“In Christ Alone”: why I won’t sing THAT line

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February 7, 2014 by jmar198013

They snuck it on me, those church folk, about four years back.

Services had been cancelled because of a nasty winter storm. People’s cars were literally fozen to their driveways. I had walked over to the local Chinese restaurant, which was miraculously open, with my now-wife. We saw some of our friends eating the lunch buffet, and they informed us that they would be holding a small service in their home. We went, and just before homemeade communion, someone requested that we sing, “In Christ Alone.”

I had never heard that song, but I know how to pick up a tune and fake it (that’s one of the gifts of being born into the a capella Churches of Christ). I was really into it–they just don’t write luxurious hymns like that anymore–until the line came that made me feel a bit queasy. It was sort of like finding a gristle in the middle of a wedding cake:

‘Til on that Cross/ as Jesus died/ the wrath of God/ was satisifed . . . 

I couldn’t sing any longer. I mean, I had grown up with church songs just riddled with bad theology. Promises of “a mansion just over the hilltop.” “Sing and be happy” as advice for dealing with depression. I had heard a lot of ridiculous things in hymns. And some of them wander straight into spiritually abusive territory. Case in point:

Can he still feel the nails/ every time I fail?

Incidentally, the composer of “Feel the Nails” is Ray Boltz. Boltz was a popular Christian entertainer of the 80s and 90s who has since come out as gay. That puts a whole new spin on this already morbid song. Listening to and singing along with it becomes less of a nudge toward the anxious bench, and more a glorification of self-loathing.

But back to “In Christ Alone.” That stuff about the wrath of God being spent on Jesus is problematic, and worse–it’s not biblical. It trades in the penal substitutionary theory of atonement–a relative latecomer as far as atonement theories go, but pretty much the go-to raison d’etre for the cross in popular Christianity. And according to its defenders in the broader evangelical/fundamentalist world, it is the only biblical way of speaking about atonement.

It goes like this: God loves us, but he is angry at our sin (and us as sinners), and because he is holy cannot even stand to be around our sin-stinking selves. So this puts God in a bind–he wants to love us and forgive us, but his sense of justice stands in the way. A penalty must be paid for our misdeeds. He can’t just forgive us (although does ask that we forgive others freely)–somebody has to pay! But none of us are capable of paying that penalty, because any one discreet sin is an instant death penalty–so we all have a debt on our life. On the other hand, the debt is somehow negotiable–someone else can pay it. Thus God sends Jesus–who lives free of sin–to bear God’s wrath on the Cross. In other words, God kills his own innocent Son to avoid killing everyone else.

I understand that God moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform, but I guarantee you that if the preachers and hymnists who uphold this view were to act so mysteriously in their day-to-day ministries, they’d be fired.

Aside from simply being bizarre–which oughtn’t automatically disqualify it from being legitimate; after all, what religion doesn’t contain some bizarre elements?–the core problem with the penal substitutionary atonement theory is that the Bible doesn’t teach it anywhere. It’s more or less woven from a patchwork of various shreds of Scripture, often ripped from their contexts and interpreted in ways that are at best debateable. Usually, when it is being explained, it’s literally like this: start with some Genesis 3, jump to Isaiah 53, draw a line to Paul here and there, wrap it up with some references to the Gospel and First Epistle of John: and there it is. Instant atonement theory!

Here’s the deal: I’m not skittish about affirming the wrath of God (though my concept of it and the concept of it inherent in the sort of theology that underwrites penal substitution are probably world apart). For instance, in Rom. 5.9, Paul states that “we can be . . . certain that we will be saved from God’s wrath through [Jesus].” But what Paul did not even come close to saying there–or anywhere–is that we are saved from God’s wrath because God’s wrath has already been spent on Jesus.

Furthermore, penal substitution emphasizes Jesus’ life of obedience as a legal formality (God needed the perfect victim), and therefore de-emphasizes (however unwittingly) discipleship. It does not have any mechanism built into it that would conect Jesus’ form of life to our own, and in fact, many articulations of it–when combined with a strong grace vs. works bent–might actually work to discourage the imitation of Christ. On the other hand, other, older theories of atonement–such as the ransom theory, the moral exemplary theory, and Christus victor–do, in fact have a compelling account of discipleship built into them. We are ransomed to follow Jesus; we respond to God’s call for our reconciliation. Generally, with penal substitution, you get moved into the non-hell category of God’s gradebook, and then you are told–essentially–to try and be nice.

