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Penal Substitution

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Martin Marprelate, Oct 23, 2017.

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  1. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Penal Substitution

    First, a definition: ‘The doctrine of Penal Substitution states that God gave Himself in the Person of His Son to suffer instead of us the death, punishment and curse due to fallen humanity as the penalty of sin’ (Pierced for our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution by Jeffrey, Ovey and Sach. IVP. ISBN 978-1-84474-178-6).

    I promised some time ago to summarize the theological and Biblical evidence for Penal Substitution. The temptation is simply to quote Isaiah 53:5-6 and finish there since these verses are perfectly clear and comprehensive. However, since more evidence is required of me, I give it below. This may be quite a long series of posts and I apologize for that, but the doctrine is so vital for the proper understanding of the Christian faith that it is worth spending some time upon it.

    Penal Substitution is rooted in the character of God as He revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6-7. “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding with goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty.” Immediately the question arises, how can God be merciful and gracious, how can He forgive iniquity, transgression and sin without clearing the guilty? How can He clear the guilty if He abounds with truth—if He is a ‘just Judge’ (Psalm 7:11)? How can it be said that, ‘Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed’ unless God can simultaneously punish sin and forgive sinners? The answer is that ‘God……devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him’ (2 Samuel 14:14). Those means are Penal Substitution. “Learn ye, my friends, to look upon God as being as severe in His justice as if He were not loving, and yet as loving as if He were not severe. His love does not diminish His justice nor does His justice, in the least degree, make warfare upon His love. The two are sweetly linked together in the atonement of Christ” (C.H. Spurgeon).

    Right at the start of the Bible (Genesis 2:16-17) we have a direct command to Adam, Adam, the ‘first man’ (1 Corinthians 15:47): ‘And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree in the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”’ The command is accompanied by a penal sanction-- death. Yet we know that in the Bible death is not restricted to simply the end of existence. ‘….It is appointed to men to die once, but after this the judgement’ (Hebrews 9:27).

    In Genesis 1:28, we see that God blessed His creation; marriage, child-bearing and work are specifically mentioned in that verse as part of this blessing. But at the Fall in Genesis 3, the blessings are turned to curses. Childbirth is marked by pain, the marriage bond is marred, and work becomes hardship and struggle, with death as the final inevitable result (Genesis 3:16-19). These are penal sanctions by God; they are His righteous response to sin. Sinful men and women are not going to live in a perfect environment; every aspect of it has been marred by sin. ‘For the whole creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope’ (Romans 8:20).

    So both our lives and our deaths are subject to the curse because of sin. We learn from Romans 5 that Adam was our federal head—what he did, we have done in him. Therefore just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because all sinned…..’ (v.12). God’s curse extends to mankind because we are every one of us sinners (eg. 2 Chronicles 6:36). We read in Psalm 7:11 that ‘God is a just Judge [therefore whomever God punishes for sin must be guilty of sin], and God is angry with sinners every day,’ and in Proverbs 17:15 we learn that ‘he who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to God.’

    So we come to the necessity of Atonement. We must be very careful in saying that God cannot do something, but the Scriptures tell us that God ‘cannot deny Himself’ (2 Timothy 2:13). In the light of Proverbs 17:15, God surely cannot become an abomination to Himself by justifying guilty sinners without a penalty for sin! Be it said that God is under no obligation to show mercy to sinful humans; the angels who sinned had no Redeemer but were ‘cast down to hell and delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgement’ (2 Peter 2:4). But if God, ‘according to the good pleasure of His will’ (Ephesians 1:5), has decreed mercy and salvation for a vast crowd of sinful men and women, it surely cannot be at the expense of His justice. Someone must pay the price and satisfy God’s justice and His righteous anger against sin.

