A Defense for Penal Substitutionary Atonement: A Commentary on Romans 3:24-26

INTRODUCTION

In Romans 3, the Apostle Paul is demonstrating that all men, no matter their background, ethnicity, or knowledge, fall short of the standard by which God judges a man of being just.  Therefore, in verse 23, Paul concludes that all “fall short of the glory of God.”  Paul is also attempting to explain to the church in Rome why possessing the law does not make one righteous before God.  But rather, the law acts more like a sign or pointer revealing to man how he does not measure up to God’s standards, and exposes the many transgressions of all men.  Paul is building up the tension for his readers because up until this point he has clearly shown how all men, Jew and gentile alike, are under the wrath of God.  The question then arises, “if no one is good, how can anyone get to heaven and God remain just?”  For if all men are unworthy of heaven, and worthy only of hell, how can anyone receive this reward?  Furthermore, how can God seemingly just drop the charges for the sins committed and remain a just judge?  These are the questions Paul answers in Romans 3:24-26.

COMMENTARY

3:24.  Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. This verse is picking up in mid-thought and is clearly connected to verse 23.  The ESV translation of vs. 24 starts with the word and.  So there is an obvious connection in Paul’s mind of the category of those who “sin and fall short” and those who are “justified.”  In this verse, the author states that those who are in Christ Jesus are “justified” as a gift of grace through redemption.  The word justified, used here, is used thirty-eight other times in the New Testament.  Twenty-four of those times the word is translated exactly the same, the other fifteen times it is translated nearly the same only differentiated by tense of the word.

Throughout the New Testament justified is used to mean, “to show to be righteous or to declare righteous.”  For example, if someone were to make the claim that they knew the president of the United States, that person and his claim would be justified if President Bush were to come over to his house and verify this person’s claim.  However, this term is most often used with a courtroom motif.  Schreiner states:

Justification is a legal or forensic term, belonging to the law courts.  Its opposite is condemnation.  Both are the pronouncements of a judge.  In a Christian context they are the alternative eschatological verdicts which God the judge may pass on judgment day.  So when God justifies sinners today, he anticipates his own final judgment by bringing into present what belongs properly to the last day (Schreiner 190).

So Paul argues that even though everyone sins against God and is therefore under His condemnation, those who are in Christ Jesus are no longer under that condemnation, but rather, seen as just before God and His law.  Paul then goes on to explain through what means this is done.

Those who are justified are so on the basis that they have been redeemed.  In the previous verse Paul stated that everyone has sinned against God.  The idea could be understood that all men are therefore indebted to God.  Therefore, for them to be free they must be redeemed.  The word redemption is used only ten times in the New Testament.  However, the word was very common to Paul’s contemporary audience.  They would have most likely associated this word with the connotation of a slave being indebted and being set free due to a ransom being paid.  In other words, the word redemption means, “to release on payment of ransom.”  However, there has been debate on the intended meaning by Paul when he used this word.  Some have argued that this word could be seen not as a ransom being paid, but rather, or simply the idea of “deliverance” or “emancipation” from slavery (Cranfield 206).  That being said, the best understanding of the word is likely the idea of a ransom being paid.  This can be seen for three reasons.

First, as stated before, the common understanding of this word is most commonly understood to have the imagery of a ransom being paid.  There is no reason given for the reader to think otherwise.

Secondly, the immediate context is already carrying the imagery of an indebted group of people who have been ransomed.  In verse 23 Paul states that all men have sinned against God.  And in verse 24 Paul states that those who are in Christ Jesus have been redeemed “freely.”  Why would Paul use terms such as this one if he did not intend for it to have a ransom understanding?

Lastly, looking at the Scriptures in a broader context by the same writer, Paul uses the imagery throughout his epistles with the idea of those in Jesus being there through means of a price or purchase (I Cor. 6:20).  That being said, it does not mean that Paul does not have in mind the ideas of “deliverance” or “emancipation.”  Rather, that is exactly what the ransomed experience on the basis of the purchase being made.

