Archive for the ‘Together for the Gospel’ Tag

Christianity…just another pointless therapy? (part 3)

I returned from T4G with the goal of bringing clarity to the gospel for every person under my teaching, especially in terms of the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement.  The meaning of the gospel has become so muddled.  And this is not merely the fault of Christian liberalism preaching the message of “a God without wrath [bringing] men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through a Christ without a cross” but because of a church culture in American evangelicalism that propagates a message of “a God without wrath [bringing] men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through a Christ without a cross.”  Many believe and teach that there is a problem outside of us (family or money or society or our childhood or whatever) and the solution to this problem can only be found within the individual.  In Osteen‘s word, many would have you believe that, “You are not a sick person trying to get well.  You are a well person fighting off sickness.”  When in fact the Bible teaches the opposite of this…The problem is in the individual.  It is within each of us – it is sin.  And the solution to this problem can only come from outside of us.  It is an objective reality outside of the individual that resolves the problem, not a subjective reality within each individual.

Christianity is NOT just another pointless therapy that tells you to look inside yourself for a solution that is not there.  Christianity presents the only real solution to the problem – the gospel.  The gospel is based on objective facts and historical acts of God.  The whole reason we celebrate this time of year is due to the fact that “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4-5).”

So let’s clarify the gospel by looking at that three word phrase that became such a theme at T4G and has become such a theme in my reading and study: Penal Substitutionary Atonement.

Penal – meaning penalty.  There is a penalty that you and I deserve because of our sin.  The Bible’s testimony about mankind, and this is proven true in every one of our lives, is that we have all fallen short of the standard that God has put into place.  We have actually rebelled against this divine and objective standard.  We are, in our natural state, hostile toward that standard.  So we are all deserving of punishment.

Substitutionary – God sent his son Jesus Christ, as a substitute, to face the penalty of sin that we all deserve.  God made provision for our sin in the provision of His Son, Christ Jesus – dying on the cross in our place..

Atonement – What is it that makes anyone acceptable to God?  It is that they have trusted in Christ as an acceptable sacrifice in their place, becoming their substitute on the cross to absorb the wrath of God and remove the wrath of God which was upon them.  Christ reconciles us to God by bearing our penalty on the cross in our place to atone for our sin.

2 Cor. 5:19 – …in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them..

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