Monthly Archives: August 2014

THE JUSTIFYING FRUITS OF CHRIST’S PREMIAL OBEDIENCE

If sin is the mother of evil and death is the offspring, the devil is their midwife. [8/14/07]

Did Jesus “learn obedience” so as to “be perfected” (Hebrews 5:809) as the result of [his] “penal substitution”? For according to veritable Scriptures, this was the divine aim of the process of his suffering abuse (Hebrews 5:8-9, 2:9010, 18, 4:14-5:2, 9:26, 13:12) and sorrow (Hebrews 12:11), enduring all things as discipline (Hebrews 12:1-14) for the sake of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10, 5:9, 9:24-28), wholesomeness (Hebrews 2:11, 9:13-14, 10:5-10, 29, 12:10-14, 13:12) and cleansing (Hebrews 1:3, 9:13-14, 23-28). In the very crucible of the cross appointed him by the Father precisely to allow Jesus to experience the unjust smiting that Israel’s sins inflicted, Jehovah IN Jesus was interceding because of depravities viciously wounding and crushing him. These blows (pleg) of discipline (-paid Isaiah 53:5, Hebrews 12:1-17), when they were redressed by God’s overcompensating justice through his glorious resurrection, when he again “saw light(Isaiah 53:11), served to “justify many(Isaiah 53:11) and bring healing (Isaiah 53:5) to those who had done these appalling wrongs…and far, far beyond! All nations felt the repercussions of this SHOCK WAVE OF JUSTIFYING JUSTICE! FOR WHEN IT HIT, IT CRASHED THROUGH ISRAEL’S HARDENED FORTIFICATIONS AND ROLLED ON TO INUNDATE EVERY “FAMILY, TONGUE, LAND, AND NATION” WITH THE GRACIOUSNESS OF GOD’S BEDROCK TRUTH THAT BROUGHT PEACE AND MUTUAL RECONCILIATION AMONG ALL NATIONS THAT CHANGE THEIR MINDS AND TRUST IT. THIS IS BIG!

However, “divine, wrathful punishment” played no role whatever in this scenario. GOD WASN’T VENTING HIS HOLY WRATH ON THIS SINLESS VICTIM AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR VENTING IT ON THE GUILTY SINNERS, IN ORDER TO SATISFY THE JUSTICE OF HIS LAW, HE WAS ALLOWING THE GUILTY SINNERS TO VENT THEIR SINFUL RAGE ON THIS SINLESS VICTIM IN ORDER THAT HE MIGHT SATISFY THE JUSTICE OF HIS LAW BY OVERCOMPENSATING THEIR DAMAGES IN RAISING HIM FROM THE DEAD AND GIVING HIM GLORY TO BE “HIGH AND LIFTED UP, AND EXCEEDINGLY LOFTY(Isaiah 52:13), AND SO THAT HE WOULD “APPORTION THE BOOTY(Isaiah 53:12) OF HIS TRIUMPH, WHICH GOD “APPORTION[ED] TO HIM (Isaiah 53:12), IN TURN TO THE STAUNCH-IN-FAITH, HIS BRETHREN. [8/14/07]

THE ECONOMICS OF JUSTICE

The economics of justice builds on economics, properly speaking, but goes beyond merely economic norms in characteristic ways. (The Christian philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd [1894-1977], of the Free University of Amsterdam, elaborates this at length.) With specific reference to the Atonement, we can see the nuclear difference in very distinct fashion. The pivotal difference is that because the exchange between parties was not mutually voluntary and without violence, there was injustice in the transaction, which brought it under the leading modal guidance of jural norms instead of merely economic norms. Normative justice demands and stipulates OVERCOMPENSATION by way of restitution. [8/14/07]

Leave a comment

Filed under The Atonement

collective eye-witnessed fact: HE’S ALIVE!