    In the Scriptures we have the concept of the mediator, one who might fill up the gap between the outraged holiness of God and rebellious man (Isaiah 59:2). Job complained, “For He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him, and that we should go to court together. Nor is there any mediator between us who may lay his hand on us both.” But mediation requires a satisfaction to be made to the offended party. We see this is the book of Philemon. Here we have an offended party, Philemon, whose servant has run away from him, perhaps stealing some goods as he went; an offending party, Onesimus, and Paul who is attempting to mediate between them. Onesimus needs to return to his master, but fears the sanctions that may be imposed upon him if he does so. Paul takes these sanctions upon himself: ‘But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account. I, Paul, am writing with my own hand. I will repay…..’ (Philemon 18-19). Whatever is wanting to propitiate Philemon’s anger against his servant and to effect reconciliation, Paul the mediator willingly provides. In the same way, the Lord Jesus has become a Mediator between men and God (1 Timothy 2:5).

    In 2 Corinthians 5:19, we learn that God does not impute trespasses against His people; in Christ; He has reconciled the world [believing Jew and Gentile alike] to Himself. How has He done this? Through the Mediator Jesus Christ. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us….’ (v.21). The Lord Jesus has taken our sins upon Himself and made satisfaction to God for them. Therefore the message of reconciliation can be preached to all.

    A similar concept is that of a surety. This is someone who guarantees the debts of a friend and must pay them in full if the friend defaults. There are several warnings in the Book of Proverbs against becoming a surety (Proverbs 6:1-5; 11:15; 17:18), since one is making the debts of one’s friend effectively one’s own, yet we read in Hebrews 7:22, ‘By so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.’ More on that verse presently
     
    #1 Martin Marprelate, Oct 23, 2017
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  2. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Part Two


    In the Old Testament, animal sacrifices were made to God for the sins of the people. We read over and over again that creatures to be offered had to be without blemish (Leviticus 1:3 etc., etc.). ‘It must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it’ (Leviticus 22:21). Given that He is the fulfilment of the O.T. sacrifices (Hebrews 9:11-15 etc.), the physical perfections of the sacrificed animals speak of the moral and spiritual perfections of Christ. 1 Peter 1:18-19 speaks of ‘….the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.’ So it was necessary for the Lord Jesus to live the life that Adam failed to live-- the life of perfect obedience to the Father’s will (Psalm 40:8). And this ‘Active Obedience’ is not a notional thing; it had to be lived out in the most practical way. Hence, ‘immediately’ after His baptism, ‘the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness’ (Mark 1:12-13) for an encounter with Satan. He must succeed where Adam fell.


    God’s law makes two inexorable demands: ‘Do this and live’ (Leviticus 18:5; Galatians 3:12), and ‘The soul that sins shall die’ (Ezekiel 18:4). The first demand our Lord has met in His perfect obedience. He was made ‘under the law’ (Galatians 4:4) and fulfilled it (Matthew 5:17). His obedience has been placed to the credit of His people (Romans 5:19) and they are now made ‘the righteousness of God in Him’ (2 Corinthians 5:21).


    For the second demand, we need to look again at Hebrews 7:22: ‘By so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.’ Christ is specifically designated in Scripture as ‘the last Adam’ (1 Corinthians 15:45) and we are told that the first Adam was a ‘type [or ‘figure’] of Him who was to come’ (Romans 5:14). ‘For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive’ (1 Corinthians 15:22). All those in Adam perish in their sins; all those in Christ are united to Him in His perfect righteousness.


    Who are those ‘in Christ’? Those He came to save; those who were given to Him by the Father before time began. “Christ came not to strangers but to ‘brethren’ (Hebrews 2:11-13). He came here not to procure a people for Himself, but to secure a people already His” (A.W. Pink). There are many supporting texts for this, e.g. Matthew 1:21; John 6:39; 10:27-29; 17:2, 6; Ephesians 1:4. Christ is united federally to His people. They are ‘chosen in Christ’ (Ephesians 1:4), ‘Created in Christ’ (Ephesians 2:10); ‘circumcised in Him’ (Colossians 2:11) and ‘made the righteousness of God in Him' (2 Corinthians 5:21). But as Surety, the Lord Jesus must also pay the debt of His people, and if they are to be freed from their debt, He must pay the very last penny (Matthew 5:26).

