A Brilliant 11th Century Gospel Presentation

Tuesday is for Preaching

I love this presentation of gospel truth not only for its clarity but also for its pastoral sensitivity. Doesn’t sound like Anselm had any problem with substitutionary atonement to me.

I used this particular presentation with my father in the last months of his life. It gave me, and I believe him, great comfort. 

Anselm (1033-1109), was a Scholastic Theologian who wrote a magnificent book called  Cur Deus Homo (“Why a God Man?”) on why the Savior of the world had to be both human and divine.  

Romans 4:5
“But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” (NASB)

Anselm wrote a tract for the consolation of those who are dying. His words:

“Question:  Do you believe the Lord Jesus died for thee?

Answer:  I believe it.

Question: Do you thank him for his passion and death?

Answer: I do thank Him.

Question: Do you believe that you cannot be saved except by His death?

Answer: I believe it.”

Anselm then addresses the dying man:

“Come then, while life remains in you; in His death alone place your whole trust; in nothing else place any trust; to his death commit yourself wholly; with this alone cover yourself wholly; and if the Lord thy God will to judge you, say, ‘Lord, between Thy judgment and me I present the death of our Lord Jesus Christ; no otherwise can I contend with Thee.’

And if He shall say that you are a sinner, say to Him:

‘Lord, I interpose the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between my sins and Thee.’

And if He say that you deserve condemnation, say:

‘Lord, I set the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between my evil deserts and Thee, and His merits I offer for those which I ought to have and have not.’

If He say that His wrath toward you is great, say:

‘Lord, I place the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between Thy wrath and me.’

And when you have completed this, say again:

‘Lord, I set the death of our Lord Jesus Christ between Thee and me.’”

[Anselm, Opera (Migne), 1:686-687.]
See also John Piper’s A Godward Life: Book 1


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