Torrance on the Church’s Relation to Christ

*emphasis (bold) is from me, not TF.
Thomas F. Torrance, Atonement: The Person and Work of Christ (Robert T. walker, ed.; Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic and Paternoster, 2009): 371-2.
“When we speak of the church as the body of Christ meaning the whole Christ, head and members, we must speak of it as sinless and perfectly holy, for then we speak of the church in its concentration in Christ himself. But when we speak of the church as the body of Christ meaning the body of sinners with which he identified himself in life and death, so that through the crucifixion of the body of sin he might raise it a glorious body clothed with his own holiness and purity, then we speak of the church as constantly in need of forgiveness and constantly directed away from itself to find in Christ alone its justification and its sanctification. Yet it is this very body, constituted out of sinful men and women, that Christ appropriates as his very own and brings into such union and communion with himself that, in spite of sin, he dwells within it and heals and hallows it and makes it the instrument of his saving love among the nations. This church cannot dissociate itself from the sinners that make up its membership or reckon itself untarnished by their sin and error and so separate itself from them. The church does not stand on the side of the redeemer who died and rose again for all, but stands on the side of those for whom Christ died, who come under the total judgment of the cross and are called to deny themselves and take up the cross and follow Christ. Hence far from standing aloof from the world, the church can only stand with it in the solidarity of the sin in which it is concluded and judged by the grace and justification of God. Only then can it proclaim and minister to it the saving love of God in the good news of the gospel that Jesus Christ himself was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”


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