>Is sin an inconvenience to God? Is my sin an “oops” that God takes lightly? Or is the Holy One furious at not “just” the consequences of sin, but furious at sin itself? Thought about that lately?
Did Jesus “just” die for us? Is dying really enough? Or did more happen on the cross (and “on” Jesus) than we hear about?
Willing to invest eight minutes to think through this? I pray so:
>“When the Bible speaks of ransom, it speaks of that ransom being paid not to a criminal but to the One Who is owed the price of redemption, the One Who is the offended party in the whole complex of sin — the Father. Jesus didn’t negotiate with Satan for our salvation. Instead, He offered Himself in payment to the Father for us. By so offering Himself, He made redemption for His people, redeeming them from captivity.”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1567690874&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
– R. C. Sproul
“The Truth of the Cross”
>As usual, R. C. Sproul writes with succinct clarity:
“The necessity for the atonement of Christ finds its genesis, in the first instance, in the character of God. Because He is holy and righteous, He cannot excuse sin. Rather, He must pass judgment on it. The Judge of all the earth must do right. Therefore, He must punish sinners — or provide a way to atone for their sin.”
This is truly remarkable!
Christopher Hitchens (noted atheist and author of God is Not Great: Why Religion Poisons Everything) was interviewed in Portland, Or by Unitarian “minister” Marilyn Sewell.
Near the beginning of the interview Sewell remarks, “The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories form the Scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make any distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?”
How do you think Hitchens will reply? I’ve not read his book yet; but I think I shall to see what his train of thought is. I shall also pray that Spirit of God will draw him to the cross, because he “gets” the gospel. Here is his reply:
“I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that He rose again from the dead and by His sacrifice our sins are forgiven,
you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.”
Some people today may find it compelling that some Great Cosmic Transaction took place on that day 1,980 years ago, that God’s wrath burned against his son instead of against me. I find that version of atonement theory neither intellectually compelling, spiritually compelling, nor in keeping with the biblical narrative.
J.I. Packer, from “The Heart of the Gospel” in Knowing God (also in In My Place Condemned He Stood, p. 32):
Has the word propitiation any place in your Christianity? In the faith of the New Testament it is central. The love of God [1 John 4:8-10], the taking of human form by the Son [Heb. 2:17], the meaning of the cross [Rom. 3:21-26], Christ’s heavenly intercession [1 John 2:1-2], the way of salvation–all are to be explained in terms of it, as the passages quoted show, and any explanation from which the thought of propitiation is missing will be incomplete, and indeed actually misleading, by New Testament standards.
In saying this, we swim against the stream of much modern teaching and condemn at a stroke the views of a great number of distinguished church leaders today, but we cannot help that. Paul wrote, “Even if we or an angel from heaven”–let alone a minister, a bishop, college lecturer, university professor, or noted author–“should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! (“accursed” KJV and RSV; “outcast” NEB; “damned” Phillips–Gal. 1:8). And a gospel without propitiation at is heart is another gospel than that which Paul preached. The implications of this must not be evaded.
>This is from one of my favorite books of all time (orderable on the book picture below) and is appropriate for the week:
“The concept of substitution may be said, then, to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and put himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone.”
-John Stott, The Cross of Christ
Here’s a sober quote to contemplate in these few days before Thanksgiving:
“I ought to go to Christ for the forgiveness of each sin. In washing my body, I go over every spot, and wash it out. Should I be less careful in washing my soul?
I ought to see the stripe that was made on the back of Jesus by each of my sins. I ought to see the infinite pang thrill through the soul of Jesus equal to an eternity of my hell for my sins, and for all of them.
I ought to see that in Christ’s bloodshedding there is an infinite over-payment for all my sins. Although Christ did not suffer more than infinite justice demanded, yet He could not suffer at all without laying down an infinite ransom.”
—Robert Murray M’Cheyne, quoted by Andrew Bonar, Robert Murray M’Cheyne (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1960), 175-176
>“The Cross was at once the most horrible and the most beautiful example of God’s wrath. It was the most just and the most gracious act in history. God would have been more than unjust, He would have been diabolical to punish Jesus if Jesus had not first willingly taken on Himself the sins of the world. Once Christ had done that, once He volunteered to be the Lamb of God, laden with our sin, then He became the most grotesque and vile thing on this planet. With the concentrated load of sin He carried, He became utterly repugnant to the Father. God poured out His wrath on this obscene thing. God made Christ accursed for the sin He bore. Herein was God’s holy justice perfectly manifest. Yet it was done for us. He took what justice demanded from us.
– RC Sproul, The Holiness of God
Reading “Death by Love” by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears.
The introduction addresses “Substitutionary Atonement,” which is, to some, controversial. To many, it is a pair of undefined words.
Let me try to whet your appetite for the book by the following excerpt:
What does ‘substitution’ mean?
“Substitution” refers to a person or thing acting or serving in place of another. Biblically, the concept of substitution was first practiced not by God, but by human beings. When our first parents chose to disobey God and believe the lies of our Enemy, they chose to substitute themselves for God in an effort to become their own gods. Subsequently, to save sinners God had to reverse that tragic substitution and did so by becoming a human being and dying in our place to atone for our sins.
In his marvelous book The Cross of Christ John Stott insightfully explains this fact:
The concept of substitution may be said, then, to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices Himself for man and puts Himself where only man deserves to be. May claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone.”
In a time when many are denying the fact that Jesus took the hit for us, this deserves a careful re-reading.
I heartily recommend the book (as well as Stott’s book!)