In this episode:
- A reminder about becoming a free Premier Subscriber to Theodio (visit the homepage to sign up). This offer will close at the end of 2020.
- The error of believing that because God is merciful, that he must be “all mercy.”
- An explanation of penal substitutionary atonement
- Our weekly audiobook segment
- A look ahead at the next few episodes
- Episode blog post: Love wins, justice loses
- Podcast introduction: Yabo Obien
- Logo and marque: Jeff Lyons at Light & Story
- Original music: Makeup and Vanity Set
- Kindle version of Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by John Hendryx at Monergism.com
- Text for Precious Remedies provided by GraceGems.org
Welcome back to the Theodio Podcast. I’m your host, Dan Kassis.
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Last time we learned about how Satan will tempt us to believe that because everyone sins it’s ok if we do as well. This time we’ll hear about a false belief our enemy tries to communicate about God, himself: that he is “all mercy” because he has shown mercy in the past. That “love wins” is more than a marketing phrase; it’s God’s “campaign slogan.”
Have you heard anyone say anything like this before?
“I believe in a God of love, not anger.”
Or how about: “That God in the Old Testament? The one who’s always judging and executing people? I can’t believe in a God like that. I believe in Jesus. Jesus loved people. He didn’t judge them.”
Or this one: “Why would God allow his own son to die on a cross? That doesn’t sound very loving to me. I think Jesus died to set an example for all of us.”
And here’s a more recent one: “I believe love wins.”
There is a movement today to abandon what is known theologically as penal substitutionary atonement. That’s a big phrase, so let’s break it down.
- Penal – punitive; having to do with punishment. There was a transaction involving guilt and consequences over breaking a law.
- Substitutionary – in one’s place. There was an exchange of persons, one for another.
- Atonement – expiation; making amends for a wrongdoing. Setting things right.
Love and justice
That God requires shedding of blood for atonement to take place could not be more clear in Scripture. From the beginning, He has mandated that death must take place in order for a sinner to live.
God first clothed fallen Adam and Eve in animal skins, which required the death of that animal. God also demonstrated substitutionary atonement to Abraham by providing a ram in place of his son, Isaac, at Moriah.
Under the Mosaic covenant, God established the slaughter of turtledoves, lambs, rams, goats, and other animals at the hands of his Levitical priests to make payment for the sins of His people Israel.
The prophet Isaiah announced to Israel the coming “suffering servant” who would die in the place of all repentant sinners. Here are verses 4 through 6 of chapter 53:
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
This is the Lord Jesus of whom Isaiah speaks. The Church has always believed so. But that has not stopped skeptics from questioning or denying it.
The apostle Paul, Himself a Jew – a Pharisee among Pharisees – emphatically stated Jesus’ death was a penal substitutionary atonement.
2 Corinthians 5:20b-21: “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”
Romans 3:22b-25: “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins”
The attack on penal substitutionary atonement is an attack against God’s justice, itself. It asserts that “love wins” because God has applied mercy to all people everywhere. Repentance, faith, and even the desire to have mercy are irrelevant. Salvation, or something like it, is merely a matter of acknowledgement.
But there are enough warnings in the New Testament for the saints to “continue” in the faith that it is apparent there is more to redemption than mere knowledge.
Let’s hear what Thomas Brooks has to say on the matter.
Amazing words Brooks uses there at the end, aren’t they? Choice favors. The choicest means. What is he referring to? Repentance. Confession. They are the gateways to God’s mercy. They are means through which God applies justice for our sins, not to us, but to Christ.
We are going to talk more about repentance next time. That’s because the next device Brooks writes about is Satan’s tempting us to believe that repentance is easy. What we’re going to find out is that, in Brooks’ words, repentance is “a mighty work, a difficult work, a work that is above our power.”
Be sure you don’t miss the next episode. And thanks for listening.