by Mike Ratliff
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)
I had a good friend stop by my office today to offer his condolences and comfort me with the loss of my dad. It was much appreciated. However, he walked in just as I was reading a comment I had just received on last night’s post The Atonement of Christ. WordPress had automatically flagged the comment as spam and it was by chance that I saw that there was a comment in that queue. He asked why the inscrutable look on my face when he had first came in. I let him read the comment. He shuddered and looked puzzled for about 30 seconds or so. I asked, “Does your brain hurt yet?” His response nailed it. He said, “Well, that is certainly a different spirit…” He then asked how often I get “comments” or “emails” like that (I will deal with it below). I told him that I usually get at least one like that a day when I teach things about the Atonement or the Gospel, but there are times when they just flood it. I find it interesting that they often are especially virulent when I am dealing with things in the midst of the fiery trials God has me in at that time. I will never forget Steve Lawson’s statement during his sermon at the Shepherd’s Conference this year that the closer we get to the front lines in our obedience in ministry the more we will find ourselves in the crosshairs of our enemy in the battle for the truth. God will allow him to attack us in order to humble us so that we can be usable clay vessels in the hands of our Lord (paraphrase).
As you read the comment from the anonymous commenter below please remember that this is in response to my post The Atonement of Christ. What this tells us is that the move into “a new type of Christianity” in line with Brian McLaren’s latest book is based entirely in the realm of the unbiblical. It is not of God because it is extra-biblical. Here is the comment (pardon the profanity):
crap mike(no suck up from me).
we are not disputing that christ died for our sins. what we are disputing is your concept of sin which led to the wrong interpretation of the purpose of christ death.
first and foremost, there is nothing sinful about man’s humanity – which is condemned by your theology. we are what we are because we are born the way we are so, the vicarious death of jesus is an insult to god for creating mankind.
no, jesus was not a substitute for our oersonal guilt or failures in life.
the sin of the bile is the sin of hegemony rule, both religious and secular.
christ death denotes the breaking from the power of hegemony rule that bears down on the people with their rigid laws.
salvation in this case is to change the BODY of this rule = which is also depicted by his resurrection
when you don’t see that, mike, you build on the idolatry of religious hegemony and became the anti christ.
now i know you are not going to like what i have written which is expected because, it blows your theology to kingdom come.
but hey, the change is coming and you wont be able to stop the HANDS OF GOD.
The anonymous commenter followed that up with this one:
btw, that word was for you
let the blood of these people you mislead be on your hands – according to the book of Ezekiel.
Just to be certain what I was dealing with here, I looked up “hegemony” in my Oxford New Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus. Hegemony is simply another word for “leadership.” This person is a sold out disciple of Brian McLaren my brethren and this is the mindset of those who claim that they are taking Christianity away from those of us who have messed it up with our doctrines, et cetera. As I said in The Atonement of Christ, this paradigm shift from God’s biblical doctrines to these doctrines of demons is only possible with rejection of Sola Scriptura. Therefore, they continually attack God’s absolute truth. They are like the one who owns them. He is a liar and a murderer and these people are spiritually blind and deceived into following their pied piper right into the Lake of Fire.
You may ask, “How can I be so blunt about this?” or “How can it be so certain that these people are not Christians?” They reject the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the necessity of Him being our Propitiation before God the Father. However, before we look at the relevant passages from God’s Word about this, please notice in the comment above that these people reject what Ephesians 2:1-10 clearly says, especially v1, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins.” I ask you my brethren, isn’t it blatantly apparent to the eyes that see and the ears that hear God’s truth that only servants of our enemy would echo his vile lies against man’s desperate need for a Saviour and then attempt to confuse everyone with lies about the Atonement which is God’s very plan for the redemption of His People? Notice also, that this person assumes that it is perfectly legitimate to counter Biblical proof with the smoke and mirrors of the Humpty Dumpty language of humanism disguised as a form of Christianity. Before I begin the study on our Propitiation, I challenge the writer of these two comments to try again, but be warned, if you continue to do so anonymously, your comments will continue to be rejected. Use your real name and your real email address or forget it. Also, I suggest that you read the rules for commenting here before you do so. Either follow those rules or your comments go in the trash.
The following definition is also from my Oxford New Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus:
propitiate v. appease (an offended person, etc.) propitiation n.
