Lloyd-Jones on the folly of thinking God is only love and ignoring punishment and hell

My thanks to Adrian Warnock for this: Lloyd-Jones could have been saying this for the 21st Century not the 20th. There really is nothing new under the sun: “All this modern preaching on the fact that God is love is an indication of the same attitude and spirit. We are told today that the old sermons that preached the law and talked about conviction of sin and called people to repentance were all wrong because they were legalistic . . .So it is said that we must return to the message of Jesus. We must get rid of all our theology, our argumentation and doctrine—it is all unnecessary. The business of preaching is to tell people that God is love. It does not matter what they are, or what they have been, or what they have done, or what they may do—God loves them. Nobody will ever be punished. There is no law; so there is no retribution and no

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Scorning what is holy…

My thanks to Todd Pruitt for this: “There’s nothing wrong with talking and singing about how the ‘Blood will never lose its power’ and ‘Nothing but the blood will save us.’ Those are powerful metaphors. But we don’t live any longer in a culture in which people offer animal sacrifices to the gods. “People did live that way for thousands of years, and there are pockets of primitive cultures around the world that do continue to understand sin, guilt, and atonement in those ways. But most of us don’t. What the first Christians did was look around them and put the Jesus story in language their listeners would understand.” – Rob Bell on the atonement from Love Wins To strip the atonement of its substitutionary nature, as Rob Bell does, is to strip it of its power. It is to take the “good” out of the good news. It is to rip the heart out of the Gospel and therefore the hope

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A cursed Christ — for us

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.”  Galatians 3:13 “To the Jews, this was absolute blasphemy: a cursed Messiah on a cursed cross.  No wonder the cross was such a stumbling block to them!  To put it in the most shocking and yet perhaps the most accurate way, the apostolic message was about a God-damned Messiah.” Philip Graham Ryken, Galatians (Phillipsburg, 2005), page 115. (HT: Ray Ortlund)

Three Precious Words

This piece from Todd Pruitt sums up the thrust of my teaching here in Rwanda. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for fall 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. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” – Romans 3:21-26 Martin Luther refered to Romans 3:21-26 as, ““the chief point, and the very

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Our Representative & Our Substitute

“God displays his righteousness by judging sin as sin deserves, but the judgment is diverted from the guilty and put on to the shoulders of Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God acting as wrath absorber. The atonement had to be costly because it was necessary in light of the nature of God, which must inflict retributive punishment on sin. A marvelous wisdom of God consists in his establishing the Lord Jesus as our representative and our substitute because only he could bear and absorb the judgment due to us. Being our representative makes him our substitute, and so he suffers and we go free . . ..” – J. I. Packer, “The Necessity of the Atonement” in Atonement, ed. Gabriel N. E. Fluhrer (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2010), 15-16. (HT: Of First Importance)

Barrabas and Me

David Mathis asks the question: Who do you identify with in the Passion narratives? Of course, as good Christians, we say Jesus. He’s the good guy, our protagonist. As we relive the story, we pull for him, and against his enemies. And a long list of enemies it is: Judas who betrays him, Peter who denies him, the chief priests who hate him, Herod who mocks him, the crowd that calls for his crucifixion, Pilate who washes his hands and condemns him, and Barrabas who is guilty but gets to go free. Wait a minute. Barrabas—the guilty one who gets to go free? In his 23rd chapter, Luke leads us sinners, in his careful wording of the narrative, to identify in this significant way with Barrabas. As Jesus’ condemnation leads to the release of a multitude of spiritual captives from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation, so also his death sentence leads to the release of the physical captive Barrabas.

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The Three-Fold Gift of the Gospel

“In order for the Christian gospel to be good news it must provide an all-satisfying and eternal gift that undeserving sinners can receive and enjoy. For that to be true, the gift must be three things. First, the gift must be purchased by the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Our sins must be covered, and the wrath of God against us must be removed, and Christ’s righteousness must be imputed to us. Second, the gift must be free and not earned. There would be no good news if we had to merit the gift of the gospel. Third, the gift must be God himself, above all his other gifts.” – John Piper, God is the Gospel (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2005), 14. (HT: Of First Importance)

The Cross as Fulfillment of God’s Law

William Farley from Outrageous Mercy The cross demonstrates the permanent, immutable nature of God’s law. To save us, Jesus did not go around the law. He did not remove it. Rather, he fulfilled it. Taht is because the law is the eternal standard by which we will all be judged, and God is passionate about it. Every jot and tittle of the law must be fulfilled, promised Jesus (Matt. 5:17-20). The cross says, “There will be no lawbreakers in heaven.” The cross says, “God is fervent about his law.” Verses such as “Now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law” (Rom. 7:6) have convinced many that law does not apply to Christians, that in some mysterious way it is no longer relevant or important. In one sense they are right. The law no longer enslaves Christians. We could not keep the law, so Jesus kept it for us. God has released all who put

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Propitiation as the Ground for Christus Victor

This is a great post from Justin Taylor: John Murray: Redemption from sin cannot be adequately conceived or formulated except as it comprehends the victory which Christ secured once for all over him who is the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air . . . [I]t is impossible to speak in terms of redemption from the power of sin except as there comes within the range of this redemptive accomplishment the destruction of the power of darkness. (Redemption—Accomplished and Applied, p. 50) Colossians 2:14-15 is a key verse in this regard. Paul lists two results of Christ’s work on the cross: (1) Christ disarmed the rulers and authorities, and (2) he publicly shamed them. How? By triumphing over them in himself. So how does Christ bearing God’s wrath for sinners, taking their sin as a substitute, constitute a victory over Satan? George Smeaton (1814–1889), Professor of Exegetical Theology at New College, Edinburgh, provides the answer. Sin was

