Monday, August 4, 2008

Confused!

Okay, My week-end wasn't that good (I lost some sleep on something). My theology was challenged!
I am still confused. Everything started from listening to one of the podcasts over at Free believers network. Here is the link to the podcast: What about sin?. Listen to it, if you would like. (I agreed to everything they said except one thing which really confused me) Here is my confusion:

I have always thought in my mind that Christ's sacrifice was to satisfy God (His anger on sin). And so it is called propitiation. From that, I get a picture of a perfectly just and rightfully angry God who couldn't leave sins unpunished, so He chose His own son to pour His wrath on.

But the verse which confuses me is this:

"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. - Heb 10:5-6 (quote from Psalms)

Does this mean that God did not require or desire a sacrifice, but Christ's blood was offered to Devil? Bible also says, 'Christ offered himself as a ransom'; ransom to whom? Could this mean that Devil possessed the ownership of humanity (due to sin) and Christ offered His own blood to Satan in order to purchase us back from Him?

Sorry If I am not making sense. Though I believe in the unconditional love of God (in the light of gospel), back in my mind, I had a picture of a wrathful God. It came from Old Testament (sin offering, blood shedding, killings etc). I had always thought that God desired all those, but the picture Darrin gives is that God didn't require it but He was stopping the sin/devil. Darrin used (in the podcast) the illustration of a bear(sin) coming to attack us, Christ giving himself to the bear so that it won't attack us. He referred to the Narnia movie in His comments as well where the lion (Christ figure) gave Himself to the witch (represents Satan?).

Any thoughts? If I put my question into one statement, It would look something like this: Was the sacrifice of Jesus (or the sin offering in OT) to satisfy God's wrath?

35 comments:

Joel B. said...

As with all Bible verses, I think (as I know you think) it's unwise to take just one verse and build a doctrine upon it. In this case, we have a whole bunch of other verses and passages that talk about the cross, the blood of Jesus, propitiation, sacrifice, the devil, God's wrath, etc, and I think it's wise to take all of them into account. If taking all of it into account changes our theology, then great! But if we simply look at one verse and base our theology on that verse, then I think we risk more than confusion. :)

I'm not sure where the idea came from that Christ's blood was offered to the devil. If the Bible says something about it, then it's worth looking at! But if it's an idea that someone came up with, I'm not so sure we should give it any credence in our theology.

I don't have a whole lot of time at the moment, but here are a few verses that talk about some of this.

Rom 3:24-25
24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith...

Rom 5:6-10
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Col 1:13-14
13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

1 Cor 5:7
Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

If we read the whole of Hebrews 10 (and the whole of Hebrews), I think we get a better picture. I get the picture that it was the offerings and sacrifices of bulls and goats with which the Lord was not pleased (repeated again in vs. 8). And then in vss. 9-10, it says what the Lord's will really was, and it says, "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."


I'm not sure if this addresses what you've been concerned about or not, but perhaps it will add to the overall outlook.

Joel B. said...

I just wanted to add that I've heard this 'argument' against God's wrath, and against the idea of propitiation more than once lately. Perhaps I'm not seeing something, or perhaps people are looking in a different Bible than mine! Either way, I'm open to discussion with others about it, as long as people don't just give me their own ideas, reason and logic, as opposed to what is actually in the Bible. :)

Bino M. said...

Joel,

Thank you for taking time to address this. I really appreciate as this is important to me. Like you, I too don't want to develop my theology based on one translation of the Bible or on people's opinion. Believe it or not, I am way too skeptical, when some one introduces a new 'concept' to me and the reason is I have had a lot of bad experiences in my own life with wrong 'theologies'.

But anyways, I see where you are coming from.

who gave himself as a ransom for all men - 1 Timothy 2:6

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Mark 10:45

My question is, whom was this ransom paid to?

AmyC. said...

Bino,
Great question raised here in your Blog.

Have you thought about asking Darin directly? He posted his personal email address on the Forum, which is darinhufford@cox.net. He invites sincere questioners.

Also, on the FBN Forum, under "General Discussions" there's a "Ask Darin" thread always available for people to ask him questions.

Perhaps he can give you further detailed explanations for what he believes.

~Amy :)

Matthew Daelon said...

Hey Bino,

I think the Scripture is clear that it's not that Jesus paid off satan but that He bore the wrath of God. It's not satans wrath. Jesus satisfied God's wrath. The devil isn't the judge. He is the accuser, but Jesus disarmed him of his weapon. Which was our guilt before God.

Joel B. said...

I just don't see anything in the Bible that would point to Christ's sacrifice being made for the sake of the devil, or His ransom being paid to the devil.

I just re-read your post, and I'm seriously wondering where the whole idea came from that the sacrifice/propitiation/ransom/etc had anything to do with the devil.

When I look at the types and shadows in the Old Covenant, I see nothing that represents a ransom being paid to Satan. When I look at the New Covenant being plainly explained in the New Testament scriptures, it's the same. If there are scriptures that testify differently, I'd most definitely be open to looking at them.

What I do see is that Jesus came to destroy the work and deception of the devil.

1 John 3:8
He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

Heb 2:14-15
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Acts 10:38
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Rev 20:10
The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Also, Matthew 4 and Luke 4, Jesus is tempted by the devil.

In all these things (and more), I just don't see anything that would give anyone any inkling that Jesus' ransom was paid to the devil. To the contrary, through the work of Jesus, and His sacrifice, the works and deception of the devil are destroyed.

