Atonement — Meaning, Necessity, The Final, Life Without


Lev. 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’

Hebrews 10:11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being [d]sanctified.

The Meaning of Atonement

Since we are going to be looking at the matter of atonement this morning we will be well served to have a functional definition of atonement so that every time you hear that word you will know what we are speaking of.

Theologian Leon Morris tell us that;

Atonement means ‘a making of one.’ and points to a process of bringing those who are estranged into a unity… Its use in theology is to denote the work of Christ in dealing with the problem posed by the sin of man, and in bringing sinners into right relation with God.”

Theologian Paul Jewett adds,

“Etymologically the word atonement signifies a harmonious relationship of that which brings about such a relationship, i.e. – a reconciliation. Atonement is principally used of of the reconciliation between God and man effected by the work of the Cross.”

Both of these passages that were read this morning refer to the great religious fact of Atonement. The passages that speak of atonement or some aspect of atonement are ubiquitous in Scriptue.

In the idea of Atonement we find the great central truths of the Christian faith, but not only the Christian faith as we shall learn, but all the great central truth of all religions. Indeed, one of the burdens of the sermon this morning is to not only to understand the meaning and necessity of the Atonement but also to understand that atonement as a general category is an inescapable category wherein all men, regardless of their religious status, require and so seek out.

The text in Leviticus 17 reminds us that it was God Himself who required the sacrificial system wherein the Priests busied themselves in the work in bringing sacrifices for the purposes of Atonement. The text from Hebrews teaches that all that was prefigured in the OT work of the Priestly caste was fulfilled perfectly by Jesus the Christ.
When we consider the atonement we would do well to start with by looking at the necessity of the atonement. The atonement presupposes the central tenets of our undoubted catholic Christian faith. The necessity of the atonement implies

A Holy Creator God
A violation of the Creator Holy God’s Holy Law by man now the sinner laden w/ objective guilt
A resultant fractured relationship that means a Holy God’s just wrath is upon man the sinner
God’s requirement by way of blood penalty that must be paid in order for man to be restored
This penalty paid must propitiate and reconcile God while expiating sin, so redeeming sinners
God’s provision in Himself as the God/Man paying the penalty as substitute that man could not pay
With the result that Man the sinner is brought back into right relation with God

And in that brief outline lies the essence of the Gospel and a lifetime of preaching. This is how important and monumental the issue of Atonement is. So important is the subject that I have tried to read one substantial book every year during the last 4 decades on the Atonement or some aspect of it. Without a sound understanding of the Atonement there exists only a Christianity that is no Christianity.

With that in mind we come to the passages and note a few matters regarding atonement.

I.) The Necessity of Atonement

In the texts we have had read for us this morning we learn that Atonement is the great central fact of the Christian faith. Leviticus 17:11 teaches us that God required Atonement of His people. Indeed, the whole sacrificial system of the OT pivots on the necessity of atonement.

But the necessity of the Atonement has a far longer history than Israel’s sacrificial system. The necessity of atonement goes way back to the garden after the fall. It is hinted at already with the fact that our first parents were covered after their garden sin with the skins of slain animals. Atonement is even more clearly with the account of Cain & Abel. God looked with favor upon the offering brought by Abel but with disfavor upon the offering brought by Cain.

Why was Abel’s offering – ‘fat portions from some of the firstborn flock’ – acceptable while Cain’s offering of some of the fruits of the soil not acceptable? Could it be that Cain offered a bloodless sacrifice apart from faith while Abel offered God a better blood sacrifice combined with faith as it was.

This is what Hebrews 11:4 hints at;

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous,

So we see the necessity of atonement.

The atonement is necessary if we are have audience with God… if we are to be friends with God. And because of the atonement is necessary the OT is splashed and covered with blood that could only point in the direction of an atonement that the OT could only anticipate.

The word of the atonement in the OT is Kipper. We hear it in the Jewish celebration of Yom Kipper. It literally means to cover. The word is used to describe the effect of the OT sacrifices at the consecration of the High Priest and the altar and the annual sacrifices especially on the Day of atonement.