After all was said and done, after the dust had settled on Mt. Olivet, Jesus had returned home to Heaven, and his learners had returned to Jerusalem to await the next decisive event in the history of Salvation, what kind of victory had been achieved, what visible conquest could be claimed for all his pains, toil, and trouble? Since Jesus got pinned to that wood, what was left to pin any hopes on? It all came down to this. There was one thing everyone knew irrefutably: HE’S ALIVE! Whatever else these high and sacred events might mean, this was unshakably certain. This was empirical, tangible, abundantly witnessed—in a word, HISTORIC! Yet, what did it all mean? Well, unless Jesus was only treading water during those forty days before he made his Grand Exit, he must have been explaining exactly that, and in copious detail. Beginning from his vanquishing of death in his own person as a Firstfruit, and thereby condemning sin, he furthermore helped them retro-calculate his win over Satan, disease, lawlessness, political tyrants, terrorists, military occupation, petty enemies, personal attacks, demons, injuries, pain, poverty, hatred, slander, loss, abuse, sorrow, grief, depression, humiliation, shame, guile, lies, theft, accidents, traumas, curses, the Unseen, in a word, EVIL. For anything that controls death or threatens death, or leads to death, or feels like death HAS BEEN OUTFLANKED IN PRINCIPLE BY THIS ONCE-FOR-ALL EVENT. Any further “theological” meanings, any further “soteriological” effects, must one and all unravel from THE DEATH OF DEATH IN THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS AS EXALTED MASTER AND MESSIAH. We are not left wondering “how sin was dealt with” in this gripping climax. IF THE EFFECT IS REVERSED, THE CAUSE IS FECKLESS! IN THE POWER OF HIS ONCE-FOR-ALL ESCAPE, NOW AVAILABLE TO ALL WHO BELIEVE IN HIM, THE OPERATIVE IMPULSE OF AGELONG LIFE IS MANIFESTING IN OUR MORTAL FLESH. BY WALKING IN THAT WHOLESOME SPIRIT, THE SURETY OF OUR FULL ALLOTMENT IN GOD’S IMPENDING KINGDOM, WE TOO CAN DOCK UP VICTORIES OVER THE WORLD.

Jesus, God’s Anointed Son, demonstrated throughout his entire lifetime, but especially after his Immersion, and most intensely after Gethsemane, how to handle lesser evils than death, as a model and copy for us to follow. But that ultimate Grim Reaper still loomed as a horrid, gruesome specter above all the rest. Yet he nobly overcame and totally conquered that redoubtable foe! And for those of us who have the surety of the Conqueror’s Spirit within us, his destiny of life and rulership over all the projects of God’s hands is ours likewise, together with him, if we endure these trials. Yet, sadly, some—all too many—have made themselves enemies of light and truth. And for them there is yet another death: a permanent extermination following their resurrection to condemnation. [8/13/07]

Because Jesus had received the Wholesome Spirit “without measure,” and been anointed “above his partners(Hebrews 1:9), he could even touch the unclean without himself being tainted. This means that he did not need to keep his distance from the unclean, much less offer a sin-offering for contamination. THIS REVEALS THE NATURE OF TRUE WHOLESOMENESS—IT REACHES OUT TO HEAL, CURE, RESTORE, EXPEL DEMONS, AND IN GENERAL RENEW AND REGENERATE THE DISRUPTED AND DEFILED CREATED ORDER. AUTHENTIC WHOLESOMENESS IS THE VITAL SPARK…FLOWING CURRENT OF UNCREATED LIFE. [8/13/07]

MORE LINKS IN THE GREAT CHAIN OF SUBSTITUTION…

There is plenty of substitution in Christianity—what with the Son substituting on earth for the Father in high heaven (the Visible for the sake of the Invisible) and then, when he departed for his priestly epiphany before the Father, sending Their Spirit from the Father’s reserves in order to substitute for Them alike on earth, both alongside us and inside us—to render any additional substitute (much less a penal one!) quite superfluous. But worse, shouldn’t “penal substitution” within Deity be deemed DETESTABLE, AN ABHORRENCE, EVEN AN ABOMINATION? The gross misrepresentation it teaches about God’s various attributes and relations is so clunky and crude (however it may be misrepresented, defended, massaged, or pampered) that one can only stand amazed that theologians don’t either pack up their bags and call it quits, or rise up in arms and threaten to return to Scripture and reapply themselves to overthrowing the imposter once and for all! Better late than never. Revival awaits! Reformation tarries! “Hallowed be Thy reputation.” [8/13/07] What are we waiting for?

