The blood of Jesus (conceived as the just, innocent, blameless, flawless, and sinless Lamb of God sacrificed for the sins of the world) is the fiducial symbol of the-unjust-and-violent-slaying-that-invoked-the-just-avenging-of-God-to-reverse-the-diabolical-human-sentence-and-raise-him-from-the-dead. Accordingly, the blood of Christ simultaneously signifies virtually every element of the full saving reality of his earthly career in the flesh. As a figure of Christ’s Divine recompense by Resurrection and exaltation to agelong and endless life from Satanic-human condemnation to a violent and grossly humiliating public execution, the blood of the Lord encompasses the meanings of rescue, salvation, protection, justification, sanctification, peacemaking, conciliation, forgiveness, regeneration, vivification, agelong life, adoption, liberation, redemption, ransom, cleansing, erasure of sins, inheritance in God’s Kingdom, procurement of blessings of the covenant, and whatever else I may have overlooked. “The shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ” says it all! [2/21/96]
Now, concerning “…the deficiencies of the afflictions of Christ” (Col. 1:24). This passage of Scripture has been widely misunderstood. On the assumption of traditional views of the atonement it must remain enigmatic. But when the onus of salvation is lifted from Christ’s sufferings per se and linked instead to his Resurrection as the vindicating demonstration of God’s justice/righteousness, then much becomes instantly clear.
Paul and, indeed, all the apostles suffered immensely for the sake of the Proclamation of the Kingdom in order that its hearers might be saved. The sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ are deficient in this respect, that without the further sufferings of Christ’s proclaimers, the message of his Crucifixion/Resurrection itself might be hindered from reaching its intended audiences. Consequently, we are privileged “not only to be trusting him, but to be suffering for his sake also, having the same struggle such as you are perceiving in me, and now are hearing to be in me” (Phil. 1:29-30). Were it not for the joint-sufferings of its courageous proclaimers, the “Explanation of the Cross” (which is all about the vindicating Resurrection from that death!) might be retarded in its advance throughout the earth. [02/22/96] It is only the penal substitution doctrine that has rendered this verse enigmatic at all, by casting a spuriously atoning halo around the Lord’s afflictions while ignoring completely God’s premial justice that so exponentially, truly atoningly, repaid it by Resurrection from the dead and Exaltation to the heights!
The keystone of the Arch of Triumph over death, sin, and Satan is God’s raising of Christ.
In light of Jesus’ Resurrection, his Cross tells a very different Story than otherwise. The Cross does not stand alone.
Let go the Shibboleths! Forego the anathemas! Cease the recriminations! Put down your stones.
“He shall see the [resurrectionary] result of the affliction of his soul and be satisfied.” (Is. 53:11)
Much of the language of Scripture is metaphor, figure, simile, analogy, and if you make it “walk on all fours” it may trample you. [2/25/96] Get the gist. Get the point.
“My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1—Mt. 27:46, Mk. 15:34, Jn. 16:32) This cry of dereliction is a mystery until we view it in light of Christ’s Resurrection. For his Resurrection demonstrates indisputably, and for our consolation, that although we experience ourselves even forsaken by God, His Spirit withdrawn, yet God has not forsaken our cause! And this confidence may even reach beyond our own earthly experience, for the Spirit of Christ announced confidently through the prophet David, “For You will not be forsaking my existence in the Unseen, nor will You be giving Your Benign One to perceive decay” (Acts 2:27-36, Ps. 16:10). The stark fact of Christ’s Resurrection even relativizes his actual personal experience of God-forsakenness! Thus Paul can proclaim, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor sovereignties, nor present, nor future, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39). That is astounding good news in the face of our most distraught and abandoned experiences! For our trust may legitimately reach beyond the present and even beyond our own possibility of earthly experience, to lay hold on a faithful Creator! For He who creates can also recreate; what He has done with His own beloved Son, consequently, He can do with all His own, and more! [3/02/96]
The pagan doctrine of the “immortality of the soul” has injected toxic “necessities” into the body of Christian theology. Endless disputes without any satisfactory solutions in sight continue to plague traditional theologizing. But so soon as the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead becomes the governing center, the “material principle,” the advantageous fulcrum, the true axis, of our theologies—only so soon shall we start to enjoy a refreshing succession of happy reversals amid the darkening plight of domineering orthodoxies. [3/17/96]
We must be willing to divest ourselves of all the spurious medieval notions in our theology in order to get more in touch with the primeval purity of the apostolic Proclamation in Scripture. The medieval traditions of scholasticism still—yes, even at the threshhold of the 21st century!—act as veils to our sight, serving as buffers against the shock value of the resurrectionary Gospel. [3/20/96]