The Extent Of The Atonement & The Ongoing Prayer Life Of Our Lord Christ

If one believes that the Lord Christ only intercedes for His people per Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25 then they must, if they desire to be consistent, believe that Christ only died for those same people for whom He intercedes. Both the death of Christ and the Intercession of Christ are subsets of His great work as our Great High Priest. To suggest that Christ died for everybody as the Great High Priest but only intercedes for the elect is to introduce contradiction into the very being of Christ as Mediator.

If Christ only prays for His people then He, by necessity, only died for His people.

Not to worry though … if you don’t agree you can always invent a Mystery Box in which to throw your contradiction.

Egalitarianism & The Atonement

Evangelicals, Lutherans, and Roman Catholics alike all hold to a universal atonement wherein God does not discriminate in His intent concerning the Atonement. The thinking of such denominations is that the death of Christ is the same, potentially, for everybody. We might call this doctrine soteriological egalitarianism.

Of course, in our own culture egalitarianism is the idea both that there should be equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. As such, our cultural egalitarianism is really not about equality but about sameness. In the end everyone must be the same. Discrimination is seen as inherently evil and everybody must be treated the same.

In Evangelical, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic doctrines of hypothetical universalism we find a similar type of egalitarianism. We are told by these folks that Christ died for everybody and therefore everybody has the same equality of opportunity. For these folks it is sin to say that God discriminates in terms of opportunity though it is perfectly acceptable to say that it is man who discriminates in terms of God’s offer. Some men discriminate to accept the equal opportunity and some men don’t. Man can discriminate against God but God is not allowed to discriminate in terms of man. God must provide an atonement that is egalitarian in opportunity or He is not fair.

One wonders if the egalitarianism we see in our culture didn’t first begin with this kind of nonsensical egalitarianism in the Church as the Church turned away from the doctrine of Limited Damnation. If Theology remains the queen of the Sciences one must wonder if soteriological egalitarianism became the gateway through which egalitarianism in economics, politics, gender relations, and sociology came to the fore.

Obviously, in the Atonement God does discriminate. For reasons, known only to Him, God discriminated between the elect and the reprobate. Jacob God loved, but Esau God hated. God did not and does not treat all people the same.

And neither should we. Not all people are equally qualified for different tasks and there is nothing evil in discriminating against people who do not have giftedness or talents in certain areas.

There is nothing unbiblical in insisting that egalitarianism is wrong while discrimination for biblical reasons is right. God discriminated in the intent of the atonement and that discrimination was righteous. When we discriminate based on righteous reasons we are being God like in our actions.

So, insisting that Christ’s death applies equally to everyone may very well be the root of all other egalitarianisms that we are now plagued with. The atonement of Christ is not egalitarian. Everyone is not equal in Christ death. God discriminated for reasons known only to Himself, to have Christ die only for the Elect.

Can it be that Hypothetical Universalism is the mother load from where all other egalitarianism stems? Can it be that it is not a form of theological Marxism to make everyone equal and the same in the intent of the Atonement?

Ideas have consequences and I’m wondering if the teaching of evangelicals in terms of their soteriological egalitarianism wherein God is not allowed to discriminate is the mother spring from which our current egalitarianism water flows. Theology gets into everything. If we are going to be egalitarian in our doctrine of the atonement you can look for that egalitarianism to show in our social order.

Ideas have consequences.

The Lord Christ

The Lord Christ

The Word spoken at Creation
The Captain of His people’s Salvation
The Promised blessings unto the Nations
Our Elder Brother

The Body and Blood as Bread and Wine
Very Man and very Divine
Of Mary’s Seed and David’s line
The Lamb of God

He who would crush the Serpent’s Head
He who would bring life from the Dead
The Warrior who would go on Ahead
The Great High Priest

Giver of Meaning and Quencher of Thirst
New Wine means old wine-skins Burst
The first shall be last and the last shall be first
Our Propitiation and Mercy Seat

