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Featured Forensic Justification of sinners!

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Yeshua1, Feb 3, 2017.

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  1. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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  2. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Looks to me that he developed his interpretation as a response or rebuttal of RCC doctrine. He would have done better to have abandoned the RCC doctrine on the topic all together.
     
  3. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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  4. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    What did you think of his approch? As again, wht treformers dicovered was what the Bible actually teaches on this issue, as that was needed to be rediscovered once again!
     
  5. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Insofar as free-will is concerned, I prefer Edwards. Perhaps that's just a personal preference due to familiarity. And since not all Reformers agreed as not all Reformers went for the forensic view (Luther, for example, went for the dynamic instead), I do not know if it is fair to call your position the position of the Reformers.

    I do not believe that the Reformers discovered something new. Where we disagree is that I do believe that the Reformers discovered something old (penal and substitutionary aspects of the Cross) and applied it in a new way to address issues of their time. The Reformers were in many ways reformed Catholics. Their views of Penal Substitution varied to a degree, but all in all Reformed Penal Substitution Theology looks very much like Roman Catholic doctrine only reformed (with penance replaced and the view placed within a criminal court context). The Reformation became the first time in Church history where God was considered to be unable to forgive sin based on a sense of divine justice. The Reformers removed penance from Aquinas' work, but just like with baptism and ecclesiological principles they never strayed too far from Catholic tradition and ideologies.
     
  6. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    How can God forgive mysins and yous though wothout having someone bearing our sins and expereience the wrath of God for those sins as the due penalty? Wright does not accept the wrath of God applied on Christ, correct?
     
  7. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Before I answer I will once again point out that I believe that Atonement was both substitutionary and penal. Let’s look at your statement in application, and what I am saying about it.

    You are saying that for one person to forgive another, the one offended must find someone else upon whom he can express his wrath. If Mike insults your wife, and then asks for forgiveness, and Joe volunteers to take your wrath for that insult on Mike’s behalf, then you are justified in punching Joe in the nose. I think that is stupid.

    How can God forgive our sins without having someone bearing our sins and experiencing the wrath of God for those sins as the due penalty? This is a trick question. God cannot forgive what has already been paid in full, and demanding full payment in order to forgive a debt is not forgiveness. What you present here is a simplistic fairy tale based off a corruption of tradition, which was in turn based off theory that was in turn designed to correct another theory that was based off another tradition, and so forth.

    Jesus bore our sins (the sin of mankind) by becoming man (the Word became flesh, fully God and fully man) and dying as our representative (the “Last Adam”) so that in Him we will not face the consequences of our own sinfulness (Jesus died in our stead) as He is the propitiation for the sins of the world (the atoning sacrifice that turns away or appeases wrath).

    N.T. Wright???

    I am not sure why you are so fascinated by N.T. Wright.

    To answer your question (yet again), I have read Wright deny those accusations but I do not know enough about the man to argue his case, and frankly I do not care to learn enough to argue his case either way.
     
    #7 JonC, Feb 4, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  8. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I hope to make my request very clear and prevent any unnecessary entanglements.

    For my part:

    I agree that the Father laid on the Son the iniquity of us all, that he (Jesus) bore the sin of many and makes intercession for the sinner, that it was for our sake he (the Father) made him to be sin (either a curse or a sin offering) who knew no sin (the Son) so that we might become the righteousness of God. I believe that Christ redeemed or purchased 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. My salvation is dependent on Jesus bearing our sins, experiencing God’s wrath on our behalf. Atonement has by nature both substitution and punishment in purview, and therefore is both penal and substitutionary.

    My request of you:

    You asked how God can forgive our sins without having someone bearing our sins and experiencing God’s wrath for those sins as their due penalty. What this presupposes is that in order to forgive a debt God must first collect that debt in full. This is not forgiveness (biblical or otherwise).

    I would like for you to explain how you derive this system of accountability and “forgiveness” through Scripture. I am not talking about a verse here and a verse there, taken in a haphazard manner. I am asking you to explain your words, and your view, because they seem foreign to Scripture but oddly similar to the RCC doctrine of penance and indulgences (I can pay a price on your behalf to deliver you from purgatory), only with penance replaced with the exact punishments due individuals who are being saved. I believe that you have built upon sand, but on the chance that I have misjudged your position, please provide Scripture to substantiate this understanding.

    Thank you.
     
  9. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    That last line was totally unnecessary.
     
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  10. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist Well-Known Member
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    Fine words, but that remains to be seen. Right terms wrong definitions.