Most of all, the penal substiutionary theory of atonement turns the biblical account of what God was doing the the Cross upside down, in that it makes God the object of reconciliation with humans, rather than its agent. Read carefully these passages from Paul, and see what you notice:

All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, but all are treated as righteous freely by his grace because of a ransom that was paid by Christ Jesus. Through his faithfulness, God displayed Jesus as the place of sacrifice where mercy is found by means of his blood. (Rom. 3.23-25)

But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us. (Rom. 5.8)

All of these new things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5.18-19)

Penal substitution does violence to the biblical language of God being the agent of reconciliation by transforming God into an offended party requiring vengeance. In short, it turns the language of our needing to be reconciled to God on its head, and makes it God who needs to be reconciled to us.

A God whose wrath must be appeased to stop terrible things from happening might make a fine pagan deity in some circles–but he is not the God of the Bible. That sort of God is little different from those who demand that virgins be thrown into volcanoes. Likewise, a God who would deem that one innocent person should die so that he can avoid killing everyone else is right close to the ethics of a Caiphas or a Pilate. A God who can be distracted by seeing his crucified Son in our place is too myopic to be of much good in a violent and unjust world.

And so I won’t sing “In Christ Alone.” The God the song renders is not the God who speaks to us through the Cross–and certainly not the God made flesh in the Crucified.

A quarter of a century ago, Thomas C. Oden noted that, “Christianity proclaims not merely that Christ died, but that his death had significance for the otherwise absurd course of human history.” With that in mind, the apostle Peter’s word during his first preaching gig at Pentecost was: You, with the help of wicked men, had Jesus killed by nailing him to a cross. God raised him up! (Acts 2.23-24). I have said it before, and I shall continue to say it: the gospel is not that Jesus dealt with the problem of sinners in the hand of an angry God; the gospel is how God dealt with the problem of Jesus in the hands of angry sinners.

Now that’s something to sing about.

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15 thoughts on ““In Christ Alone”: why I won’t sing THAT line

  1. Beth says:

    Interesting as always

  2. franandcaleb says:

    Jeremy, been working through Romans and struck how little substitutionary atonement there is. That said, suffering servant motifs do seem apparent to me in Romans 3. Particularly vs 25-26 seem to be this old Lutheran story. How do you fit those into your overall understanding. I generally agree with you, but think substitutionary atonement is needed for justice. If God does nothing about oppression there us an issue. Seems that the cross in part shows God will demand a price for sin. Isn’t paul pointing to that with Levitical type language?

  3. Jennifer Halbrooks says:

    Hey Jeremy. I’m understanding your breakdown of the theories you reject in this post, but I’m not able to get a good handle on the theory that you do ascribe to from it. Help me out 🙂

  4. jmar198013 says:

    Caleb: I don’t think that Rom. 3.25-26 requires a substutionary atonement emphasis, even if we do find a “Suffering Servant” motif in it. It is one thing to say Jesus died for us; it is one thing to say that Jesus’ act was vicarious in nature. It is quite another to argue that he was a substitute. As to Rom. 3.21ff, I don’t think you can grasp it without first looking at 1.17. 3.21-22 and 1.17 are sibling passages.

    In Rom. 1.17, Paul announces that God’s righteousness is revealed by the gospel from faithfulness for faith. Then he quotes Hab. 2.4: “The Righteous One will live by faithfulness.” Richard B. Hays, Douglas Campbell, and others have noted that it was popular in that day to interpret Hab. 2.4 messianically, and that “Righteous One” is a Christological title employed throughout the NT, like “Lord” or “Son” (cf. Acts 3.14; 7.52; 22.14; 1 Pet. 3.18; 1 John 2.1). “Shall live by faithfulness” thus becomes, for Paul, a word about resurrection. So God’s righteousness is revealed in the gospel–namely, the gospel of a crucified and resurrected Messiah. The purpose of this revelation is “from faithfulness for faith,” meaning that Christ’s faithfulness and God’s vindication of it (in resurrection), as foretold by the prophets, invites believers to also live faithfully, trusting in the righteousness of God (that God vindicates the faithful).