In other words, propitiation is an acceptable sacrifice that appeases or satisfies one who is righteously offended.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it– the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 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. 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. (Romans 3:21-26 ESV)
In v24 above the words “and are justified” is the word δικαιουμενοι, which in this context is describing the declaration of “all who believe” not guilty but righteous by God, the divine Judge. Not one of them deserved it for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but because they believe God, believe the Gospel, believe that Christ died in their place on the Cross, these are the ones δικαιουμενοι as a gift, δωρεαν, or freely, by His grace, τη αυτου χαριτι, through the redemption, δια της απολυτρωσεως, that is in Christ Jesus, της εν χριστω ιησου. Our salvation is undeserved. It is a gift by God’s χαριτι, grace. Notice that this gift is given through the απολυτρωσεως or redemption. What is this? This redemption, this απολυτρωσεως, is speaking of those God is saving by their being purchased or redeemed. This is their salvation. They were dead in their trespasses and sins, but God had mercy on them and, by His grace, He justified them through this wonderful απολυτρωσεως. What was the acceptable price? What was the price paid that satisfied God on their behalf? This απολυτρωσεως is in Christ Jesus Himself, whom God προεθετο or put forward as ιλαστηριον or propitiation.
Ιλαστηριον is an interesting word. It is pronounced as hilastērion. It is the Greek word for the mercy seat and is used to refer to the lid or covering of the Ark of the Covenant made of pure gold. It was on this lid or mercy seat that the high priest was to sprinkle the blood of the expiatory sacrifices on the great Day of Atonement. It is where the Lord promised to meet His people (Ex. 25:17, 22; 29:42; 30:36; Lev. 16:2, 14, 15). Paul’s usage here in v25 of Romans 3 asserts that Christ was the true mercy seat, the antitype of the cover of the Ark of the Covenant (Hebrews 9:5). Therefore, hilastērion means a place of conciliation and expiation; an altar or place of sacrifice. Our Lord Jesus Christ is clearly revealed in Romans 3:25 and Hebrews 9:5 as the hilastērion because He is designated not only as the place where the sinner deposits his sin, but He Himself is the means of expiation. He is not like the high priest of the Old Testament whose expiation of the people was accomplished through the blood of another and not his own (Hebrews 9:25).
Again, as we see in v25, our απολυτρωσεως is through Jesus Christ whom God put forth as a ιλαστηριον through the faith in His shed blood, δια πιστεως εν τω αυτου αιματι. This is very clear my brethren and so let us praise our God from grateful hearts for the propititation put forth for our redemption which is Christ Himself by His blood to be received by faith.
My brethren, we all find ourselves in the fires of sanctification if we truly belong to the Lord. Tests and trials come upon us and sometimes it seems as if our prayers hit a bronze gate that is locked tight and we are on our own. However, be encouraged. I would like to share with you a devotional I read this evening from Spurgeon’s Evening by Evening for March 29th.
Prayer sometimes tarrieth, like a petitioner at the gate, until the King cometh forth to fill her bosom with the blessings which she seeketh. The Lord, when He hath given great faith, has been known to try it by long delayings. He has suffered His servants’ voices to echo in their ears as from a brazen sky. They have knocked at the golden gate, but it has remained immovable, as though it were rusted upon its hinges. Like Jeremiah, they have cried, “Thou hast covered Thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.” Thus have true saints continued long in patient waiting without reply, not because their prayers were not vehement, nor because they were unaccepted, but because it so pleased Him who is a Sovereign, and who gives according to His own pleasure. If it pleases Him to bid our patience exercise itself, shall He not do as He wills with His own! Beggars must not be choosers either as to time, place, or form. But we must be careful not to take delays in prayer for denials: God’s long-dated bills will be punctually honoured; we must not suffer Satan to shake our confidence in the God of truth by pointing to our unanswered prayers. Unanswered petitions are not unheard. God keeps a file for our prayers-they are not blown away by the wind, they are treasured in the King’s archives. This is a registry in the court of heaven wherein every prayer is recorded. Tried believer, thy Lord hath a tear-bottle in which the costly drops of sacred grief are put away, and a book in which thy holy groanings are numbered. By-and-by, thy suit shall prevail. Canst thou not be content to wait a little? Will not thy Lord’s time be better than thy time? By-and-by He will comfortably appear, to thy soul’s joy, and make thee put away the sackcloth and ashes of long waiting, and put on the scarlet and fine linen of full fruition. – C.H. Spurgeon
Therefore, when we find ourselves continually dealing with those who hate God’s truth yet insist that they are the ones who possess it while revealing they know nothing of it by their misuse of God’s Word, then we must take that to throne of grace. We must seek God and His truth. I wrote a post not long ago about how God has designed our spiritual growth. It is through prayer, meditation, and trials. When our trials start stacking up and we find the enemy is pummeling us even as we are grieving over the loss of parent, for instance, then we must understand that God has asked Satan, “Have you considered my servant…?” Put your name there. Be encouraged my brethren, look at the Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ and rejoice that He is our propitiation for, in these things, we are declared righteous by God and our place in Heaven with our Lord forever is secure for our sins were atoned for at the Cross.
Soli Deo Gloria!