Atonement is necessary as covering because by the atonement the sins of the people were covered so that God did not see them. This was pictured in the OT by the fact that on the Day of Atonement the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies into the presence of God and would sprinkle the blood of that atoning sacrifice upon the Mercy Seat of the ark of the covenant where within was the law of God which condemned the people as sinners. By this act the blood was covering the law’s just accusation against the sin of the people and so God’s just wrath was turned away and so God was pleased to continue with His people.

So we see it all there in this required sacrificial system that required blood atonement. This is why Scripture teaches that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

However, the Scripture also consistently teaches that all this was only promissory and anticipatory of a greater future atonement. Indeed we find that very idea expressed a few verses earlier in the chapter that was read this morning;

Hebrews 10: 1For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

All that blood. All that time and treasure. All that expertise in animal slaughtering could not possibly take away sins. And it was never intended to. It was intended to be a daily reminder that another substitute bloody death was coming who would take away sin for good.

And so we look at that final Atonement;

II.) The Final Atonement

The passage in Hebrews read this morning says explicitly that all that was done in the old and worse covenant by way of sacrifice “could never take away sins.”

The author of Hebrews here highlights the work of the OT High Priest and priests and contrasts that work with the redemptive work of Christ. Note how complete the contrast is in this text


Vs. 11 Vs. 12

Day after Day But
every Priest This Priest
stands sat down
he offers when [he] had offered
again and again for all time
the same sacrifices one sacrifice
which can never for sins
take away sins

The text teaches here that Christ then was the fulfillment of both the responsibilities of the great High Priest inasmuch as he offered up the sacrifice. The text teaches here that Christ also then was the fulfillment of those sacrifices as the sacrifice that He offered up as the Great High Priest was Himself as the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

But unlike the High Priest of the OT he did up offer up Himself as Atonement for His own sins. He offered Himself as God’s atonement for the sins of His people. Unlike the High Priest of the OT once this self atonement was completed – this one sacrifice for sins – His work was complete and He sits down at the right hand of God.

Keep in mind that this is other contrasts

In the OT the sanctuary furniture included table, lamp, altar of incense, and the ark… but one thing it did not include was a chair. Yet when this High Priest completes His work He sits down simply because there is no longer any necessary atonement sacrifices to be accomplished.

A couple implications here:

1.) This is why we can have no tuck with well intentioned and friendly Roman Catholics. I have good friends who want to be and are friendly with Roman Catholics. As such they are on good terms with them. However, they are not doing any friendly favors to Romanists by not telling them that their ongoing attendance to the Mass where Christ is once again sacrificed for sin as atonement is nothing but gross idolatry. There can be no reconciliation with Rome as long as Christ once for all sacrifice is denied by the Mass and we are offering the Roman Catholic rank and file no friendship if we do not at least occasionally bring that up to those of them who are our friends.

2.) Some of you here need to satisfied with this complete atonement. God is saying to you in the words of the song “Just come in;”

What do I see you draggin’ up here, is that for your atoning?

Some of you can’t believe that God’s grace is that gracious. Some of you can’t believe that God’s atonement is final. Some of you can’t believe that Christ has sat down. As such you can’t believe that your sins really are forgiven. As such you keep draggin’ before him your obedience so as to somehow be additions to Christ’s atonement.

Brother … Sister … you don’t have to keep living with your ongoing sin and guilt. Confess your sins and believe that God is faithful and just to forgive your sins. Brother … Sister … keep before you that God is satisfied with the atonement He provided for you. You don’t have to augment His atonement with your atonements.

Quit beating yourself. Christ has taken your beating for you. Quit thinking that you are accepted by your performance. You’re not, nor ever could be. You are accepted on the basis of the performance of Jesus Christ as your obedience and atonement. Some of us need to really believe that we are loved by God for the sake of Christ.

So there it is. Christ is our atonement. God’s just wrath is turned from us and our sin removed from us so that all we know now is God’s fatherly love and favor. We are those who have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Our sin is covered and we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Because of this atonement God is reconciled to us and we are reconciled to God. Because of this atonement the ransom price was paid not with silver or gold but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ – a lamb without spot or blemish and so we are redeemed.

III.) Life Without Christ’s Atonement

Now, what of those who have not closed with Christ and so come under his atonement? Have they escaped all this theology. Are they living life apart from the category of atonement.