    Rom. 3.21-22 fleshes this out: God’s faithfulness has now been revealed apart from the Law (i.e., by the gospel, cf. 1.16-17), and the Scriptures attest to that (i.e., the Hab. 2.4 citation in 1.17). It is revealed through the faithfulness of Christ (the more conventional reading, “faith in Christ” is awkward in the extreme, for my belief does not disclose what had not been previously disclosed) for all the faithful. This is the meaning of “from faithfulness for faith” in 1.17. Christ’s faithfulness provides a basis for our own.

    When Rom. 1.17 and 3.21-22 are understood in this way, 3.23-26 take on a very different flavor. Of course, in Romans, Paul’s chief concern is not developing and defending a doctrine of justification by grace, but of reconciling Jewish and Gentile Christians within the church. It’s not that there is no doctrine of justification by grace, just that it does not function independently–rather, it serves the need of reconciliation. God demonstrates his righteousness by offering Jesus as a way of salvation without distinction, since both Jews and Gentiles are in need of deliverance. So in this sense God proves he is just by refusing to play identity politics. Second, God proves he is righteous by vindicating the faithful–just as he vindicated Jesus.

    Finally, I don’t believe that you have to have substitutionary atonement for God to deal with oppression. I think it’s a sad commentary on the state of the church that we don’t grasp that the church itself is part of God’s answer to oppression. Granted, as Stanley Hauerwas likes to point out, our peacefulness may itself become an occasion for more violence in the world. However, this is precisely why we need to know that God vindicates the faithful. There is some Levitical metaphor going on, yes–but I think we need to be careful about how we interpret Leviticus 16. The sins of the people are laid upon the scapegoat, and he is sent out from the camp–this embodies forgiveness. The slaughtered lamb is also identified with the people, but I would suggest that the embodied metaphor there is people offering their obedient lives to God. After all, “the life is in the blood.” That discussion really comes down to how we interpret the two sacrifices on the Day of Atonement. But you judge a tree by its fruits, so to me the question is: Is the slaughtered lamb whose blood is sprinkled on the ark a sign that God demands a perfect sacrifice for sin; or is it that God desires the obedient communion of our faithful lives?

    • cab647 says:

      Thanks for the thorough explanation. This may be weak minded of me, but the lack of folks singing from your page is a little disconcerting for me to be totally swayed. Even a New Perspective guy like NT Wright allows for some substitutionary atonement in certain places, like the end of Rom. 3. Just wish I had some other witnesses to this type of thinking. (Something I should read?)

      I certainly am not happy with the idea that God is pissed off and he just needs to get his gun off, so to speak. The idea that God, who promises cursing of those who cure the covenant people (Gen 12:3), can look at abuse of his people and say, “Ah shucks, it doesn’t matter” is difficult for me to get around on the other hand. The promise to curse those who curse seems to me to demand punishment of sin at some level in order to keep convenantal fidelity. So, God’s wrath being satisfied is not so much dealing with a temperamental deity as much as it is God carrying out his covenant duty to punish those who have crossed his covenant people. (This is messy because often those who cursed Israel were in fact Israel themselves.)

      While I do personally tend toward pacifism and non-violence, it strikes me that I feel very differently about human violence and divine violence. While I appreciate that much of Revelation should be understood as imagery, it is hard for me to see it not teaching that one day God will commit terrible violence against the agents of evil. Eventually the bully must be physically beaten and restrained by the rider whose clothes are soaked in blood. So, while I am loathe for humanity to take that role upon themselves, I have no problem with the idea that God will eventually and rightly set the world to rights in part by violently ending the oppression of evil. Some bullies (like Satan) only quit when forced to. If I accept that divine violence is not a necessary problem, then it opens up the idea that God can bring reconciliation and forgiveness through violent means, and makes substitutionary atonement such a concern.

      I used to struggle with this thought, “If God wants me to just forgive people, why does he need the cross in order to forgive me?” One day vocalizing that concern Fran goes, “You are assuming that God wants you to “just forgive.” If God forgives on the grounds of Christ’s death, don’t you forgive on those same grounds?” (In a way I feel like that bleeds into moral example theory of atonement.) A just forgiver requires that something has been done to punish evil, and as such God and humanity both depend on the work of the cross to provided a foundation for just forgiveness. I would never harm a man who say killed one of my children, but I don’t think it un-Christ-like to demand his imprisonment.

