Sabbath School Lesson Review 2017 Quarter 2 Lesson 8
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 2 Lesson 8 Friday
It’s part of our problem, that we are taking models from our legal system here and trying to apply them to God.
The “substitutionary,” that comes in, say more about that. The “vicarious.”
He died in our stead. He died as the substitution. In a way, it’s very true. I mean, either He dies or we die.
However that’s where the comparison ends, because if God had let you and me and all other sinners die, all it would have done is prove the truthfulness of His warning, “If you sin, you will die.” And God could say to the universe, “Was I right? I said sinners would die, and look, they’re dead.”
But the universe would not have had answers to their questions. When Jesus died, there was no doubt in the minds of the universe that God was not killing His Son. They were clear about that. And the death of Christ answers all their questions. So it’s not either us or Him. His death was infinitely more significant than ours. But had He not died, then what else could God do but leave us to reap the consequences and we all would have died. So in a sense, yes. He died in our stead, but beyond that there’s no comparison.
But not as a payoff. It’s not one or the other. It’s not his death is equal to all of ours. His death is infinitely more significant than the death of every sinful man or angel who has ever lived. The death of angels and men would not have answered the questions.
So for sure just a simple satisfaction idea doesn’t encompass what’s involved at all, does it? It makes it much too small. I think it puts God in a very bad light, and it doesn’t answer the questions of the great controversy.
Many folk who prefer those understandings of the plan of salvation do not understand there has been a universe-wide great controversy over the character and government of God. And even Luther, hero of the Christian world that he is, could not conceive of these larger issues because he couldn’t include the book of Revelation—let alone Hebrews, James and Jude. And this has been the pattern through the years. Not many have seen the sixty-sixth book picture of a universe-wide controversy over the character and government of God. And so they have seen the death of Christ as primarily a plan just to save you and me, for which we are very grateful. It’s just that the larger view makes the cross much more significant.
So now in the larger view, which uses all sixty-six books and has no problems with Ellen White at all, it sees sin not as a legal problem. It sees sin as a very real problem that has had devastating consequences on us physically, mentally, spiritually, socially. Sin is a breach of trust, as Romans 14 says. Sin is treachery. Sin is what Lucifer did in the beginning, for which you could not have called him in before church counsel. I mean what had he done? Nothing! Except the most devastating thing that can ever be done. Nearly destroyed the universe, that’s what he did. That’s how bad it was. And because of this distrust, and the consequential unwillingness to listen and allow God to look after us and heal the damage done, enormous damage has been done to sinners. We’re not in legal trouble, we’re in real trouble. We’re not in danger of being executed, we’re dying. That’s the difference. And I believe it makes all the difference in the world. I would not go to a doctor who would kill his patients for not cooperating. But if I’m dying, I need a doctor. And if I go and don’t cooperate, I still may die. But my understanding is, that in this larger view, this great controversy view, this sixty-six book view, we’re all dying. And if God were to leave us alone, that’s it.
But he hasn’t. He’s pursued us through the years, trying to win us back to trust. And of course, you don’t expect people to trust without evidence. You don’t make claims; you offer demonstrations; that’s the content of the sixty-six books, God’s demonstration of the kind of person He is. And the way He’s handled this emergency is the greatest demonstration of all. As to, not how He treats His friends, but how He treats His enemies. How He treats the sick and the dying; how does He seek to win them back to trust? And some of us find that very wonderful.
So the purpose of the plan of salvation is not to adjust our legal standing, but the purpose of the plan of salvation is to win us back to trust so He can heal us, which He can readily do, and it is to confirm the trust of the onlooking universe.
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