We would say 1000 times NO and this truth needs to be heralded.

The non-believe in Christ still lives with the necessity of atonement and still spends their life seeking to come up with some other atonement besides the atonement that we have spoken of here briefly this morning.

Modern man is riddled with guilt and being riddled with guilt and refusing the atonement found in Christ he is forever seeking to provide self-atonement for himself. Indeed, the man apart from Christ busies himself all his life seeking an atonement that will cover the guilt he can not escape. People outside of Christ are dangerous for this reason.

They are dangerous because there are only so many options to look to for atonement when the atonement that is found in Christ is rejected.

Sinful and guilty Man outside of Christ can only find relief from his guilt and sin in an atonement that comes from either

1.) His paying for his own penalty (Masochism)
2.) His looking to pass on his sin and guilt to another so as to find atonement (Sadism)

These are the options for those outside of Christ who do not have Christ as their atonement. The need for atonement does not go away and so it is either the pursuit of Masochistic self atonement – the constant punishing of the self, or it is the sadistic activity on making others your atonement.

Let us make this clear;

Man apart from Christ is guilty.
He will not have Christ has his atonement
He still must do something with his sin and guilt
He still must have atonement
That atonement will be found in masochism or sadism
So, atonement is an inescapable category. It is never a matter of atonement. It is always a matter rather of which atonement will be sought out.

For our purposes I have drawn definitions of Masochism and Sadism form Websters Dictionary.

Masochism per Webster is – a taste for suffering

And I am insisting that modern man who has not fled to Christ and His suffering atonement will seek out his atonement with a taste for self inflicted suffering.

Now as it touches this Masochistic atonement modern man is like all that went before. I remember when I first read about the traveling flagellants. In medieval Europe they would travel from city to city carrying whips and flailing themselves on their backs.

The Flagellants were religious followers who would whip themselves, believing that by punishing themselves they would invite God to show mercy toward them. The Flagellants would arrive in a town and head straight for the church, where bells would ring to announce to the townsfolk that they had arrived. Having recited their liturgies the Brethren would move to an open space and form a circle, stripping to the waist and then walking around the circle until called to stop by the Master. They would then fall to the ground, adopting a crucifix position, or holding three fingers in the air (perjurors) or lying face down (adulterers). Having been thrashed by the Master, the Brethren would stand and begin to flagellate themselves. After some period of this self-torture, the Flagellants would throw themselves to the ground once more, and the process would begin again.

Each whip consisted of a stick with three knotted thongs hanging from the end. Two pieces of needle-sharp metal were run through the centre of the knots from both sides, forming a cross, the end of which extended beyond the knots for the length of a grain of wheat or less. Using these whips they beat and whipped their bare skin until their bodies were bruised and swollen and blood rained down, spattering the walls nearby. I have seen, when they whipped themselves, how sometimes those bits of metal penetrated the skin so deeply that it took more than two attempts to pull them out.–

Heinrich von Herford (c. 1300-1370), Chronicon Henrici de Hervordia

Much of the medieval system of forgiveness was all about masochistic behavior in one form or another

Modern man outside of Christ and without His atonement disguises this better but you can be sure that those without Christ are inflicting suffering among themselves in an attempt to provide a self-atonement. All people who are not Christians are either masochists or sadists or both. They are determined and govern by masochistic/sadistic impulses.

RJR agreed w/ us here writing;

“E.J. Warner, has written a very telling book, again from a totally non-Christian perspective, titled The Urge to Mass Destruction. This masochistic impulse is ultimately suicidal, because man, feeling his guilt and his sin, feels the need for punishment and the penalty of death, and so his activities become suicidal progressively, and the more deeply guilty a culture becomes and the more it departs from God, the more suicidal it will become until it is governed by what Warner called the urge to mass destruction, and Warner, writing approximately ten years ago, said that this urge to mass destruction was taking over the politics of modern man so that our modern politics is the politics of the urge to mass destruction. These men are all talking about atonement, about the desperate, the crying need for atonement in the heart of man, and it’s a sad fact that the pulpit doesn’t recognize that everything we deal with every day is wrapped up in this mad desire for self-atonement, for atonement without Christ.”

