Lesson 12 of our Sabbath School Quarterly pointed out the “Cosmic Conflict over God’s Character” I would like to share two points of view, one where the Affirmative Penal point of view where God satisfied his wrath by punishing Jesus in our place on the cross, God himself affirms penal substitution, God’s wrath would only be satisfied when the penalty for our sin was paid in full & God satisfied his wrath by punishing Jesus in our place on the cross. There is another point of view where God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, so whomsoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. He didn’t give his son to satisfy his anger. I invite you to subjectively look at both points of view and make the final decision for yourself.
Affirmative to Penal Punishment Theory
Have you ever heard the following? “God is love! He would never judge anyone or send anyone to hell! That’s just not loving!” Pitting God’s love against God’s wrath is a misunderstanding of a Biblical paradox which feeds such a sentiment.
Yet far from pitting God’s love and God’s wrath against one another, the Bible portrays God as merciful and just (Ex. 34:6-7), kind and severe (Rom. 11:22), loving and wrathful (Rom. 5:8-10)
John 3:16, one of the most famous verses in the Bible, says, “For God so love the world, that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life.”
Why did God give his Son to die on the cross for us? Because he loves us.
But why did Jesus have to die on the cross in order to save us? Because God’s wrath would only be satisfied when the penalty for our sin was paid in full. Because God is holy his wrath burns against sin and he will punish it. But does that mean he isn’t loving? No! God satisfied his wrath by punishing Jesus in our place on the cross precisely because he loves us. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6; see also Gal. 2:20, Eph. 5:2).
Negative to Penal Punishment Theory
Firstly lets look at Exodus 34:6~7
And when Moses asked to see God’s glory, God put Moses in the cleft of the rock, passed before him, and said, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34:6,7). (Thus, the Bible teaches it is the “kindness of God that leads us to repentance” (Romans 2:4).)
Why does He not leave the guilty unpunished? Because God will not violate free will. He will not refuse people the freedom to reject His mercy, love, and healing presence and ultimately reap the punishment unremedied sin brings. Why? Because love cannot exist in an atmosphere without freedom, so God forgives all, but only those who receive that forgiveness experience healing, while those who reject it God surrenders (gives them up – the biblical definition of God’s wrath) to reap the consequences of their choices, death.
We don’t need to fear God. We need to fear sin that damages our minds, warps our characters, sears our consciences, and destroys our souls; ultimately separating us from our loving God.
22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
To grasp this Ingrafted Branches section we need to read the verses 11~24 but I have posted the main 3 verses above. KJV translates God as kind and stern. (serious and unrelenting) we can see here that God doesn’t give up on us, but we give up on him. He is ready to heal us, bring us back into at-one-ment with him, if we return our character back to his original design of Love.
Rom. 5:8-10 Let’s read 6~11 in New King James Version
Christ in Our Place
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
I can find the words Love and Wrath but I cannot find the word “Loving in any translation”
In order to find out the mean of wrath let’s use the same author to interpret this for us.
This letting go by God, this setting free to reap the consequences of our own persistent, rebellious choices, is what the Bible calls “God’s wrath.” Paul tells us the “wrath” of God occurs because of persistently rejecting God, refusing the knowledge of Him, and preferring our own way over God’s. Then Paul sates, three times, that the unruly in the first century after Christ, experienced God’s wrath when God “gave them up” to reap the consequences of their own choices (Romans 1:18-32).
Jesus, who became sin for us, experienced God’s “wrath” on our behalf at the cross and cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” not “why are you killing me” (Matthew 27:46). All through the Bible, the story is the same.
In Deuteronomy God’s wrath is threatened: “For a fire has been kindled by my wrath, one that burns to the realm of death below. It will devour the earth and its harvests and set afire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap calamities upon them and spend my arrows against them” (32:22, 23). But God says the wise will understand what His wrath really is: “If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be! How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the Lord had given them up?” (Deuteronomy 32:29, 30, emphasis added).
Rom. 5:6 already covered above
Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Eph. 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
Ok, in Ephesians, we see here very strong words…Offering and Sacrifice. What does these words mean to different people? Does anyone believe that Jesus didn’t sacrifice his life, sacrifice his time on earth, he suffered like no other man has ever suffered. I still can’t see in any of these verses that God satisfied his wrath by punishing Jesus in our place