PCUSA uncomfortable with phrase "Till on that cross as Jesus died / the wrath of God was satisfied."

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Don Sailer's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

"Propitiation" is a good word!

 

 

Except for when we import classical Greek meanings to the word and claim that God was an angry God that needed to be appeased. Many of us can even accept the idea that Jesus' death appeased God's wrath in that his death expiated our sins and turned God's wrath away from us. What we can't embrace, because it is nowhere to be found in the scriptures is the concept that God's wrath was turned away from us because God poured out our wrath on Jesus.

I love the word hilasmos. Jesus is our atoning sacrifice. His blood did cover our sins. His death does result in forgiveness for all who believe in him.

It's a wonderful word.

Bob Hayton's picture

Good discussion and important! Don is tenacious and is catching some people off guard. I think there is a great propensity toward error and a slippery slope here if followed too far though. See this article by Greg Albrecht which shows how far this idea can take someone.

This article by Scott McKnight illustrated the fact that there has been a division in evangelical theology over the meaning of the word translated propitiation - the same word can be understood as expiation. I think propitiation is best in line with the OT and am not swayed by the reasoning in McKnight's article. This article by Colin Hansen illustrates some of the perspectives that are more in line with orthodox Protestant understanding of the term.

Ultimately biblical theology helps us here in understanding the meaning of the "cup" concept in Gesthemane. Ironically, N.T. Wright helps us see that Jesus really does bear the wrath of God. See this summary of Wright's views and the section on "the Cup of God's Wrath" particularly.

“The Old Testament prophets speak darkly about the ‘cup of YHWH’s wrath.’ These passages talk of what happens when the one God, grieving over the awful wickedness of the world, steps in at last to give the violent and bloodthirsty, the arrogant and oppressors, the reward for their ways and deeds. It’s as though God’s holy anger against such people is turned into wine: dark, sour wine which will make them drunk and helpless. They will be forced to “drink the cup,” to drain to the dregs the wrath of the God who loves and vindicates the weak and helpless. The shock of this passage… is that Jesus speaks of drinking this cup himself.”

I don't see how Jesus' death is something that can be rejoiced in and exulted in so much as it is in the NT unless there was something forensic happening with regard to sin. I don't understand payment of wrath as the only atonement idea that explains things. I think there is Christus Victor going on - there is a conquering of Satan and his hordes, there are multiple things happening through the work on the Cross. But one of them is the propitiating of God's wrath against sin. Isaiah 53, the propitiatory texts in the NT and the ransom/redeem language as well, makes that clear. Additionally, the concept of our union with Christ and solidarity with him in his death so that our body of death is destroyed and we are raised to walk in new life enters into this as well. his death is our death - we can't be joined with him in death as a pleasing sacrifice to God - that isn't the aspect of his death we join with. Our death is united with his in the fact that his death took our punishment for our sins, absorbed God's wrath for us.

The article I first linked to above that shows how far this can go belittles not just the idea of God having wrath on Christ - but God having wrath on us - at all. The idea that God needs to have wrath appeased is equated with pagan religion at best. It is that sentiment which leads to a misrepresentation and slanderous view of the satisfaction theory of the atonement which we are defending here. John Piper responded to that error here.

This isn't about defending Anselm or Luther, it isn't about Protestantism per se, it is about the Bible and being true to the full picture presented about Christ's atonement and our need. Historic orthodox theology for hundreds of years in and out of the Catholic church even, has agreed on the satisfaction view of atonement as being Biblical and important. We shouldn't push that aside lightly.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

christian cerna's picture

Don, look up the word anger in the Bible. All throughout the Scriptures you can read about the anger of the Lord, or the Lord's anger being kindled against his people or against his enemies.

The word appease means to bring to a state of peace. It can also mean to satisfy a need. 

When Christ died(received our punishment), He appeased God; He brought peace between us and God; He satisfied God's need for justice. 

So it is not incorrect to say that Christ died in order to appease God's anger and need for justice.

Don Sailer's picture

Bob Hayton wrote:

Good discussion and important! Don is tenacious and is catching some people off guard. I think there is a great propensity toward error and a slippery slope here if followed too far though. See this article by Greg Albrecht which shows how far this idea can take someone.

This article by Scott McKnight illustrated the fact that there has been a division in evangelical theology over the meaning of the word translated propitiation - the same word can be understood as expiation. I think propitiation is best in line with the OT and am not swayed by the reasoning in McKnight's article. This article by Colin Hansen illustrates some of the perspectives that are more in line with orthodox Protestant understanding of the term.

Ultimately biblical theology helps us here in understanding the meaning of the "cup" concept in Gesthemane. Ironically, N.T. Wright helps us see that Jesus really does bear the wrath of God. See this summary of Wright's views and the section on "the Cup of God's Wrath" particularly.

