Jun 27, 2017

He Lives ~ Cleveland Baptist Church

Victory In Jesus ~ Cleveland Baptist Church

Shout For Joy!

The Coming Third Temple ~ Documentary

Filmed in the Old City of Jerusalem, this ground-breaking documentary investigates the research of renowned Biblical archaeologists, Bob Cornuke, David Seilaff and Earnest L. Martin who claim that Solomon and Herod's Temples never stood on the Haram al Sharif, also known as the Temple Mount. If they are right, then there is nothing to stop the Jewish people building their long awaited for Third Jewish Temple in the actual site where the Temples once stood. But is tradition too strong? We'll see.

8 Sins You Commit Every Time You Look at Porn ~ Tim Challies

8 Sins You Commit Every Time You Look at Porn
We know that pornography is an ugly and harmful sin. We know that those who indulge in porn have committed the sin of lust, but there is so much more to it than that. When you open your browser and begin to look at those images and videos, you are sinning in ways that go far beyond lust. Here are eight sins you commit when you look at porn.
You commit the sin of idolatry. All sin is idolatry, an attempt to find joy and satisfaction not in God himself but in what God forbids (Exodus 20:3-6). Matt Papa says it well: “An idol, simply put, is anything that is more important to you than God. It is anything that has outweighed God in your life—anything that you love, trust or obey more than God—anything that has replaced God as essential to your happiness.” In the moment you begin to look at porn, you have allowed it to replace God as essential to your happiness. You’ve committed the sin of idolatry.We know that pornography is an ugly and harmful sin. We know that those who indulge in porn have committed the sin of lust, but there is so much more to it than that. When you open your browser and begin to look at those images and videos, you are sinning in ways that go far beyond lust. Here are eight sins you commit when you look at porn.
You commit the sin of adultery. This is the most obvious sin you commit when you use porn. In Matthew 5, Jesus draws a clear connection between lust and adultery. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (27-28). Pornography is lust and exists to foster lust. But lust is simply a form of the wider sin of adultery, the deed or desire to be sexually involved with someone other than your spouse.
You commit the sin of deceit. Deceit is the act of concealing or misrepresenting your actions. Because pornography generates shame, you will hide it, cover it up or refuse to confess it. When you erase your browsing history to keep your parents from finding out, when you use it in secret to keep your spouse from learning about your addiction, when you refuse to proactively confess it to an accountability partner, when you participate in the Lord’s Supper even though you are unrepentantly given over to it, you are practicing deceit. And the Bible warns of the dire consequences: “No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes” (Psalm 101:7).
You commit the sin of theft. The porn industry is being badly damaged by piracy, by people illegally distributing copyrighted material. Some estimates say that for every one video that is downloaded legally, five are downloaded illegally. Fully 60 percent of all illegal downloads are of pornographic content. While we can be glad that the industry is in dire straights, we have no right to participate in such theft, for God says clearly, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15). When you use porn, you are almost definitely watching material that has been stolen and, in that way, you are participating in its theft.
You commit the sin of greed. Sexual sin is greed, a form of taking advantage of another person to defraud them of something that is rightly theirs. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul insists “that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter [of sexual sin], because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you” (6). The word translated “wrong” in this context refers to greedily taking something from someone else. It is to allow greed to motivate fraud, to unfairly and illegitimately use another person for your ignoble purposes.
You commit the sin of sloth. We are called in all of life to “redeem the time,” to understand that we live short little lives and are responsible before God to make the most of every moment (Ephesians 5:16). Sloth is laziness, an unwillingness to use time well, and reflects a willingness to use time for destructive instead of constructive purposes. In that way pornography is slothful, a misuse of time. It is using precious moments, hours and days to harm others instead of help them, to foster sin instead of kill sin, to backslide instead of grow, to pursue an idol instead of the living God.
You commit the sin of sexual assault. A person who drives a getaway car for a band of bank robbers will rightly be charged with murder for anyone who is killed in committing that crime. The person who voluntarily watches sexual assault for purposes of titillation is rightly guilty of that sexual assault. And a nauseating quantity of pornography is violent in nature, displaying men taking advantage of women. Sometimes these women have volunteered for such degradation and sometimes they are forced or raped into it. To watch such horrifying smut is to be a participant in it and to bear the moral blemish of it.
You commit the sin of ignoring the Holy Spirit. As a Christian, you have the tremendous honor and advantage of being indwelled by the Holy Spirit. One of the ways the Spirit ministers to you is in giving you an internal warning against sin. Paul assures that the Spirit warns against sexual sin in particular, then provides a stern caution: “Therefore whoever disregards this [warning], disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you” (1 Thessalonians 4:8). To commit sexual sin is to ignore the Holy Spirit, to actively suppress his voice as he warns that you need not and should not commit this sin. He provides everything necessary to resist this temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). To resist the Spirit and ignore his ministry to you is a serious offense against a holy God.
It is sinful to lust after another person and to enable this lust through pornography. Yet the sin bound up in pornography goes far deeper than mere lust. It extends to idolatry, adultery, deceit, theft, greed, sloth, sexual violence and ignoring the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:12 warns: “So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Thankfully, what God demands God provides, and he does so through the gospel. Those who have trusted Jesus Christ can have confidence that Christ has satisfied our account, that he has satisfied God’s wrath against our sin, that he has provided us with his own righteousness. Yet we must also know that he has done this not so we can remain in our sin, but that we can “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).
Tim Challies, a self-employed web designer, is a pioneer in the Christian blogosphere, having one of the most widely read and recognized Christian blogs. He is also editor of Discerning Reader, a site dedicated to offering thoughtful reviews of books that are of interest to Christians.

