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Sanctification: participation not mere imitation

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This post continues a review of Alexandra Radcliff's book, The Claim of Humanity in Christ, Salvation and Sanctification in the Theology of T. F. and J. B. Torrance. For previous posts in this series, click a number: 12, 3, 4

Last time we saw how the Torrances view the atonement (justification in particular) as participation, not mere imputation. Now we'll see how they view sanctification as participation, not mere imitation.

It's somewhat common in Evangelical Christian circles to think of Christians being called to "imitate Christ." To be fair, we should note that various authors use the term "imitation" in various ways. However, it is often implied that somehow Jesus came, set an example, then left, calling upon his followers who remain to imitate that example, and so be transformed in character. They then note that this imitation of Christ is done through the power of the Holy Spirit (who Jesus sends to our aid). In contrast, the Torrances emphas…

Atonement: participation not mere imputation

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This post continues a review of Alexandra Radcliff's book, The Claim of Humanity in Christ, Salvation and Sanctification in the Theology of T. F. and J. B. Torrance. For previous posts in this series, click a number: 12, 3, 5

Last time we saw what Torrance theology says concerning how the vicarious (substitutionary, representative) humanity of Jesus Christ is central to a biblical understanding of salvation and the atonement. We saw how the Torrance brothers emphasize that Jesus' resurrection not only confirms that by his death we have been forgiven, it also points to the new birth of a righteous humanity in Christ. The Torrances then note that in Jesus' ascension this new humanity "is raised up in Christ to share by the Spirit in his perfect relationship with the Father" (p. 61). JB Torrance puts it this way:
The Son of God takes our humanity, sanctifies it by his vicarious life in the Spirit (John 17:17-18), carries it to the grave to be crucified and buried…