    So we come to the concept of the cup of God’s wrath. In Gethsemane, our Lord prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). What was this cup which the Lord Jesus dreaded so much to drink? It is the cup of God’s wrath. ‘For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red. It is fully mixed and He pours it out; surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth drink’ (Psalm 75:8; c.f. Isaiah 51:17, 22; Jeremiah 13:13; 25:15; Ezekiel 23:32-34; Revelation 14:9-10 etc.). It represents God’s righteous judgement against a wicked world. This cup the Lord Jesus must drink down to the very dregs. All the wrath and punishment due to those whom He came to save was poured out on Him. ‘And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all’ (Isaiah 53:6). ‘Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree….’ (1 Peter 2:24). ‘It pleased the LORD to crush Him; He has put Him to grief’ (Isaiah 53:10). Why would it please the Father to bruise or crush His beloved (Luke 3:22 etc. ) Son? Because by His suffering, the Son magnified God’s law and made it honourable. Sin was punished in full, so that God ‘might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus’ (Romans 3:26).

    We learn in the Scriptures two things that the Lord Jesus became on our behalf. He became sin ‘for us’ (2 Corinthians 5:21), and He became a curse ‘for us’ (Galatians 3:13). First, He became sin. ‘For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.’ So God the Father made the sinless Christ to be sin on our behalf. What does this mean? Well, it does not mean that Christ was made a sinner; He was never that! It means that all the sins of God’s elect were imputed to Christ-- that is, laid to His account (c.f. Isaiah 53:6), and He has paid the penalty for them (Isaiah 53:5). At the same time, His perfect righteousness and obedience to His Father’s will are credited to us who believe. This is what Luther termed the ‘Great Exchange.’ The sinless One made sin, and sinners made righteous through the cross.

     
    #2 Martin Marprelate, Oct 23, 2017
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  3. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Part Three

    It has been suggested that Christ was not made ‘sin’ in 2 Cor. 5:21, but a ‘sin offering.’ There are three reasons why this suggestion should be rejected:

    Firstly, hamartia, the Greek word translated ‘sin’ never means ‘sin offering’ in the New Testament, though it sometimes does elsewhere.

    Secondly, hamartia occurs twice in the verse, and it would be strange if it had two meanings in one sentence; but to say, “God made Him who knew no sin offering to be a sin offering for us” makes no sense.

    Thirdly, in John 3:14, the Lord Jesus declares, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of man must be lifted up……” The reference is, of course, to Numbers 21:8-9, where Moses made a ‘fiery serpent,’ lifted it up on a pole, and everyone who looked upon it was cured of snake-bite. The serpent is clearly some sort of type of the Lord Jesus, but what sort? Well where do we see in Scripture a red, fiery serpent? Well in Revelation 12:3, we are introduced to ‘A great fiery red dragon’ who, in verse 9, is seen to be the serpent, alias Satan himself. So how is Satan a type of Christ? He is a type of Christ made sin for us. The Lord Jesus was manifested to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 2:8). The primary satanic work was the luring of mankind into sin. Christ was made the very epitome of sin for us, figured by the brazen serpent, and paid the penalty of His people’s sin in full, so that ‘the accuser of our brethren…..has been cast down’ (Revelation 12:10). Satan can no longer accuse Christians of sin because Christ has taken away their sin debt, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14) marked tetelestai, ‘Paid in Full’ (John 19:20; c.f. Matthew 17:24). Therefore ‘Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies; who is he who condemns?’ (Romans 8:33-34).