So in verse 24 Paul gives hope to the reader.  This hope is found outside of the individual.  It is found in Christ Jesus.  However, at this point, though Paul has spoken of hope for those in Christ Jesus, he has not answered the dilemma at how a holy righteous judge can do so.  Stott states it well:

Then how on earth can Paul affirm that God does what he forbids others to do; that he does what he says he will himself never do; that he does it habitually, and that he even designates himself ‘the God who justifies the wicked’ or (we might say) ‘who “righteousses” the unrighteous’? It is preposterous! How can the righteous God act unrighteously, and so overthrow the moral order, turning it upside down? It is unbelievable! (112)

Here is the point Stott is making: If God has clearly revealed that it is an abomination for a judge to condemn the righteous and justify the ungodly (Pro. 17:15), how can He then justify the ungodly?  Paul goes on in verse 25 to explain.


3:25.  Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.  This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over sins previously committed.
The “whom” in verse 25 refers back to Christ Jesus from the end of verse 24.  Paul argues that God the Father appeals to Jesus, His Son, as a testimony to His righteousness.  But how is Jesus a demonstration of God’s righteousness?  In verse 23 Paul stated that all men have sinned against God and are therefore under God’s just wrath.  In verse 24 Paul states that those who were under God’s just wrath have now been justified and redeemed.  In other words, somehow God’s just wrath against sin has been placated, appeased, or dealt.  This is what the word propitiation means.

However, all scholars do not accept this word here in Romans 3:25.  Many scholars such as Dunn, Gundry, and Chalke would translate this word as expiation or as mercy seat (Dunn 180-181).  There is good reason for this.  For this word is used, by the translators of the Old Testament, for the LXX for the Hebrew word for mercy seat.  This is the same reason why Calvin and Luther translated this word this way.  Now Paul is dealing largely with the Law of Moses in the context and it is clear that the Old Testament is in mind here.  However, to translate this word as expiation or mercy seat would not communicate the full meaning of the word here being used by Paul.  One scholar states it best:

The main reason these options are not satisfactory, and a reference to propitiation seems necessary, is the context.  In these verses Paul is describing God’s solution to the human predicament, which is not only sin but God’s wrath upon sin (1:18; 2:5; 3:5).  And where there is divine wrath, there is need to avert it…In sum, it would be hard to exaggerate the differences between the pagan and the Christian views of propitiation.  In the pagan perspective, human beings try to placate their bad-tempered deities with their own paltry offerings.  According to the Christian revelation, God’s own great love propitiated his own holy wrath through the gift of his own dear Son, who took our place, bore our sin and died our death. Thus God himself gave himself to us to save us from himself (Stott 114-115).

As Stott and many others have stated the immediate context demands for a more full meaning that simply expiation.  Seifrid states it wonderfully, saying:

According to Paul, our sins themselves are an expression of the wrath of God on idolatry, a wrath that therefore cannot legitimately be reduced to an impersonal effect or natural result of a deed (1:18-32).  Humanity has been subjected by God to the power of sin (3:9).  The righteousness of God effects deliverance from sin to which God’s wrath delivered us (3:24; cf. 6:1-23, esp. 6:7).  Expiation is thus contingent on propitiation.  Propitiation effects expiation.  (620)

Finally it should be noted that to translate the word as expiation and not as propitiation would only speak of what has been done with sin and would do so at the neglect of what is done with God’s wrath (Jeffery, Ovey, and Sach 82).

This can be seen in the same verse where Paul uses the word forbearance.  Forbearance means, “to bear with or endure.”  In other words, because of the past sins prior to Jesus Christ not being dealt with, God was enduring something.  What was God enduring?  God was enduring the injustice of sins undealt with.  In other words, it is God’s nature to be just!  For Him to never deal with sin would be impossible.  However, God did forbear the injustice for a time until Jesus Christ came.  Then He sent forth His Son as the propitiation for sin “previously committed.”  By doing so, God “publicly” demonstrates to the world that He is indeed just!  As Clement of Rome has said, “His flesh for our flesh, and His soul, for our souls.” (Clement of Rome 1.18.) Or stated in a letter to Diognetus, “The father Himself placed upon Christ the burden of our iniquities.  He gave His own Son as a ransom for us…” (Letter to Diognetus 1.28.)  Jesus Christ took upon Himself the wrath against sins committed by others.
3:26.  For the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. The word for at the beginning of verse 26 is connected to the last phrase in verse 25.  It answers the question, “why did God pass over sins previously committed?”  God passed over sins previously committed, so that, He could display His magnificent righteousness “at the present time.”  Murray comments on this phrase saying,

The definite specification of time in the expression “at this present time” (vs. 26) is another example of the significance attached to the historical epoch in which God gave this demonstration of his justice.  It is contrasted with the generations of the past when God’s forbearance was in exercise, and it shows that location in history belongs to those accomplishments which have a Godward reference at their centre.  We are not to relegate to the realm of the superhistorical that which meets divine interest and exigencies. (121)
Paul uses the word demonstration, which means, “to prove.”  This word is used three times and translated as: demonstration, proof, sign.   In other words, Jesus Christ being a propitious sacrifice to God is a sign or a proof that God is indeed righteous.