      I don’t know if any of this makes any sense. I struggle greatly with what to do with atonement. I guess my feeling is that substituionary should go from 100% of what we talk about to like 5-10% of what we talk about, but I don’t know if I should eliminate it from the theological tool bag altogether. (With the caveat that God’s wrath is not about his emotional anger but about his righteous keeping of covenant and protection of his covenant people.)

      • jmar198013 says:

        Caleb: others who argue along lines similar to what I am suggesting–and indeed, have been quite instrumental in developing my own thoughts along those lines–are as follows:

        S. Mark Heim, Saved from Sacrifice: A Theology of the Cross (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006)

        John Howard Yoder, “Christ as Priest: Atonement,” in Preface to Theology: Christology and Theological Method, pp. 281-327 (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2002)

        Joel Baker and Mark Green, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: Atonement in the NT & Contemporary Contexts (Downers Grove: IVP, 2000)

        John Carroll and Joel Green, The Death of Jesus in Early Christianity (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995)

        Vincent Taylor, The Atonement in New Testament Teaching (first published 1940; reprint Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2009)

        I do agree that the idea of “just forgiving” cheapens grace–cheapens forgiveness itself. Forgiveness is not an exchange bargain to get on with life. If the Cross teaches us anything, it ought to be that forgiveness is costly. I think one of the things we tend to forget in our therapeutic age is that forgiveness arose as a means of maintaining community. If we cannot forgive, we cannot be reconciled and we cannot learn to live without killing one another.

        That being said, a book that I found fascinating in terms of embodying forgiveness is a fiction piece, Saint Maybe, by Anne Tyler. I won’t provide too much of a spoiler, but the main character does some stupid things that cause two deaths and tear his family apart. After speaking with a local minister, he decides to take ownership of what he has done by raising the orphans he has created. He learns that forgiveness names the gifts that come into his life once he takes ownership of what he has done and responsibility for his impact on the lives of others. Being forgiven is a costly matter, too.

        By the way–I don’t think you’re being weak-minded. A friend of mine reposted this on her Facebook page and I am being bombarded with accusations of questioning God and making God into a squeamish weakling. I’d consider it more weak-minded not to be able to enter into a conversation with generosity, for however you land on this, it’s not a cut-and-dry matter. Especially because the Bible uses so many different metaphors for the cross. That’s one of the main reasons I’m unhappy to choose one of them, only half-understand it, and then paint anyone who disagrees as a heretic.

        Finally, I would leave you with one question: If it is the case that Jesus is in any way taking upon himself God’s wrath for our sin, is this forgiveness, or is God being paid off? I mean, if you owe me fifty bucks and you can’t pay it, but someone else pays it for you, have I forgiven you your debt, or have I been paid off?

  5. jmar198013 says:

    Jennifer: I basically draw on three atonement theories. The ransom theory (that Jesus liberates us from bondage to sin and the fallen powers of the world); Christus Victor (that Jesus’ death was actually a victory over the fallen powers); and moral exemplary theory (that Jesus’ death invites us to a faithful life, even if it kills us). That being said, none of those makes any sense if we divorce the person of Christ from the work of Christ. Salvation has to be materially related to Jesus’ form of life–even his death was a consequence of that life. If the church is just as likely to cheer for Caesar’s wars, look the other way as the poor suffer neglect, we have human trafficking occuring in our neighborhoods–whatever–then what have we been saved from?

    I would suggest that if you look at both Testaments, the primary concern is not cancellation of guilt, but the reestablishment of obedient communion. Granted, forgiveness is part of that equation, but God seems much more preoccupied with forming a faithful people for the sake of the world. My quibble is not that the cross has nothing to do with forgiveness, only that it does not thereby follow that Jesus executed instead of us as a necessary condition for forgiveness.

  6. Xyhelm says:

    There was a time that I had the exact same response to “Can He Still Feel the Nails.” Of course, my response was: NO! Heb 7:27, 9:12, 10:10. I refused to sing the song. I believed that it taught that Jesus needs to be continually sacrificed for my sins each time I sin. This minimizes what the author of Hebrews wrote even three times!