On the other hand, when I look at the types and shadows of the Old Covenant, I see the temple and everything in it, and all the offerings and sacrifices, etc, directed towards the Lord. As I said before, it wasn't the blood of bulls and goats that God was interested in. Those were types and shadows of the real thing. Heb 10:10 shows that the offering of the body of Jesus is the sacrifice God wanted.

I simply see the scriptures pointing to a Testament that has to do with the Father and the Son. No devil involved in the whole deal, as far as I can see, except again, his defeat.

And when we look at scriptures such as Isaiah 53, I don't see how we can miss that Jesus bearing our sins, being bruised for our iniquities, being led as a lamb to the slaughter, etc, was the Lord's will; it was what pleased the Lord. Vs. 11 - "He shall see the labor of His soul and be satisfied." It was the Lord who was satisfied with the finished work of Jesus.

Again, if there are scriptures that point to the sacrifice and ransom of Jesus being directed to absolutely anyone else but the Lord, I'd be greatly surprised but if it's true, I'll most certainly look at it. For now, I'm sticking with the scriptures I know, and not to what any man has come up with. :)

Joel B. said...

This also reminds me of a time when someone was posting some odd things on the grace walk forum. One of the odd ideas he suggested was that the Ten Commandments were given by the devil. The reason? Because the law is "the ministry of death" and "the ministry of condemnation."

OH MY!

I mean, it's true that the law is the ministry of death and condemnation, but it was God who gave the law in order to charge the world with the guilt of sin. The scriptures are clear on that. He did not leave sin unpunished. Well, I've gone on long enough, and you know all those scriptures, but this reminded me of that incident. :)

Bino M. said...

Joel, I am totally convinced from the verses you have quoted. I think part of the problem is that some people don't like to see God as a wrathful God. But what they miss is, God's wrath is not directed to people, but to sin. And He judged and punished sin upon Christ there by freeing all of us from the sin-consciousness.

Have you seen the movie Narnia? I don't know if it was pictured rightly based on what C.S Lewis wrote or may he himself was wrong. The message people get from the movie is that Aslan gave himself as a ransom to the witch. When I watched the movie I too was little confused, but I didn't have enough clarity in my thinking, so I just left it in the corner of my mind.

You said, 'Heb 10:10 shows that the offering of the body of Jesus is the sacrifice God wanted.'
When we say God wanted it, the message many people receive is a very negative one. May be the opposite of what we wanted to convey. In a moment they forget the essence of God's love and see God as a wrathful God. He was wrathful on His first-born, so why wouldn't He be different to me.

But again, this conversation has been so helpful to me. I am able to see it straight now and it solidified my understanding. One thing I kept forgetting (which actually my wife reminded me when I shared this dilemma with her) was that Satan is a created being. Why would the Creator give His life as a ransom to a created being? It just doesn't make sense.

Joel B. said...

This is kind of along the lines of my post the other day about the scriptures and the heart. Basically, people come up with their own ideas about God, and neglect or reject what the Bible actually says.

I think it's wonderful - and it should be a natural part of the Christian life - for a person to hear from God and to get to know Him intimately. But lately I've seen various people coming up with doctrines that just aren't biblical, and that's what concerns me.

I saw the Narnia movie, and while I saw various things in it that represented Christianity, there was also a lot of stuff that didn't make sense to me, from a biblical perspective. :) I just wrote it off as it simply being a fiction novel and movie with "types" in it, but not an overall attempt to explain theology. This is opposed to a novel like The Shack, in which the writer is actually portraying the personality and character of Father, Son and Spirit in certain specific ways, and I think is therefore more worthy of scrutiny, whereas Narnia didn't seem to be doing that on the same level. That said, even some of the Narnia "types" confused me too. Aslan giving himself as a ransom to the witch... just makes no biblical sense.

When I wrote about what God "wanted" in regards to Hebrews 10:10, I was simply referring to the "will" that is mentioned in that verse and its context. In the context of Jesus saying "I have come to do Your will, O God," it's referring to the offering of His body. And again, since all of this is in the context of the types and shadows of the Old Covenant sacrifices made to God, I can't think of any reason to even play around with the idea that any of it had to do with a ransom made to the devil.

I had also been thinking of something similar to what your wife brought up, but I didn't know how to express it. Your wife said succinctly what I would take pages to talk about. :) Basically, Satan is simply an angel who fell. God cast him down to the earth, and my understanding of the scriptures is that the devil has always remained subjected to God. I won't get into all that here, but the point would be that, as you've said, the devil is a created being, not equal to God in any way, shape or form, and not someone God (Jesus) would need to pay a ransom to.

Anyway, didn't mean to go so long, but this type of stuff interests me, especially since I seem to have been thinking about a lot of it lately.

Bino M. said...

Joel, I too am concerned about such false doctrines which are based on people's opinions. It is okay to have opinions but if it directly contradicts the Scriptures, it can do only harm. I have heard people say, 'think beyond doctrines'. Well, if I think beyond doctrines/scriptures, what is my thinking based on? Either I should have a special extra biblical revelation from God or I should be basing the opinion on my feeling.
I am glad I have clarification on this one. Thank you for taking time to address this in detail!

Matthew,
Thank you for sharing and I agree with what you said.

Amy,
Most likely, since the scriptures are very clear, I am not going bother asking Darrin again. May be it is my misunderstanding of what he said. But either way, in my mind it is resolved.

Philip said...

