Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Thinking of the Cross

Something about penal substitution, i.e. a theology that you may traditionally understand as Jesus 'paying a penalty in our place'.

Whether or not you have thought about this much, its probably there in ancient crevices of your mind from sunday school, sermons, books, discussions, films, scripture readings etc.
But still.
Have you ever thought through what it's all about? What exactly did Jesus accomplish on the cross? What does it mean that he took away our sins? What on earth does Romans 8.3 state when it says that

... God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh could not do: by sending
his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin
in the flesh (NRSV)


I'm taking it for-granted that you don't possibly believe that God the Father punishes Jesus the 'innocent victim' in order that our sins might be forgiven. That, as far as I'm concerned, is a given. Its not biblical and it actually doesn't make sense to those of us who believe in the triune nature of God.

So if we are not to reject the idea of penal substitution, how do we go about articulating a biblical view of it?