Jun 21, 2017

Summer 2017: A Season of Rest; "I AM WHO I AM"

Related:  He IS my EVERYTHING! ~ The Compound Redemptive Names of GOD

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So there you are, living out your ordinary, everyday existence and going about your average daily tasks.  Nothing, absolutely nothing has seemed extraordinary.  Your day is like any other "day in the life".

                                                 more work,
                                                                   more coffee
                                                                                      and then it's time to go home to chill for the evening and do it all over again tomorrow. Or perhaps for you it happened when you're out just walking the dog.  The dog is intent on smelling the bushes and dragging you along with him. Suddenly, "Voila" you are thrust into the most extraordinary 'Wizard-of Oz' spectacle that changes your life as you know it.

Something catches your eye, a flash of light, a reflection and when you investigate, you are cast into a situation that makes you captivated, afraid and full of wonder all at the same time.  Something unusual like I'm describing causes you to be too stunned to move and what you view is too captivatingly beautiful to look away.  It's so unusual in fact that all you can do is stare, with your mouth slightly agape.

Image result for st elmos fireThat hasn't happened often to me.  But in a lessor way (and not life-changing), at least several times a year (including last evening) while flying along in my Boeing I can somewhat relate to being dazzled unexpectedly.  Occasionally, I encounter a phenomenon known as St. Elmo's fire. The first time you see it, can seem terrifying, yet beautiful at the same time. It often occurs when I'm expecting it the least.  For the duration it appears, you find yourself totally captivated. If you listen, you might hear a slight hissing or buzzing sound.  Violet and bright blue mini-bolts of lightning-like strands of light-glow and an associated static discharge seem to dazzle and creep all around the front windshields.  I've encountered St. Elmo's in the vicinity of thunderstorm activity when the air is unstable.  I've randomly encountered it in the dry high arctic, thunderstruck prairie or during flight across the rainy Maritimes.  I never fail to be totally entertained by the phenomenon for a minute or two until it disappears altogether and is gone.  In fact it entertains pilots totally once you learn it is a harmless phenomenon.  "Hey, look at that! ...WOW that's amazing!  Rich violet here and look at the bright blue strands over there ...!"   ....and so on.  The electricity appears to be attracted to the current running through tiny wires embedded in our thus heated windscreen, The heated windows keep ice, snow and condensation off our required-vision areas.  