    Next, we come to Galatians 3:10-13. God’s law pronounces a curse on law-breakers: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them’ (v.10; c.f. Deuteronomy 27:26; James 2:10). We ourselves are cursed, for none of us have continued in God’s holy law. But, ‘Christ has delivered us from the curse of the law….’ How has He done that? ‘…..having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”’ (v.13; Deuteronomy 21:23). In God’s law it is written, so, as Luther says, ‘Christ hung on a tree; therefore Christ was accursed of God’ (Luther: Commentary on Galatians).

    So what does it mean to be ‘accursed of God’? Let Paul answer first: ‘These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power’ (2 Thessalonians 1:10). And then the Lord Jesus: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell” (Luke 12:4-5; c.f. Matthew 25:41). So what does hell feel like? Well, we may think of darkness, pain and, according to Paul, separation from the presence of God, save perhaps for His abiding wrath. We may add, perhaps, the mocking and abuse of others (c.f. Isaiah 14:10-11). All these things came upon the Christ. Of the pain it is hardly necessary to speak, save to note that it could not be diminished in any degree. Our Lord was offered wine mixed with myrrh, but He would not take it (Mark 15:23); it was an analgesic, but He must suffer the full agony of sin and the wrath of the Father against sin.

    Of the darkness, we note that, ‘When the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour’ (Mark 15:33). By this time I suppose that the two thieves had fallen silent; the crowd had dispersed; even the Pharisees had got bored with mocking and gone home, and John had taken our Lord’s mother into his own house (John 19:27). The Lord Jesus hung alone—so utterly alone that about the ninth hour He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Hitherto, He had enjoyed the closest imaginable relationship with the Father (Mark 1:11; 9:7; John 8:29; 16:32). Even in Gethsemane, when He was almost overcome with the prospect of the horror that was approaching Him, the Father sent an angel to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43). But now, on the cross, His greatest extremity He must endure alone. He was ‘made sin’ and the Father, whose eyes are too pure to look upon sin, turned away from Him. I know that some people find this hard to accept, but it must be true because the Holy Spirit has preserved His words for us. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent” (Psalm 22:1-2). Although it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon, it was the ‘night season’ for darkness had fallen upon the land, as if to hide the shame of the God-man made sin. For those hours, as a Man, He was quite literally God-forsaken.

    But at the end of the ninth hour, the sun came out again. God’s outraged justice had been satisfied; propitiation had been made, save for the actual act of dismissing His spirit which followed almost at once. God could now be ‘just and the justifier of the one who believes in Jesus’ (Rom. 3:26). The way to heaven was now wide open, the veil was torn asunder, the one acceptable sacrifice for sin had been made.

    One question remains to be answered: how could Christ’s suffering, which lasted just a few hours, pay an infinite price? How could an infinite punishment be borne in a finite time? The answer is that an ordinary person, even if their sacrifice were acceptable to God, which is isn’t, would indeed need to suffer for an infinite period. But the Lord Jesus Christ was not an ordinary person. Just as sin against God is especially heinous because of His infinite worth and goodness, so Christ’s propitiation is of infinite value in the eyes of the Father because of His own infinite worth. Therefore the sufferings of Christ were infinite in value because He is infinitely worthy. Scripture attests that ‘by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified’ (Hebrews 10:14). Finally, the Father’s satisfaction with Christ’s atonement is proved by the fact that He raised Him from the dead.
     
    #3 Martin Marprelate, Oct 23, 2017
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  4. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Thank you for following up here. It seems that I’m the only one interested in the topic, but it is one I find fascinating. If you don’t mind, I’m going to take this slowly so that I can at least benefit from having my questions addressed rather than deal in generalities.

    Exodus 34:6-7 Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations."

    Does God by no means leave the guilty or the sin unpunished? There is a difference which is far more substantial than some have recognized. In other words, is this retributive justice (for example - I receive a parking ticket that justice demands be paid without regard as to who pays it) or is it restorative justice (for example – I kill someone, justice demands a penalty towards me and not the crime itself, one only I can pay that is restorative with society in mind).