    [snip] In the sacrifices, the fire was applied to the innocent animal and not to the offerer. Your same line of reasoning would call that stupid too! If the wrath was "eternal" fire, instead of temporal, then you better find an INNOCENT substitute or you will never finish your sentence of condemnation.

    [snip]

    Your reasoning here is unbelievable! You talk about twisted logic and about putting the cart before the horse, this takes the cake! The truth is God cannot forgive sin which has not been paid for in full and until it has been paid in full there is no forgiveness -that is why Christ came and died! Payment first, remission second is the correct Biblical order. God forgives prior to the cross based upon the promise of full payment of sin and so the payment is still the basis for remission of sin.


    No,what you have is WORDS that [snip] contradict their biblical meaning [snip].

    No, Jesus is the substitutionary representative in our place (the elect) who provided the complete satisfaction of the Law's righteousness as the spotless lamb of God and its penal condemnation on the cross but we continue as children of wrath even as others until we are "created in Christ Jesus" as the Second Adam (Eph. 2:10).

    (edited - ad hominem removed)
     
    #10 The Biblicist, Feb 4, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2017
  11. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    As it stands, there are at least two views here (probably three as you are anti-Reformed and I’m fairly sure Y1 considers his views reformed). I represent my view. What I have done is to ask how, via Scripture (not a system you feel implied by certain verses or situations, but by Scripture itself) the idea of Penal Substitution you hold has merit. All that you need to do is answer that question (no need to insult other people, just stick with the doctrine….and you have no idea what I believe, so we can nip those assumptions in the bud right now).

    But let's begin with first things first - Show me in Scripture where "forgiveness" of a debt or a wrong is defined as an act only after full payment or restitution has been demanded and paid in full. You do not need to provide the text and no commentary is necessary, I have a Bible. Just the exact passage.

    Thank you.
     
  12. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist Well-Known Member
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    Oh, you mean like "I think that is stupid" implying the person is stupid? Or "what you present is simplistic fairy tale" implying the person lives in lah lah land? Perhaps you should have done some self-editing too?


    How convenient! I simply cite a text and then you provide the commentary! Sorry, but you don't get to set the rules here on this forum. I will not play that kind of silly game! Don't tell me what I can or can't do.

    No, you don't get to change the discussion as here is what you said:

    How can God forgive our sins without having someone bearing our sins and experiencing the wrath of God for those sins as the due penalty? This is a trick question. God cannot forgive what has already been paid in full, and demanding full payment in order to forgive a debt is not forgiveness. - Jon

    The whole Levitical sacrificial system is set up on that very principle and you know it! The sacrifice is made and remission follows. Do I reeeeeeaallllly need to cite such passages? So I cite the passages and you reinterpret them into your system of thinking.

    Le 4:20 And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them.

    Le 4:26 And he shall burn all his fat on the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.

    Le 4:31 And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet smell to the LORD; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.

    Le 5:18 And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with your estimation, for a trespass offering, to the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and knew it not, and it shall be forgiven him.

    Le 6:7 And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he has done in trespassing therein.

    Le 19:22 And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the LORD for his sin which he has done: and the sin which he has done shall be forgiven him.

    In each case the sin was committed first. Second, atonement followed for that sin. Third, the future tense "shall be" follows in regard to forgiveness. The sacrificial system is set up to picture the atonement of Christ for sin.
     
    #12 The Biblicist, Feb 4, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
  13. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Not at all. I was asking Y1 (and then you, since you entered the conversation) to explain how one arrives at his position using Scripture. It is your position, not mine.
    To clarify, “ad hominem” is when someone argues against a person rather than the position they are maintaining. I don’t care what you believe I was implying. You are wrong. To clarify, it is an asinine conclusion to take my conclusion that that my own illustration is “stupid” or that another is “a simplistic fairy tale” to mean that the person is stupid or simplistic. And that is speaking of your conclusion being foolish, not you.

    It would be fair, and “adult like” for you to ask me to justify my comments (instead of assuming an intent). And I would have said that the example of a husband punching Joe in the noise is stupid for two reasons: it is unjust (justice is not the punishment itself, it is has in focus the offender) and it serves no purpose – and I never thought someone would seriously consider it justice (you were not in the conversation at the time). And the reason I referred the presentation as a “simplistic fairy tale” is it finds its origin not in Scripture but in RCC doctrine (it is reformed Catholic doctrine) – but as I stated I am open to being shown (via Scripture) otherwise.