St Elmo's Fire is the same phenomenon that sailers have reported for centuries. Scientists attempt to explain it as "...the electric field causes ionization of the air molecules and produces a glow in low-light conditions, similar to a neon sign.  Earth's nitrogen and oxygen add the color or fluorescence."  And then it's gone.  And you sit smiling and reflect on the images left in your mind.  The northern lights as well are often similarly beautiful to see from the high arctic.

I want you to have those thoughts in your mind as we move into Chapter 3 in the the Book of Exodus. Here we find Moses in a mundane, mid-life time of his life.  We are drawn into this average, everyday scene in an average everyday way.  Suddenly, we see Moses' life become dazzled in a major way.  He's otherwise living out what has become his ordinary, everyday existence in Midian and going about his daily and routine tasks.  That would be...Sheep-herding! 

"Sheep-herding???  Me shepherding at over forty years old?  Where did I go so wrong?" He remarked to himself for the thousandth time that day, "...working for a living like this is way too hard.  Why didn't I back off when I had it so good?  Why did I have to mess up such a good thing?  ... I'm pretty sure they saw me do it."  He kept playing over and over the crime scene he'd run away from years back. "Had it not been for those Egyptians slowly killing my Israelite brothers, I'd never otherwise even think of killing him ~ In fact they were annihilating us as a race.  God let it happen for the past 400 years.  It was obvious He wasn't going to intervene, I had to take matters into my own hands to stop their oppression and bondage." Moses' reasoning was clear he reminded himself.

But other than his musings, to this point in his day, nothing, absolutely nothing seemed extraordinary. He had had this same conversation with himself for many years.  Instead he was now just a foreigner eeking out his living in a foreign land.  In fact it was quite hard.  Recently, he'd found it harder to locate good pasture for the growing herd and today he had wandered just a bit farther than usual into the wilderness.  Now he neared Mt. Horeb, hoping to stumble on a few juicy green pastures for his hungry livestock.  Like any mid-lifer, shepherd-guy, as he guided the sheep along, his thoughts were elsewhere.  He considered his new growing family a few miles away. He munched on the sandwich Zipporah had sent along with him. Together both of them spent alot of time raising Gershom their son. He chuckled to himself at the thought of his young son.  Gershom required quite a bit of attention.  As a growing boy, he seemed to ask so many questions and Moses seemed to always be explaining things to him.  As he hiked along, Moses also reflected on his childhood back in Egypt where he'd been Pharaoh's adopted son, raised in the lap of luxury.

Food, fashion, privilege & sophistication pretty much summed up his teen years. Young adult years gave way to an awareness of his Israelite heritage.  I guess you could say as he matured, there was an unspoken realization that he should be doing something about the plight of his Israelite brethern. But What?  How could he make a difference?  That WAS Moses! But now in mid-life things had taken a major turn and he found himself physically and metaphorically living out an "unplanned-for-desert experience". Yes, ...he now identified as just a sheepherder!

  • A "NOBODY" would be an accurate way to summarily dismiss this guy's life. 

So he continued his trekking, all alone in his self-lament, "...working for a living like this is way too hard.  I never really appreciated how good I had it back in Egypt ~ but after I killed that Hebrew-beater, I can't go back there!"  Absolutely nothing seemed extraordinary here.

... UNTIL he abruptly stopped in his tracks and just stared with his mouth agape.  He couldn't believe what he saw!  Something was burning about 500 feet away.  As he continued to stare, it looked like a bush.  As time went on the bush seemed totally unaffected by the flames.  It burned, but didn't burn up!  What was causing this?  St Elmos's fire?   A lightning strike?  A Bedouin campfire gone bad?
 ...the bible text draws us into the scene witnessed only by Moses.

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Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.
~ Exodus 3

The phenomenon initially stunned and yet attracted Moses. God had all of Moses' attention and began to reveal himself to this wilderness-bound shepherd, seemingly going nowhere in his life...as just a NOBODY.  As this beautiful story unfolds, God speaks to Moses of Who He Is and what He wants to do in Moses life.  It is both dramatic and prophetic.

