Meditation for Sunday, March 21.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isa. 53:5

Objection: God was not angry towards men, but rather loved them (John 3:16; Titus 3:4). God is also not said to be reconciled, but rather that man is reconciled, which is the result of 1) man‟s conversion to God, 2) gracious acquittal, and 3) the intervention of a Mediator—and thus not due to the bearing of punishment, satisfaction of divine justice, and removal of wrath.

Answer:

  • It is clearly contrary to the Word of God to say that He is not angry with sin. “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Ps. 7:11); “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness” (Rom. 1:18); “We … were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:3).
  • God loves humanity, but not with a love of delight, for in men there is nothing but sin, and they are the enemies of God (Rom 5:10). Rather He loves men with a love of benevolence which He manifested in the giving of the Mediator. As sinners, His elect were children of wrath; but as His elect, God loved them with benevolent love.
  • It is contrary to God‟s Word to maintain that not God but man was reconciled. Did man receive something from God so that man in turn could have God be reconciled with him? Is man the one who has been satisfied? Instead, God was provoked to anger (man being the cause of this), God‟s wrath was appeased, God received the ransom, and the appeasement of God‟s wrath was to the benefit of the elect, who due to this paid ransom are received in reconciliation.
  • It is nowhere recorded in Scripture that this reconciliation comes about by way of conversion. It is self-evident that conversion is not the same as atonement. Everywhere in Scripture reconciliation is attributed to the passion of Christ, as we have abundantly shown above. Acquittal does not occur apart from the satisfaction of divine justice, but on the basis of satisfaction. This acquittal and manifestation of grace take place toward men who have contributed nothing towards this satisfaction.
  • Reconciliation does not come about by mere intercession and intervention, since the satisfaction made by the bearing of punishment is the basis for intercession. In order for Christ to enter into the sanctuary, He had to do so by His own blood (Heb 9:12). John therefore joins these two principles together. “We have an Advocate with the Father, … and He is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:1-2). Wilhelmus a Brakel

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