Leave a comment

Filed under The Atonement

The “Great Chain of Substitution”

The so-called “exemplary” theory of the Atonement, which was ever only partly right (yet “all are in the wrong”!), will nevertheless enjoy a long and well-deserved rehabilitation when the restorative justice understanding of the cross-resurrection sequence comes to be accepted.  For this apostolic understanding of the respective roles of the Son, and then the Father, both in the Spirit, sets up a role patterning designed to imprint our own mimetic role indelibly in our very behavioral core.  The Son was the authoritative “representative” of and ambassador for/on behalf of/in place of, and even the “substitute” for his Father on the earth.  Then when the Wholesome Spirit was sent from the Father by the Son, it functioned in that representative and substitutionary role for the Son (as well as for the Father, in turn), but now not merely beside or alongside (para) us, but also within (en) us!  THUS THE BATON HAS BEEN PASSED TO US!  WE WHO TRUST JESUS AS THE MASTER AND GOD’S ANOINTED ONE, IN TURN GET ANOINTED TO BECOME GOD’S (FATHER, SON, AND WHOLESOME SPIRIT) “REPRESENTATIVES” OR “SUBSTITUTES” ON EARTH!  WE ARE TO MIMIC OR IMITATE JESUS’ EXAMPLE IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT.  “FOR UNTO THIS WERE YOU CALLED, SEEING THAT MESSIAH ALSO SUFFERED ABUSE FOR YOUR SAKES [YET OBVIOUSLY, IN THIS CASE, NOT AS OUR “SUBSTITUTE,” OR PETER WOULD NOT BE URGING US TO REPEAT THE IDENTICAL CONDUCT AND DEEDS, AND EVEN, ACCORDING TO JOHN, “GREATER DEEDS” (JOHN 14:12)], LEAVING YOU A COPY THAT YOU SHOULD BE FOLLOWING UP IN THE FOOTPRINTS OF HIM WHO DOES NO SIN, NEITHER WAS GUILE FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; WHO, BEING REVILED, REVILED NOT AGAIN; SUFFERING ABUSE, THREATENED NOT, YET SURRENDERED IT TO HIM WHO IS JUDGING JUSTLY, WHO HIMSELF CARRIES UP OUR SINS IN HIS BODY ONTO THE TREE, THAT COMING AWAY FROM SINS, WE SHOULD BE LIVING TO RIGHTEOUSNESS; BY WHOSE WELT [BY/FROM OUR SINS!] YOU WERE HEALED.  FOR YOU WERE STRAYING SHEEP, BUT NOW YOU TURNED BACK TO THE SHEPHERD AND SUPERVISOR/INSPECTOR OF YOUR SOULS  (1 Peter 2:21-25).  WE SHEEP ARE TO EMULATE OUR SHEPHERD!

Thus the Atonement, in a very real sense, includes our TAKING THE BATON AND RUNNING WITH IT THROUGHOUT OUR OWN LEG OF THE RACE OF FAITH AND TRIAL OF ENDURANCE.  AND FOR THIS FEAT WE ALSO SHALL BE AWARDED AN OVERCOMPENSATING PRIZE, FOR FAITH IS A PRIZE FIGHT!  [8/12/07]

