Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Infinite worth

Something that I have been thinking about lately is the perception that the self-esteem crowd has of the atonement.
Whenever they preach about anything that touches the atonement, almost invariably they will state that Christ died for us because we are so valuable. To them the death of Christ is almost always seen in terms of how much worth each of us has. This is the reason that the Father sent the Son: we are so valuable!
The self-esteem crowd certainly has done one thing for the church...; it elevated pride where humility should have been installed!
Sure, as Christians we were bought at a price, but that price was as a result of a ransom paid. In modern terms, that price was not market related! It was a price connected to a ransom. If we have to think logically about our own worth and the worth of the Son of God, and if we connect the death of Christ to the value of a human being, then I think God was ripped off! He paid way too much. Sure, God gave man an intrinsic dignity and worth, but that is hardly what the atonement is all about!
Rom 3:23-25 ESV for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (25) whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
The fact is, we have all sinned, and there was no way we would be able to step into God's glorious presence in that sinful state. God is holy, and we have become evil through the complete fall of man! It is important to note that even though man has great value and Christ died for the elect, the reason for the death of Christ was to turn God's wrath away from man.
The ransom had to be equal to the infinite holiness and wrath of God! It is for this reason that blood had to be shed! However,
Heb 10:1 ESV For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.
The sacrifices demanded by the law could not perfect those who came near since those sacrifices could never atone for the sins of the people when an infinitely holy God demanded payment. Only an infinite payment could do that! I am sure you can see the problem now! Nothing that man can ever do, can atone for his sins.
Now we see that if an infinitely holy God had become infinitely wrathful against the sins of man, then an infinite payment had to be made. This payment, the propitiation that God himself put forward by the blood of Christ, was the only payment that could be made. Only Jesus could make that payment.
Thus, the value of mankind does not determine the value of the atonement. It was God Himself that determined the value of the atonement since it was He Himself that had to be appeased. God, and only God, can appease Himself! Our pathetic attempts to appease God simply draw attention to the fact that in comparison to the infinite wrath of God against our sin, our finite worth can never be the determinant of the atonement's value. 
Just thinking...

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