Saturday, September 17, 2011

Substitutiary Atonement

That podcaster my husband likes is talking again!  I have always taught and believed that I should die for my sins.  Jesus died in MY place.

This podcaster says no.  He says that our death isn’t enough.  Jesus isn’t dying in our place, but in the lamb’s place.  I can’t die for anyone and make that person new or righteous.  Jesus is the new Adam—who messed everything up.  Adam sinned and left us to death and dirtiness. We are born inheriting the state of sin and death.

Jesus came to be the new Adam; He is the new First Man.  With Jesus, we are born again.  We are new creatures without the inheritance of death.  We are alive in Jesus.

As one who is dead and guilty, we are worthless sacrifices.  We cannot die for the forgiveness of our own sins because we are already dead!  How can a dead thing die again?  So, Jesus was the ONLY One who could have died to save us.  He is the ONLY One alive, the ONLY One with a life to give.  When we believe and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are born into life—our first lasting life.  Our bodies are dying all the time, it is just a matter of time before the body times out and ends in dust.


  1. It feels odd to say that Christ is dying in a lamb's place, when He is the Lamb God provided... but I think I see the point. Christ is the final sacrifice, and He was completing a sacrifice that was always done on our behalf. My take: Since Christ is the final sacrifice--the Lamb--He died for the same reason the sacrificial lambs did; namely, to satisfy God's justice so we can be made right with Him again.

    Good stuff to think about! Thanks for sharing [smile].


  2. I understand, Luke. When I heard it, I was taken by surprise. The lamb was always inadequate, which it why one needed to be sacrifices time and again--it wasn't enough. It was a very new idea to me. I do find that the idea that my death is nothing but redundant revelationary--that is my new word! lol

    The idea with which I had always lived that I deserved to die and Jesus died in my place so I didn't have to. I had never played it out. IF I were to die, it will not be enough for me to gain life. I cannot concur death. Jesus didn't simply die in my place. It is not an equal trade. He is more, and gave more. Very interesting and all the more glory to our wonderful Lord and Savior!

  3. Part of what is important in this is this: Jesus is the incarnation of God. The Bible describes him in a lot of ways, but all these things are limited by the fact that words cannot express the fulness of this truth. So we use a lot of metaphors and such (God's wings, mother-love, father-love, etc.).

    And metaphors are never the thing itself; they always break down, because they aren't the thing they reveal but a light or a window.... Jesus is the Lamb of God. He is also -at the same time- the Prince of Peace and the Lion of Judah, and all those other names, images, metaphors, etc. He is all those and more. Restricting him to one or even emphasizing one limits our understanding and appreciation of who he really is.

    We need to learn to let God be complex, at least as complex as people are! By saying, "this is who Jesus is, this is why he came, this is what he did, this is how it works", we're closing ourselves (and worse, we're closing others) to the fullness of God.

    So the notion of substitutionary sacrifice in itself isn't complete. The Jews knew this, but the Christians kinda lost sight of it, perhaps because of their desire to make it understandable and thereby oversimplifying it, and mistaking the metaphor for the thing.

    Because the thing is this: God loves us. The mechanics are less important than the facts. It isn't belief in the substitionary sacrifice of Christ (or any other doctrine) that saves us. It is the love of God. It isn't even our belief in anything - because that is a gift from God, too.

    I wish I'd figured this out earlier, so I could have taught you girls differently.



Thanks for taking the time to talk with me!