“The Old Testament prophets speak darkly about the ‘cup of YHWH’s wrath.’ These passages talk of what happens when the one God, grieving over the awful wickedness of the world, steps in at last to give the violent and bloodthirsty, the arrogant and oppressors, the reward for their ways and deeds. It’s as though God’s holy anger against such people is turned into wine: dark, sour wine which will make them drunk and helpless. They will be forced to “drink the cup,” to drain to the dregs the wrath of the God who loves and vindicates the weak and helpless. The shock of this passage… is that Jesus speaks of drinking this cup himself.”

I don't see how Jesus' death is something that can be rejoiced in and exulted in so much as it is in the NT unless there was something forensic happening with regard to sin. I don't understand payment of wrath as the only atonement idea that explains things. I think there is Christus Victor going on - there is a conquering of Satan and his hordes, there are multiple things happening through the work on the Cross. But one of them is the propitiating of God's wrath against sin. Isaiah 53, the propitiatory texts in the NT and the ransom/redeem language as well, makes that clear. Additionally, the concept of our union with Christ and solidarity with him in his death so that our body of death is destroyed and we are raised to walk in new life enters into this as well. his death is our death - we can't be joined with him in death as a pleasing sacrifice to God - that isn't the aspect of his death we join with. Our death is united with his in the fact that his death took our punishment for our sins, absorbed God's wrath for us.

The article I first linked to above that shows how far this can go belittles not just the idea of God having wrath on Christ - but God having wrath on us - at all. The idea that God needs to have wrath appeased is equated with pagan religion at best. It is that sentiment which leads to a misrepresentation and slanderous view of the satisfaction theory of the atonement which we are defending here. John Piper responded to that error here.

This isn't about defending Anselm or Luther, it isn't about Protestantism per se, it is about the Bible and being true to the full picture presented about Christ's atonement and our need. Historic orthodox theology for hundreds of years in and out of the Catholic church even, has agreed on the satisfaction view of atonement as being Biblical and important. We shouldn't push that aside lightly.

 

It is interesting to see that my thoughts are tracking with Moule's as explained by McKnight.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2012/06/22/the-wrath-of-god-sati...

 

As to the cup, before we run back to the OT and claim that the "cup" is the cup of God's wrath, maybe we should go back 22 verses in Luke 22 and let the Gospel text identify what the cup is. See Luke 22:42 and Luke 22:20. The cup is the cup of the New Covenant in my blood. It is not the cup of God's wrath.

Thank you for your thoughts, Bob. I appreciate them.

 

 

DavidO's picture

Jeffrey Dean wrote:
I would point out to David O that Jesus gave up His life of His own will in His own timing.

I suspect you are referring to my question about God killing His Son, which phrasing I used to point up the incongruity of all that happened in Jesus suffering and death with the simple "satisfying of love" view. 

But the notion that Jesus willingly gave up his own life, with which I agree, is not at all at odds whatsoever with the imputation of sinner's guilt to Christ's account and His suffering in punishment of our sins. 

Just to clarify.

Bob Hayton's picture

The article linked in the OP is also a good resource - I appreciated Timothy George's discussion of wrath and hymnology and everything else in that article.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Don Sailer's picture

To All:

If the key and crucial concept of the Gospel is that God poured out his wrath on Jesus, why didn't the Gospel writers or apostles declare this in simple, precise language?

Why is there no verse in the Bible like this:

God poured out his wrath on the Son so that by believing in him, you have been set free from God's wrath.

I am not denying that we are by nature objects of God's wrath. I am not denying that God has wrath for those who reject him and rebel against him. But that is not the question. The question is, did God pour out his wrath on Jesus?

And as Moule and McKnight have pointed out, the Bible doesn't state this. There are, however, numerous verses that connect God's love to the death of Christ - Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:10, John 3:16, etc.

Why are so many of you upset by the scriptural concepts that teach that Christ's death covered our sins and expiated them so that by believing in Christ, we are reconciled to a loving God?

Again I challenge you to the Moule test. Show me one verse in the Bible that states that God poured out his wrath on Jesus when he died. I can show you numerous verses that connect the death of Christ to the love of God. I'm asking you to show me a verse that states that Jesus was the object of God's wrath.

Blessings.

Don Sailer's picture

christian cerna wrote:

Don, look up the word anger in the Bible. All throughout the Scriptures you can read about the anger of the Lord, or the Lord's anger being kindled against his people or against his enemies.

The word appease means to bring to a state of peace. It can also mean to satisfy a need. 

When Christ died(received our punishment), He appeased God; He brought peace between us and God; He satisfied God's need for justice. 

So it is not incorrect to say that Christ died in order to appease God's anger and need for justice.

 

Christian, I don't disagree with you. I affirm all that you wrote here.