Hey chaps...you're right,that idea is an awful heretical one. The first part of the gospel is,as you know-the solution to how does a holy God receive sinners?He forgives us by Christ having become sin for us-satisfying God's wrath so that he could shed his mercy and grace on us abundantly. Someone once said-nobody's afraid of God's mercy and love,but they are his justice!we need to have the assurance that God is just in justifying the ungodly through faith-and we do!We who have believed have entered into rest and the pouring of the Father's unchanging love, favour and blessing,in union with Christ. If the cross was not God's justice met,then how can we have the assurance that it is not against us,and that God is for us in Christ?We can't. Satan got nothing at the cross,but his head bruised and his doom sealed...

Bino M. said...

Philips,

Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts! I have reached the same conclusion like you. While I was on this topic, I found out that there is something called 'ransom theory', which says,

Essentially, this theory claimed that Adam and Eve sold humanity over to the Devil at the time of the Fall; hence, justice required that God pay the Devil a ransom to free us from the Devil's clutches. God, however, tricked the Devil into accepting Christ's death as a ransom, for the Devil did not realize that Christ could not be held in the bonds of death. Once the Devil accepted Christ's death as a ransom, this theory concluded, justice was satisfied and God was able to free us from Satan's grip.[2]

Nothing could be further from the truth. I am not sure from where people get such 'theories'.

You raised the important question:

If the cross was not God's justice met,then how can we have the assurance that it is not against us,and that God is for us in Christ?

Absolutely! I agree Satan didn't get any 'ransom' (He is not worth for a ransom from God) at the cross, but his head was bruised.

Joel B. said...

Philip: "Satan got nothing at the cross,but his head bruised and his doom sealed..."

I like that! :)

Bino,

I don't think I've ever heard the "ransom theory." Wow... indeed, where do people come up with these things! As the wikipedia article says, this particular one may have been derived out of a common practice in that day, of ransoming of war captives from slavery. But it certainly has no grounding in the Bible.

Anyway, very interesting.

Philip said...

I should have said Satan got his head crushed,rather than bruised.I was alluding to God's prediction concerning the seed of the woman in Genesis. Christ's heel was bruised so that Satan's head was crushed...I've heard something of that ransom theory before(and also wondered whether it's in the lion the witch and the wardrobe). While humanity was enslaved to Satan spiritually at the Fall,redemption from that chain is by an inestimable price paid by God the Son so that God's justice is settled for our gain. God is nobody's debtor!Never has been,never will be!But he is our blesser!...came across you're blog (and your's Joel)via (laboring to rest)via an internet search for Terry Rayburn-who's stuff I love listening to. What's happened to laboring to rest?

Joel B. said...

I also enjoy listening to Terry. I've got all his programs on my mp3 player and I listen to them randomly at times.

I'm not sure what happened to Kenny (laboring to rest). He used to be a regular on the Grace Walk Forum and I had been enjoying interacting with him through blogging, but his last post was May of last year. I think I'll send him an email and check in on what he's up to these days.

Philip said...

Thanks Joel. I noted the same thing. I found the stuff on his front page helpful.

Aida said...

Bino, I’m just now getting around to reading the comments that have been posted here as well as what you shared on Darin’s website regarding this topic. One thing I’m seeing through this conversation as well as other conversations that I’ve read is that people can read differing viewpoints into scripture. Given the exact same verse, it’s possible to have as many different interpretations as there are people looking at it. Interpretations go through different filters based on individual personalities and experiences.

As a result, I’m finding it more and more difficult to base my understanding of situations solely on scripture. I personally need something more solid and, for me in a situation with a variety of possible interpretations, the deciding factor is more and more becoming the unchanging nature of God and his character.

I’ve enjoyed reading the comments that were made here and on the FBN site. They’ve all been very helpful as I’ve processed this topic and I’m coming to believe more and more that Darin’s understanding is correct. Of course, I’ll continue to mull it over and, as Father reveals more to me, I’ll see where it all leads.

I’m taking a big step in being open with all of you about this. The fear of rejection would normally have made me keep quiet but Father has been changing me so now I’m more inclined to be open about who I really am and what I really believe. It’s easier to keep quiet but I don’t want to do that any more. I respect all of you very much and I know we’re not always going to agree about everything and that's okay.

This was a great conversation, Bino. Thanks for starting it.

Bino M. said...

Aida,
I am glad you took time to share your thoughts and opinion. I greatly appreciate that.

Interpretations go through different filters based on individual personalities and experiences.

This is an ever growing problem in Christianity that anyone can interpret a portion of Scripture pretty much anyway they want. People usually approach Scriptures after they make up their mind in terms of what they want to believe. One of the most devastating example of this is the mixing of law and grace. Just because of that one heretical teaching, 'a little yeast worked through the whole batch of dough' and many are under bondage.

That being said, I do not believe that Scripture is not sufficient to have a solid understanding on major spiritual issues. At the same time, I think whenever we try to interpret any passages, we should keep the BIG picture in mind while doing it. The Big picture I am talking about is all scattered in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. A great example would be the purpose of the law. If we try to interpret any OT or NT passages without a proper understanding of the purpose of the law (to accuse us and there by to lead us to Christ), a misinterpretation is pretty much guaranteed.

On this issue of 'ransom', you may very well be right but so far I haven't been able to see it the way you see it. I am not saying my view wouldn't change in the future. I would say the same to you as well, let's keep the options open and see, may be after several years we might realize we were wrong on that.