    I don’t know you and frankly I do not care what you assume or infer. Here forward, however, you can KNOW that I am dealing with the position, argument, conclusion, or statement and not the person. If you find yourself confused here, please feel free to contact me and I will be more than happy to explain in an even more detailed manner.
    Of course not. That 's just mere smoke and mirrors. I agree that the Levitical system points to Christ. That's a given. But the sacrifice was not viewed (at least not in Scripture) as the object of God's wrath, taking the punishment of God for the sins of the people. Again you miss the point. Forgiveness is linked to the covenants. We all know this.

    I am trying to ask you these things in stages (step by step), not because I think that you are confused about your doctrine but because I do not see how you get from the beliefs of the early church (those statements you rejected as “the wrong definitions” were not mine – I took them directly from Scripture) to where we find arrive a century and a half later.

    Ephesians 4:31-32 (We are to be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving each other just as God in Christ has forgiven us); Matthew 6:14-15 (if we forgive, God will forgive us); Luke 11:4 (forgive us, God, as we forgive others); 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (Love does not take into account a wrong).

    If we remove Reformed ideas that developed from theories of a “divine penance”, then how do we arrive at your understanding? That is what I am asking – based on Scripture (and apart from Catholic doctrine) how do you get the idea that God had to demand payment in full for sin before he could forgive sin? Not that we did not need redemption, not that our sins needn't be atoned for, but that God's wrath can be diverted but never truly appeased. Where is this framework in Scripture?
     
    #13 JonC, Feb 5, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  14. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Y1,

    I apologize if my illustration (that it would be “stupid” for the husband to punch Joe for Mike’s offense towards his wife) and my comment that your explanation seems to be a simplistic fairy tale (conveying a truth but illustration than fact) struck the wrong cord with you. I did not mean offense, certainly not that anyone would misunderstand me to be speaking to anything beyond the position you are defending.

    I think that this could be a wonderful topic, and my questions here are sincere. If there is another way to arrive at your conclusion, based on Scripture, then I will once again ask for an explanation. As it stands, I do see your context as a derivative of the RCC doctrine of penance but altered from "penance" to "exact punishment".

    The difference between this and my own position is that I believe Christ took the wrath of God directed at mankind in such a way that the consequences of sin may be forgiven individual men - God being both Just and Justifier of sinners. Christ's death, in this manner, made salvation possible for all mankind but effectual for those who would believe, as Jesus becomes the "Last Adam", the representative or head of those who are saved.

    I simply do not see how you arrive at your context and am asking for an explanation.

    Again, Scripture speaks of God as loving the world by sending his Son that whoever believes will be saved. The Father offers his Son as a guilt offering, lays our iniquity on his Son, Jesus bears our sins, becomes a sin offering for us, willingly lays down his life and goes to the cross, becomes a curse for us (cursed is anyone who is hanged on a tree), and the work of the Cross is both penal and substitutionary. No issue there. The Levitical system was established by God, pointing to this work as an act of faith and obedience (1 Sam. 15:22). No issue with the Levitical system either. Christ (the Lamb) was obedient even to the death of the cross.

    My question is how we get from the broader context of the early church, the early teachings, the early context to a context that is constrained by taking the illustration of a courtroom literally. How do we get to the point where we view Atonement as God punishing Jesus with the punishment set aside for others (individually) in order that he will be able to forgive the sins for which that punishment was reserved?
     
  15. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I apologize for what is obviously a poor articulation on my part. I am finding it difficult to ask how you arrive at one point without it appearing that I hold a position foreign to my belief. Trying to afford each view the legitimacy it deserves (as a view, not necessarily as the correct view) can be a little precarious.

    What you have done in your reply is point out one of these faults. I am not questioning the order of sin, repentance, and forgiveness. Even at the most basic (which is probably the best), Jesus commanded “repent and believe”. I agree with you that the Levitical system was established by God, pointing to the ministry and continued ministry of Christ. I also, of course, believe that sin is committed, then atonement, and then forgiveness. This is not what I was asking, and again, I take the blame for how I presented the question, not you for how you answered it.

    You have worked out your theology. This has been clear from several discussions, arguments, and even agreements that we have had in the past. As it stands, I affirm much of what you affirm in that Christ’s work was both penal (it had God’s wrath in view, the punishment or consequence for our sin) and it was substitutionary (Jesus is the atoning sacrifice, the propitiation). That said, there are theories that come from a penal substutionary atonement that are, in my opinion, extreme and without warrant. My opinion is based on the fact that I do not see where the ideas could originate in Scripture, but I do see where the ideas could originate historically. So I thought that I would simply ask.

