I Won’t! Because I Can’t Believe It!

When Jesus says the OT is all about Him He doesn’t have in mind a verse here and a verse there, a prediction here or an event there. He sees the entire corpus (Moses, the Psalms and Prophets–Luke 24:25-27, 44-49) as a single narrative with Himself as the unending climax BUT with Himself as one human of faith along with all humans and particularly with humans of faith & of faith in God.

We can see the way He and Paul and others will quote from the Psalms and apply the experience of the psalmist to Himself. “They hated me without a cause.”   “My familiar friend betrayed me.” “The reproach of them that reproached You fell on Me.” And note Hebrews 11:24-26 that makes Moses’ suffering “the reproach of Christ.” Jesus saw Himself as one with the entire nation of Israel and refuses to distance Himself from His sinful family so we find Him being baptized along with them, By this He confesses He is part of a family that has sinned against God.

When He becomes incarnate, lives and is counted by His contemporaries as a sinner and dies sharing what they all experienced He was teaching them and us all manner of things. But He didn’t HAVE TO DO any of that. He didn’t HAVE TO teach us, suffer WITH us and FROM us and FOR us. He did it simply and solely because He WANTED to.

What brought Him to Incarnation, earthly life and ministry, saving death (and resurrection & glory) was no LAW by which God was bound; it was no internal conflict in the Godself between love and “punitive or retributive justice” which left Him helpless to freely, graciously simply forgive Sin. He came in and as the human called Jesus, the fellow-human of a race that chose and chooses ALIENATION—He came to offer restored life and friendship. His coming in pure free and sovereign grace to “plead” with the beloved rebel, the human family to be friends with Him again ( see 2 Corinthians 5:20 and context). I know it’s astonishing but He did it!
In choosing ALIENATION from God we chose the consequences which include inner self-ruin, pain and loss and anguish and temptation; and we choose all that for those around us! God in coming IN and AS the human, Jesus of Nazareth, was choosing the pain and loss and anguish and death that comes with humanity’s alienation.

Like innocent little babies (with profound differences, of course!) the sinless and holy Jesus in an alienated world freely embraced all that comes with being a human in such a world. It was unadulterated and limitless love of the human family, that God expressed in His coming personally to show it and tell it.
He wasn’t expressing any sick notion that He cannot FORGIVE sin unless He punishes it to the nth degree. And that He must punish the Innocent One,  While we continue in this world, the innocent and/or righteous will suffer along with the impenitent guilty. God does not punish the innocent! Sinners do that! Penal substitution is meant to glorify God but it distorts and cheapens Him. Punishment is NOT the same as suffering!
God joined us here. He joined us here to make it clear that our Sin and sins didn’t destroy His love and longing for us and life with us. That sustained act in Jesus of Nazareth is the fountain of all Christian response and it is still going on in the life of those who have been drawn into union and participation with the life and purpose of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus.
The meaning of the life, death of our Lord & Savior who would not distance Himself from His human family and so shared our suffering is being rehearsed and made visible in His body, the Church. He’s till suffering for the world. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” His body in which by His Holy Spirit He now dwells and makes Himself present in the world, is by its very existence bearing witness to all He meant to be and do in His earth-bound presence here and He does it until He returns to completely fulfill God’s eternal purpose.
PENAL SUBSTITUTION
This entry was posted in REFLECTIONS ON THIS AND THAT on by .

About Jim McGuiggan

Jim McGuiggan was Ethel's husband for fifty-three years. They have three children and eight grandchildren. Ethel went to be with Christ on Easter Sunday, 2009 at the close of a gallant life. He has written some books including: Celebrating the Wrath of God; Heading Home with God; Life on the Ash Heap; Jesus: Hero of Thy Soul; The God of the Towel, The Scarlet Letter; and The Dragon Slayer.

2 thoughts on “I Won’t! Because I Can’t Believe It!

  1. Jim Corley

    Hello Jim,

    Just wanted to know if you were going to be at the Vision Workshop this coming January. Always look forward to seeing you and hearing you.

    Jim Corley

    Like

    Reply

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