I believe that Jesus' death does appease God's wrath for us in that our sins are forgiven and we have been reconciled to God in Christ.

I do not believe that Jesus' death appeased God's wrath for us if by this statement we mean that God poured out his wrath on Jesus. Therefore, I think the hymn would be improved if the authors accepted the recommendation of the committee and changed the line to: the love of God was magnified.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Blessings.

Greg Long's picture

Don, it pleased the Lord to bruise Him. The verse is clear, and the context is clear. You try to explain the plain meaning away by saying it was God's will that Jesus die. Of course it was--no one is disputing that. But these concepts are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to believe both that it was God's will that Jesus die (which it was) AND that it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.

Calvin wrote:
Isaiah 53:10
Yet Jehovah was pleased to bruise him. This illustrates more fully what I formerly stated in few words, that the Prophet, in asserting Christ's innocence, aims at something more than to defend him from all reproach. The object therefore is, that we should consider the cause, in order to have experience of the effect; for God appoints nothing at random, and hence it follows that the cause of his death is lawful. We must also keep in view the contrast. In Christ there was no fault; why, then, was the Lord pleased that he should suffer? Because he stood in our room, and in no other way than by his death could the justice of God be satisfied.

When he shall have offered his soul as a sacrifice. (asham)  denotes both sin and the sacrifice which is offered for sin, and is often used in the latter sense in the Scriptures. (Ex 29:14; Ezek 45:22)  The sacrifice was offered in such a manner as to expiate sin by enduring its punishment and curse. This was expressed by the priests by means of the laying on of hands, as if they threw on the sacrifice the sins of the whole nation. (Ex 29:15) And if a private individual offered a sacrifice, he also laid his hand upon it, as if he threw upon it his own sin. Our sins were thrown upon Christ in such a manner that he alone bore the curse.

On this account Paul also calls him a "curse" or "execration:" "Christ hath redeemed us from the execration of the law, having been made an execration for us." (Gal 3:13) He likewise calls him "Sin;" "For him who knew no sin hath he made to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Cor 5:21) And in another passage, "For what was impossible for the law, inasmuch as it was weak on account of the flesh, God did, by sending his own Son in the likeness of flesh liable to sin, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us." (Rom 8:3,4) What Paul meant by the words "curse" and "sin" in these passages is the same as what the Prophet meant by the word (asham.) In short, (asham) is equivalent to the Latin word piaculum,  an expiatory sacrifice.

Here we have a description of the benefit of Christ's death, that by his sacrifice sins were expiated, and God was reconciled towards men; for such is the import of this word (asham.) Hence it follows that nowhere but in Christ is found expiation and satisfaction for sin. In order to understand this better, we must first know that we are guilty before God, so that we may be accursed and detestable in his presence. Now, if we wish to return to a state of favor with him, sin must be taken away. This cannot be accomplished by sacrifices contrived according to the fancy of men. Consequently, we must come to the death of Christ; for in no other way can satisfaction be given to God. In short, Isaiah teaches that sins cannot be pardoned in any other way than by betaking ourselves to the death of Christ. If any person think that this language is harsh and disrespectful to Christ, let him descend into himself, and, after a close examination, let him ponder how dreadful is the judgment of God, which could not be pacified but by this price; and thus the inestimable grace which shines forth in making Christ accursed will easily remove every ground of offense. (from Calvin's Commentaries, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2005-2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Mark_Smith's picture

what I and, if I may be so bold, many here are saying is that contained in the word propitiation is the concept of God's wrath being applied to Jesus in His death on the cross. We know this from verses like Isaiah 53 which you keep claiming is poetry and not literal. Jesus bore our sins in His own body on the tree. What does that mean UNLESS it means that the sin and the consequences, including death and the wrath of God, were substituted onto Jesus from us?

 

Let me try a poor analogy since you seem to shield yourself from standard interpretations of Scripture. What I am saying is I am guilty of a capital crime. I am sentenced to death as the wrath from the people represented by the government against me for my crimes. Jesus, in love, steps in, assumes my position and my guilt with His name being placed on my guilty verdict, and takes the death penalty for me though He was innocent. In this sense the wrath of the government is poured on Jesus. As a result I am counted to have died with Christ and I am set free. It would be double jeopardy to execute me.

What you seem to be saying is that Jesus steps in my place, but doesn't take any of the blame, He is just killed in my place. In that case all the government did is kill the wrong guy! I am still responsible for my crimes!

I hesitate with an analogy because I don't want to slip into heresey...but let's give it a shot.

Don Sailer's picture

Greg Long wrote:

Don, it pleased the Lord to bruise Him. The verse is clear, and the context is clear. You try to explain the plain meaning away by saying it was God's will that Jesus die. Of course it was--no one is disputing that. But these concepts are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to believe both that it was God's will that Jesus die (which it was) AND that it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.

