Monthly Archives: November 2012

The disclosed secret of the Cross vs. the remaining mystery of our cross-wired perception of it.

There is no longer any mystery about the Cross itself; the only mystery is our own cross-wired understanding of it! And we can hardly attribute this to the “silence” of Scripture on the subject, as I hope to show. [4/6/06; 12/19/06]

The Father allowed the Son to be “made a cursebecause of the yet further aggravated injustice of it! It was “for our sakes” because it happily justified God to overcompensate him all the more to bless him with the superabundant gift of Wholesome Spirit—his just due (dikaioma) as damages for being strung up so outrageously! So it was the Father’s desire that the Son bear these terrible sins “in his own body on the tree(cursed as it was) so that He could “make an exampleof the vicious chief priests and Pharisees and elders of the Jews (Mt. 26:47, 57, 27:3, 20; Mk. 15:10-11, 31; Lk 23:10, 13, 23; Jn. 11:4, 51) and also of the feckless Roman authorities (Mt. 27; Mk. 15; Lk. 23; Jn. 18, 19)—i.e., “the sovereignties and authorities” (Col. 2:15). God made a spectacle of them all, shaming them by stark contrast with the glorification and exaltation of His Son and chosen Messiah! [4/6/06]

At/on the Cross, Jesus offered up to God his entire life/career of obedience and innocence, letting it be sacrificed by vicious sinners who did not recognize or admit his righteousness at all. They only wanted him dead, because of envy (Mt. 27:18; Mk. 15:10).

In offering himself up to God Himself by surrendering himself to the forces of evil, Jesus put his fate in his Father’s capable hands to show who was really right. By letting the sovereignties and authorities of the Jews and Romans play out their seemingly victorious hand to its ostensibly successful denouement, Jesus was submitting humbly to God’s own judgment…and in God’s own time (not, as he himself would have preferred, at the Cross or, better yet, before the crucifixion entirely—in fact, prior to his even being apprehended, for he did not personally want to drink this cup to its bitter dregs at all!–yet he faithfully did so anyway and left the outcome in God’s righteous hands). And in due time God exalted him in graciousness.

God accepted this voluntary offering—this “sin[-offering]” (hamartia—both in 2 Cor. 5:21 and in Leviticus, etc., in the Greek Septuagint)—with fire from heaven,” visible at Pentecost, consuming “living sacrifices” as acceptable, sweet-smelling offerings, made wholesome by God’s promised gift of the Spirit, compensating for the violent enormity against the Son of His love.

Adam’s one offense that brought death to the whole race of mankind was more than countered by Jesus’ one just award, awarded him by God the Judge as damages for Satan’s fatal assault, and which brought life superabundant and gratuitous to all who believe! Adam’s disobedience constituted many as sinners, but Messiah’s obedience constituted many as just. [4/7/06]

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“THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS”

“The victory of the cross is not assured without the enlightening revelation of the Spirit of God” (Hans Boersma, Violence, Hospitality, and the Cross:  Reappropriating the Atonement Tradition [Baker Academic, 2004] p. 150) is a very strange statement indeed!  It shows how very far the mind of the Reformation (and Western atonement theology generally) stands apart from the mind of Messiah and his Spirit—the spirit of the New Covenant.  The victory of the “Cross” did not happen, properly speaking, at the Cross itself at all, but at the Resurrection!

The Cross was a manifest “failure” since it did not save the Savior from death and the unseen in the least!  Jesus’ “Saviorhood” was not manifest at the crucifixion.  By no stretch of a hallowed imagination can that tragic violence be construed as saving.  Yet because it was ineluctably linked to previous and subsequent events by a molecular logic of cosmic chemistry, therefore the product was predetermined:  VICTORIOUS RESURRECTION FROM AMONG THE DEAD!  Messiah’s getting crucified was an act of submissive obedience by the divine Son to his divine Father; it could only have a divine outcome—the vindication of that obedience by Resurrection, enthronement, and the outpouring of Wholesome Spirit to seal the adoption of future heirs.

