Why should we know God's Word?

In our day and age where anti-intellectualism runs rampant in the visible church, it is not surprising to see poll after poll verify what students of scripture have known for many years. The visible church does not know much about the scriptures they profess to believe in. This is sad considering many saints during the Reformation period lost their lives for the sake of being able to read and study God's word. Not to mention the many passages in scripture that speak as such:

Isaiah 66:2 This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
John 8:31-32 Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Psalm 119:162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.

The posts on this blog will address essential Biblical doctrines of the Christian faith. You can find much of the background for the posts here. My prayer for these posts is that the people who read them will be encouraged to open their Bibles and not just read a verse or two, but learn them and indeed, be transformed by them. As Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17). This is my prayer as well.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Penal Substitutionary Atonement

Penal Substitutionary Atonement
- In our entries on justification, here and here, we saw how God could justify wicked sinners in light of Proverbs 17:15.
o Now we will examine how God can condemn Jesus who was perfectly righteous.
§ Proverbs 17:15 – He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.
- First, Jesus’ death was substitutionary in nature.
o Jesus’ death was foreshadowed and prophesied about in the Old Testament.
§ Genesis 22:1-14 - Abraham & Isaac – Instead of Isaac being killed, God provided a ram in his place.
· See vs 7-14.
§ Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will Provide.”
· What did the Lord provide? A ram as a substitute for Isaac.
o The Passover in Exodus 12:1-13; 23-28 – The Israelites were to sacrifice a lamb without blemish and put some of the blood on the doorposts and lintel.
§ The Lord would see the blood on the doorposts and not strike the firstborn.
· See vs 21-23.
o The Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16:2-28 – Aaron was commanded to lay both his hands on the scapegoat and confess all the transgressions and sins of Israel.
§ The scapegoat bore the sins and was sent off into the wilderness.
· Read 21-22
o Isaiah prophesied about the messiah in Isaiah 53.
§ In vs 6 he said - “The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him.”
§ In vs 11 - “My servant will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.”
- Jesus is the substitutionary lamb who bore our iniquities.
o John 1:29 & 36 – He is “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
§ Revelation refers to Jesus as the Lamb at least 30 times.
o Read all of Hebrews 9:6-10:25.
§ Vs 28 - Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many.
§ Vs 26 – “Put away sins by the sacrifice of Himself”
o 1 Peter 2:24 - He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
§ See also 1 Peter 3:18, 2 Corinthians 5:21
o When we say Christ bore our sins, what exactly do we mean? Did Christ, internally and in His nature, become sin?
§ NO! Our sin was imputed to Christ, which is the second imputation,
o Psalm 32:1-2 -”1) How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is not covered! 2) How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity…”
§ God did not count David’s sin against him
§ Theologians have called this the Great Exchange.
· Our sins are imputed to Christ and Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us.
- We don’t just call it a substitutionary atonement, but a penal substitutionary atonement.
o Because when Jesus bore our sins, He took the…
§ Guilt of our sins.
§ Condemnation our sins deserved.
- Biblical background for this:
o Galatians 3:13 – “Christ became a curse for us.”
§ God’s curses were meant to destroy Israel for breaking His Law. (See Deuteronomy 28:45)
· Christ was cursed and took God’s wrath upon himself, which was the result of our disobedience to God’s law.
o Matthew 26:39,42 – In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was anguishing over a cup He had to drink.
§ The cup Christ was talking about was an allusion to the cup of God’s wrath.
· The Old Testament makes this clear.
o Psalm 75:1-8
o Jeremiah 25:15-18
o Isaiah 51:17-21
§ Jesus bore our sins, therefore drank the cup reserved for wicked sinners.
- Also in Isaiah 53, the suffering servant not only bore the iniquity of many but we read the following in Isaiah 53:10
o Vs 10 The LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief.
§ The LORD crushed Him and this is what caused great anguish in His soul at Gethsemane.
o Romans 3:24-26 – Is one of the clearest expressions of Christ taking the guilt of our sins and punishment they deserved.
§ The Old Testament sacrifices never took away sins, or the punishment our sins deserved.
· Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice did!
o Wayne Grudem’s definition of propitiation – A sacrifice that bears God’s wrath to the end and in so doing change’s God’s wrath toward us to favor.
§ The Greek words lend themselves to these definitions because they have the sense of appeasement of satisfaction.
· In the context of God’s judgment, it is God’s wrath that needs to be appeased as we have seen.
§ These passages also refer to Jesus’ death as a propitiation: Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10.
- Jesus is our propitiation, having died as a penal substitute in our place, there will no longer be condemnation for those who trust in His completed work on the cross.
o For us who are in Christ, we can rejoice in Christ’s finished work on the cross and rest in His peace.
o For those who have not trusted in Christ’s work alone, the wrath of God still abides on you.
§ Repent and trust in Christ to remove it.

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