A Warrior who demands surrender of all
Adam’s successor, reverse of the fall
Those who come, are those who He calls
The Great High King

We walk now in terms of His Victory
No surrender for those with eyes now to see
His Knowledge shall cover from sea unto sea
His Present Kingdom shall come

Brief Meditations … The Cross of Christ … Maundy Thursday

The Cross is made, simply enough, with a Vertical beam and a horizontal beam. The simplicity of this points us to the reality that the Cross work of Christ was both vertically and horizontally directed. Vertically, Christ died for God that God’s name might be cleared of injustice because He had not, until the Cross of Christ, visited Sin with the full punishment of His wrath that it was promised. Horizontally, Christ died for man that man might find a reconciliation with God that man could have never found without a propitiation that was both very God of very God and very man of very man.

In the Cross God is both Just and Justifier for those who have faith in Jesus.

As most clearly seen in the requirement that the ark of the Covenant would be made from wood, as combined with the reality that it is there on the Mercy Seat of that wooden ark that God would be propitiated it has been a reality that God has ruled from the Wood and that Salvation comes via the Tree. Like the lid of the Ark of the Covenant the Cross is the throne where the glory of God is revealed unto judgment and salvation.

Life and death — Judgment and Salvation — ever comes from the Wood.

Whether in the times of Noah where preservation of life came from a wooden ark, and judgment fell upon those who refused the wood of the ark life comes from the Wood. In the ministry of Moses, it was His wooden staff through which God Redeemed His people. Those who aligned themselves with the wooden staff were saved. Those who sought to gainsay the wooden staff perished. Life ever comes from the Wood.

Life and death — Judgment and Salvation — ever comes from the one who reigns from the Wood.

“Once you think that you behold the wood on which our salvation, the Lord of Majesty, was hanged with nails whilst the world trembled, you, too, must tremble, but you must also rejoice.”

Letters of St. Paulinus of Nola II,
Letter 31, 36:126

The Fall began with eating of the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Good and Evil. Good Friday announces that the Fall has ended for those who partake of the Fruit of the Tree of Redemption — The Cross of Jesus Christ.

O you Sons of Adam, fallen from heavenly status, through the bitter pleasure of the Olden Tree: Come!! See here the true and most revered Tree; hasten to kiss it and to cry out with faith: You are our Help, most revered Cross.

From the Byzantine “Veneration of the Cross” Liturgy

Mocked with a Cross of Thorns, our Lord Christ — whipped so that the bone was exposed, and bruised shoulders the Cross to the place of the skull (Golgotha). With each step upon the via dolorosa, He knew that the pain and agony He was undergoing was only at it’s beginning. He knows the full birth of pain, and agony lies ahead.

The scenario of the Crucifixion, from beginning to end, is a classic example of the Spiritual realities being incarnated into physical demonstration. The real pain and agony that was being incarnated in the pain and agony of the Trial and Crucifixion was the Spiritual pain and agony of being the sin bearer. That sin bearing was a spiritual reality that could not be seen except by those who were taking it all in,not only with, but through their eyes. For those who had eyes to see — and it is questionable whether there were any present — the very real physical pain and agony that the Lord Christ underwent was but the incarnation of the Spiritual pain and agony that found the Son of God being a sin bearer and so abandoned by God.

For those with eyes to see, the very tangible and seen corporeal suffering of the Lord Christ was a window into the very real but unseen incorporeal sufferings of being sin bearer and alienated from the Father.

“Thou, O Sacred Wood are alone in your glory among all other trees; no forest ever yielded its equal in leaf, flower and fruit for the fruit of the Cross is the Salvation of the World.”

A snippet from a Hymn of the Roman Liturgy

“Behold the wood of the Cross on which hung the Salvation of the World.”

Part of Early Church Liturgy.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday Reflections

On Maundy Thursday Christ’s utter abandonment begins. First he is abandoned by His disciples as seen in their refusal to pray with Him. Later all 11 disciples will abandon the Lord Christ upon His arrest. Later still, Peter will abandon the Lord Christ in His denial of even knowing Jesus. All of this abandonment will lead to the place where the Son is abandoned by the Father on the Cross.

