THE VINDICATION OF JESUS

Without question,  Jesus tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9). Death is the judgment, or the condemning sentence for sin. In this way alone, Jesus suffered God’s judgment when he died on the cross.

In obedience to God, Jesus gave his life by dying on the cross (Philippians 2:8) and by his blood he provided both redemption from, and cleaning for sin. 

The condemnation of Jesus wasn’t because he had become substitutionally sinful in the sight of God, for he offered himself without spot to God. Jesus was condemned wrongfully by sinful men who deprived him of justice.

The cross was not the demonstration of the justice of God towards Jesus. The resurrection was the demonstration of the justice of God towards Jesus. When God raised his Son from the dead, he overturned the verdict of sinful men who viciously murdered him, and exalted Jesus at his own right hand.

This is why the apostles (throughout the book of Acts) blame the people for the death of Jesus, and the resurrection they attribute to God in opposition to what the people had done in crucifying him.

Yet, it was the will of God, for Jesus to lay down his life to redeem us with his precious blood. In the sight of God, Jesus died as an unblemished lamb, accepted and not rejected by God.

In the resurrection, God demonstrated his justice by raising his Son from the dead and enthroning him at his own right hand. The resurrected and enthroned Son, is triumphant over sin and the power of darkness, and all who believe in him are triumphant through him.

This is the manner in which God overthrew the sentence of death and the power of darkness which held humanity in bondage because of sin. 

Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)

And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15)

Jesus was “approved of God” therefore the pains of death could not hold him (Acts 2:24). Death had no power to hold Jesus because Jesus was holy and just in the sight of God, and it is his blood which sets us free from the power of sin.

Therefore, only in respect of his giving to God what we could not, (i.e., a completely holy and righteous life) should we think of his death on the cross as a substitution.

Conversely, the theory of Penal Substitutionary Atonement (PSA) advocates that Jesus Christ, God’s son, became the object of God’s wrath because God’s wrath had to first be satisfied before God can truly forgive the sinner.

Such theories put God in need of reconciliation rather than man.

In scripture, it is the unrepentant sinner who incurs God’s wrath, not the repentant sinner. According to the Bible, God’s delights in showing mercy and forgiveness, even to the ungodly.

As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11).

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:7)

Those who teach according to the theory of Penal Substitutionary Atonement often over look important passages in the Bible, passages such as Stephen’s statement to the religious leaders of Israel, saying they had been the betrayers and murderers of Jesus (Acts 7:52).

If the crucifixion of Jesus was indeed a murder, then how was God’s wrath satisfied and his justice served?

According to the prophet Isaiah, Jesus was deprived of justice from the time of his arrest until he died on the cross. Only in the resurrection was God’s true justice demonstrated towards Jesus.

Those who killed Jesus did so because they hated him without a cause (John 15:24-25) and when they condemned him they were gathered against God in Heaven and against Jesus.

The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. (Acts 4:26-27)

Acts 4:26-27 (mentioned above) is taken from Psalm 2. According to Psalm 2, it is those who were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ who are under the wrath of God. The words of the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 agree with this.

For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

It wasn’t the wrath of God which was levied against Jesus in his death: it was the wrath of sinful men as stated in Psalm 2 and Acts 4.

Why did THE HEATHEN RAGE and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

Christ was vindicated in His resurrection when God raised Him from the dead and exalted Him at His own right hand. This is why the apostles, throughout the book of Acts, lay blame for the death of Jesus on the people, yet the resurrection they attribute to God in opposition to what the people had done in condemning and crucifying Him.

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