    Years later, I read something else the author of Hebrews wrote. Heb 6:6. This caused me to rethink my first response. Of course, Jesus was only sacrificed once. This was literal. But in this passage, a picture is given that in our own lives, our sins do recrucify Jesus. Jesus died to take away our sins; He became our sins. If we continue to sin and Jesus’ sacrifice took the sins of the WHOLE world, then in some non-literal way, Jesus does feel the nails again. I repented and now I sing “Can He Still Feel the Nails” with new meaning.

    Now that I have shared a journey of mine, I am surprised that you have decided on a response similar to the response I had at first. So based on one, small phrase in In Christ Alone, you reject the whole song? Actually, you reject the song only because it reminds you of a faulty theory of atonement? Yes, I agree with you. The substitution theory is not good. Its foundation is based on the anger of God rather than quality that is completely descriptive of God: love. You are right, God is not an Eye watching you, watching you. 1Thes 5:9. God is a God who wants reconciliation more than He wants justice (though He will execute both). Jam 2:13.

    Are you judging the intent of the writers of the song? What if they weren’t even considering the substitution theory of atonement? What if, like David, they saw their sins as something so terrible, ugly, and rubbish that the author see guilt when they were born or see their sin when they were conceived (Ps 51:5)? Could they be using extreme poetic thought to convey repentance to the uttermost? What if the authors view their sin as so terrible that they are admitting how unworthy they are of God’s love and deserve the just punishment for their sins? Do you? I know you do.

    I recently read the Prayer of Manasseh. When I read “the wrath of God was satisfied,” I think of that prayer, specifically verses 8-13. I see self-inflicting humiliation in his repentance. I see the same thing in the words to In Christ Alone.

    When I sing In Christ Alone, I don’t view a God who was angry with me in the beginning. I don’t see a God who desires to punish me because of my sins. I see a sinner who is so sinful that I recognize the destiny I would have had without God. If anyone who is in a spiritual state that is outside of God’s reconciliation/forgiveness and they enter into the kingdom and find full reconciliation/forgiveness, to them, it would certainly seem like the wrath of God was satisfied. Again, not because God is angry and vengeful but because their life has been freed from the pathway to Hell. They have chosen to flee from the coming wrath as is stated in Rom 5:9 and other places (Matt 3:7, Luke 18:13-14, Eph 2:1-3, 1Thes 1:9-10). For those who do not choose reconciliation with God, they will certainly experience God’s wrath (John 3:36, Rom 2:5).

    Lastly, I want to write out some Scriptures that I will think about when I sing In Christ Alone. I won’t think about an angry God nor will I think about a faulty theory of atonement. I will think about the destiny I once had apart from God and the destiny I now have reconciled to God. I pray that you will also.

    “Since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.” Rom 5:9
    “We were by nature children under wrath.” Eph 2:3
    “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead–Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” 1Thes 1:9-10

    • jmar198013 says:

      Andrew–I appreciate a lot of what you have to say here, and in fact, can agree with much of it.

      The issue for me is this: Townend and Getty, the songwriters of “In Christ Alone,” have pretty much publicly indicated that they wrote the song to defend substitutionary atonement. A couple years back, the PCUSA was considering the song’s use in their hymnal, but had doctrinal reservations about substitutionary atonement. They wrote to the Gettys asking for permission to change the line from “the wrath of God was satisfied” to “the love of God was magnified.” They were refused permission by the songwriters, and Getty posted several links on his personal Twitter account defending substitutionary atonement. That’s actually part of my problem, too–the intransigence of the authors of the song in light of their disrespect of the conscience of fellow believers.

      • Xyhelm says:

        Wow, I certainly would prefer to sing “the love of God magnified”! It’s sad that a faulty theory of atonement prevailed in this case.

        Where I can sing Can He Still Feel the Nails and In Christ Alone with new meanings, I still cannot sing Days of Elijah because of its explicit Scriptural errors. Haha.

  7. Eric says:

    Jeremy,

    Interesting as always; however, I’d much rather just critique the bad theology on its own, without dragging a hymn through the mud. The problem with hymns is that people get emotionally attached and invest meaning far beyond the words. Even if the words are bad, they don’t care. See, now your post has me singing “I’ll Fly Away” despite my hatred for Platonic dualism…and, well, I won’t list the dozens of songs with bad theology which make me cringe.

