"The atonement wrought by Christ can never be a bare fact. The bare fact is simply the death of a Jew upon a cross in the first century of our era, and that bare fact is entirely without value to anyone; what gives it its value is the explanation of it as a means by which sinful man was brought into the presence of God.
It is impossible for us to obtain the slightest benefit from a mere contemplation of the death of Christ; all the benefit comes from our knowledge of the meaning of that death, or in other words (if the term be used in a high sense) from our ‘theory’ of it.”
—J. Gresham Machen, What Is Faith? (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1991), 146