    Your position places the Atonement within the context of a court of law setting. I agree that this setting is often used in Scripture, but I do not believe it is comprehensive as your view seems to make it be (often these were images and analogies, but in your position it seems to form the entire context of atonement).

    My question is how we get there from Scripture. How do we get the idea that God must punish someone for a wrong, even if that someone is not the guilty party? How did we even arrive at the idea that “sin debt” can exist apart from the sinner so that another could experience that punishment? How did we arrive at the idea that divine justice cannot forgive upon repentance, provided it is within the terms of God’s expressed covenant with man? I see how we can get there through secular means, but I do not see it in Scripture. I am not saying you are wrong, and I am definitely not saying that you are correct (I strongly believe otherwise), but I am asking you to explain at least how this worldview (which I view as unbiblical) is in fact founded in Scripture.

    When I joined this board back in 2001 it was for these types of discussions. I still believe that they can be had, honestly. So I ask again, how do we get there via Scripture. We may never agree, but I would like to at least understand how you support the context that you apply to the atonement.
     
  16. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist Well-Known Member
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    Ok, without being pretentious and vindicating, you have taken a positive step and I will respond likewise. I could have handled it better also.

    Your question goes right to the root of the meaning of "substitution" and why there is even need of a substitute. Apart from a legal forensic context no such substitute is necessary. The law is the basis for all that follows is it not? If there was no law there would be no sin and if no sin, no need of the cross, no need of substitutionary penal atonement at all. They stand or fall together and are wholly based upon law. So the issue and problem is a forensic one altogether and when you take any aspect out of a law context it becomes confusion and meaningless. You can't cut out anything between the head and tail without killing the animal altogether. It is in contrast to this legal forensic context of condemnation that justification must be contrasted and defined. Justification has no meaning apart from this legal context.

    So the legal issue is how can sinners be justified before God since it is God's Law that has condemned them in the first place unless the law's demands are somehow satisfied justly. Justice demands an eternal penalty. Therefore, the condemned cannot do anything to satisfy the Law's demand except serve that penalty which never ends. That means justification is not possible in the case of the sinner. God's solution is found in substitution of a person who is not condemned by the law, which means he must be declared righteous by the Law to be a fit substitute. That is why every sacrificial animal had to be "without spot or blemish" or else it could NOT serve as a symbol of the divine substitute for sinners. Hence, substitution requires satisfaction of both the righteousness the Law which defines "good" as prerequisite to even be qualified to take the place of the sinner in receiving due justice as prescribed by law. Where there is no declared legal righteousness there is no legal substitution for condemnation.
     
  17. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I understand what you to be saying is that Jesus substituted himself for us on legal grounds and within a law-court setting. What I did not take into account was that our disagreement over “righteousness”, but I do see that your view necessitates a “moral righteousness” (something I had missed on our previous discussion).

    I understand you to be viewing imputed righteousness as God rendering a “verdict” of not guilty because the debt owed (the “sin debt”) was paid at the Cross by Jesus as our substitute. The punishment that was due us (those who are saved) is inflicted on the Son and our sins are no longer accounted.

    I agree that the atonement goes to the root of the meaning of “substitution” and why there is even a need of a substitute. I strongly disagree that this need only exists with the context of the forensic theory, although perhaps it does not exist in the same way. For example, the earliest position evidenced in church writings seem to confirm both substitutionary and penal aspects of the atonement while focusing its reality more on the fulfillment of Genesis 3:14-15. I believe that most who hold even extreme Penal Substitution theories also confirm the truths of other theories (the difference is often in emphasis).

    For my part, based on God’s covenant with man, as foreshadowed in the Levitical system, the redemption of mankind necessitated a “spotless Lamb”. This is Jesus, laying down his life not because of moral obligation but out of faithful obedience to the Father. This “redemption” goes much deeper than meeting a legal requirement. A representative of man, a new “head”, was needed. God’s Word necessitated a substitutionary atonement, but one where the Substitute was also a member of the group. As the head, or representative of mankind, Jesus stands in our place.

    But the question remains, why is the context one of the law-court. Why is the wrath being poured out the punishment for sins foreign to Christ himself rather than simply the Father laying our iniquities upon Him (similar in picture to Abraham and Isaac) by offering His Son as a guilt offering? In other words, I do not understand why the emphasis is so strong on our individual sins in a moral/legal sense instead of focusing on God and His glory/mercy as He sacrifices of Himself, the Father offering the Son, the Son obediently laying down His life.