  • Moses is about to see what God can do with a NOBODY!

So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

Curious and cautious, but not yet fearful he slowly walked towards the flaming bush. From somewhere deep within, he was astonished to hear Someone call him by name!  

4When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

In shock, Moses stopped dead in his tracks, but he really felt like running away to safety.  He felt his mouth fall ajar!  Who in the world is calling MY name? ... I'm miles away from being near any other people?  He stooped to loosen his sandals as the Voice commanded!  ...and yet the booming, commanding voice continued; Now Moses was suddenly very afraid!  At once Moses began to feel his legs tremble with raw fear while simultaneously a shiver went up then down his shaking spine!  Moses felt small and weak as the Voice boomed with it's authority.

 “I am the God of your father,a the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

 Moses is about to meet YAWEH, literally almost face-to-face.  This is actually a defining moment in biblical history.  The burning bush dialogue marks the beginning of God's direct intervention into the affairs of history.  Moses learns that he has been called by God himself to return to Egypt as Israel's Deliverer.  This direct call by God for Moses' obedience will be seen as integral to God's overall plan for mankind, and eventually will usher in the divine plan God has for mankind.  God's plan for mankind is ultimately to offer His own son Jesus 'The Lamb' as this Great Redemption Plan unfolds. The people from the lineage that the Messiah will descend from, are currently locked in bondage in the land of Egypt.  So God has to first find a qualified leader.  ...and then introduce himself to this shepherd.  It's sad to realize here that 400 years enslaved in Egypt have caused this now small NATION to have forgotten the God Who loved them.  Their faith had fizzled out.

This scene and it's narrative is also another biblical first.  This is the first time God has introduced himself in the more personal name Jehovah, or YAWEH in the Hebrew language.  As my personal name is Mark, God's 'personal' name is YAWEH.  (In your bible, YAWEH is always translated in the text as "LORD".)

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12And God said, “I will be with you.

It's fascinating to see how God chooses to introduce Himself.  It's similar to the way God introduced himself to me as a child of nine. Gradually, we learn God's BEING, TRUTH and REALITY.  God starts gradually, by telling Moses "I will be with you".  I can see Moses reaction in my minds eye.   "...so WHO ARE YOU?"  Moses is obviously thinking ahead ~ If he accepts this mission, what is Moses going to say in return when his Israeli brethren and even the Pharaoh question his motives in delivering them from Pharaoh's land. Immediately, they will want to know WHO sent Moses.

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”  

Moses is asking God what his name is.  God say's simply "I AM WHO I AM!".   At first God doesn't say his name.

I want to let Pastor John Piper's words take this story from here! :
YAWEH wants Moses to contemplate the fact that God just IS!   

Effectively, he says to Moses "BEFORE you worry and wonder about my name; BEFORE you reflect and compare ME with the now-fabled God of your forefathers, Abraham, Issac and Jacob; BEFORE you ponder the pagan gods of Egypt or ancient Babylonia ... and whether they are like ME or not...


  1. "Moses...I want you to know that I AM.           (God didn't answer saying his Name FIRST) "Moses, this is the most basic thing you need to know !!! This is foundational to knowing ME ~ Before knowing my Name!" ~ "I AM" 
  2. God builds a bridge from His BEING to His NAME.  The "One Who Is" is sending you Moses! 
  3. Finally, YAWEH tells Moses his Name!  YAWEH, (the LORD). 

God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,d the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’  
        “This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me from generation to generation." (v15).