In God’s raising Jesus from a death of the cross, He proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that He did not need to punish sin for the sake of “honoring his holy Law” or to “avenge His perfect justice’ or “satisfy for his injured honor.”  HE WAS BLARING THROUGH A BULLHORN:  I DO NOT HAVE TO EXACT THE “FULL PENALTY FOR EVERY SIN”!  LOOK HERE!  GAZE AT THIS STAKE!  WHAT DO YOU SEE?  ARE YOU WILLING TO ADMIT THIS WAS A SIN—A CRIME?  WILL YOU CONFESS THAT THIS EXECUTION WAS AN EXTRAORDINARILY VICIOUS AND FELONIOUS DEED?  IF SO, YOU WILL BE PREPARED FOR THE FULLER SIGNIFICANCE OF WHAT I DID ON THE THIRD DAY…I NULLIFIED THAT SIN BY MORE THAN REVERSING ITS DEADLY EFFECTS!  IF I CAN DO THAT, WHY WOULD I NEED TO WHACK YOU SOUNDLY FOR YOUR CRIME AND DEMAND “MY POUND OF FLESH” FROM YOU?  IF I WAS WILLING TO DO THAT—AND THOSE EVENTS STILL STAND, RECORDED IN HISTORY BY A MULTITUDE OF WITNESSES, (I MADE SURE OF THAT!)—THEN WHAT A WASTE OF DIVINE ENERGY IT WOULD BE…WHAT A WASTE OF HUMAN RESOURCES (!) FOR ME TO WHALE ON EVERY PERSON FOR EVERY SIN!  NO, NO!  WHAT I WANT IS YOUR LOVE AND FREELY OFFERED DIVINE SERVICE.  I WANT YOUR VOLUNTARY OBEDIENCE TO MY DIRECTIVES BECAUSE THEY WILL MAKE YOU WISE AND PRODUCTIVE AND HAPPY.  THAT’S THE WAY I WANT THINGS IN THE NEW EARTH I AM PREPARING.  NOW I’M ON THE LOOKOUT FOR LIKELY CANDIDATES FOR ADOPTION, BECAUSE I NEED WHOLE BUNCHES OF DAUGHTERS AND SONS TO HELP ME RUN THINGS THERE.  THAT’S WHY I’M OFFERING EVERYONE ENDLESS POST-MORTEM EXISTENCE!  ALL THEY NEED TO DO IS GET ON BOARD, BY FAITH—DOES WHAT I DID AT THE RESURRECTION OF MY FIRSTBORN SON, JESUS, HELP YOU TO TRUST ME NOW?—AND THEN START KEEPING HIS DIRECTIVES FOR LIFE (WHICH I GAVE HIM TO FOLLOW AND TO DEMONSTRATE  AND TEACH YOU, TOO) SO THAT YOU ALL MATURE AND BECOME LIKE US IN CHARACTER AND POWER.  WOULDN’T THAT BE FUN?!  I WANT YOUR JOY TO BE FULL AND REAL!  HOWEVER, TRUTH BE TOLD, THERE IS A “PLAN ‘B’,” BUT YOU’RE NOT GONNA LIKE IT…BESIDES, I DON’T LIKE TO TALK ABOUT IT.  Maybe later.  [8/12/07]

Leave a comment

Filed under The Atonement

The “recipient” of Christ’s ransom payment and the Surplus of his repayment from God

The resurrection of Jesus, taken alone, would not have sufficed to redeem or ransom anyone except himself were it not for the additional part of his just due (dikaioma), namely, the inheritance of the universe, along with the Wholesome Spirit whose outpouring upon the believers among all mankind is the surety (arrabon) for all that is to follow and included in that inheritanceThe Wholesome Spirit, then, is the active agent in our redemption or liberation from lawlessness (Titus 2:14), vain behavior ancestrally handed down (1 Peter 1:18), from our enemies and all those who are hating us (Luke 1:68-74), from dead activities (Hebrews 9:12-14), offenses (Ephesians 1:7), sins (Colossians 1:14), and transgressions (Hebrews 9:15), so that we can be fearlessly serving the living and true God in benignity and rectitude in His sight all our days (Romans 6, Luke 1:68-75, Hebrews 9:12-14) and obtain the promise of the agelong inheritance (Hebrews 9:15).

