How does God's sacrifice necessarily demonstrate justice or righteousness? Rom3:25,26

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by humblethinker, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. humblethinker

    humblethinker
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    Some primer thoughts before I get into the specifics of this thread:
    Would it be possible for God to actualize a world that would need atonement but for which God would not provide? It seems to me that this would be impossible for one or both of two reasons:
    1) It is a illogical to consider that an Optimal Being do something that is unjust or unrighteous.
    2) It is impossible for an Optimal Being to be unjust or unrighteous.

    ---A resolution for one's cognitive dissonance may be to change the meaning of 'just' or 'righteous', but we should not set such an example of poor reasoning.​

    While listening to a message on Romans 3, the preacher read and then commented:

    Romans 3:25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. NIV84

    The preacher commented, "The reason Jesus had to die is because that debt had to be paid. It would be unjust for for God to allow that debt not to be paid. Justice had to be served. He sent Jesus to die for your sin because he is a just God and that debt had to be addressed..."

    The idea that Jesus made atonement for all of man's sin seems to be more congruent with why God would demonstrate His justice/righteousness per Rom3:26 above. How does the Calvinist understanding make sense of verse 26 regarding God making a sacrifice to demonstrate his justice? Would a calvinistic view agree that God demonstrated his justice/righteousness for anyone by atonement?

    It seems that the 'demonstration' of God's justice from a TULIP standpoint is simply the fact that He is God and you are not. Replying with statements like, "But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?", and "who are you to question God's plan for atonement", truncating the conversation with a QED meaning. In a different context, the non-cal would make claim to all of these statements.

    Three questions regarding Calvinist/TULIP teaching:
    1) In what way does calvinistic teaching address how God demonstrates his justice and righteousness toward man? If it includes the act of atonement then why is that called 'justice' or 'righteousness'?

    2) Is it the case that "He sent Jesus to die for your sin because he is a just God and that debt had to be addressed"?

    3) Is it the case that "It would be unjust for for God to allow that debt not to be paid."?
     
  2. 12strings

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    Oh good, it looks like I get to be first to reply:

    OP:
    For this, I would say that your two numbered statements are true, if only for the reason that any optimal being (let's say, the God of the Bible) is himself the standard of justice and/or Righteousness. So I would say, by definition, If God does something, it was the right thing to do, because He as God is the standard of right & wrong. If I say God did something wrong, I am setting myself as a higher authority for determining right & wrong.
    --> So as to the question you pose, I believe it would be possible for God to actualize a world in which his created beings sinned, but he did not provide atonement. He could simply provide the just punishment instead. And he would have been perfectly just and righteous to do so.
    (God did not spare the angels...)


    -I believe Calvinist teaching would say that God demonstrates his justice in two ways: One is through punishing the sinner in hell. The other is putting that punishment on Christ instead of a sinner...so that sinner does not have to pay their own penalty.
    -I think Romans 3 is teaching that God in forebearance "Left previous sins unpunished" precisely because he knew those sins would be paid for on the cross. He was able to forgive David's sin because he knew it would be paid for on the cross by Christ. One could say that God's OT forgiveness left God open to the accusation that he was being unjust by NOT punishing sin. When Christ arrived and gave himself as a sacrifice, it vinidicated God's righteousness, showing that he was not in fact letting sin go unpunished, but rather displacing the punishment from the guilty to his own son.
    -ONE FURTHER THOUGHT: A true Calvinist would say that that the atonement of Christ was only for those who would be saved (the elect), and not for everyone else. I am convinced that Jesus' death also purchased what some call "common grace" for all people. I think that if not for God having Christ's death in his plan, he would have simply killed and sentanced every person to hell as soon as they sinned. But instead, they are allowed to live out their lives, be given many good gifts (food, rain...see Matt. 5:45).
    Also, 1 Peter 2:1 refers clearly to unregenerate people as “denying the Master who bought (greek "redeemed") them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
    ---No one (cal or non cal) would call unsaved people "redeemed." I believe this points out that Every good gift that is enjoyed by anyone (saved or unsaved) is a gift from God that was purchased by Christ on the cross...a sacrifice without which God would in his just wrath withhold all good and give only punishment.
    [regarding the limited atonement arguments. I don't see them as particularly helpful, seeing that cals and non call both believe that the atonement is only effective for salvation for those who believe. Cals limit it by saying it is because that is all that were actually paid for. non-cals say it is limited by whether or not one believes. Either way, Jesus did NOT fully pay the sin debt for someone who dies without recieving him...otherwise you get into "double-payment issues, which I won't get into here...

    -I think taken by itself, this question would have to be answered, "NO." I would say "He sent Jesus to die for your sin because he is a just God and cannot allow you into his presence until that debt is addressed." God did not HAVE to atone for our sins...he could have simply sentenced every human to hell. (like he did with every angel that rebelled).

    -Again, If God did not punish sin at all, it would be unjust, but He could have simply allowed us to pay our own sin debt in hell. In which case, he would still be a just and righteous God.


    ...Well that took longer than I thought, I might not be the first one anymore...
     
  3. JesusFan

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    Interesting OP here, and I think that we need to see that God has divine balance between His divine justice and love, and THAT mediating point would be found in the Cross of Christ!
     
  4. humblethinker

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    You seem to contradict yourself here...
    and then you say...
    and you add...
    so far you are consistent...
    but then you say...
    Based on what you said, "If God does something, it was the right thing to do" then if God did not punish sin at all, wouldn't it be just instead of unjust?
     