Therefore, properly speaking, Messiah’s cross manifested no victory that could be “assured,” as Boersma supposes, by so-called “enlightening revelation” of the Spirit of God” or by any other means whatsoever.  We may better speak of the justification of the Cross becoming apparent in Messiah’s resurrectionary victory over death, Satan, sin, and every petty enemy.  And that victory has been attested and proclaimed by his apostles.  This is our assurance and this has already been corroborated and certified by “the Spirit of God” that long ago inspired wholesome men to write it all down in detail in the wholesome Scriptures of the New Covenant for all the wholesome ones (“saints”) who believe the message.

The impulse that moved Hans Boersma to write that opening sentence was, to be sure, the impossibility of seeing any victory in the Cross by any normal, rational means.  But that fact should have told him something and advised his hesitation before invoking a “supernatural” crowbar to bust the lock on this “mystery.”  In fact there is no longer any mystery about the proclamation of God’s Kingdom!  It was intended for secrecy only until Satan showed his vicious, violent hand against the Son of Mankind, which he would by no means have done if he had known God would reverse his murder by irreversible resurrection!

God’s righteous anger against sin cannot be averted from it.  Sins, rather, must be cleaned away from us so that we do not die in them.  For unless this release from sins takes place, our wrongdoings will suck us down a black hole to God only knows where!

There is no “redeeming power” in the Cross!  There is only liberating power in the heart of a strictly righteous God whose resurrectionaryavenging the cross of Messiah evoked!  The power all belongs to and issues from the God of unremitting justice who did not let the sentence of crucifixion stand without virtually immediate reversal and colossal overcompensation!  HOORAY!!!

If the intolerable injustice of the Cross evoked the Resurrection of the Son by the Father, doesn’t this fundamental evangelical pattern also get reflected in the case of disease no less than sin?  The application of the innocent blood of God’s Lamb to our sinful hearts effects the “avenging” of his wrongful death by the outpouring of new life into our hearts, thus giving us expectancy of agelong life in the impending age.  Why wouldn’t the application of his blood (figured in anointing the sick with oil, which likewise symbolizes the Wholesome Spirit poured out on or “paid out” to us in compensation for Satan’s pouring out the blood of God’s own Son) also effect restoration of health as well?  It naturally follows.

VIOLENCE OR ASSERTIVENESS?

I’d like to reflect for a moment on Boersma’s category of “violence.”  When Jesus spoke of the so-called “violence” of those whom he commended as wanting into God’s Kingdom, he hardly meant “violence” in the Old Testament sense that God hates in no uncertain terms and condemns decisively.  Rather, a comparison with the usage of this Greek family of words in the Septuagint Old Testament strongly (forcefully!) suggests that Jesus meant assertiveness, i.e., forcefulness.  This translation makes profound sense in light of the string of assertive people whose stories are told in the preceding chapters, following the “Sermon on the Mount.”

Today we even hear of “assertiveness training” to help the timid become more bold, outgoing, outspoken, and courageous in public and forceful in relationships.  “Violence?”  I don’t think so.  [4/4/06]

God’s “hospitality” is reserved especially for those within the covenants He made throughout history–that is, if we understand hospitality as God’s graciousness.  But Boersma’s Calvinism, as expressed in his noteworthy book, has tied up this graciousness in endless litigation, speculating unjustifiably about its supralapsarian reservation for only a few “sovereignly,” “irresistibly,” and “irreversibly” chosen individuals, as if this is graciousness at all!  Much rather, God’s true graciousness (“sovereign” is not even a biblical adjective!) allows all people onto the train of His covenant so long as they trust Him (as manifested by their enduring repentance and obedience).  Otherwise they get thrown out of the train somewhere on route to the Kingdom, into outer darkness where there is no graciousness, but only anger–divine indignation.  This is well illustrated by God’s “drowning Pharaoh and his army because His lovingkindness [to Pharaoh’s would-be victims!] endures for the age”  Psalm 136:15.  God exercises patience, toleration, longsuffering and kindness even to Pharaoh and others outside His covenant, including defectors!  But His lovingkindness, covenantal troth, and graciousness are ours, alone, who keep trusting.