What exactly is God seeking to prove by punishing sin?  What is God demonstrating by giving sin its proper due?  God is proving that He is indeed just.  This word is used 79 times in the New Testament.  It comes from a word, which means, “right.”  In fact, this word is translated 48 times as righteous.  So when Paul states that this is all done to display God being just, he means it shows and proves that God does indeed uphold what is right!  He does not sweep the sins previously committed underneath some cosmic rug.  Nor does He ignore it.  He does not just “up and forgive it” either, but rather, he deals justly or rightly with sin.  In this way God is not only just, but He is just in justifying the ungodly!  What an awesome God.  For here God clearly manifests not only that He is a just God, but that He is a loving God that would do so at the expense of His dearly loved and only Son.  Only God can clearly manifest both perfect love and perfect justice in one event.  One scholar writes:

Now the bearing of the cross on God’s dealings with men “at the present time” is unfolded. It amounts to a declaration that God is at once just in himself and justifying in his activity on behalf of mankind. (Harrison 45)

Or as another has said,

 Christ was set forth as a sacrifice for the manifestation of the righteousness or justice of God, that is, that he might be just, although the justifier of the ungodly(Hodge 98).

The last phrase in verse 26 states the who God justifies, those who have “faith in Jesus.”   In the opening of the epistle, Paul had quoted a prophet from the Old Testament stating, “The just shall live by faith.”  It is here in these verses that Paul explains how that can be!  One is not able to stand before God by keeping the Law of Moses or even the laws written on their own hearts.  One must and can only stand before God by faith in Jesus Christ and His accomplished work on the cross.

Because of the clear argument being made here by the Apostle Paul, he closes the chapter with this being the reason God is not a respecter of persons or ethnicities.  Nor will God justify anyone by works of the law.  But rather, the law of faith alone will justify them.  However, the question arises, “if men are justified before God apart from the law, is the law then overthrown?”  Paul then begins to grapple with this question in the following chapter.

APPLICATION

So, now that we have taken a brief examination of what Paul is talking about in Romans 3:24-26, how then should we live?  It seems the best application of these truths is found in the following verse, where Paul asks a rhetorical question.  “Where then is the boasting?”  The answer, “It is excluded.”  This is why getting Romans 3:24-26 is so crucial!  Because God’s glory is at stake!  And our sin is on the line!  If we get these verses wrong, there will be room to boast.  Perhaps this may be the biggest problem with all the other interpretations of this text.  The application doesn’t fit their exegesis.  But if we realize that we are all deserving of Hell.  And the only reason we are not condemned, is because of the free gift of redemption “by His grace.”  I cannot boast for being in Christ, or remaining there!  I am there because it was given to me to be in Him.  So here is how we can apply this verse specifically.  The next time you encounter someone that you grow impatient with, or think less of than yourself, remember that all of us are just as lost and our only hope is Jesus.  So patiently and lovingly, as a servant, point them to the only hope for mankind.  That is Jesus!  Boast in nothing, save the cross of Calvary!  For it was there that the sinless, innocent, and just Son of God was punished with the full penalty of sin on the behalf of wicked, guilty, sinners like you and me.  “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29b)

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42 thoughts on “A Defense for Penal Substitutionary Atonement: A Commentary on Romans 3:24-26

  1. Paul says in Rom. 2:13 NIV, “It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Regarding that Heb. 7:12 says that a change to God’s law has been made AFTER Jesus’ crucifixion it might behoove you to find out what this change is and which law Paul is referring to in Rom. 2:13.