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I like how Pastor/Theologian John Piper considers God's BEING.  Piper says, "I want you to consider ten things that God's Being, "I AM WHO I AM" means to us.  People who are stunned by the reality that "GOD IS", will be a people to whom God loves to come to!  Our triune God loves to stoop down to us in gracious power, where people are blown away by his BEING!  Here's what it means for God to BE God:

  1.  God's Absolute Being means He never had a Beginning. ~ He ALWAYS WAS! This staggers the mind!  A wise parent says to a questioning child, "Nobody made God; God has always BEEN"
  2. God's Absolute Being means God will NEVER end.  He won't go out of Being.  If he never came INTO BEING, He cannot GO OUT of BEING!
  3. God's Absolute Being means God is ABSOLUTE REALITY.  There is no reality BEFORE God; there is No REALITY outside of God (Unless God wills and creates it).  He is not one of many realities.  He is simply THERE; ABOLUTELY THERE!  He is all that was eternally; There was no SPACE, There was No Universe; There was no Emptiness, THERE WAS ONLY GOD.~ ...and that's all there ever was eternally, and there is no room for Emptiness ANYWHERE...Because there is NOWHERE.
  4. Gods' Absolute Being means God is utterly independent. He depends on NOTHING to bring Him into Being, to counsel Him or support Him, or to make Him what He IS. That is what the description of 'Absolute Being' means.  All other being is contingent and dependent ~ That's the opposite of Absolute or Independent. ...so God is Utterly INDEPENDENT!
  5. Gods' 'Absolute Being' means that everything that is not God, depends totally on God.  All that is not God is secondary.  The entire universe is SECONDARY and God Alone is PRIMARY! The Universe came into being by God and stays in being moment by moment by God, on God's decision to keep it in being.  It is utterly, totally fragile and dependent and secondary to God and God holds it in existense every millisecond of it's being.  If God changed his mind it would be NOTHING!
  6. God's Absolute Being all the universe by comparison to God is as nothing. Contingent, dependent reality is to Absolute Independent reality as a Shadow to a Substance; as an Echo to a Thundercloud; as a Bubble to the Ocean.  All that we see, all that we are so amazed by in this Universe is compared to God as NOTHING.                                                                          "Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless  and less than nothing. ~ Isaiah 40:17
    Unless those kinds of truths in the Bible concerning our majestic God land on you and have their appropriate effect, it will mean very little to you when He shows up to save those nations and die for them.  If you try to jump over the statement that they are 'NOTHING to Him', and get to the Cross where he pays the highest possible price for them YOU WON"T GET it. So many people do an end run around the truths in the Bible, on their way to what they are comfortable with!  When they get to where they are going, their foundations on which they stand are razor thin.  Is there any wonder that there are so many fragile Christians in the world?
  7.  God's Absolute Being means He is CONSTANT.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He can't be improved;  He is not becoming anything.  He Is Who He is;  There is no development in God.; There is no progress in God.  Absolute PERFECTION cannot be improved!
  8. God's Absolute Being means He is the Absolute Standard of Truth and Goodness and Beauty.  There is no law book to which he looks to determine what is Right and Just.  There is no almanac to establish the facts for God.  There is no Guild to determine what is excellent or beautiful in art, music or creation.  He Himself IS the Standard as to what is Right, what is True and what is Beautiful.
  9. God's Absolute Being means God does whatever He pleases.  It is always Right and always Beautiful.  There are no constraints on Him from outside that could hinder Him from doing what He pleases.   All Reality that is outside Him, He created, he Designed by Him, and He governs as that Absolute Reality.  He is utterly free from any constraints that don't originate in the counsel of His Own Will.  Therefore being absolutely free, He always does His Good Pleasure and it is always Right and Beautiful.
  10. God's Absolute Being means that he is the most Important and the Most Valuable Reality.  He is the most Important and the Most Important Person that IS.  He is Worthy of your Highest Interest, Your Greatest Attention, Your Deepest Admiration and Your Sweetest Enjoyments, including being Superior in all those ways to the whole Universe.  That is what we believe.  GOD IS. ~ John Piper

My Eyes Are Dry ~ Keith Green

My eyes are dry, my faith is old
My heart is hard, my prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to You and dead to me

Oh what can be done for an old heart like mine
Soften it up with oil and wine
The oil is You, Your Spirit of love
Please wash me anew in the wine of Your Blood

My eyes are dry, my faith is old
My heart is hard, my prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to You and dead to me