WHERE’S THE BLOOD?

Curiously, Boersma’s book does not have an index entry for “blood”!  This is some measure of how far from the metaphors of Scripture one can stray even in painstaking scholarly elaborations.  “Blood” is simply the most pivotal and pervasive word associated with every category of salvation in the New Testament Ponder that! [4/4/06]

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THANKSGIVING SERIES ON THE ATONEMENT BEGINS TODAY!

I hope you have enjoyed a bountiful Thanksgiving Day, full of grateful reflections on the God’s great goodness and benignity toward us in spite of whatever the Enemy can throw at us!  October 5th was the date of my previous blog, and in the meantime I have started a second blog site dealing more with the outflow and implications of a premial understanding to God’s justice–a justice He calls us to reflect across the full horizon of our lives during this vicious age of the world.

Today–“Black Friday”–I am starting a new series on this Premial Atonement blog site.  These reflections started during a serious six-week bout with influenza that took me down during the spring of 2006.  That illness turned out to be one of the greatest blessings of my life.  A quarter century of wrestling with the nature and meaning of the Atonement came to a head and a kind of final clarity emerged that has taken years to unfold.  I shall be sharing those insights with you starting today.  I hope you can join me in this public elaboration.  I only hope I can keep up with any responses you may wish to contribute along the way.  Further clarification is sure to occur as we labor together.

I hope this serves as a fitting introduction to the Advent season just ahead.  May God bless us all!

Ron

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If salvation had been effected at the Cross, then many of us might not even exist, much less be saved.  The reason is simple.  If Jesus had saved himself there, by calling on twelve legions of angels, his enemies wouldn’t have stood a chance of surviving and, in any case, he would only have achieved the kingship over Israel, if that, since an angelic attack would have decimated his subjects!  He could only win a kingdom over all the nations by way of over-compensation by being willing to pass all the way under the waters of death!  He traded the kingdom of Israel for the Kingdom of God over the universe!  Thus we non-Jews can enjoy salvation too!  [3/28/06]

Jesus himself suffered in the wake of “witness intimidation”!  His disciples, all of whom constituted an inner circle of witnesses to all his activities, both public and private, could have come to his defense during his trial, but all except one fled!  Official (in this case) intimidation by the temple guards was sufficient to keep them at a distance.  And the possibility of Peter’s being called to testify on Jesus’ behalf was enough to terrify him to turn tail.  [4/1/06]

The invidious separation forged by the early gnostic schismatic, Marcion (died c. 160 A.D.), between a violent, wrathful God of the Old Testament and a Jesus meek and mild severed the unity of the divine character and shattered the integrity of their singular intention.  The authentic New Testament resurrectionary rationale for the abuse of Messiah by Satan became (if it had not already been) obscured by this imputed disharmony within Deity.

However, the false teacher Marcion’s misattribution of unjust violence to Jehovah and of a feckless, sentimental love to Jesus created a two-headed monster out of the one God.  Furthermore, it impugned the consistent and uniform nature of God’s Justice in both testaments (covenants).  It sheared the Old Testament away from the New Testament.  The overcompensatory stipulations of Old Testament justice were deemed harsh and cruel, so the overcompensation of the Resurrection and Exaltation in return for the Crucifixion was not discerned as essentially identical with that earlier principle.  The so-called “Atonement” became an insoluble enigma.  And eventually Marcion’s Old Testament God inflicted His wrath on his New Testament God and the rest is history, which repeated itself in the Reformation, by a strange irony.  [4/2/06]

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