Posted by: forfreedomalone | 26/03/2015

Penal Substitution

Christianity is not a ‘stand-alone’ faith. It stands on the shoulders of the faith of the children of Israel.
Just as Edison ‘perfected’ the work of others and created a workable lightbulb, but did not actually invent the light bulb, so we have entered into the fullness of an inheritance which they were expecting.
We are too glib in dismissing the foundation laid by them, the carrying of the promise and the testimony into our day. We need to be more aware of the ground on which we are privileged to stand.

Jesus was the fulfilment of everything they were longing for and dreaming of, but that does not mean we can just dismiss all that they knew. In fact, we will benefit hugely from knowing what they knew. When we look at the types and shadows with which they are familiar we should all the more be filled with joy than we would be if we only had the reality. It is the culmination of both the puzzle and the answers. It is fullness of joy.

This is particularly true in the case of penal substitution.
There are those, today, who are saying Jesus was not our substitute. He did not pay the price we should have paid. This is an interesting philosophy and, one which flies in the face of the types and shadows of the Old Covenant and offends Christians and Jews alike. Albeit that penal substitution ends, in the Jewish mind, with the fall of the Temple. Penal substitution it nevertheless was.

In the instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle of Moses, God gave details of the Brazen Altar.
The Israelites were familiar with alters, on which sacrifices were offered to various gods, from their days in Egypt. In fact, the word ‘altar’ means ‘high’ or ‘lifted up’. It also means ‘the slaughtering place’. All the nations around Israel slaughtered animals on high places; the Old Testament is littered with references to such things.

Here, in Exodus, God ordains a place where sacrifices would be offered to him; a high slaughtering place where blood would be shed on his command.
Why did he ordain such slaughter?
Ask the Israelites of that day; or actually, any of the surrounding nations; and they would tell you, it was penal substitution.
This was the merciful heart of God that it was animals who dies and not the people themselves.

Those who worshiped God and those who worshiped false gods offered blood sacrifices in the hope of being spared death themselves.
In the case of the Israelites their hope was sure; they were following the instructions of the Almighty God who is merciful to thousands and they lived. So long as they followed his instructions and sacrificed as commanded they were spared.

Calvary as the place where God chose to have his name remembered. It was the place of slaughtering; a ‘lifted up’ place where Jesus was lifted up upon a Cross and died in my place, in your place.
If he had not offered himself, as the perfect, clean, spotless, blameless sacrifice we would yet await the eternal punishment sin deserves.

This act is FAR from the act of an angry, vengeful individual, but the act of a just and merciful judge. One, utterly perfect, sacrifice OFFERED ITSELF for all, for all time and the Judge accepted the offer. The love and mercy which flows from that act is obviously inconceivable to some, which is heart breaking, but no excuse for negating it.
He accepted the perfect sacrifice on your behalf; will you also accept him?


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