Again, thanks for sharing. It is this kind of conversation (with mutual respect) is what helps us to learn and grow. I greatly appreciate your input. Anytime, when you see something you don't agree with, please please feel free to share your opinions.

Kent said...

have you ever read about Christus Victor?

http://sharktacos.com/God/cross_intro.shtml

While in a similar discussion the other day over on The Shack Forum someone responded to my mention of the Christus Victor theory of the cross and it being one of the other many views of the cross and that Penal Substitutionary Atonement isn't the only one. He said this about Christus Victor.

I am amazed at the resurgence of this ancient notion which was originally known as 'The Ransom to the Devil Theory'.

From what I can find out this theory was what most in the early Church held to?

Aida said...

I've continued to think about this and I remembered Hosea. He married a woman named Gomer and in chapter 3, she leaves him and sells herself into prostitution. He then buys her back and restores her as his wife.

Hosea bought her back from slavery and paid money to the slaveowner. The slaveowner is not a type of God but instead he's a type of sin.

Hosea, whose name is the Hebrew form of Jesus, is a type of Jesus. This beautiful story clearly pictures Jesus' sacrifice which bought us back sin and the devil. The payment was made to sin and we were bought back into freedom to be reunited with God.

Thanks, Kent. I've read that before but I'll have to read it again given this new understanding that I now have.

Aida said...

Bino, I really do appreciate your willingness to examine things that are new to you and I appreciate your willingness to allow me to freely think through these things on your blog.

I'm not trying to convince anyone of what I believe but I really do appreciate the freedom to examine new thoughts with my brothers and sisters. So, thanks for that freedom.

Kent said...

It just seems we have bought into the legal understanding of setting things right (look around and tell me how that is working) and projected that onto the Creator/Father when his way of seting things right looks to me to be Him paying the price for us.

Aida, you have brought attention to one of my all time favorite stories in scripture. And for me it tells the story of an unyielding love...not someone that takes into account a wrong suffered and seeks punshment.

Joel B. said...

I've been enjoying thinking through some of this too. Actually I've come to a very different conclusion (well, not "conclusion" in solid terms, but simply in how I see things at the current time), and I've been keeping track of various Bible passages, both from the Old and New Testaments, that have played a part in my views.

However, other than my original comments on this post, from which I haven't strayed in my thinking, I've decided to stay out of discussing this particular doctrine, at least for the time being. What I've decided to do is to take the various things that I've heard, and as I go about my daily living and as I go about reading scripture, I'll look and see what fits and what doesn't.

That's pretty much what I do with everything anyway! I used to be a big debater on issues like this (I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions, and it always got me to looking deeper into the scriptures, which I've also always enjoyed doing), but nowadays I am more able to let differences go, and to speak up from time to time.

One thing is for sure in this, at least for me - When it comes to a doctrine such as what is being discussed here, dogmatism does not fit in! I'm not going to be dogmatic about what I think, and I have been cringing at some of the dogmatism that I've been hearing from others (no one who's involved in this conversation) as I've been listening to and reading what others have to say. This has been a great, healthy discussion, and I think it's great that it's been freely discussed here, and has hopefully sparked thoughts in everyone involved.

Aida said...

You guys are awesome.

I don't like debating so I normally avoid controversial subjects and normally I wouldn't have spoken up but I decided to risk it because I'm trying to be more open. As I said, I'm not trying to convince anyone and I have enjoyed the conversation.

It's good to be able to think things through in a safe environment.

Philip said...

Are some of you seriously objecting for the need for God to be 'just in justifying those who believe'?The definitive NT passage on justification-what it takes on God's part to provide the means for us to be reconciled to him-is Rom3. It seems to be very clear. A common misunderstanding is to set God's love against his holiness,justice,as if they cannot co-exist in his perfect character. Not only does the bible clearly say other(and that is the only solid ground to go on),but the cross is the crowning glory of how that God receives sinners. That way I can appreciate his love,without hiding from his justice and holiness-knowing in Christ God sets those things FOR me. And yes,God gave the cross because he so loved. If we don't realize that our sins deserved death,how can we truly appreciate a just redemption?you can be sure the devil would bring up God's justice to accuse believers,if he could. But he's been justly disarmed!

Philip said...

One more quick comment. The question of whether or not one is just-ified really settles the issue. Unless we believe the heretical universalist notion that all mankind are just-fied-even before they have faith-then some people in the world(genuine believers)God justly considers 'just',and others he does not. Therefore-while I believe the sacrifice was for all men on the cross-the benefits do not justly become someone's possession unless and until they believe. Necessarily that corresponds with there being a (absolutely necessary)justice issue in the cross.

Kent said...

Philip, as for myself I am fully on board with the cross being the pivital moment in human history.

It so easy for us to misunderstand one another by assuming that if someone is putting an emphasis on something other than we put an emphasis on they are tossing all the rest aside. I'm not tossing the other attributes of God but they all do today look different to me as they are all being filtered through a lens of grace.

As I read scripture today I see an overwhelming emphasis on love and grace and mercy and forgiveness where as for most of my life I saw and heard an overwhelming emphasis placed on Justice (the punitive kind. To me it is very interesting that in scripture there is another difining of justice going on and it most often was ignored in the religious circles I am familiar with. I've heard it descirbed as Honorable Relations....love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourselve.

So for myself and I know many others that are wrestling with some of these things, it's not a disregarding of scripture. I would describe it as a changing of the filter through which we process it all. I used to have a filter of fear and law...today it's love and grace.