Oh what can be done for an old heart like mine
Soften it up with oil and wine
The oil is You, Your Spirit of love

Stuff Dads Never Say

Penal Substitutionary Atonement ~ from Theopedia

Ed's Note:  ...So your a keener, a budding theologian and you feel this article just isn't deep enough for you?  See this one ... The Logic of Penal Substitution ~ What Did The Cross Achieve? by J.I. Packer

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Penal substitutionary atonement

Penal substitutionary atonement refers to the doctrine that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. God imputed the guilt of our sins to Christ, and he, in our place, bore the punishment that we deserve. This was a full payment for sins, which satisfied both the wrath and the righteousness of God, so that He could forgive sinners without compromising His own holy standard.
The Penal-Substitution Theory of the atonement was formulated by the 16th century Reformers as an extension of Anselm's Satisfaction theory. Anselm's theory was correct in introducing the satisfaction aspect of Christ's work and its necessity; however the Reformers saw it as insufficient because it was referenced to God's honor rather than his justice and holiness and was couched more in terms of a commercial transaction than a penal substitution. This Reformed view says simply that Christ died for man, in man's place, taking his sins and bearing them for him. The bearing of man's sins takes the punishment for them and sets the believer free from the penal demands of the law: The righteousness of the law and the holiness of God are satisfied by this substitution.
Relevant Scripture
  • Isaiah 53:6 - "the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
  • Isaiah 53:12 - "yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors."
  • Romans 3:25
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 - "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
  • Galatians 3:13 - "Christ redeemed 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."
  • Hebrews 10:1-4
The penal aspect of the atonement is often a stumbling block to modern theology, yet some would say "it is the dominant Atonement imagery used in the Bible." [1] By way of contrast, those who hold to a Governmental theory of atonement not only deny the penal aspect of the atonement but also substitution in the normal sense of the word. To such people, Christ died not as a substitute for sinners but as a substitute for punishment.
Propitiation language
"The language of propitiation specifically implies God's hatred of sin and emphasizes the gracious work of Christ as sin-bearer (Rom. 3:25). The Bible further includes the forensic, legal language of justification (Rom. 3:20-26, 4:25, 5:16-18). These images make clear the reality of our guilt and the required penalty." Dever
See main article on Propitiation.

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Relation to other doctrines
The principle of penal substitution is held, by many of its proponents, to be the control through which all other views of the accomplishments of Christ on the cross are to be seen and the mechanic by which all other accomplishments work. Some examples of this are given below.
The cross as ransom. ~ Jesus is described as having paid our ransom on the cross; but this image only works because Jesus was paying our penalty in our stead. The cross as example. ~ Christians truly should be inspired by Christ's work on the cross to self-sacrifice; but this only happens because before our identification with Christ in his sufferings, Christ identified with us in our sin, bearing the punishment due in place of us. The cross as victory. ~ Christ's death and resurrection were real victories over sin and death and hell; but once again, we only take part in the victory of the Son of God by virtue of our union with him, we can only be united with him if our sin is dealt with, that can only happen by the punishment for our sin being borne, and that punishment was borne by Christ our substitute. The cross as reconciliation. ~ "...God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them..." (2 Cor. 5:19, ESV). The exchange being contemplated here is that our sins are taken away by Christ's death and thus, we are made acceptable to God.
For further explanation and clarification, see Stott's The Cross of Christ, which deals with this controlling imagery in some detail (pp. 168-203, 217-224, 231-239).
It is worth noting that a number of the critiques or cautions regarding Penal Substitution come from those who embrace it. Major proponents of Penal Substitution such as J. I. Packer, and James Denney have all critiqued various aspects of Penal Substitution.
  • Packer critiques any attempt to found it solely on human models of retributive justice and suggests that it be seen not as a mechanical explanation (how it works) but rather kerygmatically (what it means to us). ^[1]^
  • Denney critiques the idea that it is merely forensic and judicial, saying that these are impersonal cold terms. "Few things have astonished me more than to be charged with teaching a 'forensic' or 'legal' or 'judicial' doctrine of Atonement... There is nothing that I should wish to reprobate more whole-heartedly than the conception which is expressed by these words"^[2]^
However, these critiques are not aimed at debunking the theory, but rather to rescue it from its "cruder" forms of expression.