Lift your eyes and look around. What else can account for the odd behavior that we a currently seeing except for the mad pursuit to find a masochistic self-atonement? What else is all this piercing and tattooing … what else is all this gender dysphoria that pursues drugs and surgeries… What else is all these various addictions to various substances except the attempt to self-atone. The weight of sin and guilt is known. They will not have Christ atone for them and so they look to provide their own suffering and atonement.

With this realization how can there not be a place in our hearts that just weeps for these people? How can we look on this self-cruelty that seeks to provide a self-atonement and not have compassion and pity? How can we not long for them to know the only one who can so atone for them that they will be done with their own attempts at self atonement.

And now I’m fixin’ to meddle. What else can it be besides an urge to provide self-atonement that finds much of the leadership in the Evangelical/Reformed world that insists that the White Christian should be satisfied with being replaced in his own land thus suffering as hewers of wood and drawers of water? What else can it be but trying to pay for a false guilt that even were the accusations true (and they’re not) should be entrusted to having been paid for by Christ in His atonement. No… instead, so the narrative goes, we White Christians are to pay for the putative sins of our Fathers by taking upon ourselves a masochistic self-atonement.

No…. I will not play this game. My sins have been atoned for and I owe nothing to those who know not the atonement of Jesus Christ and so are trying to provide for their own self-atonement by sadistically foisting off their sin of envy upon me and my people.

And what of the attempt to self-atone that is Sadism which is defined in a delight in cruelty towards others?

There are those who, not accepting the atonement of Christ will instead of seeking masochistically to pay for their sins will instead sadistically seek to foist their sin upon others thus arriving at self-atonement?

Here we find the race pimps and race hustlers as I already mentioned. Here we find the Narcissist (and unsurprisingly we find Narcissism is growing by leaps and bounds in our culture) seeking to make everything the fault of someone else. Most of us have known them. They never take responsibility for anything… even if the same thing happens over and over again. They are forever pointing fingers at somebody else and are forever coming up with justifications for their behavior. Forever trying to find atonement by inflicting cruelty on others.

To all this masochism and sadism in our culture we have but one answer. That answer is the atonement of Jesus Christ who is the only way who is sufficient to provide atonement so as to save us from our own self-atoning efforts. It is Christ as our atonement who turned away the Father’s just wrath against sin. It is Jesus as our atonement who took away our sins. It is Jesus the Christ who reconciled God to us and us to God. It is the Lord Christ as our great High Priest who provided redemption.

Let us practice being satisfied with His atonement.

Mike Horton … From Pink to Red

“Social Justice is not a conversation that anyone can opt out of; every day we are engaged in secular rituals that either support of threaten the good of our neighbor. Good theology creates a horizon for reimagining of our relationships to one another as well as to God. Toxic theology, or even good theology perverted in the service of empire and ideology, has had disastrous cultural effects.

Some culture warriors on the right have claimed recently that ‘social justice’ is code for secular humanism; its very mention should raise ‘Red’ flags. Part of that is due to the tendency sometimes to separate the Great Commission from the Great Commandment. The gospel does not relieve us of the duty to love God and neighbor…

Ultimately, I am called to [justice] because my neighbor is created in God’s image. As God’s image bearers, especially those whose voices are ignored or marginalized, these neighbors are God’s own claim upon me and my life. Through the cries of the ignored and marginalized, I hear God’s call ‘Adam where art thou?’ And I dare not generalize or deflect this summons, replying with Cain, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?'”

Mike Horton 
R2K Wokey Fanboy
Modern Reformation Article
Justification and Justice

1.) Social Justice is a Marxist trope. The only Justice that exists is biblical Justice as measured against God’s explicit Law-Word. The very use of the language without strongly delineating it from it’s Marxist home is suggestive that Horton is wearing a uniform colored red.

2.) There is no such thing as “secular rituals,” if by “secular rituals” Horton means rituals that are not driven by religious and theological a-priories. There is no such thing as a “ritual” that is secular. The whole notion is oxymoronic.

