7. After these great modifications and gains, we have cleared the ground to ask with some exactness just where the question at the moment stands. What was the divinest thing, the atoning, satisfying thing, the thing offered to God, in Christ; the thing, therefore, final and precious in what He did? The permanent thing in Christianity must be that which gives it its chief value to God. We are now beyond the crude alternative that so easily besets us, “Did Christ’s work bear upon God or on man?” Neither alone would be true Reconciliation. Neither Orthodoxy nor Socinianism has it. But we have to ask this: “Can we combine the truth in each alternative? Can we reach the value of Christ’s saving work to God (i.e. its true and final value) if we exclude its effect within man? Must we not take that in? Nihil in effectu quod non prius in causa. Must we not include the effect to get the full value of the cause, and give a full account of it?”

Now, let us own at the outset that the first things we must be sure about are the objective reality of our religion, its finality, and its initiative in God’s free grace independent of act or desert of ours. But if we start there, it looks as if we were shut up to the first of the crude alternatives, as if the idea of Christ’s work as acting on God only gave the best effect to these conditions. It looks as if the old theory alone guaranteed a salvation finished on the Cross, one wholly God’s in His grace, one that ensures a full and objective release of the conscience. These things are not secured by what we do, but by Christ’s work on the Cross. Moreover, that work was done for the whole of mankind, and was complete even for those who as yet make no response. And, besides, that first alternative is a view that seems to have the letter of Scripture with it. It does look as if we could not have full security except by trust of an objective something, done over our heads, and complete without any reference to our response or our despite.