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  2. Theodore,
    Thanks for your comment!!! I will do some studying when I get the chance concerning which “law” Paul is referring to in Romans 2:13. But that still wouldn’t change the exegesis done on the passage at hand. Instead you have only added others passages. Also could you explain more what you are intending when you state that it would be crucial to understand what Law Paul is referring to in Romans 2:13 and how it pertains to the argument going on in Romans 3:24-26? That would be helpful for me to understand you better. Thanks!

    Blessings,
    Stephen

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  3. Just wanted to drop you a line to say, I enjoy reading your site. I thought about starting a blog myself but don’t have the time.
    Oh well maybe one day…. 🙂

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  4. RE my reply 08/20/09.
    People who form or defend PSA ignore and leave out facts.
    It is not possible to understand or truthfully pontificate Paul’s reason for writing the Romans letter without fully understanding that Rom. 2:13 is a reasonable statement. What you don’t understand and. I suspect you will conclude to be unreasonable. is the statement made by God in Gen. 9:5a,b,c.. NIV. There is NO case of any human male’s life taken/lost by bloodshed which does not result in the additional requirement by God’s oath of having to give God an account. The requirement to give God an account is the extenuating residual even relative to Jesus’ crucifixion since his life was lost by bloodshed. However PSA’s basic theoretical assumptive is counter to the stated fact of God that, by fact, Jesus’ crucifixion is indeed NOT accountable directly to God. In Rom. 5:20 NIV, Paul revisits 2:13 by elaborating “the law’, referred to in 2:13, “was added so that the (a) trespass might increase.” What law and which trespass? Neither are identifiable in your exegesis in support of the theory of PSA and when these facts are included PSA is without merit. For it is God’s set purpose for each man to give him an account regarding the fact of one man’s life having been lost by bloodshed. Gen. 9:5c You might also note that Heb. 7:12 informs you that there has been a change of the law after Jesus’ crucifixion. What is this change?

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  5. @ Theordore,
    I think I understand what you are saying. Correct me if I am wrong in understanding you. Because Genesis 9:5 teaches that anyone who sheds man’s blood by his blood he should be shed, and because Jesus’ Christ blood was also shed, whoever shed His blood should be held accountable. Is that the argument. To this you state, “However PSA’s basic theoretical assumptive is counter to the stated fact of God that, by fact, Jesus’ crucifixion is indeed NOT accountable directly to God.”

    My response, PSA believer’s don’t believe Christ’s death will go unaccounted for. Those who crucified Jesus will stand before God and will be punished for their sins. Peter acknowledges this in Acts 2 by implication that men were guilty of crucifying the Christ.

    PSA people don’t believe however that the Father is morally culpable for the death of Jesus. Because, we don’t believe the Father killed the Christ. We do believe that He poured our His wrath on the Son on the cross as is clearly taught in Is. 53 as a penal substitutionary atonement as taught clearly in Romans 3:24-26. But Jesus proclaimed after that, “It is finished!” and then commended His spirit to the Father with His last breath. So Jesus suffered the wrath of God, payed for it, and then breathed His last.

    Secondly, the sins God the Father was punishing were in need of being punished, apart from which no man could be justified or forgiven. All of these sins the Christ willingly took upon himself that He may purchase Himself a bride.

    Concerning Romans 2:13, we must read it in context and understanding the audience of who Paul is addressing. Paul is addressing Jews so we can safely assume the law he is referring to is the Mosaic Law. Paul’s point is to condemn the Jews for believing that merely possessing the law and hearing it made them saved. He also addresses their pride in circumcision later. His point, that merely possessing an outward law is not sufficient for justification for gentiles who don’t even have the law do obey it. Thus, what God desires is not some outward physical people who have laws and are circumcised but a people who have His law written on their hearts and are circumcised there and not so much outwardly.

    Christ fulfilled Romans 2:13 and if we are joined to Him, then we are joined to Him in His obedience, death, and resurrection. This is fairly simple to understand.

    I am having trouble with the argument of how Romans 5:20 points to some inadequacy of PSA.

    I agree with the change in order and law with the coming of a new priest, that is, Jesus Christ. However, I fail to see how this disproves PSA. Jesus is the new law.

    I hope this comment helps you little more in studying this topic. Perhaps you would be better of in reading “Pierced for Our Transgressions” phenomenal book! A large portion in the back is dedicated to handling common objections. Also, the book does a Bible and Systematic study of the atonement; as well as, a historical understanding over church history of the atonement views. Again I hope this helps!