Bino M. said...

Guys,

This great! Thank you all for sharing. At one point I thought I was clear and knew what it is. But now I think I am more confused :) The story Aida brought up was interesting. I think I am going to give some thoughts to that.

In the mean time, I like to share some of my thoughts.

I am still struggling to get my hands around the idea that the reconciliation took place between God and Devil (or as some of you say: sin).

that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. - 2 Corinthians 5:19

While I am fully aware of God's unconditional love and grace (may be not fully but at least today I try to see everything in Scripture through that lens), it still justifies God pouring His wrath upon His Son. To me, I see MUCH love there. This is how I see it: He Himself judged sin AND He Himself took the punishment. Isn't that wonderful? That's a much more glorious picture than thinking God paid a ransom to Devil.

I am not trying to pickup an argument, really.

Along with these thoughts I like to present the following three Scriptures:

Isaiah 53:5

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.


Rom3:25-26

God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement,through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.


Ephesians 5:2

and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Again, this is me learning, not trying to prove my points.

Kent said...

Bino, I haven't given much thought at all to whether it could be described as a ransom to the Devil. Personally it really doesn't matter to me. The mention I made of that was from someone that was making a snide remark about the Christus Victor Theory. I just see it as God liberating us from sin by taking sin within himself on the cross and his wrath destroying it.

I have faith in the reality that God liberated us by an act he performed. It was a God thing done for us because he loves us and the progression of this whole thing from the time of the fall was to reconcile to himself that which was lost by wooing us back. I lived for a long time never even hearing that their were other theories of what happened on the cross other than Penal Substitutionary Atonement. Brighter minds than I have been going at this for a long time....and different theories still exist.

My trust and faith is in what God did and today the way I see it, we all only see through a glass dimly, which to me indicates that we might not fully understand it all which leads me to believe that me not understanding it all isn't going to disqualify me. I'm a peace and at rest (finally) in the work of Christ.

Joel B. said...

Bino,

The passage from Romans you brought up is one that I had in my notes as well. I've said I'll stay out of discussing this, but at least I'll share some of the other scriptures I've been looking at. Over the past few days, I've copied and pasted various scriptures, and written a few of my own thoughts, and just now I put it up on my website because it's far too long to post here. It's by no means well-organized. :) It's simply laid out in the order that it came to me. However, I think it all relates to this discussion in one way or another.

Jesus' blood offering

Joel B. said...

Along with what Kent said, I'll also just add that for me personally, I'm not worried about a lot of the details in this. Whether we (as the worldwide body of Christ) can come to a consensus as to all the details of the cross or not, I think it's pretty clear that Christ put away sin and we're free from any and all condemnation, and we're free to walk in union with God, in an agape relationship. That's the most wonderful news!

Philip said...

Dear Kent,I'll have to have a closer look at the Christus Victor Theory,honourable relations thing. But what you described re the atonement in you're last post,assuming definitions agreed upon,I would agree with. There's lots of facets to Christ's finished work that I'm only just starting to understand. I don't know quite your experience with what you call the penal substitution view. I was just pointing out that we need to know that God is just in justifying those who believe- that his love,forgiveness and grace that is emphasized in the new Covenant-so that we might be restored to a love/grace relationship that was always God's intent-has the backing of his justice and holiness. We need never fear that they are against us anymore,because they have been once-and-for-all satisfied in our favour as believers. We were justly reconciled moment in time. It's this that really frees us up to enjoy the love and grace you describe.

Philip said...

Bino really hit the crux of the matter with the verses he gave. The cross really is the how does a holy God -out of his love-turn his justice and holiness from being against us,to for us-so that we can once more enjoy that love in grace,by way of mercy. At least that's it with regard to our relational standing with/before God.

Aida said...

I love what Kent has said in his last comment and I agree.

When I heard Darin's podcast, I thought what he said was great so I listened to it again and then honestly I forgot all about it until Bino brought it up. I wasn't going to comment until the word heresy was used and that bothered me. None of us has the whole truth and heresy seems to have come to mean something anything that the speaker disagrees with.

As I've said before, I'm not trying to convince anyone that my understanding is right and theirs is wrong. I was just sharing where I am right now. The Hosea scripture just came to mind. At the time, I wasn't looking for any particular verse to prove a point.

Anyway, I really don't have anything further to add to the conversation but I have enjoyed the sharing of different thoughts. This has been a great conversation.

Ike said...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008
The Cross Of Jesus Christ by Paul Washer


Normally, when posting large articles, I post only part of the article and then allow you to "click here to continue reading." Today, however, I am going to post this entire article by Paul Washer.

This is a must read.

One of my greatest burdens is that the Cross of Christ is rarely explained. It is not enough to say that “He died” - for all men die. It is not enough to say that “He died a noble death” - for martyrs do the same. We must understand that we have not fully proclaimed the death of Christ with saving power until we have cleared away the confusion that surrounds it and expounded its true meaning to our hearers - He died bearing the transgressions of His people and suffering the divine penalty for their sins: He was forsaken of God and crushed under the wrath of God in their place.

Forsaken of God

One of the most disturbing, even haunting, passages in the Scriptures is Mark’s record of the great cry of the Messiah as He hung upon a Roman Cross. In a loud voice He cried out:

“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

In light of what we know about the impeccable nature of the Son of God and His perfect fellowship with the Father, it is difficult to comprehend Christ’s words, yet in them, the meaning of the Cross is laid bare, and we find the reason for which Christ died. The fact that His words are also recorded in the original Hebrew tongue tells us something of their great importance. The author did not want us to misunderstand or to miss a thing!