Our Lord Christ hence cries out … “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” The Lord Christ, as part of His redemptive work suffers alienation and abandonment by all that our alienation from the Father might be ended.

Maundy Thursday begins the Lord Christ’s descent into the Sheol of abandonment that His people might know the favor of the Father.

What Thou, my Lord, has suffered
Was all for sinners’ gain
Mine was the transgression
But Thine the deadly pain

Our Lord Christ prays that this cup would pass.

The cup that he was praying would pass was the cup of woe that He would eventually drain to the bitter dregs. He drinks this cup O Christian that you might drink the cup of weal … a cup of blessing and the peace of God. His was the bitterness tasted for His Church. Ours is the blessing tasted because of His drinking of gall and wormwood.

Should He devote His Head
For such a worm as I?

Our Lord Christ enters into Gethsemane (Olive Press) to be pressed Himself as He prays that the cup might pass. He can find none of his Disciples to persevere with Him in prayer. He is on the cusp of being arrested. Even those who come to arrest Him will fall down and worship Him when He self identifies with the name of Deity, “I am He.”

The Lord Christ was pressed by the Father and in the pressing he was broken and bruised that those who trust in Christ Alone might be delivered from God’s just wrath and certain condemnation against them.

The Lord Christ was pressed by the Father and in the pressing he was broken and bruised that those who trust in Christ Alone might become the righteousness of God in Christ and so should walk in a newness of life that is increasingly consistent with the King’s Law Word.

Our Lord Christ prays while the Disciples sleep. Even after asking them to pray with Him the Disciples slept. The agony of the Lord Christ was so great he sweat as great drops of blood. Physicians say that sweating blood is possible but that the person who does so is nigh unto death. Some scholars have suggested, that when Christ prays, “Let this cup pass,” what he is praying is that He would not die their in Gethsemane before He could accomplish His Cross work where He would die for the Sins of the Elect.

Praise God for so great a Captain of Salvation as our Lord Christ.

Seven Words From The Cross … A Brief Meditation

1st Word – Luke 23:33-34 – Father Forgive Them

On the Cross the Lord Christ prays, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

We should not be surprised at these words for it was compassion and mercy, from the very beginning, that found our Lord Christ mounting the Cross. In this utterance our Lord Christ crowns his compassion that had Him mounting the Cross, with a compassion that pleads with the Father for even more mercy.

And compassion and mercy were what was needed for sinners such as us. The mercy and compassion of the Father sent Christ so that His just wrath did not fall on His people. The mercy and compassion of the Son found the Son willing to come and be our mercy and compassion that He might gain us as His inheritance. The mercy and compassion of The Spirit found the Spirit taking from the mercy and compassion of the Father and Son to apply that same mercy and compassion on sinners such as us that we might have peace with God.

Sinners never know what they do to insult God and yet with God there is mercy and compassion so that now is the appointed day of salvation.

Second Word – Luke 23:39-43 / Two Thieves

Two malefactors were Crucified with our Lord Christ. One on each side. One railed against Christ while the other defended His honor.

Here we find the antithesis between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. The seed of the serpent always, like the insolent malefactor, rails against the Son, either overtly or by the even greater railing of not even giving him any consideration. While the seed of the woman, even when hanging on a Cross, takes up for His Lord and Master and defends Him to the hilt against the accusations of the seed of the serpent. The seed of the woman owns their Sin and looks outside themselves to THE seed of the woman for the blessings of paradise and like that thief crucified next to THE seed of the woman sinners always find the Lord Christ promising paradise to those who are repentant and own their sin.

Which malefactor are you? Are you the malefactor who rails against Christ in mocking tones, or are you the malefactor who recognizes Jesus even when you are hanging on a Cross?