3.) The whole sentence about reimagining horizons is mere sentimental gobbledygook. There is no need to reimagine relationships with God and Man. We have been told directly what that relationship is and that is to Love God and Man. The only standard to measure love to God and man and is to act towards each consistent with God’s Law. The honoring of God’s Law is the definition of love to God and Man and not Horton’s precious Social Justice and reimaginative horiozons.

4.) Bad theology always has a disastrous cultural effect. No Duh. We are seeing daily the disastrous cultural effects that Horton’s Radical Two Kingdom theology is having.

5.) It is precisely because the Gospel does not relieve us of our duty to love God and neighbor that we are required to spit every time we hear “Social Justice.” “Social Justice” is hatred for God and neighbor since “Social Justice” presupposes a cultural Marxist world and life view. Horton is a functional Marxist.

6.) No… ultimately I am called to Justice because God calls me to Justice. I am not ultimately called to justice because my neighbor has the Imago Dei. To say the former vis-a-vis the latter is the difference between being a humanist and being a Christian.

7.) Voices that are ignored or marginalized (i.e. — trannies, sodomites, Lesbians, minorities who form the Marxist neo-proletariat vanguard to overturn Christian social order, along with Pedophiliacs, Necrophiliacs, etc.) are ignored and marginalized because they hate Christ. I pray God that such voices are always ignored and marginalized.

8.) My neighbors are not God’s claim on my life. God’s claim on my life is by virtue of His being the Creator and my Redeemer. I don’t even know what it means when someone says “My neighbors are God’s claim on my life.” It is abstracted gobbledygook and means nothing. Sure sounds good though.

9.) Through the “ignored and marginalized: I don’t hear Cain’s “Am I my Brother’s Keeper” instead I hear God’s “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

10.) Horton is a faithless shepherd. Stay away from this Cultural Marxist wanna-be.


Chit Chatting with the Clergy regarding Nashville and Returning Fire

“The baseline question is: do you care more about yourself and your rights or do you care more about loving others and contributing to the good and healing of all. This world has consistently and clearly answered that question over and over again. But the Kingdom has a very different answer.”

Jay Simmons
PCA Pastor
All Souls Church — St. Louis Mo.

Let’s apply this to the Nashville event.

Because of my caring about loving others I know that insisting on second amendment rights may well have meant that someone was firing back at the perp who did not consider God’s sovereign right to His people’s lives. Because of the embrace of my 2nd amendment rights I may well be in the position to love others by firing back at lunatics.

So, yeah … I do care more about myself and my God given rights and in doing so I could, if this situation arose in a setting I was in, show my love to others by contributing to their good and healing by returning fire on a perp with deadly intent.

So we see that the Kingdom most assuredly does NOT have a different answer.

Bret L. McAtee
Pastor — Charlotte Christ the King Reformed Church

p.s. — Do you ever wake up with the cold sweats worried that God is going to hold you accountable for what comes out of your mouth as His servant?

At this point one Ty Burk steps in to defend Rev. Simmons. That exchange is below;

TB wrote,

So, you are attempting to use the Nashville mass shooting, that wasn’t stopped by an armed citizen, as an argument for armed citizens because they *might* prevent mass shootings? Continuing that logic, more firearms would result in fewer mass shootings/firearm fatalities. More armed citizens = less firearm fatalities is the argument.

Bret responds,

1.) Well, it is dang certain the case that an armed citizen will have more success at preventing a mass shooting then an unarmed citizen will have at preventing a mass shooting. This isn’t rocket science chum.

2.) I know that more armed citizens who are informed concerning weapons and drilled on the use of weapons would lead to fewer fatalities.

3.) One thing that is certain sure is that revoking or diminishing the 2nd amendment will lead to more shootings and more deaths. I mean, you don’t really think that someone who has no problem violating the law in murdering someone will pause for a skinny second and be inhibited by a law that says they can’t have firearms? If you criminalize owning guns only criminals will own guns.

4.) Not only do more armed citizens = less firearm fatalities but more armed citizens = the FEDS thinking twice before they decide to tyrannize the citizenry. Of course, you perfectly understand that is the whole reason for the 2nd amendment right? You realize that the reason our Founders gave us a 2nd amendment was because they had experienced government tyranny and knew the only way to forestall government tyranny was to make sure the citizenry was armed to the teeth, right?