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  6. Cutting to the chase I will stipulate that I am fully aware of your conjecture. So there is no need for redundancy.
    In referencing Gen. 9:5 NIV it is c that you have evidently or conveniently overlooked.
    “And from each man too I will demand an accounting for the life of your fellow man.”
    Are you attempting to argue yourself out of the classification of each man too or is it remotely possible you have given any account directly to God regarding the fact of one man’s life taken by bloodshed? It is not remotely true that the crucifixion of Jesus, his murder caused by bloodshed, is only confined to the participants in this crime. For the accountability factor relative to only Jesus death has the additional exponential of a change to the law, Rom 5:20 and Heb. 7:12 “change of the law”, where by ALL men became accountable directly to God regarding the fact that Jesus’ life has been taken by bloodshed. There are no exceptions.
    “It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who OBEY the law who will be declared righteous.” Therefore no man is saved from the penalty of eternal death by refusing to account to God regarding the crucifixion of Jesus and it is only a disobedience of the law relative to Jesus’ crucifixion which carries the penalty of eternal death. Rebutal?

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  7. Theodore,
    I have tried to understand this last comment. But I cannot for the life of me. Any response I give you will not be satisfactory for this reason. Can you help me out here?

    Blessings,
    Stephen

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  8. Earlier in my life I noticed that the Bible’s record of churches when compared to the contemporary Christian churches indicated differences that were disturbing to me. These differences I noted were the absence of some things that cannot be missing and other things which should not be noticeable. Two of these noticeable differences relative to contemporary churches is the presence of seminaries the other is the acceptance of a multiplex of gates rather than one small narrow gate. A third feature I noticed in the contemporary setting is that the spiritual gifts of teaching are sold and bought relative to the existence of Bible schools, Bible colleges and the seminaries and relative to spiritual gifts within these churches’ members regarding outcome of what is taught, they do not display these gifts. Common to contemporary churches is the factor of redundancy related to the process of resolving sin. Revivals, para evangelical efforts and the redundancy of teaching the same set of proposals to the same membership groupings insinuating that a different outcome might be a possibility on a weekly cycle. This is a basic overview of my position and led me to begin the process of discovering why this dichotomous situation exist. Fully relying on the fact that God cannot lie and the promise by Jesus that the process of continuing in his word(s) will result in discovering what is really true, I concluded that by knowing what is true, what is false would also be apparent.

    Respective of Jesus’ illustrations that there does exist good seed, i.e. a correct explanation about his crucifixion, and a bad seed that, cannot nor will not even by correction, ever correctly explain the true reason for his crucifixion and corroborated by the illustration of two trees one good the other bad I formed an analytical structure. One highly noticeable thing in the contemporary setting that differs from the second illustration relative to Christianity is the factor of only one tree. But there should be two. Bearing in mind that the general state of men is that they love (a very strong emotion) darkness, that is untruth, rather than light, the truth, conclusively and without exception ALL contemporary “Christian” churches are counterfeits. The factor that has produced these counterfeits is an element of your common explanation about Jesus’ crucifixion which asserts that the benefit associated to Jesus’ crucifixion is direct, unilateral and positive. Nothing can be further from the truth about Jesus’ crucifixion. For any explanation about Jesus’ crucifixion which fails to introduce the true fact that by his crucifixion God has established the condition of unilateral guilt both before and after the act of crucifying him, is an explanation which is a total error. Putting it to you frankly you have been had. You may argue that it is not possible for only one man to be right, but if you had been a contemporary of Jesus you would make the exact complaint against him. True, as you admit you cannot understand me, but you and those on your side of the fence had better hope I am not right.
    However Jesus has said this about the hierarchy and members of contemporary “Christian” churches.
    “Thou preparest a table before Me in the presence of Mine enemies.”
    Doesn’t this table sit right down front center of every “Christian” church? “Look and live” friend, “LOOK and live.” The Lord thy God cannot lie.

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  9. Good Morn. Mr. Wiiicox. Twittering are ya?
    RE. The 2nd para of your response to my first complaint against PSA.
    In this paragraph you state the belief that the respondents which must give an account to God relative to Gen. 9:5 NIV are only the participants in Jesus’ crucifixion. Not so.
    “And from EACH man too I will demand an accounting for the life of your fellow man.”
    You are exempt from the classification of EACH I presume? Better hope God thinks you’re exempt.
    Remember God has promised Jesus “Sit until I make you enemies a footstool for your feet.”
    That table’s presence in your church house puts you in an entirely different class than you had previously thought.