Third Word – John 19:25-27 / Mother & Son

While undergoing the rejection of the Father on the Cross the Lord Christ remembers His Mother at the foot of the Cross and provides for her future. Our Lord Christ thus displays that our Christian faith can never be so pious as to forget our responsibilities to our own family, our own kin, and our own people. The love of Christ, dying for the sins of the world, is not a love that is so universal that it forgets and fails to prioritize the particulars of immediate family, kin, and people. Yes, our Lord Christ dies for the sins of the World but at the same time He reveals His peculiar responsibility to His own Mother for whom He also died.

Our Lord Christ in the very service of being the Atonement, remembers to give His Mother a Son to care and provide for her.

Jesus, thus in dying for the sins of the world shows Himself to be a Kinist.

Fourth Word – Mark 15:33-34 // My God, My God, Why Has’t Thou Forsaken Me

On the Cross the Lord Christ cries out, “Eloi, Eloi,lama sabach-thani” (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.) and in that cry we see the nadir of the torture of the Cross; The felt abandonment of the Son by the Father.

Compared to this sense of divine abandonment the lacerations from the scourging whip, the wounds from the crown of thorns, the raked nerve endings and the exposed bone were nothing. Compared to this alienation from the Father, the dehydration with its accompanying convulsions were insignificant. Not even the pain wracked requirement to lift thyself by the crucified feet in order for the lungs to get just enough breath to remain miserable could compare to the agony of this sense of forsaken-ness. Here …. HERE is the real brutality of the Cross.

And here is presented the reality of Hell. Hell is the sense of being utterly forsaken by the Father in whom is all life, meaning, and joy. To be forsaken by God is to be in Hell.

And this sense of being forsaken … this entering into Hell … insures that those who look to the Elder Brother of Salvation will never taste that sense of forsaken-ness.

Fifth Word – John 19:28 // “I Thirst”

When the Lord Christ utters, “I thirst,” the divine irony is so thick that only the fallen could miss it. Here is the one who said of Himself that those who came to him would never thirst and that He was the one who to whom people must come to drink so that they themselves would, out of their hearts, have flowing rivers of living water. But now on the Cross the one in whom is the water of eternal life, is now paying the ransom price of sinners whose whole life is characterized by drought parched lifeless barrenness.

And so as the one dying in place of Sinners, Christ, “the living water” cries out with the voice of sinners, “I thirst,” and we are reminded that He thirsted that we might have our thirst for life quenched in Him.

Sixth Word – John 19:29-30 // It Is Finished

On the Cross when Our Blessed Lord Christ, cried out, “It is Finished,” He was not announcing surrender or defeat or even death. The Cry, was the cry of the Champion announcing that the back of sin had been broken and that the strong man had been bound. When our Lord Christ announced, “It is Finished,” the deepest chambers of Hell shook and quaked with fear because Hell’s power had been crushed, and its authority seized. With the cry of “It is finished,” the sting of death had been pulled and the portal of eternal life opened to such who would align themselves with the Finished work of the Champion Lord Christ.

“It is Finished” are not the words of a man surrendering to death but the words of a soldier who had conquered in battle. They are the words of a Savior whose mission was accomplished, the words of the Alpha and Omega whose all sufficient work for our salvation is complete. Jesus did not simply die on the cross to make salvation possible; His blood finished the purchasing of His Elect from the guilt and power of sin.

Seventh Word — Luke 23:46 // “Into Thy Hands I Commit My Spirit”

On the Cross when our Lord Christ commits Himself into the Hands of the Father we hear the Faith of our Lord Christ. Remember our Lord Christ felt the abandonment of the Father and yet His final words speak with the voice of Faith. He knew His Father would not abandon Him to the Grave and so with confidence He commits His life into God’s hands.

With His death the blessed Lord Christ vouchsafed His future vindication with the Father having faith that the Father would justify all of His words and work by the powerful working of resurrection.

The Son had faith that the eternal bond between the Father and the Son could never be severed and so with a calmness that speaks the end of the storm the Son commits His Spirit into the Hand of the Father.