TB writes,

However, that position is not supported by any data or experience.

Bret responds,

Horse Hockey!

Experience as well as common sense tells us that people who have weapons who can fire back at people who are firing at them will always have more of a fighting chance to survive.

TB writes,

The number of mass shootings prevented by armed citizens remains dismally low. Additionally, as the number of firearms/their accessibility increase, so does firearm fatalities. That’s not an opinion. It’s substantiated fact.

Bret responds,

I don’t believe you and I am convinced that you are at this moment practicing the art of gaslighting.
Guns prevent an estimated 2.5 million crimes a year, or 6,849 every day.

Most often, the gun is never fired, and no blood (including the criminal’s) is shed.

Every year, 400,000 life-threatening violent crimes are prevented using firearms.

60 percent of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they knew the victim was armed. Forty percent of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they thought the victim might be armed.

Felons report that they avoid entering houses where people are at home because they fear being shot.

Fewer than 1 percent of firearms are used in the commission of a crime.
If you doubt the objectivity of the site above, it’s worth pointing out that the Center for Disease Control, in a report ordered by President Obama in 2012 following the Sandy Hook Massacre, estimated that the number of crimes prevented by guns could be even higher—as many as 3 million annually, or some 8,200 every day.

TB now regretting getting involved with me writes,

Please expound on the position that firearm ownership is a God given right.

Bret responds,

“All careful studies and lawful endeavors to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting, by just defense, against violence, protecting and defending the innocent.” (Westminster Larger Catechism Q135).

The great Puritan commentator on the Bible, Thomas Ridgeley (1667-1734), in his commentary on the Westminster Larger Catechism quotes the Catechism itself as I have above and then in his commentary on Sixth Commandment duties, Ridgeley says,

“We should use all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, and the life of others [because]…. man is the subject of the divine image…. We are also to defend those who are in imminent danger of death…. Moreover, in some instances, a person may kill another in his own defence, without being guilty of the breach of this commandment….”

Ridgeley goes on to comment that if we cannot disarm an enemy threatening our life, or flee from him, “we do not incur the least guilt, or break this commandment, if we take away his life to preserve our own; especially if we were not first in the quarrel, nor gave occasion to it by any injurious or unlawful practices.”

Also we note the Heidleberg catechism

105. Q. — What does God require in the sixth commandment?


… Moreover, I am not to harm or recklessly endanger myself. 3

3. Mt 4:7; 26:52; Rom 13:11-14


What else can we call a refusal to defend one’s self and one’s people except a harming or a recklessly endangering of one’s self? This is something that the Heidelberg forswears.

You see the Heidelberg Catechism insists that the keeping of the Sixth commandment means that I am not to harm or recklessly endanger myself. It doesn’t take much to argue that we are increasingly living in times when not carrying a weapon on us for self-defense and the protection of the judicially innocent could easily be seen as that which constitutes a reckless endangering of ourselves and others.

Of course, to appeal again to the Scriptures as our primary source of authority we look at Proverbs,

“Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.”

Proverbs 25:26

Mind if I just call you “OIe Muddy,” Ty?

TB writes,

Where are we, as Christians, promised safety and security? Where are Christian instructed to take up arms to secure safety and security? Indeed, where are Christian instructed to use lethal force for any means?

Bret responds,

Proverbs 25:26

Pulpit Commentary, on Proverbs 25 verse 26. – … a righteous man giving way to the wicked.
“A good man neglecting to assert himself and to hold his own in the face of sinners, is as useless to society and as harmful to the good cause as a spring that has been defiled by mud stirred up or extraneous matter introduced is unserviceable for drinking and prejudicial to those who use it.”

Illustration — Cow Pond Farm

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the Faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

1 Timothy 5:8

Fathers and husbands are required by Almighty God to provide for their families. This includes not only providing food, housing, clothing, education, medical care, love, discipleship and spiritual guidance, but also protection. Of what worth is all the other provision if one does not provide protection as well? Anyone who fails to provide the necessary protection for their family has denied the Faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Those using Anabaptist Pacifist reasoning will say things like, “We should be those who trust God,” as if one cannot carry a weapon and trust God at the same time. We are to trust God for our daily provision. Is the implication of that, that we should not earn a living since God will provide? We are to trust God to keep us safe at the workplace. Does this mean if I am working with Jets, as I used to, I quit wearing headphones because God is going to keep me safe?