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  10. What’s happened to ya Stephen? Bought some property and had to measure it off, testing out a new team of oxen or are ya breaking in a new wife perhaps? Jesus has heard ’em all friend unless you’ve thought up a new one one.
    Do you think you are in the class of each man too or do you think God made a mistake? Yes or No?

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  11. Mr. Jones,
    I am sorry it has taken me awhile to respond. The reality is, there are more important things than replying to your comments that I will be held accountable to God for doing well. I think you are being impatient. And as much as I do appreciate and welcome your comments and conversation I hope you will understand that my life is not my blog. Also, I think you are treading in dangerous waters when you equate yourself to Jesus, in that, me responding to you is as important as men dropping what they had to do and following him.

    In response to your comments, you say:
    In this paragraph you state the belief that the respondents which must give an account to God relative to Gen. 9:5 NIV are only the participants in Jesus’ crucifixion. Not so.

    I agree with you that all murders will be judged by God and not only Jesus’. I am not sure where you thought I said that.

    In response to your comment made on 10/16:

    I understand that all men will stand before God and will account for all they believed and teach. I also understand that the majority are wrong. I also understand that even “many” who profess Jesus as LORD will be damned. I know there are false teachers and prophets. But the reality is I don’t think I am the only person who can be right. Now granted I am not saying two contradictory ideas can both be right but rather God may have enlightened more than just me on His truth. In fact, scripture teaches that there will still be many (a remnant) who get it right. I have studied the scriptures and examined my heart according to God’s word and I am convinced that PSA is foundational to true followers of Jesus’ teachings.

    I think that covers everything. So I think you have my rebuttal. The question is have examined yourself to see whether you are in the faith? Have you examined your teachers to whether they are in accordance to God’s word or are they the conjecture of a man who desires to be original and different.

    I hope for your sake that you would study this topic more. This is a doctrine that to get wrong we could be guilty of believing and teaching a false gospel which is really no gospel at all.

    -Stephen

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  12. Good morning Mr. Willcox,
    I am very glad to receive a rely from you and “if you love father or mother more Me” says Jesus; it is appropriate conduct? Been away offering your gift, I suppose, in stead of FIRST becoming reconciled to my mind as he commands, have you? Great job friend and it is the wise thing to do, perhaps?

    “And from EACH man too I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.” for it His life which is the guilt offering exponentially increased by an addition to the law of God making it exceedingly sinful for each man not to verbally give directly to God a satisfactory accounting regarding the fact that his only begotten son’s life has been taken by bloodshed. For if the accounting God demands were to have been restricted to only the issue of the sin of the Lord’s murder then those participants in that sin would have profited themselves by a sin and exclude the nonparticipant of any profit. There does not exist any code of law which allows a profit to a person by committing a violation of the existing code. And it is only by a law added to the code of God’s law which allows the relief of the penalty of ALL sins by direct confession to God for the relief of that law’s penalty also BEFORE violating that law.
    This is the absolute truth of God, the gospel of God, that is resident in only God’s only begotten son’s body which is why the promise has only been given to him, apart from law, “Your body will not see decay.” For all other men it is only by the faith of compliance to a law and the oath of God relative to one man’s life taken by bloodshed that any other men have any possibility of NOT being raised from the dead for the purpose of being sentenced to eternal death justifiably by God.

    ‘It is not those who hear the law who are righteous
    in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who
    will be declared righteous.” by God.

    Therefore the salvific proposal you teach and have purchased certification for by falsely assuming any spiritual gift is purchasable is indeed a salvific opinion which is a total falsehood. For those who are entrusted with the correct salvific, the gospel of God, are only taught by God. All men who are teachers and not taught by God what the gospel of God is have only purchased certification that God has not taught them.

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  13. Dear Mr. Willcox,
    Regarding that Jesus commands “Give to the one who asks you and the one who wants to borrow from you do not turn him away.” do what I ask and contact your sources at MBI for I have been raising this same issue with that group of hypocrites over a span of years and as yet they are not complying with the ordained and mandated process by the Lord to first be reconciled to my mind before proceeding further. Ask them for me why they shun the Lord’s mandate when at the same time they publicly state that they are teaching other people to follow Jesus. Will you do this request for me please?

