Monday, 19 October 2009

substitutionary atonement

Both Moses and Paul expressed the desire that they be 'cursed' (blotted out of God's book or cut off from Christ) for the sake of others (Israel). Cf. Ex 32:32; Roms 9:3.

Clearly both believe that in some sense the 'anathema' of the one substitutes for the many. They are not saying they wish to be 'cursed' alongside Israel but 'cursed' instead of Israel. If possible, they could wish to be 'accursed' in the place of the nation.

They were not so cursed, nor, for them was curse-bearing possible. Yet, the curse would be borne by one fitted to bear it. Paul is clear, Jesus took the curse.

Gal 3:13 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"

His curse bearing is not simply alongside Israel but instead of Israel, bearing the curse to redeem those cursed, in order that they be no longer cursed.

Surely this is substitutionary atonement. Praise God for the curse-bearer.


Theodore A. Jones said...

RE. Gal. 3:13 and the word law. The law of God has been changed by an addition having been made to it, refs. Rom. 5:20 NIV & Heb. 7:12b NIV.
This is the law referenced in Gal. 3:13, and is the law referenced in the following:
It is not those who hear the law who
are righteous in God's sight, but it is
those who obey the law who will be
declared righteous." Rom. 2:13
This law is the only law of God which can and must be obeyed before you violate it or the violation of this law results in a conviction i.e. sentence for which there is no resolution. The assumption you have that it is possible for any man's death to be a direct benefit is in error. For God by ruling that any man's life taken by bloodshed is directly accountable to him. Jesus' life in regard to the fact of being taken by bloodshed is also required to be accountable to God form each man too by law.
"And from EACH man too, I will
demand an accounting for the
life of his fellow man." Gen. 9:5c NIV.
Therefore the Lord's command, Repent, given through the apostles can only be obeyed by the faith of confessing with your mouth that you are sorry Jesus' lfe was taken by bloodshed and be baptized into this Way of God for the forgiveness of ALL sins. For if you don't obey God by this law it is a sin for which no forgiveness is possible.

Nick said...

I am responding to this because what you said is not quite accurate.

1) The situation of Moses was indeed a 'cursed alongside' situation, and the very verse you quote indicates this. Moses says if God will NOT forgive the people, then Moses wants to be finished off as well. He was in no way substituting himself with a 'kill me instead' plea; rather it was a 'captain goes down with his ship' plea.

2) The situation of Paul was hypothetical and was about the lengths he would go for his own people. There wasn't anything necessarily 'substitutionary atonement' about it.

3) The issue of Gal 3:13 is often mistaken. The key term is 'redeemed' which indicates a 'payoff' or 'ransom' and thus not a 'penal substitution'. Hebrews 9:15 helps interpret this, and the key phrase is "he died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant." This ransom-death was a formal ending of the Old Covenant, and thus all the penalties (curses) attached to it were legally no longer in force.

Theodore A. Jones said...

But. Isn't there a new covenant? And in particular has the law been abolished? Yes or NO?

Nick said...

Yes, the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Law, has been abolished. And that's why we're saved 'apart from the Law' (cf Acts 13:39).

Theodore A. Jones said...

"Think NOT that I have come to abolish the law."
As you said the covenents were done away with, but as he has said the law has NOT been abolished.

John Thomson said...


As to Moses, whether he meant 'alongside' or 'instead of' is at least a moot point.

With Paul, no such doubt exists. He wished, however hypothetically, he could stand in their place.

As for Gal 3:13, the cost of the ransom was taking the curse. He redeemed from the curse by becoming the curse. Language for substitution could scarcely be plainer.

Nick said...

It has been 'abolished' in that it is no longer in force (it had expired). It was not abolished in the sense it was just thrown aside (as if ripping up a contract), that's Christ's point, and the rest of that verse shows this.

Nick said...

I'm not sure why Moses is a moot point. The text says if God wouldn't forgive the Israelites, then he saw no purpose of living either.

With Paul, it's not necessary (much less proven) that it is a Penal Substitution situation. He merely says he would sacrifice his own standing for that of others, which in no way suggests p-sub. Heroes put their lives at stake all the time for the sake of others, without p-sub being an issue.

As for the Gal 3:13 and taking the curse. There was no single curse tied to the OT, the dying on a tree was merely one form (and one of the most humiliating forms). Not everyone was subject to dying on a tree according to the Deut 21 prescription. And I agree, the language couldn't be more plain, hence the use of the term 'redeemed' - one specifically suggesting the opposite of substitution.
Back to Heb 9:15-"now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. "
His death-ransom removed the curse they were under, in a similar sense of abolishing a credit institution (by whatever means) subsequently frees everyone from their individual debts to the institution. Make sense?

Theodore A. Jones said...

Nada. It is the law given at Sinai, God's written code of law which is against us. The resolution process of breaking those laws occurred AFTER the disobedience. However for there to be a new covenant there must also be in place a new or addition to the previous code of law for a base which allows a resolution process that will grant a pardon for the sin that WILL be committed BEFORE you disobey this new law. In Acts and Romans the original and translations purposely do not differentiate between the written code and the "new" spoken law. Hense the written code was a shadow, i. e. obscurant, of the new or the result would be many finding it. This does not mean that many will not use the provision of the new covenant but the reality is only a few teach the righteousness of God which has been perfected BY Jesus' crucifixion. "And BY HIM all that believe are justified from all things, which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.", which is why the law has had an addition made to it. So that it is only by the faith to obey God that that one act of obedience is imputed as righteousness.
In the future if you continue to argue and if you have any time of life left, don't use a reference of Scripture which can and will be turned. Further testifying that the law has been abolished when in fact it has not is a direct contradiction of what Jesus has said making God out to be a liar which he most certainly is not. How much time do you have? Not much.

Theodore A. Jones said...

Well Nick and John T. are either of you two men one of the each man too God is talking about in this oath?
"And from each man too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man." Yes or No? Or Nick will you say God didn't mean what he said by what he has said or is the quote by some other god, perhaps? You boys are in deep........ whether you know it or not. Comprenda?