Likewise, David’s appeal in Psalm 25 is, “O God, ransom Israel from all their distresses,” (Psalm 25:22).  To whom shall the Savior “pay” (apo[di]do-) or “give” ([di]do) such a ransom in order to secure our release (lu-, apolu-) or redemption/liberation (lutr-) or deliverance/liberation (apolutr-) so that we can give wholehearted divine service (latreia) to God?  Scripture never explicitly informs us.  But the implication, if we may infer from Hebrews 2:5-15 in conjunction with Luke 4:5-8 and 1 Corinthians 5:20-57, is that he paid death, the last enemy, its due, along with its curse and sting, and him who has the control of death, the Adversary, simply followed in its train…”in chains”!  Thus our Hero and Champion, like a brave warrior making the “supreme sacrifice” and “paying the ultimate price” for his countrymen and compatriots, “PAID” THE DEATH PENALTY FOR OUR SAKES (and not, incidentally, but absolutely crucially, “the penalty of sin,” or “in our place,” or “in our stead,” or “as our substitute,” but in our midst, right alongside us, side by side with us) PRECISELY SO THAT GOD WOULD CORRECT THE ERROR IN CALCULATION DONE IN HUMAN IGNORANCE AND SATANIC CLUELESSNESS BY WAY OF RIGHTFUL OVERCOMPENSATION WITH SUPERABUNDANT QUANTITIES OF DEATH’S ANTIDOTE (i.e., SOMETHING GIVEN TO COUNTER A POISON OR EVIL), NAMELY, THE RESURRECTIONARY POWER OF IMMORTAL LIFE!

As the privileged recipients of such an incalculable boon—although in the form of a promise (yet with a solid surety of its full, ultimate delivery), we owe God divine service (latreia) instead of Satan (Matthew 4:10, Luke 4:8, Luke 1:67-75, Hebrews 9:12014; Romans 607, 12:12, 2 Corinthians 5:14-1521, Galatians 2:19021, Hebrews 12:28-29, 1 Peter 2:21-24).  [8/12/07]

Through the faithfulness of Messiah Jesus, God ransomed us from our sins, offenses, transgressions, and the curse due them, by PAYING US AGELONG LIFE (on the occasion of our mere, but persevering, trust in him) IN EXCHANGE FOR DEATH.  THUS HE PAYS US AGELONG LIFE IN ORDER TO WORK FOR HIM…GOOD WORKS!  What a fabulous deal!  We’re on GOD’S PAYROLL…WE’RE ON A ROLL!  THERE’S NO CONDEMNATION, ONLY REWARDS!  THIS IS TOO GOOD TO BE FALSE!  [8/12/07]

Leave a comment

Filed under The Atonement

Will the real SUBSTITUTE please stand up?!!!

Paul Peter Waldenström explains rather conclusively, as J. G. Princell points out, that 2 Corinthians 5:15 cannot possibly mean that the Messiah “died in the stead/place of all,” because that would demand in this context that he “was raised in the stead/place of all,” WHICH WOULD MAKE THE RESURRECTION SUBSTITUTIONARY AS WELL! And since huper can not mean that here, IT NEED NOT MEAN “SUBSTITUTION” ANYWHERE ELSE EITHER. FOR IF JESUS WAS RAISEDIN OUR PLACE,” THAT MEANS “WE DON’T HAVE TO BE—IN EFFECT, WE DON’T GET TO BE RAISED”! That’s a counter-gospel if I ever heard one. [8/10/07]

The meaning of virtually every biblical term that has become controverted throughout the Atonement wars ever since Anselm snaps back into place, all in proper perspective and proportional harmony, when RESTORATIVE JUSTICE REPLACES PENAL JUSTICE at the bar of God’s judgment. [8/10/07]

The rationale for the distinction between “objective” and “subjective” views of the Atonement melts away into well-deserved oblivion once we realize that it was intended to serve as a stigma on all who differed from a “penal substitution” persuasion. This invidious distinction has done less than minimum duty to guard valuable truths that don’t fall promptly in line and cast an “orthodox” vote. Away with such an inquisition and let it “go to its own place” along with the Beast and False Prophet. [8/10/07]

When we sin against someone and they, instead of retaliating against us or demanding repayment or restitution from us, simply bear our sin themselves and absorb the loss, THEN ARE THEY OUR “SUBSTITUTE,” OR IS OUR SIN SOMEHOW “IMPUTED” TO THEM, OR ARE THEY PERHAPS SUFFERING GOD’S WRATH BY OUR SINNING AGAINST THEM? HOW LUDICROUS, YOU SAY? But further, if God should happen to decide to reward them lavishly for their kindness in forgiving our sin instead of avenging themselves, and if, furthermore, they should decide even to share generously their reward with us, then are they atoning in some “substitutionary” way for our injury against them, or is God Himself somehow actually atoning for our sins against them? [8/11/07] I hope to suggest that such tangles are part and parcel of the impulse to intrude the idea of substitution in connection with the apostolic teaching about the Atonement. [11/13/15]