Calvin wrote:
Isaiah 53:10
Yet Jehovah was pleased to bruise him. This illustrates more fully what I formerly stated in few words, that the Prophet, in asserting Christ's innocence, aims at something more than to defend him from all reproach. The object therefore is, that we should consider the cause, in order to have experience of the effect; for God appoints nothing at random, and hence it follows that the cause of his death is lawful. We must also keep in view the contrast. In Christ there was no fault; why, then, was the Lord pleased that he should suffer? Because he stood in our room, and in no other way than by his death could the justice of God be satisfied.

When he shall have offered his soul as a sacrifice. (asham)  denotes both sin and the sacrifice which is offered for sin, and is often used in the latter sense in the Scriptures. (Ex 29:14; Ezek 45:22)  The sacrifice was offered in such a manner as to expiate sin by enduring its punishment and curse. This was expressed by the priests by means of the laying on of hands, as if they threw on the sacrifice the sins of the whole nation. (Ex 29:15) And if a private individual offered a sacrifice, he also laid his hand upon it, as if he threw upon it his own sin. Our sins were thrown upon Christ in such a manner that he alone bore the curse.

On this account Paul also calls him a "curse" or "execration:" "Christ hath redeemed us from the execration of the law, having been made an execration for us." (Gal 3:13) He likewise calls him "Sin;" "For him who knew no sin hath he made to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Cor 5:21) And in another passage, "For what was impossible for the law, inasmuch as it was weak on account of the flesh, God did, by sending his own Son in the likeness of flesh liable to sin, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us." (Rom 8:3,4) What Paul meant by the words "curse" and "sin" in these passages is the same as what the Prophet meant by the word (asham.) In short, (asham) is equivalent to the Latin word piaculum,  an expiatory sacrifice.

Here we have a description of the benefit of Christ's death, that by his sacrifice sins were expiated, and God was reconciled towards men; for such is the import of this word (asham.) Hence it follows that nowhere but in Christ is found expiation and satisfaction for sin. In order to understand this better, we must first know that we are guilty before God, so that we may be accursed and detestable in his presence. Now, if we wish to return to a state of favor with him, sin must be taken away. This cannot be accomplished by sacrifices contrived according to the fancy of men. Consequently, we must come to the death of Christ; for in no other way can satisfaction be given to God. In short, Isaiah teaches that sins cannot be pardoned in any other way than by betaking ourselves to the death of Christ. If any person think that this language is harsh and disrespectful to Christ, let him descend into himself, and, after a close examination, let him ponder how dreadful is the judgment of God, which could not be pacified but by this price; and thus the inestimable grace which shines forth in making Christ accursed will easily remove every ground of offense. (from Calvin's Commentaries, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2005-2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Calvin stated that the phrase "it pleased the LORD to bruise him" has to do with the cause of his death. Humans put Jesus to death. But it was according to the set purpose and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23). God ordained that Jesus should die, but it was wicked men who put him to death.

I agree with Calvin. It pleased God to bruise him is poetic language that means that Jesus died according to the set purpose of God. You seem to be taking poetic language and using it to claim that God was "pleased" to bruise Jesus himself. That God was the actor in the scene. Please read Isaiah 53 and answer my previous questions to you. Did God afflict Jesus or did men? Did God crush Jesus or men? Did God despise Jesus or did men? Did God reject Jesus or did men? Did God pierce Jesus or did men?

Like I said, I agree with this excerpt by Calvin.

God was "pleased" that Jesus died because of the results that it would bring (Isaiah 53:10-12). Many would be justified. This pleased God. God was pleased with the results of his Son's death and resurrection.

Don Sailer's picture

Calvin:

On this account Paul also calls him a "curse" or "execration:" "Christ hath redeemed us from the execration of the law, having been made an execration for us." (Gal 3:13) He likewise calls him "Sin;" "For him who knew no sin hath he made to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Cor 5:21) And in another passage, "For what was impossible for the law, inasmuch as it was weak on account of the flesh, God did, by sending his own Son in the likeness of flesh liable to sin, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us." (Rom 8:3,4) What Paul meant by the words "curse" and "sin" in these passages is the same as what the Prophet meant by the word (asham.) In short, (asham) is equivalent to the Latin word piaculum,  an expiatory sacrifice.

Hmmm?

Thanks Greg for the tip.

blee25's picture

Galatians 3:13 seems to be a pretty clear statement.

In verse 10 Paul tells us we are under a curse because because we have broken God's law. Is the curse not God's judgment on our sin? Then in verse 13 Paul says Christ has redeemed us from the curse we are under by becoming a curse for us.

God cursed me because of my sin but I have been redeemed because Christ took the curse in my place.

