Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Atonement and The Trinity

Toward the end of 2007, I wrote some articles on Modalism over on the Rant blog.

One email I received about my articles was from a experienced Pentecostal pastor who didn't understand why I was coming out against "Oneness" theology. He stated that he saw the entire issue as mere semantics and theological hairsplitting. At one point he even stated "though I embrace the Trinitarian theology I still have difficulty seeing where this 'doctrine' is of value to the ultimate salvation of man."

I recently began reading through the newly released book Pierced For Our Transgressions. Last night I came across a few paragraphs that illustrate why I believe the Trinity (and by extension the doctrine itself) is indeed important to the "ultimate salvation of man."

"The doctrine of penal substitution states that God gave himself in the person of his Son to suffer instead of us the death, punishment and curse due to fallen humanity as the penalty for sin. This summary can expanded to give some sense of how the doctrine connects with other important biblical themes.

God the Father gave his Son to save rebellious, God-hating people, knowing that he would be despised and rejected by those he had made, that he would be a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. He spared sinful people from condemnation, death and punishment, but he did not spare his own beloved Son, with whom he was well pleased.

God the Son gave himself, willingly undertaking the task appointed for him by his Father. He veiled his glory in a human body, experienced every temptation we face without succumbing to any, and lived a perfect human life. Yet he took our sin and guilt upon himself and died a cursed death, suffering in his human nature the infinite torment of the wrath and fury of his Father. After three days he was vindicated in his resurrection before being exalted to his heavenly throne. From there he rules his kingdom, awaiting the day of his glorious appearing when every eye shall see him, every knew shall bow before him, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God the Holy Spirit, having been sent by the Father and the Son, now works in our hearts through the proclamation of the gospel to convict us of sin, righteousness and judgment, to draw us to Christ in repentance and faith, and so to unite us to Christ that we may share in every blessing he has won for us.

God the Holy Trinity thus turned aside his own righteous wrath against sinful humanity; endured and exhausted the curse of the law that stood against us; cleansed us of our sin and clothed us in Christ's righteousness; ransomed us from our slavery to sin, the world and the devil by paying our debt, cancelling the devil's power of accusation against us, and liberating us to live new lives empowered by the Spirit; triumphed over all evil powers by punishing evil in the person of the Son; and reconciled us with himself by removing the barrier of sin and enmity between us; in order that we may stand blameless and forgiven in his glorious presence, credited with the perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, as adopted children of God, gazing upon his face for all eternity.

God vindicated his truthfulness by remaining faithful to his promise that sin will be punished; he manifested his justice by punishing sin and acquitting the righteous; he glorified his name by exalting his Son and placing all things under his feet; and he demonstrated his love by dying for sinners and reconciling to himself those who were once his enemies." (Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution.pp 104 & 105.)

Soli Deo Gloria!

1 comment:

gordan said...

There was a time when I wasn't convinced that the doctrine of the Trinity mattered all that much...I shudder in terror to think what sort of pastor I would've been at that time, though. Yikes.