Tag Archives: atonement
In this final post on Ephesians 2, we want to conclude our study in preparation for Sunday School at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel on February 3rd. We’ve seen in this passage that we are to remember what we were as Gentiles. Like the Ephesians believers, these truths were and are applicable to us (before our conversion):
It helps me to see these actions of God in a kind of chart form. Each of the following expressions merit discussion, but our purpose here is to simply list what God has done for us Gentiles in Christ!
“The heart of the difference between cheap-grace doctrines of guilt-free existence and the Christian gospel is this: Modern chauvinism desperately avoids the message of guilt by treating it as a regrettable symptom. Christianity listens to the message of guilt by conscientious self-examination. Hedonism winks at sin. Christianity earnestly confesses sin. Secularism assumes it can extricate itself from gross misdeeds. Christianity looks to grace for divine forgiveness. Modern consciousness is its own fumbling attorney before the bar of conscience. Christianity rejoices that God himself has become our attorney. Modernity sees no reason to atone for or make reparation for wrongs. Christianity knows that unatoned sin brings on misery of conscience. Modern naturalism sees no need for God. Christianity celebrates God’s willingness to suffer for our sins and redeem us from guilt.”
― Thomas C. Oden,
What are the major themes of this outstanding epistle? There is no substitute for reading and re-reading a book of the Bible to understand its primary emphases. Let’s continue to think about chapter one.
A second theme that jumps out in chapter one is the atoning work of the Lord Jesus. Notice in verse 4- “. . . who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age.”
Do you feel rescued? The substitutionary salvation work of the Lord Jesus is a primary theme in this epistle (as we will see). This is the gospel — and it’s worth fighting for!
Rescued people are grateful people. How might you and I express our gratitude to the Lord, our Great Rescuer, today?
In our previous post, we used our “sanctified imagination” to speculate about the Father and Lazarus having a conversation in heaven. Let’s return to our text and notice the last section of this amazing story …..
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.
55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” 57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.
There was a clear reaction to Jesus’ raising Lazarus from the dead. Some “believed in him” (v. 45). Others reported Jesus’ action to the religious leaders who then called a special meeting of the Sanhedrin (vv. 46-47).
We get to listen in on their deliberations. They acknowledge Jesus’ “many signs” and fear the Romans will step in and limit the freedoms they enjoyed from their occupiers.
Caiaphas, that year’s high priest, makes an incredible statement: “You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” (v. 50).
God’s Spirit has power even over those who would seek to destroy the Lord! This miracle of raising Lazarus seems to be the work of Jesus which seals His fate. (to be continued)
Imagine sitting in a room with Jesus. He is holding your hands and He says, “___ (insert your name here), you have a real problem with SIN! You are a sinner by nature and by practice (I could give examples, if you wish). Your sin separates you from God, from me! Okay. I’ve got to go now. I’m glad we could have this talk.”
You would be devastated! Jesus doesn’t just inform us of our sin — He pays the debt we owed a holy God because of our sin! He fixes the cavity of sin by His self-sacrifice. And that is far more important than, “Lunch?”
“I simply argue that the cross be raised again at the center of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town garbage heap; at a crossroad so cosmopolitan that they had to write his title in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek . . . at the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble. Because that is where he died. And that is what he died about. And that is where churchmen ought to be, and what churchmen should be about.” (George MacLeod)
We continue our study of the Christian life as we look at Titus 2:
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
God’s grace not only saves us; it teaches us how to live, which involves both denying (ungodliness and worldly passions) and affirming (living soberly, uprightly, and godly in this present world). We are to seek to influence our culture, not impose our values upon it.
But God’s grace is also a WAITING grace, as we saw in our last post: “while we wait for the blessed hope . . .” (v. 13). We are waiting for none other than God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, “our great God and Savior.”
This WAITING grace reminds us that Jesus “gave himself for us” (v. 14). The self-giving of the Son of God is a major theme of the New Testament.
Jesus makes it abundantly clear in John 10 that He will “lay down [His] life for the sheep” (v. 15). He clearly states two verses later that “I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” Then He says in the very next verse of John 10: “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
It is one thing to give oneself to another; it is quite another to give oneself FOR another. Jesus gave Himself for us. This certainly is a strong argument for what theologians call the “vicarious penal view of the atonement.” “Vicarious,” of course, means as our substitute.
The vicarious penal view of the atonement is under much attack these days, specifically by Sharon Baker in her book Executing God. Biblical Christianity teaches that our sin put us under God’s wrath. And we can only be rescued from that wrath by the Son of God taking our place and bearing that righteous wrath for us. And that’s what the Lord Jesus did. (to be continued)
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.[b]
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.[c]
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
15 My mouth[d] is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce[e] my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.
19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you[f] I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!