 

Mark_Smith's picture

you seem to believe in Jesus COVERING (ie atoning, expiating) sin rather than taking it away. Am I correct?

Greg Long's picture

I don't have time to retype all of these, but I would encourage you to read any of the following:

  • Erickson, Christian Theology, p. 829-830, 834-35
  • Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 574-577
  • Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 382-383
  • Akin, A Theology for the Church, p. 562-565
  • Ryrie, Basic Theology, p. 339-342
  • Hodge, Systematic Theology, 2:489-515
  • Warfield, Works, 2:4-1-435
  • Enns, Moody Handbook of Theology, p. 233, 325
  • Chafer, Systematic Theology, 2:64-65
  • Piper, 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die, p. 20-23
  • Jeffery, Ovey, & Sach, Pierced for Our Transgressions, pretty much the whole book
  • Sproul, "The Curse Motif of the Atonement," in Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology, p. 131-143. You can listen to Sproul give this talk here: http://t4g.org/media/2010/04/the-curse-motif-of-the-atonement-session-v/
  • Packer & Dever, In My Place Condemned He Stood

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Greg Long's picture

Calvin says the Lord was pleased that He should suffer.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Brandon Crawford's picture

Don,

Love is not "satisfied." Love is expressed. Justice must be satisfied. God expressed His love for us by offering up Himself, in the person of His Son, to satisfy the full demands of His justice against our sin.

I'm having a hard time understanding why you are unable to accept this truth, since it is clearly stated in the very verses you are quoting (as well as in others):

1 Jn. 4:10: "He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins"

Rom. 3:25: "God put him forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith."

1 Jn. 2:2: "He is the propitiation for our sins"

What do you think the word "propitiation" means, if not the satisfaction of God's justice (which is inseparably bound up with His wrath?)

 

 

Mark_Smith's picture

Thanks for saying that. I was going to do that last night but got distracted and forgot. I agree that there is some serious confusion over definitions of terms here with Don.

Greg Long's picture

I will quote at length from a well-respected exegetical commentary on Isaiah, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, on Is 53:10-12.

This final stanza of the poem answers many of the questions that have been raised thus far. The answers remain somewhat opaque and mysterious, but there is still a sense of denouement and rounding-out that brings the composition to a satisfactory conclusion. Above all, the question has been, What is the meaning of this innocent man's submissive suffering in the place of sinners? Why is he doing it, and how can he do it? Is it all an accident of history?

To these questions and others this stanza gives the answers. Above everything else it makes it clear that this person's tragic story was not an accident of history, a good person in the wrong time and in the wrong place. Moreover, it shows that this suffering was not one aspect of this person's ministry. His purpose in living and dying was that through him (not through his message) persons might have their sins atoned for and come to know the righteousness of God. Only when people make a sin offering of him is the point of the whole operation realized; then he can breathe a sigh of satisfaction. As a result of all of this, this twisted, forgotten, broken man will one day wear the victor's wreath, and all the other victors will throw theirs down at his feet.

10. The verse opens with a disjunctive waw that expresses a contrast with the previous verses. How could these tragic miscarriages of justic have happened? Perhaps the Preacher would have said, "It is just part of the meaninglessness of this life under the sun!" (Eccl. 4:1-3, etc.). But Isaiah says, "Not at all! God wanted this to happen! It is no accident -- it is his will!" But in some ways that is the worst answer of all. God wanted to crush (cf. v. 5) this man? God wanted to visit terrible pain (cf. v. 4) on him? Surely not. The faithful God of the Bible would certainly not visit bad things on innocent people, would he? Yes, he would if some greater good would be served (cf. Job). Is it possible there is some greater good that all the terrible things the Servant has endured will procure? What could possibly be worth all that? It would certainly have to be something of monumental proportion.

As it happens, what God wants to come out of the Servant's suffering is of monumental proportions. He wants human beings to be able to offer this man up on the altar of their sins so that he can be a "full and sufficient sacrifice" (Book of Common Prayer, Ritual for Communion) for them, satisfying all the unpaid debts of their behavior, debts they could never hope to pay, but debts that if left unpaid would stand forever between them and a just God. (p. 400)

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Greg Long's picture

Tyndale OT Commentary on Isaiah 53:4:

He was indeed stricken by God, but with the astonishing purpose of laying our sin on him.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Don Sailer's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

what I and, if I may be so bold, many here are saying is that contained in the word propitiation is the concept of God's wrath being applied to Jesus in His death on the cross. We know this from verses like Isaiah 53 which you keep claiming is poetry and not literal. Jesus bore our sins in His own body on the tree. What does that mean UNLESS it means that the sin and the consequences, including death and the wrath of God, were substituted onto Jesus from us?