In these words, Jesus is not only crying out to God, but as the consummate teacher, He is also directing His onlookers and all future readers to one of the most important Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament - Psalm 22. Though the entire Psalm abounds with detailed prophecies of the Cross, we will concern ourselves with only the first six verses:

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest. Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. In You our fathers trusted; they trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were delivered; in You they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm and not a man, a reproach of men and despised by the people.”

In Christ’s day, the Hebrew Scriptures were not laid out in numbered chapters and verses as they are today. Therefore, when a rabbi sought to direct his hearers to a certain Psalm or portion of Scripture, he would do so by reciting the first lines of the text. In this cry from the Cross, Jesus directs us to Psalm 22 and reveals to us something of the character and purpose of His sufferings.

In the first and second verses, we hear the Messiah’s complaint - He considers Himself forsaken of God. Mark uses the Greek word egkataleípo, which means to forsake, abandon, or desert. The Psalmist uses the Hebrew word azab, which means to leave, loose, or forsake. In both cases, the intention is clear. The Messiah Himself is aware that God has forsaken Him and turned a deaf ear to His cry. This is not a symbolic or poetic forsakenness. It is real! If ever a creature felt the forsakenness of God, it was the Son of God on the cross of Calvary!

In the fourth and fifth verses of this Psalm, the anguish suffered by the Messiah becomes more acute as He recalls the covenant faithfulness of God towards His people. He declares:

“In You our fathers trusted; they trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were delivered; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.”

The apparent contradiction is clear. There had never been one instance in the history of God’s covenant people that a righteous man cried out to God and was not delivered. However, now the sinless Messiah hangs on a tree utterly forsaken. What could be the reason for God’s withdrawal? Why did He turn away from His only begotten Son?

Woven into the Messiah’s complaint is found the answer to these disturbing questions. In verse three, He makes the unwavering declaration that God is holy, and then in verse six, He admits the unspeakable - He had become a worm and was no longer a man. Why would the Messiah direct such demeaning and derogatory language toward Himself? Did He see Himself as a worm because He had become “a reproach of men and despised by the people” or was there a greater and more awful reason for His self-deprecation? After all, He did not cry out, “My God, my God, why have the people forsaken me,” but rather He endeavored to know why God had done so!The answer can be found in one bitter truth alone - the Lord had caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him, and like a worm, He was forsaken and crushed in our stead.

This dark metaphor of the dying Messiah is not alone in Scripture. There are others that take us even deeper into the heart of the Cross and lay open for us what “He must suffer” in order to win the redemption of His people. If we shutter at the words of the Psalmist, we will be further taken back to hear of the thriceholy Son of God becoming the serpent lifted up in the wilderness,and then, the sin bearing scapegoat left to die alone.

The first metaphor is found in the book of Numbers. Because of Israel’s near constant rebellion against the Lord and their rejection of His gracious provisions, God sent “fiery serpents” among the people and many died. However, as a result of the people’s repentance and Moses’ intercession, God once again made provision for their salvation. He commanded Moses to “make a fiery serpent and set it on a standard.” He then promised that “everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.”

At first, it seems contrary to reason that “the cure was shaped in the likeness of that which wounded.” However, it provides a powerful picture of the cross. The Israelites were dying from the venom of the fiery serpents. Men die from the venom of their own sin. Moses was commanded to place the cause of death high upon a pole. God placed the cause of our death upon His own Son as He hung high upon a cross. He had come “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” and was “made to be sin on our behalf.” The Israelite who believed God and looked upon the brazen serpent would live. The man who believes God’s testimony concerning His Son and looks upon Him with faith will be saved. As it is written, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”

The second metaphor is found in the priestly book of Leviticus. Since it was impossible for one single offering to fully typify or illustrate the Messiah’s atoning death, an offering involving two sacrificial goats was put before the people. The first goat was slain as a sin offering before the Lord, and its blood was sprinkled on and in front of the Mercy Seat behind the veil in the Holy of Holies. It typified Christ who shed His blood on the Cross to make atonement for the sins of His people. The second goat was presented before the Lord as the scapegoat. Upon the head of this animal, the High Priest laid “both of his hands and confessed over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins.” The scapegoat was then sent away into the wilderness bearing on itself all the iniquities of the people into a solitary land. There, it would wander alone, forsaken of God and cut off from His people. It typified Christ who “bore our sins in His body on the cross,” and suffered and died alone “outside the camp.” What was only symbolic in the Law became an excruciating reality for the Messiah.

Is it not astounding that a worm, a venomous serpent, and goat should be put forth as types of Christ? To identify the Son of God with such “loathsome” things would be blasphemous had it not come from Old Testament saints “moved by the Holy Spirit,”21 and then confirmed by the authors of the New Testament who go even further in their dark depictions. Under the inspiration of the same Spirit, they are bold enough to say that He who knew no sin, was “made sin,” and He, who was the beloved of the Father, “became a curse” before Him. We have heard these truths before, but have we ever considered them enough to be broken by them?

On the Cross, the One declared “holy, holy, holy” by the Seraphim choir, was “made” to be sin. The journey into the meaning of this phrase seems almost too dangerous to take. We balk even at the first step. What does it mean that He, in whom “all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,” was “made sin?” We must not explain the truth away in an attempt to protect the reputation of the Son of God, and yet, we must be careful not to speak terrible things against His impeccable and immutable character.