    I believe that this is one difference – not that you or I reject the passages you have provided but that we are looking at them differently. Is there a reason to view Divine Justice as retributive? Does this constitute a wrong or injury to God as in a debt that must be collected rather than a state or status that must be addressed restoratively?
     
  5. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    I think this is answered quite easily. I am not any sort of Hebrew expert, but I believe the word translated 'clear' in the KJV and NKJV translation of Exodus 34:7 is naqah which means to declare innocent. That can only apply to people. If this does not satisfy, you may wish to consider Psalm 7:11. 'God is a just Judge; and God is angry with sinners every day.'
     
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  6. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    That is my point. It seems to me that throughout Scripture divine justice is restorative with God in view and consequences directed at sinners themselves, but PSA takes the retributive posistion with God's justice demanding sins be punished ultimately without respect for the sinner.

    And I realize this may seem a small matter, but everything you posted in terms of PSA hinges on this one issue. If Divine Justice is not retributive then PSA is false at the start. Before we look at the passages as proof of PSA we need to validate the mode of justice that theory assumes.
     
  7. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    I'm inclined to think that this is a rather large red herring and that you are creating a false dichotomy. Penal Substitution doesn't take that position at all. God's hatred is against sin, but His justice is against the sinner. I'd like you to deal with Romans 3:25-26. How can God be just and yet justify sinners?
     
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  8. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    It could very well be my understanding/misunderstanding of PSA - I will grant that.

    Here is how I view PSA -

    Divine Justice demands that God punish sin (sin cannot go unpunished). God therefore cannot simply forgive (i.e., simple forgiveness) because the demands of justice must be met. Jesus therefore stands in our place. God punishes Jesus with the punishment due the sins of the elect. Jesus is in this way our "sin bearer" and God is both just (as He punished sin by punishing Christ) and the justifier of sinners. This is what I mean by PSA assumes retributive justice.

    In what way have I misrepresented PSA?

    I believe Romans 3:21-26 is literal. God's righteous has been manifested apart from the Law, witnessed by the Law and the prophets. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and justification is a gift through the redemption which is Christ Jesus - Whom God displayed as a propitiation - or an atoning sacrifice that appeases/turns aside God's wrath - in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate God's righteous so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. This also points to our hope in Christ and a bodily resurrection (as Paul focuses on later in his argument).
     
  9. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    So what is your problem? What are we arguing about? :)
     
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  10. TCassidy

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    That is my understanding also. And the only alternative to Penal Substitution is the Ransom Theory where Christ had to pay a ransom to Satan to buy back our souls, and the defeat of Satan is due to our following the exemplary example of Christ in obedience and sacrifice. (A theory I find reprehensible.)
     
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  11. JonC

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    I do not believe PSA as I have described to accurately represent Scripture.

    I think our disagreement, again, goes back to assuming retributive justice. Under this assumption God is just because He punishes sin by punishing His Son for the sinful acts of men (rather than punishing the men who committed those acts). But this is an assumption PSA seems to be take for granted. If divine justice is restorative then God would be unjust to punish Christ for the sins of those He is redeeming - so it's a big assumption. I say it is restorative because throughout Scripture it seems (to me) to be this way - i.e. judgment is upon the sinner, sins are manifestations of one's sinfulness.
     
  12. JonC

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    I'm glad at least we are on the same page (that I adequately comprehend PSA...at least that's a start :Biggrin ).

    We probably need to keep in mind that the Ransom theory has not always been a ransom paid to Satan (Origen's theory). Some have posed it as a ransom paid to sin and death (whatever that really means) and others simply a ransom paid (without one to receive payment....i.e., a purchase or redemption). I am not advocating a ransom theory here, but I also do not object to the language that we were purchased with a price.

    Other alternatives include Christus Victor, satisfaction, ontological substitution, etc. Several of these appear at least to introduce less into the biblical text. That said, I am content with a ransom theory in that we were randomed from sin and death (the point being the price paid).
     