 

Let me try a poor analogy since you seem to shield yourself from standard interpretations of Scripture. What I am saying is I am guilty of a capital crime. I am sentenced to death as the wrath from the people represented by the government against me for my crimes. Jesus, in love, steps in, assumes my position and my guilt with His name being placed on my guilty verdict, and takes the death penalty for me though He was innocent. In this sense the wrath of the government is poured on Jesus. As a result I am counted to have died with Christ and I am set free. It would be double jeopardy to execute me.

What you seem to be saying is that Jesus steps in my place, but doesn't take any of the blame, He is just killed in my place. In that case all the government did is kill the wrong guy! I am still responsible for my crimes!

I hesitate with an analogy because I don't want to slip into heresey...but let's give it a shot.

 

Thank you, Mark, for your post.

I can't enter into your analogy because I'm attempting to deal with what the Scriptures state and not what we project onto the scriptures. With regard to poetry, the language is not as precise as epistles. It does not mean that the poetry is not literal, or that one cannot understand the sweeping flow of the poetry. But poetry is less propositional and more emotional. By the way, the Bible states that the wages of sin is death. It does not state that the wages of sin is wrath. The "punishment" for sin is death. The punishment for refusing to believe in Christ is eternal, conscious torment.

I believe that the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23

I believe that God paid the penalty for sin by providing the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John 3:16, John 1:29

I believe that every person who believes in the atoning sacrifice for sins (Jesus) is justified by God. Romans 3:21-26

I believe that God reconciled the world to himself in Jesus Christ, not counting men's sins against them. 2 Cor. 5:19

I believe that it was God's love that was magnified and demonstrated when Jesus died. Romans 5:8

I believe that it is God's love for the world that prompted him to send Jesus into this world to be an atoning sacrifice. John 3:16, 1 John 4:10

I believe that those who believe in Christ receive forgiveness of sins and his righteousness. 1 John 1:9, Romans 5:17

I believe that those who reject the sacrifice of Christ can expect a fearful expectation of judgment. Hebrews 10:26-31

I believe that Jesus was a sin offering and that he carried our sins upon his body. Isaiah 53, 1 Peter 2:22, 2 Cor. 5:21

I believe that God did not despise or disdain the suffering of the afflicted one (Jesus). Psalm 22:24

I believe that God did not turn his face from Jesus when he died. Psalm 22:24

I believe that God's face was upon Jesus during the crucifixion. Psalm 34:15-20

I believe that God the Father and God the Son were in full and constant communion on the cross. The Gospels

 

 

Don Sailer's picture

Greg Long wrote:

Tyndale OT Commentary on Isaiah 53:4:

He was indeed stricken by God, but with the astonishing purpose of laying our sin on him.

 

Right, Greg. I've already made this point. God let the iniquities of us all strike him. Our translations interpret the word pawgaw in the hif. tense as "laid."

 

The poetic repetition of the concept "strike" is very interesting. Jesus was stricken by our very sins as God laid them on him or struck him with them. There is no denying that our sins were carried by Jesus or taken up by him on his body. He was stricken with our very sins. The English translations mute this.

As you and I both agree, Jesus didn't die for his own sins, he died for our sins. The cup of the New Covenant required that when Jesus died for us he would be stricken by the iniquities of us all.

Yes, Jesus died for our sins. He died an expiatory sacrifice. His death was the sacrifice of atonement that covered our sins in his blood.

Blessings.

 

Don Sailer's picture

blee25 wrote:

Galatians 3:13 seems to be a pretty clear statement.

In verse 10 Paul tells us we are under a curse because because we have broken God's law. Is the curse not God's judgment on our sin? Then in verse 13 Paul says Christ has redeemed us from the curse we are under by becoming a curse for us.

God cursed me because of my sin but I have been redeemed because Christ took the curse in my place.

 

 

Correct. And the curse was death. And we all agree that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. The Jews considered him stricken by God. They viewed him as guilty even though he was sinless.

Now saying that Jesus died for us is not the same thing as saying that God poured out his wrath on Jesus.

Blessings.

Don Sailer's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

you seem to believe in Jesus COVERING (ie atoning, expiating) sin rather than taking it away. Am I correct?

 

Hi Mark,

I believe that Jesus' death covered our sins by his blood and therefore they are expiated, forgiven, and taken away. Because Jesus is a sin offering, God does not count our sins against us. They are covered by the blood. Those who put their faith in Christ are forgiven of their sins. Jesus, the Lamb of God, takes our sins away.

Blessings.

Don Sailer's picture

Brandon Crawford wrote:

Don,

Love is not "satisfied." Love is expressed. Justice must be satisfied. God expressed His love for us by offering up Himself, in the person of His Son, to satisfy the full demands of His justice against our sin.

