Sunday, April 9, 2017

Catholic Nick's Contorted Reading Of Galatians 3:13

  • Discussion:
          -Catholic Nick wrote an article where he attempts to show that Galatians 3:13 does not support penal substitutionary atonement, calling that view a Protestant "heresy." Following are a few quotations from the author alongside with a critique:

          "...the Church Fathers maintained that the 'curse' here was the curse of a humiliating death, and that's where the Biblical data points to also. This is plainly what Deuteronomy 21:22-23 is talking about, a capital punishment for grave sinners. And this makes perfect sense in light of the fact this style of execution took place a few times in the OT (Josh 8:28-29; 10:26-27), and the lesson is that crucifixion is a humiliating way to die. The implication is that anyone who suffers that way must be under God's displeasure. Thus, in short, Jesus 'became a curse' in that He endured a humiliating death by crucifixion. But there's more."

          The meaning of the "curse" was made plain in Genesis 3. It is the wrath of God manifested against those who reject Him. In addition, there is no reason to view humiliation and penal substitution as mutually exclusive concepts. The two can exist simultaneously. So, Nick is guilty of a false dichotomy.

          "Now we can turn back to Galatians 3:13-14 and draw out a few key details. First note that Paul says Jesus "redeemed" us from the curse of the Law, meaning His work functioned as a redemption, a pay-off price, and not a transfer of punishment. This is crucial and not an irrelevant detail. So, reading the grammar properly, Jesus endured the curse of crucifixion, and this functioned as a redemption price that offset/paid the price of another curse, the curse of the Law."

          This is another false dilemma. Paying off a price and transferring a payment are not to be pitted against each other.

           "Next notice why Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law: so that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles. This indicates that the real problem at hand was that the Law was preventing salvation from reaching the Gentiles, and thus the Law had to be addressed. And thus Christ's death functioned as a way of breaking down the Mosaic Law, and not about some generic taking of the Father's Wrath for mankind's sins."

           In Galatians 3:10, the Apostle Paul is clearly referring to those who break God's Law. Deuteronomy 27, the context from which Paul quotes in that verse, prescribes the death penalty. In Galatians 3:13, we are told that Jesus Christ saved us from the punishment we deserve as a result of violating the Law by suffering in our place. He is our innocent substitute. He paid off our debt of sin. The text mentions the curse of the Law.

           The idea that the Law prevented salvation from reaching the Gentiles is refuted by the Old Testament examples of the city of Nivenah (Jonah) and Rahab the harlot (Joshua).

           "Notice the three-fold theme in each text: redemption, the Mosaic Law being removed, so that adoption can result. Basically, the Mosaic Law (Covenant) was violated by Israel's unfaithfulness, and as a result this was stalling God's plan to fulfill His promise to Abraham, namely that he would be spiritual father of the Jews and Gentiles. Since the Law was violated, it had to be atoned for, and that's what Christ's death accomplished as far as being "under the Law" was concerned."

           It should be noted that the Law served as a means to make us conscious of our own sin and so lead us to Christ through conviction.

           "Not to mention, the statute is not saying that a person hung on a tree has the Father pouring out His wrath on their soul, suffering hellfire at that moment. And surely this law was not originally written and understood to mean some day the Messiah would be murdered by Crucifixion by a foreign army. Thus, there is good reason to see Jesus being 'cursed' as sort of unjust curse or anti-curse, since the whole point of this penalty was for the State to condemn truly guilty people, and Jesus should never have had to endure this. And this anti-type lens is further proven by the fact that every time the Apostles publicly preached on the subject of the Crucifixion in Acts, they always made a sharp distinction between Jesus being unjustly killed and hung on a tree by the Jews, versus God's vindication in rescuing and resurrecting Jesus for the injustice (Acts 2:23-24; 3:15; 3:10; 5:30-31; 10:39-40; 13:28-30)."

           First of all, it should be noted that the idea of Jesus Christ being punished in hell is outright heretical. That is by no means a requirement for believing in Sola Fide. Everything Christ did was righteous. Moreover, God using human beings as instruments to bring about our redemption does not rule out penal substitution. The crucifixion of Christ was indeed a part of God's plan for mankind (Romans 11:25-32).

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