Vicariousness is such an important concept for EC, I dare not pass up an excellent summation of what’s at stake. T. F. Torrance says:

. . . However, it is still this emphasis upon the vicarious humanity of Christ which we lack. If the emphasis is upon the fact that God has acted for us in Christ, then our human response is by way of cooperation, because an act on the part of man is required in addition to and complementary to the act of God. Hence Protestantism often teaches, or tends to teach, that we are all co-workers and ‘co-redeemers’ with Christ and God! But for Calvin and Knox that error is obviated in their teaching about the vicarious and priestly nature of the human Jesus. It was in the Eucharist that their stress upon that came out most strongly. It was through union with Christ in his vicarious humanity nourished in sacramental communion that the concern of the Reformed Kirk with human and social care in the lives of people was grounded. (Thomas F. Torrance, “Scottish Theology: From John Knox to John McLeod Campbell, 45)

Often we see the appropriation of salvation framed in terms of ‘our’ response; but this only flows, per TFT, from following a Docetic christology. Docetism is the heresy that forwards the notion that Christ only “appeared” to have a human body; thus it is realy only God acting in salvation, and not man. Therefore we must act on our behalf, our assertion of faith becomes the bridge between God and man in salvation. This is what pressing in on Christ’s vicariousness remedies; it takes serious His actually becoming man, it takes serious the fact that not only was God acting, but man in Christ by the Spirit was also acting in the atonement. This way the God-Man is the center of salvation; it is His ‘Yes’ to the Father that we speak out of. There is nothing to add, there is no gap to fill; we must see the con-junction of God and man in Christ as the key to our discussions on salvation. We must recognize that there is nothing good in our humanity, no infusion of grace that we can cooperate with God through, no good works that we can accomplish in order to do anything towards salvation . . . it’s either Christ in us, or nothing!

Do you see why pressing a full-fledged hypostatic union is so important? If not, we will construct systems of “Bible reading” that, by default, symptomatically bring us back to ourselves. It was not enough for God to act in salvation; it must be the God-Man acting, or there is no hope! Does this make sense . . .

**Don’t forget to read: Scott’s post**