses different terms like redemption and reconciliation, let alone that these terms have OT foundations and distinct emphases. Not only this, but Driscoll makes sure to show that these doctrines make a difference, and actually applies them to real situations. While I disagree with some of the specifics of his doctrine and applications, this book was profoundly influential to me.
The Kingdom of God by various authors. I used Clinton Arnold’s excellent chapter on spiritual warfare in my session on Christ as our Victory. I don’t know about the rest of the book yet.
These were my recommendations for a study of the metaphors of salvation. I used these books in my Christ and the Cross class. You can read my recommendations for the titles of Christ here.