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Does the Text of 1 John Demand Penal Substitution Theory ?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC, Mar 13, 2018.

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  1. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    In a previous thread the following comments were made, requesting that I look again at 1 John 2:2 as demanding the Theory of Penal Substitution.

    I want to do this by being faithful and honest with Scripture (not just jumping around throughout the Bible to systematically defend one theory or another). The question is whether or not 1 John demands the Theory, not the correctness of Penal Substitution Theory but God's Word.
     
  2. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    1 John 1:5-10
    5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
    6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
    7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
    8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
    9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

    God is light. In Him there is no darkness at all. I do not understand how this verse can be taken as proof of the Theory of Penal Substitution. No one is claiming that God actually became sin, or that God looked upon Christ as if He were sin. God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

    John is speaking of life in Christ. If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin.

    The point is that Christ cleanses us of all sin for in Him there is no darkness.

    How can God be faithful and just while forgiving sinners? The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. Romans 3:26 speaks of this very thing - God overlooked the sins of the past (before Christ) for the demonstration of His righteousness, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Christ. None of the theories deny this passage. We could look, for example (I am not advocating the theory, just offering an example), at the Satisfaction Theory which would say that Christ's "purity, innocence and righteousness, which was divine and eternal, outweighed all of the sin and wrath he was compelled to bear on our account."

    The claim that 1 John 1:5 proves the Theory of Penal Substitution is nonsense.
     
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  3. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    1 John 2:1-6
    1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
    2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
    3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
    4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
    5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
    6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.


    John continues the discussion by urging the believer not to sin. But if we do we have an Advocate with the Father, which is Jesus Christ.

    He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.

    The debatable part of this passage is the Greek word ἱλασμός, which has been translated as propitiation, expiation, and atonement.

    I believe the word should be translated "propitiation" because it looks to Christ as Mediator in order to address our sins and turn aside its consequences.

    In a previous discussion on this verse, the following claim was made:
    The error here is that by definition propitiation does not mean "bearing the just and righteous anger and wrath of God against sin", what I have been told is assumed by many evangelicals. "Propitiation" simply means the turning aside of wrath or consequences.

    Expiation, on the other hand, is the act of making amends or reparation for guilt or wrongdoing. It is taking away guilt by payment or penalty. I believe F.F. Bruce is correct in that expiation exceeds what the text is stating.

    When we look at words we need to look at the context of what is written. Context, not a lexicon, drives interpretation.

    Again, nothing in this text demands the Theory of Penal Substitution.
     
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  4. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    1 John tells us how we walk in the light:

    1 John 1:7-9
    7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
    8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
    9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    What you are ignoring is the audience of 1 John. John is writing to Christians, those he refers to as “little children” who have an advocate in Christ Jesus. You are reading into the text your theology and taking out bits and pieces to “support” the Theory of Penal Substitution.

    The audience of 1 John is right with God. It is because of this that they are to walk in the Light.

    Again, John tells us how God forgives us. He forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness based on the blood (the sacrifice) of Jesus Christ who is the propitiation for the sins of mankind.

    The Theory of Penal Substitution is very humanistic. It is concentrated on man and man’s sin. Where Satisfaction Theory views Christ’s nature and divinity as outweighing the sin and wrath against us, and the Christus Victor motif looks to Christ overcoming the death and sin that stands against us, the Penal Substitution Theory views Christ’s divine nature as worthless except divine justice be satisfied through the punishment men deserve.
    Yes, I know your theory. To my shame, I taught it at one time.
    Done. 1 John simply does not demand the Theory of Penal Substitution. That is why it remains one theory among many. It is based on Scripture but depends on philosophy.
     
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  5. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    I believe you have the wrong word here. ἁμαρτία is generally translated as sin.

    I believe you wanted ἱλασμός

    Personally - Yes it can and I believe it does represent penal satisfaction/substitution.
     
  6. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Yes, I mean ἱλασμός. Thanks for the correction.

    So you do not think it means "propitiation" (in and of itself) but conveys a fuller theological concept of Christ making reparation for guilt by taking upon Himself the punishment for and of that guilt in terms of the Theory of Penal Substitution.

    How do you justify interpreting 1 John 2:2 as representing the Theory of Penal Substitution through the text of 1 John (how is your interpretation not reading into the text)?
     