I'm having a hard time understanding why you are unable to accept this truth, since it is clearly stated in the very verses you are quoting (as well as in others):

1 Jn. 4:10: "He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins"

Rom. 3:25: "God put him forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith."

1 Jn. 2:2: "He is the propitiation for our sins"

What do you think the word "propitiation" means, if not the satisfaction of God's justice (which is inseparably bound up with His wrath?)

I don't disagree with anything that you wrote.

God's justice was satisfied in the expiatory death of Christ. Sins in the past were passed over because of God's forbearance. But now that the sacrifice of atonement has been provided in Christ, God is just and righteous to forgive sin and justify those who believe in him (1 John 1:9, Romans 3:21-26). We agree. God's love demonstrated in his gift of the sacrifice justifies those who believe. And God is right to do this because Jesus' death takes away sin (Hebrews 10:4, 11-12). And in this sense, God's wrath is turned away from us.

As to the word "hilasmos," Jesus died for our sins. The direction of the word is toward our sins, not toward God. Over and over again the Bible states that Jesus died for us or for our sins. So what does hilasmos mean when directed toward us or toward our sins? It means that the atoning sacrifice of Christ expiated our sins.

Blessings.

Don Sailer's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

Thanks for saying that. I was going to do that last night but got distracted and forgot. I agree that there is some serious confusion over definitions of terms here with Don.

 

It depends on whose definition you are going to use. Does hilasmos mean propitiation or does it mean expiation?

God wants to forgive sin. God is love. God cannot forgive sin based on animal sacrifices. So he passed over them in his forbearance. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus expiates sin. It covers sin. It takes away sin. Now God is right and just in forgiving the sins of those who believe in him. So now God's love is satisfied in that he can do what he desires to do. The death of Jesus satisfies his love by making it possible (right, just) for God to forgive sinners.

 

Bob Hayton's picture

Don Sailer wrote:

blee25 wrote:

Galatians 3:13 seems to be a pretty clear statement.

In verse 10 Paul tells us we are under a curse because because we have broken God's law. Is the curse not God's judgment on our sin? Then in verse 13 Paul says Christ has redeemed us from the curse we are under by becoming a curse for us.

God cursed me because of my sin but I have been redeemed because Christ took the curse in my place.

 

 

Correct. And the curse was death. And we all agree that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. The Jews considered him stricken by God. They viewed him as guilty even though he was sinless.

Now saying that Jesus died for us is not the same thing as saying that God poured out his wrath on Jesus.

Blessings.

 

Don the curse is not death, per se. The curse is death as punishment. In other words, 3:10 says we are cursed for our sins. 3:13 says Christ became our curse through his being killed as punishment on our behalf.

Was Jesus killed as a punishment? If he was, why wouldn't it make sense to understand this as a punishment because of God's wrath and one that satisfied God's wrath?

1 Pet. 3:18 says Christ suffered once **for sins**. And further elaborates, "the righteous for the unrighteous." That seems pretty clear that he took our punishment that was deserved for our sins. If he did, that means he took a punishment - he was punished - he was under God's wrath.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Don Sailer's picture

Greg Long wrote:

I will quote at length from a well-respected exegetical commentary on Isaiah, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, on Is 53:10-12.

This final stanza of the poem answers many of the questions that have been raised thus far. The answers remain somewhat opaque and mysterious, but there is still a sense of denouement and rounding-out that brings the composition to a satisfactory conclusion. Above all, the question has been, What is the meaning of this innocent man's submissive suffering in the place of sinners? Why is he doing it, and how can he do it? Is it all an accident of history?

To these questions and others this stanza gives the answers. Above everything else it makes it clear that this person's tragic story was not an accident of history, a good person in the wrong time and in the wrong place. Moreover, it shows that this suffering was not one aspect of this person's ministry. His purpose in living and dying was that through him (not through his message) persons might have their sins atoned for and come to know the righteousness of God. Only when people make a sin offering of him is the point of the whole operation realized; then he can breathe a sigh of satisfaction. As a result of all of this, this twisted, forgotten, broken man will one day wear the victor's wreath, and all the other victors will throw theirs down at his feet.

10. The verse opens with a disjunctive waw that expresses a contrast with the previous verses. How could these tragic miscarriages of justic have happened? Perhaps the Preacher would have said, "It is just part of the meaninglessness of this life under the sun!" (Eccl. 4:1-3, etc.). But Isaiah says, "Not at all! God wanted this to happen! It is no accident -- it is his will!" But in some ways that is the worst answer of all. God wanted to crush (cf. v. 5) this man? God wanted to visit terrible pain (cf. v. 4) on him? Surely not. The faithful God of the Bible would certainly not visit bad things on innocent people, would he? Yes, he would if some greater good would be served (cf. Job). Is it possible there is some greater good that all the terrible things the Servant has endured will procure? What could possibly be worth all that? It would certainly have to be something of monumental proportion.

