As we saw yesterday, Murray argues that God was under no compulsion whatsoever to sacrifice his son for our sakes. Yet to achieve the eternal redemption of his elect, which he was determined to do because of the depth of his mercy and kindness, an atonement was necessary that could only be provided by Christ the Son. Still, the question is why? Why was the price of our reconciliation so high? Why Christ, the son in whom the Father is so well pleased?
Murray writes, “The salvation which the election of grace involves…is salvation from sin unto holiness and fellowship with God. But if we are to think of salvation thus conceived in terms that are compatible with the holiness and righteousness of God, this salvation must embrace not merely the forgiveness of sin but also justification. And it must be a justification that takes account of our situation as condemned and guilty. Such a justification implies the necessity of a righteousness that will be adequate to our situation. …Now, what righteousness is equal to the justification of sinners? The only righteousness conceiveable that will meet the requirements of our situation as sinners and meet the requirements of a full and irrevocable justification is the righteousness of Christ” (17).
In other words, the removal of sin alone would not have been sufficient to bring us into fellowship with God. We needed to be justified. The meaning of “justified” isn’t obvious in english, but, if it would make for good english, the greek word that stands behind the english word “justified” would be rendered “righteous-ified.” Far from only being cleansed from sin, we needed to be made righteous before God. But only the perfect Christ could provide for us a righteousness sufficient to commend us to God, therefore only his sacrifice of himself could be sufficient for our reconciliation.