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Some note that it is not representative of the Early Church:  Gustav Aulen in his book Christus Victor argues that Penal Substitution is not rooted in a biblical understanding. He further argues that the early church father's primary model of the atonement was the dramatic image of Christ overcoming sin, death, and the devil which as come to be known as the "Christ Victor" view of the atonement^[3]^.
A majority of Evangelical theologians while they would give primacy to the Penal Substitution view acknowledge that Scripture has a number of ways of speaking of the atonement, of which Penal Substitution is one of many theories. One prominent example being John Stott in his classic "The Cross of Christ" ^[4]^
Other Evangelical theologians go a step further, while still affirming Penal Substitution, they have come to view the Christus Victor view of the Atonement as more central because it goes beyond dealing only with man's sin and speaking of God's victory over the whole cosmos. One example of this is Gregory Boyd in his book "God at War"^[5]^. Scot McKnight for example writes,
"What I want to say is not that this theory is wrong... I want to say is that the atonement is so much more than this. And, if it is so much more than this, then it follows that using “penal substitution” as our guiding term is inadequate and misleads others. At the least, it does not provide enough information to explain what one really believes occurs in the Atonement"[6]^
_See main article on Christus Victor._

Some view it as unjust

Opponents have argued that the idea of Penal Substitution is based solely on the concept of a criminal justice system which demands punishment for transgression. But no criminal justice system in the world would ever say that it is just to punish the innocent in place of the guilty. Some of the more prominent critics of penal substitutionary theory, who advanced arguments such as these, include Peter Abelard who criticized what he saw as the inherit injustice of Anselm's theory, and Faustus Socinus in his polemic De Jesu Christo Servatore (Of Jesus Christ the Saviour).
"What Socinus did was to arraign this idea as irrational, incoherent, immoral and impossible. Giving pardon, he argued, does not square with taking satisfaction, nor does the transferring of punishment from the guilty to the innocent square with justice" J. I. Packer

Some argue that it is based on Natural Theology

J.I. Packer cautions that Penal Substitution was formulated during a period when "Protestant exegesis of Scripture was colored by an uncriticized and indeed unrecognized natural theology of law. . . drawn from the world of contemporary legal and political thought" [2]Natural theology refers to knowledge of God drawn from our world around us (in this case from their own judicial concepts) as opposed to knowledge of God contained in the revelation of Scripture. Although Packer demurs basing Penal Substitution on the Natural theology of law and limiting the concept to retributive language, he nevertheless argues for the "substantial rightness of the Reformed view of the atonement."

Some suggest it necessarily implies universalism

"It seems logical that if the death of Yeshua satisfied God's need for justice, and if humans made no contribution to the process, then salvation and atonement should be granted to everyone -- to Christian believers and unbelievers alike. It is unclear why only those individuals who trust Yeshua as Lord and Savior will attain salvation, atonement, and Heaven." [3]
This argument has merit if indeed Christ died for all alike and his atonement is effectual for all alike. But that requires other theological assumptions to be superimposed on the doctrine.
See main article on universalism.

Some see it as "a form of cosmic Child Abuse"

In the UK, prominent member of the Evangelical Alliance Steve Chalke has popularised an attack on penal substitution which argues it portrays God as vengeful and unable to have a loving relationship with his son Jesus. This has given rise to a significant backlash, an example of which can be found in the postSteve Chalke and the Lost Message of Jesus on Adrian Warnock's blog. Steve Chalke has said that penal substitution is "a theory rooted in violence and retributive notions of justice" and is incompatible "at least as currently taught and understood, with any authentically Christian understanding of the character of God." Banner of Truth

Some see it necessarily implying definite atonement

_See main article on definite atonement._
Some tend to reject the penal-substitutionary aspect of the atonement because it seems to imply a limited or definite design in the atonement. However, it is worth noting that some scholars holding to penal substitution maintain that definite atonement is not a corollary of the position (see for instance, I. Howard Marshall (footnote 68).