As it happens, what God wants to come out of the Servant's suffering is of monumental proportions. He wants human beings to be able to offer this man up on the altar of their sins so that he can be a "full and sufficient sacrifice" (Book of Common Prayer, Ritual for Communion) for them, satisfying all the unpaid debts of their behavior, debts they could never hope to pay, but debts that if left unpaid would stand forever between them and a just God. (p. 400)

 

Yes, God wanted this person to suffer and die. We agree. I'm not sure what point of disagreement we have here. I've already pointed out Acts 2:23. But as you pointed out in the commentary by Calvin. God was pleased that the Son suffered and died because of the cause/effect aspects of his death. Isaiah 53:10-12 is a major shift in the passage as evidenced by the disjunctive waw. The "yet" of verse 10 indicates that even though this man died an unjust death, and even though you considered him stricken by God, and even though he didn't deserve to die, yet it was according to the plan of God and it pleased God precisely because of the effect it would have.

That God "willed" that the Son die and planned for his death does not mean that God killed his Son or that God punished his Son or that God poured out his wrath on his Son. Acts 2:23 declares that it was sinful, wicked men who put Jesus to death. It was God who raised him from the dead (v. 24). That God was pleased that the death of Christ would result in the justification of many is affirmed. God desires that none perish. So certainly God is pleased in the sacrifice of his Son for the remission of sins. But that is a far cry from claiming that God himself bruised and beat his Son.

Are you still trying to claim that God beat and bruised his Son?

Don Sailer's picture

Bob Hayton wrote:

Don Sailer wrote:

blee25 wrote:

Galatians 3:13 seems to be a pretty clear statement.

In verse 10 Paul tells us we are under a curse because because we have broken God's law. Is the curse not God's judgment on our sin? Then in verse 13 Paul says Christ has redeemed us from the curse we are under by becoming a curse for us.

God cursed me because of my sin but I have been redeemed because Christ took the curse in my place.

 

 

Correct. And the curse was death. And we all agree that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. The Jews considered him stricken by God. They viewed him as guilty even though he was sinless.

Now saying that Jesus died for us is not the same thing as saying that God poured out his wrath on Jesus.

Blessings.

 

Don the curse is not death, per se. The curse is death as punishment. In other words, 3:10 says we are cursed for our sins. 3:13 says Christ became our curse through his being killed as punishment on our behalf.

Was Jesus killed as a punishment? If he was, why wouldn't it make sense to understand this as a punishment because of God's wrath and one that satisfied God's wrath?

1 Pet. 3:18 says Christ suffered once **for sins**. And further elaborates, "the righteous for the unrighteous." That seems pretty clear that he took our punishment that was deserved for our sins. If he did, that means he took a punishment - he was punished - he was under God's wrath.

 

It's a good question, Bob.

If Jesus was punished for our sins in the sense that he was the recipient of God's wrath, why doesn't the Bible just say so. How difficult would it have been for the writers of Scripture to say, Jesus was punished for our sins and took God's wrath upon himself?

Was Jesus punished or did he suffer? If he gave himself up for us as an offering and sacrifice, is that punishment or suffering? Is there a reason why the scriptures just don't come out and state that Jesus was punished for our sins? Wouldn't this whole discussion end rather quickly if we could just turn to 1 Peter 3:18 and read about how Christ was punished for our sins, bore God's wrath - the righteous for the unrighteous. I marvel that this is not the case. And I'm not so quick to import my views of right, wrong, punishment, etc. into the text of Scripture.

Was he killed as punishment? Or was he offered as sacrifice? If he was offered as sacrifice, wouldn't the focus be on the love of the one who offered the sacrifice? Isn't this what we actually see in Scripture? Don't the scriptures emphasize the love of God in providing the sacrifice? Don't they emphasize the love of Christ in laying down his life for his friends?

Why the need to import into scripture the concept of wrath where it isn't found?

As to the "curse" of Galatians 3:10, the context relates the curse to being unjustified before God. Christ redeemed us and justified us by becoming a "curse" for us. And in this context, it means that he died for us so that by his death we could be justified.

Greg Long's picture

Did God physically and personally take the scourge and scourge Jesus? Did God physically and personally beat Jesus? Did God physically and personally nail him to the cross? Nobody is arguing that, Don. Nobody means that when they say God poured out his wrath on Jesus. Nobody means that when they say that God punished Jesus. You are arguing against something nobody says.

Did God cause the events involved in the death of Christ so that it can be said that he "was pleased...to bruise Him"? Yes. But why? That's what the commentary I quoted answers. To satisfy the punishment for sin and to appease his justice/wrath.

I think you have a confused understanding of God's wrath.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

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