Years ago two liberal theologians coined the phrase cosmic child abuse.1 They used this term to express their disgust at the traditional doctrine of Penal Substitution. Those who oppose this motif of the cross see the notion of the Father crushing the Son (Isaiah 53:10) as barbaric. They see Jesus as a victim to the Father’s uncontrollable rage. However, a close look at the facts show that such was not the case. At the cross, a loving heavenly Father crushed an obedient, willing Son. Continue reading A Loving Father Crushes a Willing Son: How Penal Substitution Is Not Child Abuse
- Proverbs 17:15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.
- Proverbs 24:24 He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” peoples will curse him, nations will abhor him.
- Isaiah 5:22-23 Woe to those…Who justify the wicked for a bribe…
- Exodus 23:7 …I will not acquit the guilty.
These Scriptures teach that it is wrong to declare a guilty person, “Not guilty.” Yet in the evangelical gospel we see God doing exactly that! He is a God who “justifies the ungodly” (Rom. 4:5).
How can we explain this dilemma? Is God loving us at the expense of His justice? Continue reading 4 Questions About the Justice of God in the Gospel
All who believe in Jesus Christ are justified before God. But what does that mean? The traditional doctrine of justification can be summarized: “Believers are declared to be righteous before God based on the imputation of Christ’s active obedience.”
Now, if you are searching for what verse says that, you won’t find it. There is no single verse that spells out every detail of this great doctrine. However, that does not mean it is absent altogether. In Brian Vicker’s excellent book, Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Imputation, he admits that no one passage includes every piece of the puzzle. He states however, that when we synthesize each of the major texts on the subject, as well as take into consideration broad biblical-theological themes, we see that the traditional doctrine is taught. Continue reading The Traditional Doctrine of Justification: Putting Together the Pieces of the Puzzle
The Atonement and God
We must not think for a minute that God does not need to be appeased. Don’t be tricked into thinking that “God is love” (1 John 4:8) means that God is not angry with sinners. The Bible says that unbelievers are storing up for themselves wrath, indignation, tribulation, and distress on Judgment Day (Rom. 2:8-9). Those who disobey are under God’s wrath (John 3:36). God has indignation every day (Ps. 7:11). The Scriptures even go so far as to say that God hates sinners (Ps. 5:5-6; 11:5-6). The Bible speaks of God’s wrath frequently. According to Leon Morris, there are 20 different Hebrew words used to describe God’s wrath in the Old Testament, and over 580 references to it. Every single human being has broken God’s Law (Rom. 3:10-18) and has become His enemy (Rom. 5:10; Jas. 4:4). Continue reading The Cross and Salvation
As it should be obvious to those who know me, I am an advocate of Limited Atonement. Though it may be the most controversial of all the “five points of Calvinism”, I find it to be the most clear logically speaking, as well as the most supported biblically. The main argument against it used by Arminians is that the Scriptures contain the words all and world when referring to the extent of the atonement. In response, the Calvinist would simply point out that those terms are seldom universal in scope (John 1:10; 11:48; 12:19).
There is, however, one argument used by Arminians called the co-extent theory which at first seems to turn the Calvinist view on its head. They reason from certain texts that if sin is universal in scope, so atonement must also be. Thus they reason that since Calvinists clearly believe that every human has sinned and is totally depraved, then every human must also have been included in Christ’s redemption. The following texts are used: Continue reading The Co-Extent Theory Examined and Critiqued
“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
(1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
I want to look at a text concerning the gospel. My hope is that our salvation will not be assumed because of church attendance or family relations, but that it will be assured because of personal faith in Christ and true biblical repentance. First Corinthians 15 tells us a few things about the importance of the gospel message in Paul’s preaching and in the life of a church. Observe: Continue reading Paul Preached a Saving Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)