Do we minimize God’s “holiness” and “justice” when we deny, with P. P. Waldenström, that Christ’s death “changed” God’s “wrath” into “love”? That could only be the case if God’s holiness and justice demand that His wrath be relieved somehow, even in a way that His Law forbids humans to emulate and that would be unholy and unjust for them to do, before He can express His “love” or “grace” to sinners. The absurdity of such a notion (this is no “straw man”!) is beyond ridicule. However one may wish to glorify such “love” as the real thing, our consciences and good sense convince us otherwise. It is a crude and barbaric (dare I say demonic?) view that is irredeemable as it stands, for it impugns God’s character as otherwise taught in Scripture.

But if, to the contrary, Messiah’s death, instead of “propitiating” God’s “wrath” actually provokes His graciousness, then we’re talkin’ a whole new ballgame! For in that scenario Messiah’s suffering abuse actually incites restorative justice rather than “satisfying” penal justice. This makes all the difference in the world…in fact, to and for the world! And with regard to “holiness,” restorative justice, insofar as it entails resurrection out of death, actually unleashes the very Spirit of Wholesomeness in the process of re-vivifying the dead Savior, and then gets flung out wholesale to all sinners who merely believe this stunning fresh truth! [8/11/07]

Divine wrath has absolutely no place in the Atonement and, conversely, the Atonement has nothing directly to do with divine wrath in the least. The spurious “ICEegesis” that has labored hard and long, not to say furiously, to prove otherwise has not only CHILLED many an historic conversation, it has FROZEN OUT viable contenders again and again, bringing the forward movement of progress to a crawl, if not a total standstill. This is not God. “An enemy has done this.” [8/11/07]

There is a “substitutionary” element in Christianity as a whole, even though it is not a penal one. Jesus sent his Wholesome Spirit to be with, beside, and in us as a “substitute” for his own presence (parousia), which is a future event for us. His Spirit consoles, counsels, or coaches us. It also teaches us all and reminds us of all that he said. Furthermore, It testifies about him. It even exposes the world about sin, and about righteousness, and about judging. Finally, it guides us into all the truth, for it will speak what it hears from him and inform us of what is coming. And since it informs us of what it gets from him (and what he gets is straight from the Father), it therefore accredits him. In this way, the Wholesome Spirit is the perfect “substitute” for the Messiah, the Anointed One, and no surprise, since it actually constitutes his very anointing!

However, we cannot stop here. For as the Spirit “substitutes” for the Son, so the Son “substituted” for his Father during his life on earth. In the flesh, the Son was the perfect “substitute” for the Father, Who is invisible. So the Son manifested and unfolded his Father’s graciousness, truth, love—His complete character—in image or likeness, explanation and action.

In both of these cases of “substitution” there was perfect unity (though not identity, of course, since each identity was all about “representing” another identity!) between the substitute and the One being represented. Thus the Wholesome Spirit actually enables us to participate in the One being substituted for! There is a magnificent linkage of all the individual identities involved in this divine unity. [8/11/07]

The above discourse is intended to highlight not only how the idea of substitution has been used fallaciously to spin out doctrines of the Atonement, but also how little it has been employed (which is why it may seem strange) to explain matters that truly do contain a substitutionary component. I have previously explained at length the most obvious substitution of all within Scripture: the prophetic substitution of animal sacrifices for the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, which should have taught us that the Lord Jesus was not a substitute at all, but was the ultimate Truth being attested by those ancient rites. Caveat lector! [11/13/15]

Leave a comment

Filed under The Atonement

In What Sense was Christ a Representative?

