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D.A. Carson – Justification and the Vindication of God

22 Apr

The way that Jesus propitiates his Father is in the Father’s wise plan. All of God’s justice is worked out in Christ, who takes our curse and penalty in his own body on the tree. That is why Christians speak of satisfying the wrath of God. This expression does not mean that God is up in heaven smirking, “This really satisfies me.” It means that the demands of his holiness are met in the sacrifice of his own Son. His justice is satisfied in Jesus’ propitiatory sacrifice so that all may see that sin deserves the punishment that he himself has imposed, and the punishment has been meted out. This vindicates God so that he himself is seen to be just, as well as the one who justifies the ungodly (cf. Rom. 4:5). Justification is first and foremost about the vindication of God. God simultaneously preserves his justice while justifying the ungodly. That is the heart of the gospel.

~D. A. Carson~


Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2010) p. 67

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John Stott – God, Sin, and the Cross

22 Jan

All inadequate doctrines of the atonement are due to inadequate doctrines of God and humanity. If we bring God down to our level and raise ourselves to his, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it. When, on the other hand, we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely “hell-deserving sinners,” then and only then does the necessity of the cross appear so obvious that we are astonished we never saw it before.

The essential background to the cross, therefore, is a balanced understanding of the gravity of sin and the majesty of God. If we diminish either, we thereby diminish the cross. If we reinterpret sin as a lapse instead of a rebellion, and God as indulgent instead of indignant, then naturally the cross appears superfluous. But to dethrone God and enthrone ourselves not only dispenses with the cross; it also degrades both God and humans. A biblical view of God and ourselves, however–that is, of our sin and God’s wrath–honors both. It honors human beings by affirming them as responsible for their actions. It honors God by affirming him as having moral character.

~John Stott~


The Cross of Christ (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Navpress; 2011) p. 111.

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John Stott – The Two Ways of Looking at the Cross

18 Dec

Is is essential to keep together these two complementary ways of looking at the cross. On the human level, Judas gave him up to the priests, who gave him up to Pilate, who gave him up to the soldiers, who crucified him. But on the divine level, the Father gave him up, and he gave himself up, to die for us. As we face the cross, then, we can say to ourselves both, “I did it, my sins sent him there,” and “He did it, his love took him there.” The apostle Peter brought the two truths together in his remarkable statement on the Day of Pentecost, both that “this man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge” and that “you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” Peter thus attributed Jesus’ death simultaneously to the plan of God and to the wickedness of men. For the cross which, as we have particularly considered in this chapter, is an exposure of human evil, is at the same time a revelation of the divine purpose to overcome the human evil thus exposed.

~John Stott~


The Cross of Christ (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Navpress; 2011) p. 64-65.

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D.A. Carson – The Center of the Whole Bible

10 Oct

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 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. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. – Rom. 3:21-26

There are some parts of the Bible that are “loose” in the sense that they are not too tight, not too condensed. They flow easily; you can readily follow the line of thought. Often they are narratives. There are other parts that are tightly reasoned; they are hard to understand and may cause your eyes to glaze over when you read right through them. You encounter so many theological words that unless you know the passage extremely well, you are reading the words, but you are not following it. It is just too much too fast. You must unpack such passages phrase by phrase if you are to gain more than vague impressions. Romans 3:21–26 is one of those passages.

After reading a text like this, what you have to do is slow down and unpack it. After you have carefully unpacked it, then you read it again— and immediately you see how it all hangs together. So if you have just read Romans 3:21–26 again and still feel that you have not grasped its flow, hang in there. By the end of this chapter, you will be able to see how what God here says through the apostle Paul hangs together. Perhaps you will also see why Martin Luther called this passage “the chief point and the very central place of the epistle to the Romans and of the whole Bible.”

~D. A. Carson~


Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2010) p. 39

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D.A. Carson – Cries Out in Happy Witness

8 Oct

At the very moment when Jesus gives up his spirit (v. 50), Matthew reports, “The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (v. 51a). This is not some mere datum of interesting destruction. The destruction of the curtain makes a theological statement. Up to this point, the curtain signaled that only the high priest could enter into the presence of the holy God and only once a year, on the Day of Atonement—and even then the high priest, when he went behind the curtain, had to be carrying the blood of bull and goat, the animals that had been slaughtered as substitutionary deaths that averted the wrath of God and paid for the sins of the priest and the people, according to the stipulations of the old covenant. With the tearing of the temple curtain, however, the way into the presence of God is open to everyone, for the shed blood of Jesus Christ has made the perfect and final payment for sin. We no longer need mediating animal sacrifices and mediating priests; we no longer need repeated ritual. The wrath of God has been finally and
forever averted from the people of the new covenant. The tearing of the curtain cries out in happy witness to the success of Christ’s cross work. That means the wrath of God has been averted, and the cry of desolation must be interpreted as the measure of Jesus’ anguish as he bears the full weight of the divine condemnation from which we are now freed.

~D. A. Carson~


Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2010) p. 34-35

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John Stott – Triumphing by His Victory

17 Aug

Both in our own lives, then, and in the church’s mission it is only the cross of Christ by which Satan has been defeated, which can prevail against him. It is still true today that “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Rev 12:11). Uncompromising witness to Christ is essential. So is the willingness, if necessary, to lay down our lives for his sake. But indispensable to both is the content of our faith and message, namely the objective, decisive victory of the Lamb over all the powers of darkness, which he won when he shed his blood on the cross.

~John Stott~


The Cross of Christ (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Navpress; 2011) p. 246.

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John Stott – The Wonder of the Cross

14 Aug

When we look at the cross we see the justice, love, wisdom and power of God. It is not easy to decide which is the most luminously revealed, whether the justice of God in judging sin, or the love of God in bearing the judgment in our place, or the wisdom of God in perfectly combining the two, or the power of God in saving those who believe. For the cross is equally an act, and therefore a demonstration, of God’s justice, love wisdom and power. The cross assures us that this God is the reality within, behind and beyond the universe.

~John Stott~


The Cross of Christ (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Navpress; 2011) p. 221.

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