According to the Scriptures, Christ was “made sin” in the same way that the believer “becomes the righteousness of God” in Him. In his second letter to the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul writes:

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

The believer is not the “righteousness of God” because of some perfecting or purifying work upon his character that makes him like God and without sin, but rather as a result of imputation by which he is considered righteous before God through the work of Christ on his behalf. In the same way, Christ was not made sin by having His character marred or soiled, thus actually becoming depraved, but as a result of imputation by which He was considered guilty before the judgment seat of God on our behalf. This truth however, must not cause us to think any less of Paul’s declaration that Christ was “made sin.” Although it was an imputed guilt, it was real guilt, bringing unspeakable anguish to His soul. He took our guilt as His own, stood in our place, and died forsaken of God. That Christ was “made sin,” is a truth as terrible as it is incomprehensible, and yet, just when we think that no darker words can be uttered against Him, the Apostle Paul lights a lamp and takes us further down into the abyss of Christ’s humiliation and forsakenness. We enter the deepest cavern to find the Son of God hanging from the Cross and bearing His most infamous title - the Accursed of God!

The Scriptures declare that all humankind lay under the curse. As it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all the things written in the Book of the Law, to perform them.” From heaven’s perspective, those who break God’s Law are vile and worthy of all loathing. They are a wretched lot, justly exposed to divine vengeance, and rightly devoted to eternal destruction. It is not an exaggeration to say that the last thing that the accursed sinner should and will hear when he takes his first step into hell is all of creation standing to its feet and applauding God because He has rid the earth of him. Such is the vileness of those who break God’s law, and such is the disdain of the holy towards the unholy. Yet, the Gospel teaches us that, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us -- for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’” Christ became what we were in order to redeem us from what we deserved. He became a worm and no man, the serpent lifted up in the wilderness, the scapegoat driven outside the camp, the bearer of sin, and the One upon whom the curse of God did fall. It is for this reason the Father turned away from Him and all heaven hid its face.

It is a great travesty that the true meaning of the Christ’s “cry from the cross” has often been lost in romantic cliché. It is not uncommon to hear a preacher declare that the Father turned away from His Son because He could no longer bear to witness the suffering inflicted upon Him by the hands of wicked men. Such interpretations are a complete distortion of the text and of what actually transpired on the Cross. The Father did not turn away from His Son because He lacked the fortitude to witness His sufferings, but because “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” He laid our sins upon Him and turned away, for His eyes are too pure to ap- prove evil and cannot look upon wickedness with favor.

It is not without reason that many Gospel tracts picture an infinite abyss between a holy God and sinful man. With such an illustration, the Scriptures fully agree. As the Prophet Isaiah cried out:

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save, nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2)

It is because of this that all men would have lived and died separated from the favorable presence of God and under divine wrath unless the Son of God had stood in their place, bore their sin, and died “forsaken of God” on their behalf. For the breach to be closed and fellowship restored, “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things?”

Christ Dies under the Wrath of God

To obtain the salvation of His people, Christ not only suffered the terrifying abandonment of God, but He drank down the bitter cup of God’s wrath and died a bloody death in the place of His people. Only then could divine justice be satisfied, the wrath of God be appeased, and reconciliation be made possible.

In the garden, Christ prayed three times for “the cup” to be removed from Him, but each time His will gave into that of His Father. We must ask ourselves, what was in the cup that caused Him to pray so fervently? What did it contain that caused Him such anguish that His sweat was mingled with blood? It is often said that the cup represented the cruel Roman cross and the physical torture that awaited Him; that Christ foresaw the cat of nine tails coming down across His back, the crown of thorns piercing His brow, and the primitive nails driven through His hands and feet. Yet those who see these things as the source of His anguish do not understand the Cross, nor what happened there. Although the tortures heaped upon Him by the hands of men were all part of God’s redemptive plan, there was something much more ominous that evoked the Messiah’s cry for deliverance.

In the first centuries of the primitive church, thousands of Christians died on crosses. It is said that Nero crucified them upside down, covered them with tar, and set them aflame to provide street lights for the city of Rome. Throughout the ages since then, a countless stream ofChristians have been led off to the most unspeakable tortures, and yet it is the testimony of friend and foe alike that many of them went to their death with great boldness. Are we to believe that the followers of the Messiah met such cruel physical death with joy unspeakable, while the Captain of their Salvation cowered in a garden, feigning the same torture? Did the Christ of God fear whips and thorns, crosses and spears, or did the cup represent a terror infinitely beyond the greatest cruelty of men?

To understand the ominous contents of the cup, we must refer to the Scriptures. There are two passages in particular that we must consider - one from the Psalms and the other from the Prophets:

“For a cup is in the hand of the LORD, and the wine foams; It is well mixed, and He pours out of this; surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs.”

“For thus the LORD, the God of Israel says to me, ‘Take this cup of the wine of wrath from My hand and cause all the nations to whom I send you to drink it. They will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.’”

