The Planks of the Faith: Remembering for Re-Membering, Part 15
As coincidence would have it, I spent a good deal of time at the start of this day haggling with several folks about the merits and major drawbacks of “compromise”.
For many in our culture today, “compromise” equates to leaving your conscience, core values, ideology, faith, truth claims, non-negotiables… at the door.
RE: The political state of affairs… The year-in, year-out compromise of “both Red and Blue” has resulted in “The Purple Haze” of an other-world political insanity that makes a plain ‘ol acid trip of the ’60’s seem like a quiet dinner with Ozzie and Harriet by comparison.
As we are slowly coming to realize the catastrophic size of the problem, compromising our worldviews and principles equates to little more than a form of spiritual, emotional, intellectual, political, Constitutional, etc. prostitution (Jeremiah 2).
Let’s get to a feast that we should NEVER, EVER compromise about…
Def: “atonement”, “Theology. The doctrine concerning the reconciliation of God and humankind, especially as accomplished through the life, suffering, and death of Jesus Christ.” (Dictionary.com)
As much as the relativistic, post-modern culture of today likes to avoid dealing with propositional truth like the plague, the truth or falsehood of “The Atonement” will stand as the very question every human being will be confronted with… in time, and (in consequence to one’s answer) for eternity: “Jesus asked Peter, ‘But what about you, who do you say I am?’” (Mark 8:29)
“With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him:
JESUS IS GOD.
JESUS IS HOLY.
JESUS IS THE SAVIOR.
JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH.
JESUS IS LORD.
JESUS IS THE JUDGE.
NOW, HOW WILL WE RESPOND?
Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?” (John MacArthur—emphasis added)
I’m afraid that much of today’s objections to True Truth have little to do with a fair analysis of reality, debated and moderated by means of non-contradictory, propositional logic.
As RC Sproul famously said, “Most objections to the truth are not based upon reason, but rather by the insistence that we want the moral freedom to live any way we please.”
It would be a life-long hope of mine that anyone within the reach of my concern or influence would give The Atonement a fair chance—as God’s unspeakable mercies would be “fair” (His grace is completely unmerited) by a measure we cannot admit unless we know the incalculable depth of our own sin.
The Planks of the Faith, Article 21: The Atonement
“We believe that Jesus Christ is a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek—made such by an oath (by covenant, an unbreakable promise of God)—and that He presented himself in our name before His Father, to appease His wrath with full satisfaction by offering himself on the tree of the cross and pouring out His precious blood for the cleansing of our sins, as the prophets had predicted.
For it is written that “the chastisement of our peace” was placed on the Son of God and that “we are healed by His wounds.” He was “led to death as a lamb”; He was “numbered among sinners” (Isa. 53:4-12) and condemned as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, though Pilate had declared that He was innocent.
So He paid back what He had not stolen, (Ps. 69:4) and He suffered—the “just for the unjust,” (1 Pet. 3:18) in both His body and His soul—in such a way that when He senses the horrible punishment required by our sins His sweat became like “big drops of blood falling on the ground.” (Luke 22:44) He cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46)
And He endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins—for those who would in faith believe.
Therefore, we rightly say with Paul that we “know nothing but Jesus and him crucified”; (1 Cor. 2:2) we consider all things as “dung for the excellence of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 3:8) We find all comforts in His wounds and have no need to seek or invent any other means to reconcile ourselves with God than this one and only sacrifice, once made, which renders believers perfect forever.
This is also why the angel of God called Him Jesus—that is, “Savior”—because He would save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:2)” (Article 21, The Belgic Confession of Faith, 1561—emphasis, parenthesis added)
The Foil of Obliterating Black and White… So We Can Only Accept the Grey.
Whether we know it or not, when we strike down The Atonement as the basis for any/all redemptive opportunities, we will be forced to substitute other gods, other cures, other worldviews as the panacea for the ills of the world… and our own lives.
Education? Politics? Eliminating crime? Pschology? Science? Mercantile? Prosperity for all? Curing all diseases? Maintaining the Family Nucleus? Select Sports? Micro-Business? Diet? Life on Mars? Missions? Globalization? Sexual Freedom? Feminism? Choice? Technology? Youth? Fairness? The Genome? Religion? Environmentalism? Conservatism. Liberalism? The Dow? Fashion? Fame? Good Fortune?
Devoid of The Atonement, any “cure” will always result in calamity. Pick up a newspaper, be brave enough to famiarlize yourself with your own story, and you will find this axiom to be true.
May God richly bless your heart, spirit, and life with the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ so that you can live with purpose, passion, peace, and the blessings of “paying it forward” each and every day.