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Penal Substitution By Dr. Greg Bahnsen

If you have been following the conversation in the comments section you may be interested to read this article by Greg Bahnsen taken from Monergism. How can a guilty sinner avert the just condemnation and wrath of God? How can he be set free from the penalty he deserves? Paul wrote: “When the fulness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that He might redeem them who are under the law” (Gal. 4:4). In order to fulfill all of God’s promises and accomplish His saving design for men, Christ came to do a work of “redemption.” And in Paul’s theologically authoritative conception of this redemption, it carried an unmistakably judicial and substitutionary character: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (3:13). Redemption or liberation is a setting free from a dreaded judicial reality: “the curse of the law.” And this act of

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Christ hath so perfectly satisfied

“The doctrine for which we contend is that Christ hath so perfectly satisfied divine justice for all our sins, by one offering of himself, and not only for our guilt but also for both temporal and eternal punishment, that henceforth there are no more propitiatory offerings to be made for sin, and that though, for the promotion of their penitence and sanctification, God often chastises his people, yet no satisfaction is to be made by them either in this or a future state of existence.” Francis Turretin, The Atonement of Christ, page 68. (HT: Ray Ortlund)

Getting Substitutionary Atonement Right

“The penal substitution model has been criticized for depicting a kind Son placating a fierce Father in order to make him love man, which he did not do before. The criticism is, however, inept, for penal substitution is a Trinitarian model, for which the motivational unity of Father and Son is axiomatic. The New Testament presents God’s gift of his Son to die as the supreme expression of his love to men. ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son’ (John 3:16). ‘God is love, . . . Herein is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins’ (I John 4:8-10). ‘God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ (Rom. 5:8). Similarly, the New Testament presents the Son’s voluntary acceptance of death as the supreme expression of his love to men. ‘He loved me,

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Easter Explains Everything!

I love this from Marcus Honeysett: Easter explains everything. Because the cross of Jesus Christ is the centre of everything. And I mean everything! Most amazingly it explains creation. Why creation? So that God can display the glory of his grace for his praise. And he does that in clearest and most extreme splendour at the cross. Picture the vast expanse of creation in all its magnificence with a searing white hot focal point to all time and space. A singularity, a coalescence of all the eternal purposes and infinite power of God in one place and instance.  That focus is the cross It explains why the world is the way it is – rebellion that needs atonement; creation subjected to decay and groaning waiting for the glorious liberation of the children of God, supremely accomplished through the cross It explains the depths of distress and degradation in the human heart – the ultimate expression of human evil is the

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“Those wounds, yet visible above”

Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side, Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified. No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight, But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright. This verse from the wonderful hymn, Crown Him With Many Crowns, speaks of the abiding signs of Christ’s atoning death in heaven. His post resurrection appearances and Revelation 5:6 certainly suggests that Jesus bears an eternal reminder of the cost of our redemption. In a meditation on the cross this morning, my good friend, Pastor Roydon Hearne, shared a thought that blew me away. He remarked on the fact that the only man-made thing on Earth that can be seen from space is the great Wall of China. He then said, “and the only man-made thing that can be seen in heaven, are the wounds of Christ.” Think about it! Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

The Great Exchange

John Flavel: Lord, the condemnation was yours, that the justification might be mine. The agony was yours, that the victory might be mine. The pain was yours, and the ease mine. The stripes were yours, and the healing balm issuing from them mine. The vinegar and gall were yours, that the honey and sweet might be mine. The curse was yours, that the blessing might be mine. The crown of thorns was yours, that the crown of glory might be mine. The death was yours, the life purchased by it mine. You paid the price that I might enjoy the inheritance. John Flavel (1671), from his sermon, “The Solemn Consecration of the Mediator,” in The Fountain of Life Opened Up: or, A Display of Christ in His Essential and Mediatorial Glory. (HT: Justin Taylor)

Substitution Is Not a “Theory of the Atonement”!

By Kevin DeYoung In chapter 7 of The Cross of Christ, John Stott looks at the four principal New Testament images of salvation, taken from the shrine (propitiation), the market (redemption), the court of law (justification) and the home (reconciliation). This beautiful chapter on “The Salvation of Sinners” ends with a masterful summary of the four images (198-99). “First, each highlights a different aspect of our human need. Propitiation underscores the wrath of God upon us, redemption our captivity to sin, justification our guilt, and reconciliation our enmity against God and alienation from him. These metaphors do not flatter us. They expose the magnitude of our need.” “Second, all four images emphasize that the saving initiative was taken by God in his love. It is he who has propitiated his own wrath, redeemed us from our miserable bondage, declared us righteous in his sight and reconciled us to himself.” Texts like 1 John 4:10; Luke 1:68; Rom. 8:33; and 2

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Are you gospel-driven?

John Fonville posts an excellent article by Miles McKee. Here’s the conclusion: Would you like to know whether or not you are gospel driven? To find out, ask yourself these following questions. With which are you absorbed? (Answer A or B) 1 (A) your personal righteousness, (B) The vicarious righteousness of Christ? 2 (A) the condition of your faith (B) Christ’s faithful obedience on your behalf? 3 (A) your self-crucifixion (B) His crucifixion? 4 (A) your new life (B) His sinless life? 5 (A) your experience of Christ (B) His experience for you? 6 (A) your love for God (B) His love for you? 7 (A) The depth of your personal surrender (B) The depth of Christ’s personal surrender? 8 (A) Your victorious life (B) His victorious life on your behalf? 9 (A) Your attainment (B) His atonement? 10 (A) The work of the Spirit in you (B) the work of Christ for you? If you answered “B” in all

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