  7. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    The text is not word specific It means HE was the total satisfaction to God's retributional requirement of sin.

    Jesus blood atonement finally satisfied God whereas thousands perhaps millions of animal acts of blood atonement could not.

    So, in my view it is all inclusive, including God's wrath for sin and the need for personal punishment for sin (or a vicarious substitute thereof).

    Being eternal/infinite He was able to bear the punishment we could not.
     
  8. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Once again we have a thread where PSA has not been defined. Did Christ die only the specific sins of the previously chosen for salvation elect? PSA (PST) says yes!
    It is false theology, a Trojan horse for Limited Atonement as defined by Calvinism.
    Nothing in scripture supports it, certainly nothing in 1 John!!

    For example, in 1 John 1:7 scripture clearly says the blood of Christ cleanses "us" from all sin. But who is the "us?" Those that "walk in the Light" or IOW those who have been born anew. It does not say "those chosen individually before the foundation of the world." Reading that into the text is false theology.
     
    #8 Van, Mar 13, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  9. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Why would the text not be word specific, or at least gain its meaning from the immediate context?

    And if the meaning is independent from or an expansion of the specific word, not derived from the actual context, what makes the Theory of Penal Substitution the correct theory to apply to the text?
     
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  10. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Because it is ALL encompassing, its satisfied/satisfies God on every detail down to the finest minutiae
     
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  11. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    While I agree that Christ's obedience and death is all encompassing, as evidenced by vindication of the Father (the Resurrection and all things being subject to Christ) I do not see where you are deriving the Theory of Penal Substitution from the text of 1 John. It seems that instead you are trying to explain what you believe happened in the background - i.e., not expounding on Scripture but using Scripture to reinforce a theory external to the passage.

    It seems that Scripture, in your commentary, is taking a back seat to theory.
     
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  12. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Perhaps now would be a good time to remind everyone of the passage that we are speaking of:

    1 John 2:1-14
    My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
     
  13. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    It is granted you by Soul Liberty to be wrong Jon even in your opinions.
     
  14. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    It is not granted to me by soul liberty to add to Scripture. I'm talking strictly of 1 John and asking how, from that text, you come up with the Theory of Penal Substitution. Your reply is that you can't, and I agree. It is something that you have decided is true and all encompassing so you apply it to all Scripture.

    Soul Liberty concerns things that are not specified in Scripture itself. While I agree that the Theory of Penal Substitution is not specified in Scripture, I disagree that we have the liberty to apply it (or any other theory) to Scripture itself.

    Now, we could say that Scripture is absolute truth and all encompassing, and therefore apply Psalm 11 and Psalm 33 to determine that God's wrath was never upon the Righteous One. If we do that, then the Theory of Penal Substitution cannot be forced into the word "propitiation", and another reasoning must be adopted that does not deny those passages by making Christ the bearer of wrath.

    But even this does not come from the text of 1 John. So John is most likely simply saying what he says, without any secret or hidden knowledge woven through his words.
     
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  15. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Again, It is granted you by Soul Liberty to be wrong in your opinions Jon.
     
  16. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Well, since Propitiation means that the very wrath of God towards us as lost sinners has now been appeased/paid for by the death of Jesus in our own stead, and since the same Spirit inspired all of the NT writers, how would John not agree with Paul here on PST of the Cross?
     
  17. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Probably because John, like Paul, was not familiar with the theory. Hank was right. It is an all encompassing theory through which you view Scripture.

    Go back and look. "Propitiation" is not the subject of that verse.

    And in the future please bring something to the table. I will delete posts appealing to what you think Paul, John, or Jesus "believed" as being off topic.
     
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  18. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Then you deny that the Apostles taught some variation of the PST than? That only Calvin forward knew of that theology?
     
  19. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I deny that Scripture teaches the Theory of Penal Substitution. That is probably why we call it Penal Substitution THEORY.

    I do not believe anyone here has denied both penal and substitution aspects of Christ's work.

    Now, please return to the topic. 1 John.
     
  20. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Since PSA claims Christ's death paid for the specific sins of each and every Elect person when Jesus died, then why doesn't 1 John 1:7 say Christ's blood has cleansed us for all our sins? Folks, no answer will be forthcoming. :)
     
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