And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death —even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow…and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Phil 2:8-11, HCSB)
It’s verses like this that put pay to any notion of liberal accommodation between religions. These words destroy any idea that we as Christians basically think the same as those from other faiths.
You are saved by grace alone, through faith alone.
As a Lutheran pastor I have often said and heard these Good Words of The Gospel promise we have in Jesus who lived, died and rose from the dead so we in faith could be counted as righteous in God’s eyes and worthy of eternal life.
There is a key word that I very much want to emphasize tonight, Jesus lived. That is in a body, in a certain place and time, with a family and friends, responsibilities and a job to do, taxes and government to deal with, Jesus lived in the body just like you and me live in the body right now.
For me, out of all of the pictures that depict Jesus, the ones that appeal to me the most, are not the ones that show Jesus in heaven, or on a horse on the last judgement or in His glory, those all depicting Jesus deity that is His nature as the eternal Word of God. No, for me, especially the last couple of years, it has really been the pictures of Jesus’ humanity that have really touched my heart and my life. Jesus laughing a full bodied belly laugh, Jesus opening his arms to the children’s embrace and Jesus playing games with the children, Jesus sitting on the hillside teaching, Jesus sitting down with his friends for a meal. I think the reason is that for me I’m secure who in Jesus is from eternity, the Living Word of God who is able to save, while I wonder at the mystery of it and look forward to seeing the reality when I am with the Lord in glory, it’s not the questions I have right now.
The questions I have right now really have to do with how I am to live in the body.
Once a young reader informed me with a robust confidence that the heart of the atonement concerned the wrath of God — and I’ve had others say it’s the love or grace of God while others think it is adjusting the books and getting the ledgers re-assigned. What is it then? Is it propitiation and penal substitution, the exemplary love of God, or justification? From another angle: How does the atonement fit into the Bible’s central narrative?
And, why is atonement — no one doubts its importance — so often ignore resurrection? How does it all relate to our understanding of God and how does it related to the life of Jesus?
I’m happy to commend for your reading Adam Johnson’s Atonement: A Guide for the Perplexed.
Which text in the NT do you think is most expressive of the atonement?
What does the doctrine of atonement do in Christian theology? Is it the center? If not, where does it fit?