The “objective” part of the “atonement” was the re-union or re-uniting of God’s Son with God, the Father in heaven after the Ascension. Face to face again in the most wholesome place of the entire universe, the soul of Jesus, the Son of mankind, now received the reward of his suffering abuse at the unjust hands of those he came to save, from the just hands of his Father. Here the full magnitude of exchange and transformation of degrees of graciousness—the dynamic operating at the throbbing heart of the universe, accounting for its origin, continuity, and destiny—was unveiled in unprecedented splendor, thereby manifesting how the cleansing of sins was accomplished through the OVERCOMPENSATIONS OF DIVINE JUSTICE! [8/10/07]

What Jesus won at the cross was by no means the grace of God, for that he, at least, already had; and it was then, was through his suffering abuse and even death, and will ever be inalienable toward the Son. Much rather, what the Savior gained at the cross was…SUPERABUNDANCE OF GRACIOUSNESS (Romans 5:17), “A TRANSCENDENTLY TRANSCENDENT AGELONG BURDEN OF GLORY(2 Corinthians 4:17), and all for US! [8/10/07]

In connection with the Master, Jesus Messiah, we can properly call him God’s “representative” since he was commissioned (apostel) and sent (pemp) by the Father, acts in His name (onom-), is His image (eik) and likeness (homoi), the effulgence of His glory, the characterization of His assumption, the Explanation of God, who is toward the Father and unto His bosom, etc. He is, moreover, the Mediator (mesites) between the one Deity and the one humanity (in Adam). Therefore he intercedes ([huper]entu[g]ch[an]) for mankind, along with the Wholesome Spirit. So if Messiah is a “representative” of mankind to God as a result, then this would also have to be true for the Wholesome Spirit.

Therefore it seems unwarranted to call Messiah’s Atonement “representative,” for in any case he did not accomplish it as our representative before God, at least not in the sense of our “substitute,” nor even as God’s representative to mankind. This is a sloppy use of words and, in any case, unnecessary. For only under the onus of a “penal substitutionary” theory of Atonement must words themselves suffer such punishment and be tortured to make them fit into the iron lady of their hypothesis.

All we need to know, bottom line, is that whatever Jesus achieved through his cross and resurrection and ascension and atonement (Reunion/Reuniting) is for all mankind, but especially for the sake of those who believe God’s Proclamation about His anointed Son. Thus it is fair to say that God’s “representative” to mankind did it all for us, but it is redundant, almost superfluous. And when the question turns to “What did this Mediator do ‘for’ God, Who sent him for our sakes?we can see that it’s been loaded with a “penal substitution” agenda. But regardless, we can assay to answer it anyway. The response would be that he appealed to God by “offering both petitions and supplications with strong clamor and tears toward Him Who is able to save him out of death, being hearkened to also for his piety, even he also, being a son, learned obedience from that abuse which he suffered, and being perfected, he became the cause of agelong salvation” (Hebrews 4:7-9). SO HIS MEDIATORIAL ROLE WAS TO GET SAVED OUT OF DEATH BY “DISCARDING HIM WHO HAS THE CONTROL OF DEATH, THAT IS, THE ADVERSARY (Hebrews 2:14). HOW? BY RUNNING THE GAUNTLET OF SATAN AND ALL THAT WAS IN HIS CONTROL—ILLNESS, DEMONS, HATRED, REVILING, FALSE ACCUSATION, THIEVERY, CALUMNY, TORMENT, INJURY, AND THE FINAL ENEMY, DEATH—AND YET REMAINING STRICTLY IN CHARACTER, NAMELY, HIS FATHER’S! This was no small challenge. But he managed to pull it off TO PERFECTION, through the power of the “agelong Spirit” of his Father, “not given by measure,” “beyond [his] partners(Hebrews 9:14, John 3:34, Hebrews 1:9).

The overwhelming power of this character appeal moved God to answer his saving, rescuing, liberating, forgiving requests IN SPADES! So even though Israel (much less mankind at large) did not vote Jesus into “representing” them, he prayed and suffered abuse for them regardless, for the irreverent,” “while we are still weak…sinners,” “being enemies” (Romans 5:6-10). He might have declared, between bouts of spitting up blood, “I’M DOING THIS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD. Sure enough, GOD TURNED IT ALL TO HIS AND THEIR GOOD!

