Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You Are Gonna Kick Yourself When You Read This...

Brian McLaren said in an interview that the Cross (Christ’s vicarious sacrifice for our sins) and Hell were distractions from the real truth of the Gospel. This naturally put me on edge. What is he thinking? I thought to myself. He went on to say that when God told us to simply forgive. He did not tell us to push the punishment onto another but instead just forgive and forget. This is true! God never told us to transfer the punishment when forgiving. He did not tell us to forgive our wife and then kick the dog! He told us to forgive and nothing more. But is that all there is to forgiveness? Is it truly a simple act with no transaction of punishment?

When someone cuts in front of you at the movies your mind screams for your personal justice. You wish the Batman of movie ticket lines will come down and say in his growly voice, “Where’s Harvey Dent?!” (I don’t know why he will say that…probably because that is the only quote I can think of right now…). Thus, he freaks out the person who cut and runs them off with terror and justice! An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth! You do deserve justice and it would be morally right for Batman to come to your aid (you probably should have just got your movie tickets online…). If I leave the seat up on the toilet, my wife has the right to enact justice by “accidentally” turning off my video game before I save my progress. MARIOOOOOO!!! Vengeance, whether from the letter of the governmental law or from personal vendettas, is a natural and just act. The Old Testament says that if a person ACCIDENTLY kills one of your family members; you are allowed to KILL them! Crazy stuff, right!? What if somebody owes money to their friend, boss, or bank? They HAVE to repay! This is justice.

In all the situations above, what if each person wronged forgave the offender? You forgive the person who cut in line, my wife forgives me, the banker forgives the debtor, and the family member forgives the accidental killing. Does the justice simply disappear? I would say…wait for it…nope! (Yea Psych reference!) It IS transferred. Not to a dog but back onto the person who forgives. You lose your place in line, my wife swallows her pride, the banker loses money, and the family member loses justice for the death of a loved one.

What Brian McLaren forgets is that Christ IS God. God is not kicking some dog when He is transferring justice. He is reflecting the punishment onto Himself. That is what the person who forgives always does: they swallow the justice and do not give the person that wronged them their “just desserts.” God brought the payment of death, which was rightfully ours, upon Christ. We wrong God when we mock His holiness by our sin and He “simply” (does not seem like the right word anymore…) forgives us.

Published by Benjamin Trent
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