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  14. Mr. Jones,
    you said, ” ‘if you love father or mother more Me’ says Jesus; it is appropriate conduct?” This principle is given by Jesus to apply to the supremacy of God’s family over ones blood family. However, your denial of such a fundamental doctrine denies your fellowship to God’s family. Second, my wife is also a believer and I am called to always place her above all others as Christ also laid His life down for His bride. This takes priority over your desire to have me respond to your question within a 24 hr period. Wouldn’t you say?

    Concerning Moody, it seems that you may have already received a response from them and you were not pleased with their answer. Is that the case? Or have you written or contacted them and they have not replied? If it is the latter I will do what I can to have them respond. I hope this helps you in your endeavor to understand God’s word.

    -Stephen

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  15. Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

    I’m Out! 🙂

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  16. “It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom 2:13

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  17. the above comment was posted by me. It is a real comment that was placed on my other blog. I thought the comment and my response were important enough to place on here. Here was my reply:

    “What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works…” -Romans 4:1-6

    I can quote scripture too. What’s your point? I assume you are understanding the logical conclusion of penal substitutionary atonement (PSA) and realize how one is then justified before God by faith.

    To give you an interpretation of Romans 2:13 (which I also agree is God’s Word)
    Paul’s audience is the Jews who thought they were right with God on two conditions they were physical descendants of Abraham and they possessed the Law of God.

    Paul in response is showing them in chapter two of Romans that neither descending from Abraham nor having and hearing the Law saves anyone. I agree with his point.

    However, all those who believe in Jesus Christ are then united to Jesus Christ and thus become co-heirs with Him. Christ absorbs our debt and we receive the blessings that come with His obedience. We find this out in Chapters 3 and 4 of Romans.

    A simple example of this is say, you have a woman who is in horrendous debt and a rich man decides to marry her. His riches become her riches and her debt becomes his debt. Suppose this man’s riches far exceed her debt. Well then He is free to pay off the debt leaving them (the husband and wife) still in riches. Jesus Christ has willingly chosen to unite Himself with sinners who place their trust in Him. Those who do so He promises save and reward.

    Let us not forget that Jesus did not come for those who are well but for those who are sick. He came to seek and save the lost.

    -Stephen

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  18. Well then. I guess Paul is not correct then? And I also guess Jesus would not be right in saying ‘When he comes he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin.”, but doesn’t this convincing conviction take palce AFTER his crucifixion? Must be some residual issue to be resolved after he was crucified, aye? Now just what is this residual Stephen?
    Couldn’t possibily be the the sin of murdering him could it or is it? Did ya ever take notice that the law has had a change made to it AFTER Jesus’ was crucified? “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” So then maybe it isn’t a stretch at all to say “It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Maybe with you some things are not possible for God to do, but God does say that with him nothing is impossible. If hell freezes you might have the chance to stay out of it. For in no case are you about to ride into heaven on the back of the murder of God’s only begotten son no matter how much faith you have that you might.

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  19. @Theodore,
    Where did I say Paul is not correct? And I also agree with Jesus in the quote above. Perhaps it would be wise and Christ-like to be asking me what I do with these passages rather than assuming I have never read them or don’t believe them. I hold firmly to all of Scripture and believe all is breathed out by God and thus all equally true and that all texts thus harmonize.

    You have yet to explain to me or give a response to my questions. Thus far our conversation has been one sided. Where I answer your questions, propose questions to you and then you reply with simply more accusations and questions. Thus never giving a response to my arguments.

    As to the ref. of the Holy Spirit coming. I agree that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit post-crucifixion to convict of sin. I agree that All people are commanded to repent of their sins and pursue holiness. And I also believe all those who place their trust in Jesus Christ will become more and more like Him. However, I disagree that our good deeds will ever be a standing point before God. Christ Righteousness is the only righteousness that will truly justify!

    Let us not forget the story Jesus tells (found in Luke 18) of the pharisee and the tax collector. Which one went home justified? Answer me that. And explain to me on what basis since by his own confession he was not a righteous person by practice. Could it be as Paul says in Romans that God “justifies the UNgodly”?