As a result of the unceasing rebellion of the wicked, the justice of God had decreed judgment against them. He would rightly pour forth His indignation upon the nations. He would put the cup of the wine of His wrath to their mouth and force them to drink it down to the dregs. The mere thought of such a fate awaiting the world is absolutely terrifying, yet this would have been the fate of all, except that the mercy of God sought for the salvation of a people, and the wisdom of God devised a plan of redemption even before the foundation of the world. The Son of God would become a man and walk upon the earth in perfect obedience to the Law of God. He would be like us in all things, and tempted in all ways like us but without sin. He would live a perfectly
righteous life for the glory of God and in the stead of His people. Then in the appointed time, He would be crucified by the hands of wicked men, and on that Cross, He would bear His people’s guilt, and suffer the wrath of God against them. The perfect Son of God and a true Son of Adam together in one glorious person would take the bitter cup of wrath from the very hand of God and drink it down to the dregs. He would drink until “it was finished” and the justice of God was fully satisfied. The divine wrath that should have been ours would be exhausted upon the Son, and by Him, it would be extinguished.

Imagine an immense dam that is filled to the brim and straining against the weight behind it. All at once, the protective wall is pulled away and the massive destructive power of the deluge is unleashed. As certain destruction races toward a small village in the nearby valley, the ground suddenly opens up before it and drinks down that which would have carried it away. In similar fashion, the judgment of God was rightly racing toward every man. Escape could not be found on the highest hill or in the deepest abyss. The fleetest of foot could not outrun it, nor could the strongest swimmer endure its torrents. The dam was breached and nothing could repair its ruin. But when every human hope was exhausted, at the appointed time, the Son of God interposed. He stood between divine justice and His people. He drank down the wrath that they themselves had kindled and the punishment they deserved. When He died, not one drop of the former deluge remained. He drank it all!

Imagine two giant millstones, one turning on top of the other. Imagine that caught between the two is a single grain of wheat that is pulled under the massive weight. First, its hull is crushed beyond recognition, and then its inwards parts are poured out and ground into dust. There is no hope of retrieval or reconstruction. All is lost and beyond repair. Thus, in a similar fashion, “it pleased the Lord” to crush His only Son and put Him to grief unspeakable. Thus, it pleased the Son to submit to such suffering in order that God might be glorified and a people might be redeemed. It is not that God found some gleeful pleasure in the suffering of His beloved Son, but through His death, the will of God was accomplished. No other means had the power to put away sin, satisfy divine justice, and appease the wrath of God against us. Unless that divine grain of
wheat had fallen to the ground and died, it would have abided alone without a people or a bride. The pleasure was not found in the suffering, but in all that such suffering would accomplish: God would be revealed in a glory yet unknown to men or angels, and a people would be brought into unhindered fellowship with their God.

In one of the most epic stories in the Old Testament, the patriarch Abraham is commanded to carry his son Isaac to Mount Moriah, and there, to offer him as a sacrifice to God.

“Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”

What a burden was laid upon Abraham! We cannot even begin to imagine the sadness that filled the old man’s heart and tortured him every step of his journey. The Scriptures are careful to tell us that he was commanded to offer “his son, his only son, whom he loved.” The specificity seems designed to catch our attention and make us think that there is more meaning hidden in these words than we can yet tell.

On the third day, the two reached the appointed place, and the father himself bound his beloved son with his own hand. Finally, in submission to what must be done, he laid his hand upon his son’s brow and “took the knife to slay him.” At that very moment, the mercy and grace of God interposed, and the old man’s hand was stayed. God called out to him from heaven and said:

“Abraham, Abraham! ...Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing
to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your
only son, from Me.”

At the voice of the Lord, Abraham raised his eyes, and found a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. He took the ram and offered him up in the place of his son. He then named that place YHWH-jireh or “The Lord will provide.” It is a faithful saying that remains until this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.” As the curtains draw to a close on this epic moment in history, not only Abraham, but also everyone who has ever read this account breathes a sigh of relief that the boy is spared. We think to ourselves what a beautiful end to the story, but it was not the end, it was a mere intermission!

Two thousand years later, the curtain opens again. The background is dark and ominous.
At center stage is the Son of God on Mount Calvary. He is bound by obedience to the will of His Father. He hangs there bearing the sin of His people. He is accursed - betrayed by His
creation and forsaken of God. Then, the silence is broken with the horrifying thunder of God’s wrath. The Father takes the knife, draws back His arm, and slays “His Son, His only Son, whom He loves.” And the words of Isaiah the prophet are fulfilled:

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed
Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed... But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief.”

The curtain is drawn to a close on a slain Son and a crucified Messiah. Unlike Isaac there was no ram to die in His place. He was the Lamb who would die for the sins of the world. He is God’s provision for the redemption of His people. He is the fulfillment of which Isaac and the ram were only shadows. In Him, Mount Calvary is renamed “YHWH-jireh” or “The Lord will provide.” And it is a faithful saying that remains until this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.” Calvary was the mount and salvation was provided. Thus, the discerning believer cries out, “God, God, I know you love me since you have not withheld your Son, your only Son, whom You love, from me.”

It is an injustice to Calvary that the true pain of the Cross is often overlooked by a more romantic, but less powerful theme. It is often thought and even preached that the Father looked down from heaven and witnessed the suffering that was heaped upon His Son by the hands of men, and that He counted such affliction as payment for our sins. This is heresy of the worst kind. Christ satisfied divine justice not merely by enduring the affliction of men, but by enduring and dying under the wrath of God. It takes more than crosses, nails, crowns of thorns, and lances, to pay for sin. The believer is saved, not merely because of what men did to Christ on the Cross, but because of what God did to Him - He crushed Him under the full force of His wrath against us. Rarely is this truth made clear enough in the abundance of all our Gospel preaching!

You can find this audio message at (bloodtippedears.blogspot.com)