God Doesn’t Forgive Like You
Did God really forgive sin on the cross? Did he pay the debt of sin his people owed?
One line of thinking suggests that to understand the cross as penal substitution is to deny the reality of God’s forgiveness. We usually think forgiving a debt means releasing someone from the obligation of paying it, right? But then if we think of the cross as Jesus paying our debt, then on the face of things, it would seem God didn’t actually forgive it. The choice would be forgiveness or payment—one or the other, but not both. In which case, to think of the cross as substitution and payment is to rob us of a God who truly forgives.
But is that correct? Do those options capture how God relates to us?
You can read the rest of this piece over at The Gospel Coalition.
3 Mistakes To Avoid in Your Good Friday Preaching
Preaching Christ and him crucified is central to the job of any gospel minister (1 Cor. 2:2). Good Friday drives this home perhaps more than any other day in the church calendar. On that day, the preacher’s task is to proclaim and explain why the bloody spectacle of the murdered Son of God is “good news.” How is such an apparent moral rupture the centerpiece of God’s great act of atonement, of reconciling the world to himself (2 Cor. 5:19)?
Christ’s cross has always provoked hostility and scorn. It confronts us with our sins, bidding the old self to come and die so that the new self may rise and live. But that’s not the only difficulty involved.
Many have rightly recoiled at some of the defective ways pastors have preached the cross, especially its penal and substitutionary dimensions. When we misstep in this area, it gives people a distorted and damaging view of both God and his gospel. This is tragic not only because we deprive people of the gospel’s beauty, but also because, as C. S. Lewis observed, the more powerful and good something is, the more destructive it can be if it goes wrong. Just as a doctor cannot carelessly wield a scalpel, so pastors cannot carelessly preach the cross, lest we bring death instead of life.
While preaching the cross can go wrong in many ways, here are three key mistakes to avoid tomorrow.
You can read the rest at The Gospel Coalition.
Soli Deo Gloria
Loved Leithart’s defense of penal substitution in Delivered From the Elements. Found that treatment really refreshing.