    Instead, I’ll (badly) paraphrase a story from Don Haymes. After offering a critique of “I Come to the Garden Alone,” an older lady approached and said she’d go into her momma’s garden and sing the hymn after her daddy molested her when she was young. No matter what was said about that hymn, it had very deep meaning for her and would always remain her favorite, no matter what bad theology was contained in it.

    I certainly understand your reaction to the hymn writers’ lack of concern for the conscience of others; it is troublesome. But there’s a lot of not-bad theology in the hymn, too. And it’s beautiful. Just a word of caution, my friend. You step into troubled waters when you start tearing into hymns.

    Eric

  8. gmandurham says:

    Could you explain how better to interpret the passages mentioned above (Is 53 and Paul,etc)? It seems very easy to reach the penal substitute conclusion from those alone, which is the point you made. How could these texts better be read in total context?

    • jmar198013 says:

      Garrett: The problem is that we have been conditioned to read passages like Isa. 53; Rom. 3.21ff; 2 Cor. 5.21 as warrants for penal substitutionary atonement.

      I don’t even deny that according to the logic of Isaiah or Paul that the experience of the Suffering Servant/Jesus was for the benefit of humans. What I object to is the idea inherent in penal substitutionary atonement that Jesus takes the punishment due us from God–in other words, that the Son is executed for us by proxy to satisfy the Father’s wrath. Again, I challenge anyone to offer book, chapter, verse where this is taught. Even when you are able to systematically string some passages together to make it appear this way, it depends on you already interpreting those passages to mean something they may not have meant.

      So for reading Isa. 53, if you look at it as a literary unit, you can find some support here and there for the penal substitutionary view in a few verses. But when, as I said, you read it as a literary unit, the emphasis is really on someone who is unjustly persecuted and killed, but then vindicated by God. When you get to interpreting that passage Christologically, that leads you to perhaps a different understanding about what NT writers may have meant by arguing that Jesus died “for us” or “for our sins.” I mean, what if I told you that every time you lace on a pair of Nikes, some middle-aged woman in a third-world nation had suffered for your sins? I think that’s closer to the meaning of Isa. 53.

      As far as reading Paul–and to an even greater degree, Hebrews–I mean, for Paul sacrificial language is there, but it is relativized and even muted. I still argue that we have the theology and purpose of the OT sacrifices all wrong. I mean, first, not nearly all sacrifices were meant to deal with sin–like thank offerings or freewill offerings. Second, sin offerings and reconciliation/atonement offerings serve a purpose of expiation, not propitiation. Go back and look at Lev. 16, the Day of Atonement. Why does the priest sacrifice the bull and goat? To purify the sanctuary and the altar (Lev. 16.16-19). Nowhere is it ever sugested that the sins of the people are laid upon the lamb that is slaughtered, and then that lamb is executed in their stead. The people’s sins ARE laid upon a lamb–the scapegoat (Lev. 16.20-22). But that lamb is not slaughtered–rather, he is sent into the wilderness to bear away the sins of the people. The slaughtered lamb of the LORD is a sign of a life offered to God. The scapegoat is a sign of God’s forgiveness of our sin–how he removes it from us.

      All that being said, in Paul what we see is not a preoccupation with guilt that needs to be punished, but with our need for reconciliation with God, and our inability to do the good. Paul makes Jesus both the place of reconciliation (or mercy seat; cf. Rom. 3.25-26), and the basis of our being able to do the good (cf. Eph. 2.10).

      When you read Isa. 53 and certain passages scattered throughout Paul, then, you might find a warrant for why Paul calls us in Rom. 12 to be living sacrifices–and how he spells out in Rom. 12 what living sacrifices will involve. I would suggest that back of Paul’s word that we not repay evil for evil, but overcome evil with good, is an understanding of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection read through the lenses of a passage like Isa. 53.

  9. […] written that this doctrine is problematic because it cannot bear the freight of discipleship. It divorces the person of Christ from the work of Christ, and attempts to separate who we are from what we do. These are both disastrous outcomes for […]

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