    I still do not see the forensic theory as being justified through Scripture. There are a few issues that are just problematic for me. One we have already touched on. I understand that under the covenant the sinner repents and offers a sin offering (pointing to Christ) for his sins to be covered. But I see this as obedience through faith, not symbolic of the debt being demanded/fulfilled and then forgiven.

    Again, if I am not expressing this well, please forgive me. I am trying to do my best to voice my concern here. The notion of a moral and legal requirement that someone must pay the sin debt itself does not seem to follow Scripture. Part of this, however, is that I do not believe salvation to have the law or morality in mind. I think it has always been about faith, not the Law.

    Also, Deuteronomy 21:22-23 is a part of the Law. This passage gives instructions for those who have been deemed worthy of death, and he is put to death by hanging him on a tree. His corpse was to be buried the same day so as not to defile the land because he who is hanged is accursed of God. Paul reaches back to this curse and applies it to Jesus – He redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: “Cursed is anyone who is hung on a tree” (Galatians 3:13). I do not know that it is correct to say that Jesus was not “condemned under the Law”. Paul tells us that this is exactly what occurred. This fits, I believe, within the covenant understanding rather than a moral/legal understanding (Jesus falls under a curse, condemned, by the Law but still without sin. I don’t know if this can happen under the forensic theory if based on morality or the Law).
     
  18. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    As I study Scripture the idea of the Atonement existing within the law-court just seems off to me. Years ago, when I was young and had better things to do but was too young to know it, I read The Satyricon translated by J.P. Sullivan (not the J.P. Sullivan of Monsters Inc., but another one). In the translation Habinnas asks why Fortunata is not at the table and after hearing an explanation says that unless she sits down he is “shagging off”. We are talking about something probably written during the reign of Nero, and the character is saying he is “shagging off”. The word choice just didn’t seem right to me (made me think of Scooby-Doo).

    The idea that the atonement, and since you mention it, righteousness itself, being based on the Law and an issue of morality (granted, with God as the standard) seems not quite right as well. Jesus’ baptism to “fulfill all righteousness”, men’s sin “apart from the Law”, Abraham’s righteousness by faith, God’s “righteousness apart from the Law”. All of this seems ill suited for an atonement that is intently concentrated within a law-court context.

    We may never agree (in fact, I doubt that we will) on this issue. I just thought that there could be value in exchanging our reasoning. If what you have presented here is your best argument and support for your belief that God punished Jesus with the punishment reserved for individual sins of others, and in this way their “sin debt” was paid, allowing God to forgive that sin, then this is all I can as for. I disagree, both with the evidence (that it is suitable) and with the conclusion. But at least I know the foundation upon which your doctrine rests.
     
  19. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    You and I discussed this issue in some depth a year or two back. I suppose I am one of those whom you consider to espouse 'extreme' views on the subject.

    However, the reason why the context is one of the law courts is that 'justify' (Hebrew tsadaq, Greek dikaioo) is primarily a legal term. I refer you to Exodus 23:7; Deuteronomy 25:1; 1 Kings 8:32; Proverbs 17:15; Isaiah 5:23. To justify is a legal term meaning to declare someone righteous and is the opposite of to condemn.

    So Romans 3:21-31 is very important here. If God regards justifying the wicked as an 'abomination,' how can He justify wicked sinners like us? How can we be 'justified freely by His grace' (Romans 3:24) without God breaking His own law and becoming an abomination to Himself? Christ was therefore set forth as a 'propitiation' (a sacrifice that turns away wrath) 'to demonstrate at the present time [God's] righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who believes in Jesus' (v.26). God has punished sin, but He has done so in His own dear spotless innocent Son. He has taken the punishment that we deserve. He has drained the cup of God's wrath against sin to the dregs (Psalm 75:8; Matthew 26:42) so that 'there is now therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus' (Romans 8:1), and that 'the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us......' (v.4).
     
  20. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    No, I don't consider you extreme. I have encountered some people who are so confined by a theory they deny anything it doesn't encompass, including Scripture. That is what I mean by "extreme". You and I just disagree (here and with the meaning of "forsake", if I recall correctly).

    The irony is that we both demand Scripture of the other yet the Scriptures we provide are the same. I am working through your post, and it is clear to me the difference is not Scripture.

    I agree we are dealing with 'legal" terms. But what I see as covenantal ("legal" in a contractual sense) others see as moral and based on the Law. So I agree completely with the passages you offer, but I end up with a different conclusion.

    I am interested in why we interpret the context so differently.
     
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