Thus we see that Messiah Jesus’ conduct toward God, in the teeth of Satan, paying the latter his bitter ransom price of very blood, GOT GOD’S ATTENTION AND WON HIM ASTRONOMICAL DAMAGES, STARTING WITH RESURRECTION RIGHT OUT OF THE JAWS OF DEATH AND HADES. YET IT WAS THE STILL FURTHER REWARD OF HIS ABUSES THAT PROVED OUR SALVATION, FOR GOD ALSO AWARDED HIM THE TREASURY OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE—UNCREATED, INDISSOLUBLE, AGELNG, UNDIMINISHABLE LIFE! And it was this that, by making death “run backwards” (à la C. S. Lewis), in fact flee in bewildered retreat, that vanquished everything death brought in its train—decay, lust, covetousness, sin, viciousness, evil, the fear of death, slavery, disease, injury, injustice, transgression, lawlessness, AND SO, INDIRECTLY EVEN THE INDIGNATION, ANGER, OR WRATH (org-) OF GOD HIMSELF. That’s how it works. Paul Peter Waldenström epitomizes it well: “Christ was not humankind’s mediator to remove God’s wrath but God’s mediator to atone for humankind’s sin.” (The Blood of Jesus, pp. 10-11.) [8/10-11/07]

Leave a comment

Filed under The Atonement

The Restorative Justice Solution to the Atonement Puzzle

With the Restorative Justice solution to the historic Atonement puzzle, there are no leftover” pieces as there are with the penal substitution attempt. For every single piece is restored to its proper place and proportionate space without forcing or trimming. The picture that emerges is satisfying, harmonious, and without lacunae. The whole breathtaking sweep of redemption is visible at a glance with nothing missing, wanting, or out of place, much less unused, extra, or superfluous, as with the penal substitution caricature, where the repeated and perennial, indeed, irrepressible and nagging question is never far away: “what’s wrong with this picture?” [8/10/07]

Because we can be absolutely certain that God’s Proclamation teaches that He forgives debts (even human financiers practice debt forgiveness, for Heaven’s sake!) instead of “paying” them, we therefore can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus’ giving (do) “his soul a ransom in exchange for(anti) others (“many”—Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45; “all”—1 Timothy 2:6) has nothing to do with “payment for sin” at all, but rather with buying (-agor-) a people for God at the price (-tim) of the blood (haima) of the lamb (amnos) or lambkin (arnion), out of every tribe and language and people and nation, from the earth and from mankind, a firstfruit (aparche) to God. This entails reclaiming (exagor) from the curse (katara) of the law (Galatians 3:13) those under the law (Galatians 4:5) so that they can be enjoying divine sonhood (huiothesia). Along with this exalted status involving a future inheritance of an allotment in God’s Kingdom, comes the very Spirit of sonhood as a pure present (dorema) or endowment (dorea) through the graciousness of God Himself, as a surety of the full allotment (kleronomiato come when our liberation (lutrosis, apolutrosis) is finally fully sealed and delivered. By the very gift to us of agelong life, God is ransoming and liberating us from death! Therefore, by “getting a taste of death for the sake of everyone (Hebrews 2:9), Jesus was justlywreathed with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9), rewarded with life agelong, and thereby life is justified for all of us in the bargain! (Romans 5) [8/10, 12/07]

In the cross we see God’s Son exerting obedience to his Father’s directives, in the face of duress and terrible temptation, by the power of the Wholesome Spirit, as an offering and living sacrifice (soon to die) to his Father, in order to communicate graciousness to mankind.

In the Resurrection we behold God, the Father, accepting that offering and sacrifice of love and parleying it back to the Son, now magnified and amplified by an astronomical factor, in order to display His justice and manifold graciousness in the power of the Wholesome Spirit.

In the Festival of Firstfruits, Pentecost, we observe this same Spirit of wholesomeness returning to earth in force to continue and greatly expand and extend this authoritatively demonstrated exchange of a lesser graciousness for a greater graciousness! This is the central, axial, pivotal dynamic of the Kingdom of God. It is outgoing, exocentric, proactive, because it is motivated and impelled by uncreated energy released in a staggering volley by Messiah’s faithfulness all the way to the cross. He was our Forerunner, showing us the steps in which we are ourselves to learn to walk. [8/10/09]

Leave a comment

Filed under The Atonement