Some argue that He paid the debt of righteousness, not the penalty of death

"Jesus is the only one who made a pure and perfect sacrifice of His life - when He died for our sakes on the cross. This was the debt He paid on our behalf. It was not the penalty of death. He paid the debt of righteousness - the gift to God of a righteous life, which is our due. Christ's righteousness is our covering if we are united in Him. The Father accepts us along with His Son. He has paid our due offering that we may be covered by His life and judged righteous. 'There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus' (Rom.8:1). His righteous life is imputed to us who look to Him and walk in the Spirit in oneness with Christ. It is Jesus who is 'THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS' (Jer.23:6). Of ourselves, we can never be righteous. It is only through faith in Christ."'The Biblical Revelation of the Cross' - Online Edition, Ch.1, 'It is not good to punish an innocent man', p.17, by Norman McIlwain
  1.  J.I. Packer, “The Logic of Penal Substitution” in Celebrating the Saving Work of God (Paternoster , 2002) p. 88. Packer's essay is also available online Here
  2.  James Denney, Atonement And The Modern Mind, (Hodder And Stoughton, 1903) p.271, as quoted by Packer in note 28 of his essay above
  3.  Gustav Aulen (transl. by A. G. Herber) Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement, (Macmillan:New York, 1977)
  4.  Stott, Op Sit,p. 165ff
  5.  Gregory Boyd,God at War, (InterVarsity 1977) p. 240
  6.  Scot McKnight on his blog "Jesuscreed.org"


  • Robert ReymondA New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998) Chap. 17 The Character of the Cross Work of Christ.
  • J. I. PackerCelebrating the Saving Work of God (Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 1998) chap. 8 "What Did the Cross Achieve?" Chap. 9 Sacrifice and Satisfaction.
  • J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downer’s Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 1973) chap.15 "The Wrath of God"; chap. 18 "The Heart of the Gospel".
  • Leon MorrisThe Cross in the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965) Chap. 8 The Cross in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
  • Leon Morris, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998).
  • John StottThe Cross of Christ (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1986).
  • J. I. Packer & Mark Dever, editors, In My Place Condemned He Stood (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007).


  • Stephen Finlan, Problems With Atonement: The Origins Of, And Controversy About, The Atonement DoctrineISBN 0814652204
  • Norman McIlwain, 'The Biblical Revelation of the Cross', EAN 9780955102905 Online Edition
See also
External links



Jun 16, 2017

I Shall Know Him ~ The Ball Brothers

The Ball Brothers Practicing in a Red Deer Hotel workout room.


  1. When my lifework is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
    When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
    I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
    And His smile will be the first to welcome me.
    • Refrain:
      I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
      And redeemed by His side I shall stand,
      I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
      By the print of the nails in His hand.
  2. Oh, the soul-thrilling rapture when I view His blessed face,
    And the luster of His kindly beaming eye;
    How my full heart will praise Him for the mercy, love and grace,
    That prepare for me a mansion in the sky.
  3. Oh, the dear ones in glory, how they beckon me to come,
    And our parting at the river I recall;
    To the sweet vales of Eden they will sing my welcome home;
    But I long to meet my Savior first of all.
  4. Through the gates to the city in a robe of spotless white,
    He will lead me where no tears will ever fall;
    In the glad song of ages I shall mingle with delight;
    But I long to meet my Savior first of all. ~ Fanny Crosby

The Bible Project ~ Exodus

Ed's Note:   In our family devotions we have just completed Genesis, where we followed a certain family, Abraham and his descendants.  There we see God has taken them as a FAMILY into Egypt.  As we fast-forward 430 years, we see God appoint Moses as the leader and Moses takes them out of Egypt as a NATION !  This is quite a story.   A true story of redemption!

Exodus Part 1 of 2

Exodus Part 2 of 2