  5. 12strings

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    It is hard to write that much without contradicting yourself once or twice...:smilewinkgrin:

    SO I will add this. SINCE God has stated in his word that he will not let sin go unpunished, then he would be unjust to break his own word, based on the fact that he has said he will not break his own word. However, I believe that Since he keeps his word, he will not let sin go unpunished.

    I suppose you could imagine a god that let sin go unpunished and broke his promises... In which case it would still be difficult to lay a charge of injustice agianst him because He would still be the god over everything who gets to make the rules.

    ...thankfully that is not the kind of god we have.
     
  6. Winman

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    God cannot do whatever he wants and it be good because he is God.

    Jn 8:55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.

    God is bound by the same rules we are, he cannot do whatever, and simply because he is God that makes it right.

    Now, he can do some things we can't, he can decide to take someone's life when he sees fit, but he does so justly and for a just purpose.
     
  7. humblethinker

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    Fair enough. :)

    ok, would you agree then, that God has given us a definition on what "Just" is and "Righteous" is and we can know what that standard is, what it means and that they have a meaning beyond "whatever God does". We are not encouraged to think that the meanings of these words are unknowable. Much in the way of Winman's explanation of how God is bound by the meanings that he has given us, such that if God is 'Just' then he is 'Just' according to what he has already said 'Just' means.

    It seems according to calvinistic teaching, that God did actualize a world in which atonement was not provided for some (if not most) people. How does this comport with the meaning of 'Just'? Woud you say that the word 'Just' has a meaning that we don't yet understand, or a meaning that non-cal's don't understand?
     
  8. 12strings

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    I would agree with your first statement, He did actualize a world in which Jesus' Blood did not actually save every person, not even most... (Btw, You don't have to believe in limited atonement to agree with what I just said).
    But as I said before. God could have also justly actualized a world in which atonement was provided for NONE!

    So God would be just to save no one and simply condemn us in our sin.
    God is also just if he provides salvation for some.

    I fail to see how it is unjust for God to punish sin.
     
  9. 12strings

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    I would agree that Whatever God has told us stands as truth. However, not everything God does has direct correlation with what we expect him to do, (He told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac). Neither does it mean God is bound to act the way he commands us to act (He is jealous, he takes vengence, he puts himself first).
     
  10. humblethinker

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    I do not and have not made the claim that it is unjust for God to punish sin. Where do you see that?

    How is it that you believe that God could justly actualize a world in need of atonement but for which no atonement was made available?
     
  11. 12strings

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    You have not stated that, but you have asked the question how it could be just for God to NOT provide atonement...in which case he would simply be punishing sin. (see below for more)

    It depends on your defintion of "NEED". God does not "NEED" to atone for my sin. But he chooses to out of love.

    Also, That is exactly the course of action he took with angels. He created them, they rebelled. And... "God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment". (2 Pet. 2:4).
    God did not provide atonement for angels...and he was perfectly just not to do so.

    It would not be unjust if God took the same course of action with humans that he took with angels.
     
  12. humblethinker

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    It does seem that the predicament of the angels is different than the predicament of humans, in that the angels logically cannot have faith, nor were they made in God's image... anyways I do understand your point though.

    Would you agree that punishment, to whatever degree and duration, would never be able to pay the debt... could never even start to, much less finally, make atonement for sin? If you agree, then how would it not be the case that God actualized a world in which sin would never be atoned for?
     
  13. 12strings

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    It is true that angels were not made in the image of God, and so God did not choose to relate to them in the same way as humans, nor to redeem those that fell. I'm not sure what you mean by saying angels cannot "logically" have faith. They do believe (demons specifically anyway...James 2:19).

    I think I will have to disagree, based on the fact that For millions of people, they will be paying their sin debt forever in hell. To agree with your point, I would have to say that Jesus' death not only fully paid the sin debt of those who are saved, but also paid part of the debt for the unsaved, since you are saying their eternity in hell is not enough to pay their sin debt.

    So in that case, I would still have to say that God could actualize a world in which sin was "PAID" for by the sinner by their punishment in hell.

    Again in my mind I come back to the angels/Demons. Are you saying that their sin also could never be fully paid for in hell, so Jesus death has some effect of paying for part of their sins as well? I don't think you are saying that.

    One other thought that is driving my reasoning is the logic that if God did not spare the angels, he was also under no obligation to make atonement for me, but he did, and I should be thankful, since he did not have to.
     
  14. humblethinker

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    Ok, so it sounds like, therefore, that you are proposing that the sinner CAN atone for their sin... yet, the payment for sin will never be paid, so therefore sin will be un-atoned for...

    you are correct in thinking that I'm not saying that.

    Do you think that it is in the economy of God that all sin must be atoned for? If so, how does the idea of a sinner paying for their sin forever even come close to atoning for their sin? The debt for the sin is as large in a million years than it is right now. The sin is not and never will be any closer to being paid for.
     
  15. 12strings

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    I suppose I am saying that for an unrepentant sinner in hell, their debt of sin will never be fully paid, which is why there is not an end to their eternal suffering.
    So I would have to say their sin is "un-atoned for" because if at any point it was fully atoned for, God would release them.

    I guess you are correct, the reason for eternal hell as opposed to 1,000 year hell is that their sin debt, being against an eternal God, is eternal.

    I'm not sure I get what your point is in all of this, because even the fact that Jesus came and atoned for the sins of those who believe does not remove the problem of eternal punishment for those who do not believe. I would say that the fact that there are millions of sinners (& some angels/Demons) whose sins will not be atoned for by Christ gives us reason to believe that God could have (justly) treated all who rebelled in this manner.
     

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