Scripture Reference: 1Peter 4:1-6 and 1Peter 4:12-19
“Every Heart a Battlefield”
Sunday we talked about what it means to be a hero. What exactly is a hero?
We decided a hero is not a what, but a who. We also decided that a hero is someone who suffers or expends their life in service to another. Suffers or expends their life. This leaves out classes of persons like professional athletes, Hollywood actors, and politicians, the people who are often cited as “heroes” when they are actually only “celebrities.”
We also learned from several scriptures in addition to 1 Peter 4, that our hero is Jesus Christ. His suffering on the cross was done for us. Now that seems strange to say. “He died for us, but we weren’t even there?” some might ask. It’s a good question. And one that prompts us to do a little high-brow theology.
Are ready to do some brainwork on the subject? If so, then let’s talk about atonement.
Atonement is a word the Bible uses when it speaks of Jesus dying for us, or dying in our place. When we say things like, “Jesus died for my sins” or “Jesus died so that I might live,” we are engaging in atonement talk. We see this kind of talk in well-known and oft-quoted Bible passages such as:
Romans 6.6 “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with…”
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Romans 8.1 “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
If you were to ask theologians how Jesus’ atonement actually takes place they would tell you about five major theories of the atonement: Governmental, moral influence, penal substitution, ransom, and satisfaction. There are other theories of lesser influence among theologians, but these are the main ones that have help up the best historically.
I think that the Bible supports more than one of these theories, but the one theory of the atonement that is most obviously supported in the Bible is the penal substitution theory: Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. In doing so God imputed the guilt of our sins to Christ who bore the punishment that we deserve. This atonement made full payment for sins, which satisfied the demands of God’s wrath against sin. In this way the righteousness of God allowed him to forgive sinners without compromising His own holy standard.
More scriptures that bear this out:
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 3:25-26 “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-- 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
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 10:10 “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
So strong is the evidence for the penal substitutionary atonement it is considered by most scholars to be a doctrine of scripture, not just a theory of atonement. I am one of those who believe this to be the case.
So now, when someone asks you some arcane question about “how exactly did Jesus die for me?” you can say, “It was a penal substitutionary atonement.” Just make sure you know how to explain it!
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.