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  20. Anyone at any time could have repented of their sins before Jesus’ crucifixion and could have had them all forgiven. However the crucifixion of Jesus’ is the sin of murder caused by bloodshed. This in conjunction to God’s will perfected the oath of God to demand an accounting from each man in regard to one sin of taking a man’s life by bloodshed.
    “And for Your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of your fellow man.” I am certian that you cannot escape from the classification of each man too, can you? So what is the man’s name regarding the fact that his life has been lost by bloodshed that you have given to God the accounting he has demanded from you by the loss of that man’s life. There was only one corporate sin repented of in Acts two to comply with that demand. Is it to hard for you to confess God I am so sorry Jesus lost his life by bloodshed when he was crucified and be baptized into this Way to save yourself? There is no other Way to be added to the Church of the first Born.

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  21. I don’t address your argument(s)? Exactly how many is it that Jesus says do indeed actually find out what the small narrow gate into God’s kingdom actually is? Is it the kazillon that pontificate that the presumption of substitutionary atonement being true or is it only the few, most likely less than a handful, who do find what this gate is? The numbers ain’t in your favor buddy! So wise up. Are those facts not a head on counter to your argument for even Isa. says “men have things backwards” for another fact. So don’t assert to me that you actually do believe what the scripture does say. No matter what you think along with the kazillon who think as you do nobody is going to ride into the kingdom of God on the back of his only begotteon son’s murder. And the law of God has been changed to make it surely certian that you won’t.

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  22. @ Theordore,
    your last two comments are a perfect example of you not responding to my points. Then simply going on with more accusations and new arguments. All of which are poorly thought out, worded, and inaccurate.

    Your comment as to my arguments can’t be right because many agree with me may be the most silly thing I have heard yet. Have you not read in Genesis where God promises Abraham as many children as the grains of sand and the stars in the sky. Or perhaps you were daydreaming when you were reading through revelation where John was given a vision seeing God’s people which no one could number!!!!

    Jesus’ point in Matthew 7 among others was the majority will not go through the narrow gate and walk on the narrow way. Seeing how the majority of the world let alone the majority of Christendom does not hold to PSA, your argument like all of them hold no water.
    Your self-righteousness and pride are not pleasing to God. He will not share His glory with another and if you think you will enter God’s kingdom by presenting to him your righteous deeds. Then you are in for a horrible surprise when you see the blazing, glorious, beautiful, perfect, spotless, Christ, when you take a second look at your deeds you will find them to resemble more of a dirty tampon (“filthy rags”), then the righteousness that He demands.

    Let us not forget that glorious epistle to the Galatians. The Gospel is not found in what we have done but in what Christ has done in our place. Read over chapters 2-3 and give me an interpretation of it.

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  23. “Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to my nation, for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples.”
    What law Stevie, is it that has gone out from him?

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  24. @Theodore,
    No offense, but I am not answering anymore questions from you. You have yet to respond to any of my points of arguments and when I reply to your arguments you simply restate the same passage and same argument in different words. As I was reviewing over all our comments it seems the conversation has gone no where from the beginning.

    I do desire to talk with you in hopes that you would come to understand and believe in PSA. However, I am not sure you are even listening to the info I have given you. And thus, I feel as though I am throwing my pearls before swine. Should you genuinely acknowledge the possibility of being wrong and seek to know truth rather than to be right I am here to talk.

    -Stephen

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  25. Friend I fully assure you that I am fully aware of every argument that you have or could make to support the conjecture of SA/PSA. However what counters that doctrine are direct statments from the Bible. If that doctrine were true there cannot be a single statement in the Bible of counter making it conspicious of being untrue. But those counters are there and your hot air defense of “Well now Paul was writing to Jews” is poppycock. For no man who is a proponent of SA/PSA would not and could not ever write:
    “It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Since even this one statement is in the Bible and it is a statement of an apostle you have absoutely no defense from the Bilble. You are backed into a corner you cannot get out of. Is that statement true or is it false?

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  26. I will answer you with Scripture.

    “What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works…” -Romans 4:1-6

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  27. No one will ride into God’s kingdom on the back of his only begotten son’s murder by thinking that it is a direct benefit for himself. Not a single Jew did nor has or will a single Gentile either.

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  28. Great posting in A Defense for Penal Substitutionary Atonement: A Commentary on Romans 3:24-26 Proclaiming the Unfathomable Riches of Jesus!. I loved reading this article.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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