  13. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    I have given this some more thought, but I still think that you are presenting a false dichotomy.
    We have seen that 'God is angry with sinners every day,' but it is equally true that 'your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear' (Isaiah 59:2). The idea that God is actually not all that bothered about sin, but only about sinners does not stand up to Scripture for a moment. 'You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look upon wickedness' (Habakkuk 1:13). It is not the sinners upon whom God cannot look; it is the sins they commit.

    On the other hand we have Isaiah 12:1. 'In that day you will say, "O LORD, I will praise You; though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away and You comfort me."' 'That day is evidently the day of Christ (11:1-2). Through what Christ has done by becoming our salvation (v.2) God's anger is turned away from sinners.

    Therefore you are presenting a false dichotomy between God's wrath against sin and sinners.
     
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  14. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I'm not presenting a dichotomy at this point, false or otherwise, although I do believe one exists. When we look at the OT sacrificial system sins are always (insofar as I can tell) ontological to the nature of the sinner (wheather individual or corporate as a family unit or a nation). The issue is not sinful acts but the sinner whose nature those acts reveal. The innocent is never punished for the guilty (although there is corporate guilt, Scripture never addresses the sin independent of the guilty).

    I do not see justification for the type of justice PSA assumes in Scripture, and thus far no examples have been offered from Scripture that would fit into this category.

    Does what I am asking make sense?
     
  15. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    No. You cannot separate sin from those who commit sin.
    I have just started re-reading Sin-- the Plague of Plagues by the Puritan Ralph Venning. It is published by Banner of Truth as The Sinfulness of Sin. It is some years since I read it the first time.
    It takes as its text Romans 7:13. Has then what is good [the Law: v.12] become death to me? Certainly not! but sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.'
    Venning writes, 'I may illustrate the scope and meaning of all this by a common occurrence: it is as if a criminal said to the judge, "O my Lord, how cruel and unmerciful you are to condemn me to die!" "No," says the judge, "It is not I, it is the law. I am only the mouth of the law." "No," says the law, "It is not I, it is sin. If you had nor sinned, I would not have condemned, for the law is not against the righteous'"(1 Timothy 1:9).'
    It is sin that condemns, but it does not condemn the righteous, but sinners. 'You may then in me, as in a glass, see what a deadly, destructive and killing thing your sin is.......So, by the commandment, sin appears to be a desperate, malignant thing, the proper, true and only cause of man's condemnation and death.'
     
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  16. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Exactly. Because sins reveal the sinfulness of the sinner. God's wrath is not against the act of drunkenness but against the drunkard. But this is not how PSA deals with sins. As we already agreed, PSA demands sin be punished - not necessarily the sinner. The sin itself creates a demand against justice that must be satisfied.
     
  17. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    I simply don't know how you get this. God's wrath is against sin (e.g. Psalm 45:6-7), but sin does not exist apart from sinners. If there were no drunkards, there would be no drunkenness QED. False dichotomy again!
     
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  18. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    You are right. Scripture never divides the sin from the sinner (the fruit bears witness to the tree). We agree here. The dichotomy is with PSA and our conclusion here.

    PSA creates the division between sin and sinner as the sin itself creates a demand on God which must be satisfied.
     
  19. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    I do not see that it does in any way whatsoever. You will have to substantiate that remark.
     
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  20. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    PSA holds that Divine Justice demands sin be punished. On the Cross God punished Christ with the wrath due the elect for their sins. The sinner is forgiven because Another took their punishment and satisfied the demands of divine justice.

    Here divine justice is satisfied because Jesus was punished for the sins of sinners in their stead. The sin, not the sinner is the focus.

    Another way to prove the point is that PSA rejects the idea of simple forgiveness. God can't just forgive a sinner without punishing the sin because the sin itself constitutes a debt that must be satisfied. The debt itself is separate from the guilty individual as divine forgiveness includes collecting the debt in full (from one person in order to forgive another).

    This is retributive justice, and I just don't see that it is present in Scripture.
     
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