“The chief task of Christian soteriology is to show how the bruising of the man Jesus, the servant of God, saves lost creatures and reconciles them to their creator.
In the matter of salvation, Christian theology tries to show that this servant—marred, Isaiah tells us, beyond human semblance, without form or comeliness or beauty—is the one in and as whom God’s purpose for creatures triumphs over their wickedness.
His oppression and affliction, His being put out of the land of the living, is in truth not His defeat at the hands of superior forces, but His own divine act in which He takes upon Himself, and so takes away from us, the iniquity of us all.
How can this be? How can His chastisement make us whole? How can others be healed by His stripes?
Because, Isaiah tells us, it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; because God has put Him to grief; because it is God who makes the servant’s soul an offering for sin.
And just because this is so—just because He is smitten by God and afflicted—then the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand, and the servant Himself shall prosper and be exalted.
And not only this: the servant shall also see the fruit of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; he shall see His offspring.
As it tries to explicate how God is savingly at work in the affliction of His servant, Christian soteriology stretches both backwards and forwards from this central event.
It traces the work of salvation back into the will of God, and forward into the life of the many who by it are made righteous. Soteriology thus participates in the double theme of all Christian theology, namely God and all things in God.
The matter of the Christian gospel is, first, the eternal God who has life in Himself, and then temporal creatures who have life in Him.
The gospel, that is, concerns the history of fellowship—covenant—between God and creatures; Christian soteriology follows this double theme as it is unfolded in time.
In following its theme, soteriology undertakes the task of displaying the identities of those who participate in this history and the material order of their relations.
The Lord who puts His servant to grief is this one, dogmatics tells us; this is his servant, these the transgressors who will be accounted righteous.
So conceived, soteriology pervades the entire corpus of Christian teaching, and its exposition necessarily entails sustained attention to trinitarian and incarnational dogma, as well as to the theology of creatures and their ends.
Indeed, no part of Christian teaching is unrelated to soteriology, whether immediately or indirectly.”
–John Webster, God without Measure: Working Papers in Christian Theology, God and the Works of God, vol. I (London; Oxford; New York; New Delhi; Sydney: Bloomsbury T&T Clark: An Imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2016), 143–144.