Let us close by noting that God would have us protect man. Not because man in and of himself, apart from God has any inherent value but because man can never be considered apart from God and so is the image of God. Any assault on man finds the root crime being an assault on God. An assault on the King’s man is an assault on the King and when we are protecting the image of God via self-defense against those attacking the King’s men we are protecting the King. If we allow God’s judicially innocent Image bearers to be assaulted and threatened without response, it is not merely that we are not protecting men, it is a case that we are communicating that God Himself is not worthy of being defended. This Image of God is that which explains why men should be defended.

God puts such value on His Image bearers that He sent forth the God-man to reconcile God to His elect image bearers. Christ died for the sins of His people so that they, as Image bearers of God, would be rescued. If God, at cost to Himself would set forth His own son as the propitiation of the Image Bearers sin how much more should we seek to protect and defend men as Image bearers?

TB writes,

Your imagined scenario of showing your love for others by returning fire recalls the assault of Malchus by Simon Peter in the Gospels. The chief priest and elders come with Judas and a crowd to seize Jesus. Malchus grabs Jesus and, in an attempt to defend Jesus, Peter draws a sword and cuts off Malchus’ ear. Peter is admonished by Jesus to put his sword back in its place. And, in Luke’s account, even heals Malchus by reattaching his ear.

Bret responds,

When the situation is one where I am trying to stop Jesus from going to the cross I’ll keep the above in mind. However, when I am in other situations where I am trying to protect the life of the judicially innocent I’ll keep the Scripture, catechisms, and confessions in mind as limned out above.

TB writes,

I’m of the opinion that Christ, the foundation of our religion who never promised safety/protection, nor instructed others to use lethal force to secure safety/protection, who sent his Disciples out (unarmed) to suffer deaths as martyrs (not one raising so much as a sword to defend themselves), and who never raised a hand in self defense against false accusations and unjust death on the cross, would have a similar rebuke for position expressed in your comment.

Bret responds,

Frankly, I don’t care what your opinion is Ty. Clearly, your faith is informed by lunatic Anabaptist categories. We Reformed manly men never went in for that kind of cowardly retreatism. Have fun with your effeminate religion. Don’t worry though… if you’re someplace where someone is lighting up the place with bullets I’ll make sure and not protect you, out of love for you and Jesus.

HC Q. 34 — Jesus Is Lord

Question 34: Wherefore callest thou Him our Lord? 

Answer: Because He hath redeemed us, both soul and body, from all our sins, not with gold or silver, but with His precious blood, and hath delivered us from all the power of the devil; and thus hath made us His own property.3

The Heidelberg catechism continues to follow the Apostles Creed and in doing so it moves from the affirmation that Jesus Christ was the only begotten son of God to the affirmation that Jesus is Lord.

The Lordship of Jesus upon the life of every Christian is indisputable. Throughout the Scripture record Jesus is referred to as “Lord.” Jesus Himself, addressing His disciples could say;

“You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.” — John 13:13

Upon seeing the resurrected Jesus the disciples Thomas could exclaim, “My Lord and my God.”

Peter on the day of Pentecost preached;

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”  — Acts 2:36

Jesus Christ is indeed, as St. John says in his Apocalypse,  “Lord of Lords and King of Kings.”

The answer to Lord’s Day 34 deals with the why of Christ’s Lordship. Why is Jesus Christ the Lord to Christians?

And the first part of that answer is that Jesus Christ’s Lordship is due to the fact that He hath redeemed us in our totality (body and soul) from all our sins with that which was more valuable than gold or silver, to wit, His own precious blood.

Follow the assumptions of this answer.

1.) If we were Redeemed that implies that we were under a previous ownership

2.) As such we have gone from the owner that had claim upon us before being redeemed to another owner upon being redeemed.

