What is so great about the life and death of Jesus? What does God require for eternal life? Patrick Abendroth answers these questions and more in a new book, “The Active Obedience of Christ”. The active obedience of Christ helps believers understand the work of Christ more deeply. When I started teaching the Bible, I emphasized Jesus’ passive obedience (his dying of sins) but often neglected his active obedience (his perfect life). Although Jesus dying for sins is essential for understanding the gospel, there are glorious truths about the work of Christ and all that he accomplished in his perfect life.

This book is a primer that helps readers understand the importance of Jesus obeying the law on behalf of sinners, known as his active obedience. There are short chapters on the meaning of the doctrine, the need, the biblical basis, history, and objections. In the appendix, he provides a short discussion of opposition from dispensationalists.

Abendroth writes in a simple, straightforward manner aimed at the average churchgoer. This helps the believer clearly understand what is required for eternal life and how Christ fulfilled that requirement. For example, Abendroth says, “Put another way, Christ provides both the removal of guilt for unrighteousness (law-breaking) as well as the positive provision of righteousness (law-keeping).” Jesus accomplished this by his perfect life and then his payment for our sins with his death.

There is one quote in the book from R.C. Sproul that sums up the importance of the active obedience of Christ:

If we take away the active obedience of Jesus, we take away the imputation of His righteousness to us. If we take away the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us, we take away justification by faith alone. If we take away justification by faith alone, we take away the Gospel, and we are left in our sins.

Although this book was short, I was encouraged by the great truth of the active obedience of Christ. Jesus has indeed done it all. The active obedience of Christ is a great doctrine to learn and understand, as it exalts and reminds us of our true hope, Jesus Christ alone!

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