This teaches us mortal men that we are never in a state where we operate as unowned by one or another Lord. Christians sing enthusiastically with Dylan;

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You might be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Further Q. 34 teaches us that we can only be owned by Jesus as we are freed by the only price paid that can free us — the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

1 Pet. 1:18–19, Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

The idea of being redeemed from our “vain conversation” received by the tradition of their forefathers is that we have been bought back from a lifestyle that was unwholesome, unhealthy, and deadly. That lifestyle handed down by our unredeemed Kin is a lifestyle as beholden to Satan.

Jesus, having redeemed us from that lifestyle futility as received from our forefathers as they labored for the ends of their Lord, is now our Lord and Master, and He in turn delivers us from our previous inherited vain conversation (lifestyle futility/meaninglessness) to a lifestyle that is no longer, vain, futile, or meaningless. He is Lord and it is good to have Jesus as Lord, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. We are now the property of Jesus Christ and He takes responsibility as our owner for all things that concern us as under both categories of body and soul.

Being delivered from our vain conversations inherited by our imprisoned and shackled Fathers Jesus hath made us His own property.

This means that Jesus has property rights in the Christian. We belong to Him. We are emblazoned on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16) and we are stamped on our foreheads with His stamp (Revelation 22:14). We are His property and so we naturally refer to Jesus as Lord.

It is because Jesus is their Lord that the Christian refuses to live as if any other person or entity is their Lord.  It is because Jesus is their Lord that the Christian refuses to place their children underneath the tutelage of those who are themselves the flacks and minions for some other Lord. It is because Jesus is their Lord that the Christian takes so seriously God’s law in its third use for their living.

“What exactly is it that distinguishes the Calvinist? It is the fact that the Calvinist, more than others, humbles himself before the law of his God, through which a higher, more sophisticated sense of jurisprudence is also cultivated in us.”

– Abraham Kuyper

This conviction that Jesus is Lord for the Christian has animated the Christian through the centuries with a white hot determination to live as only their Lord’s bondsmen. The Biblical Christian as such as always been a prickly pear when it comes to the issue of liberty. Jesus is our Lord and we Christians are His property and we will not be brought again into any bondage of any other Lord for to do so would make the Christian an idolater.

The Biblical Christian understands that we were bought with a price and therefore we are determined, by God’s grace, to therefore glorify God in our bodies, and in our spirits, which, belong to God (I Cor. 6:20).

Baxter, McAtee, & Lusk on Final Justification

“To conclude, it is most clear in Scripture, that our Justification, at the great judgment, will be according to our Works, and to what we have done in the Flesh, whether good or evil; which can be no otherwise than as it was the Condition of that Justification.”

Richard Baxter
Puritan Neonomian

Advocating Final Justification

If one talks about “Final Justification” in terms of our works vindicating and agreeing with our forensic Justification which is/was by Christ alone there should be very little problem since Scripture talks about how our works shall follow us (Rev. 14:13). Further “Final Justification might be allowed as long as everyone agrees that all who were forensically justified will be finally justified without exception. However, to talk about a “final Justification” that somehow eclipses our forensic Justification is just Remonstrant trash. The same kind of trash being dished out by Federal Vision today;

“Final justification, however, is according to works. This pole of justification takes into account the entirety of our lives — the obedience we’ve preformed, the sins we’ve committed, the confessions and repentance we’ve done … God’s verdict over us will be in accord with, and therefore in some sense based upon, the life we have lived.”

Rich Lusk 
Federal Vision Remonstrant

As a brief aside here having interacted with the FV crowd quite extensively in days gone by, keep an eye out for the language above where we find the phrase “in some sense.” That is a weasel phrase that can mean just about anything.

Note, that while I do think that ever increasing obedience should be characteristic of the believer I would never think or say to myself that I really believed that my obedience would be connected to any final justification — even if in the way of vindication. Honestly, I know too well of my ongoing battle to put off the old man and put on the new man created in Christ Jesus to ever take hope in my “obedience performed,” for any kind of Justification. It strikes me that only someone not conversant with the depths of their own sin would write the way Lusk does.

We all would do well to remember our confessions;

“Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works are also accepted in Him, not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable, and unreprovable in God’s sight; but that He, looking upon them in His Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.”

Westminster Confession of Faith – 16:6