Ichabod explores the Age of Apostasy, predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, with an emphasis on UOJ, Church Growth, and Emergent Church heresies. The antidote to these poisons is trusting the efficacious Word in the Means of Grace. John 16:8. Most readers are WELS, LCMS, ELS, or ELCA. This blog also covers the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the mainline denominations.
The Glory Has Departed
Lutheran book boxes sent to two African seminaries -
16 αλλ ου παντες υπηκουσαν τω ευαγγελιω - ησαιας γαρ λεγει κυριε τις επιστευσεν τη ακοη ημων? Romans 10:17 αρα η πιστις εξ ακοης - η δε ακοη δια ρηματος θεου
Note above - Greek students -
who has believed our akoue (sermon, report)?
Faith comes from the akoue,
and the akoue from the utterances of God.
Isaiah 53 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
Long before anyone imagined this, the Jewish people and those attracted to Judaism were taught about the Atonement. Isaiah is one of the most read prophets and has a special status for its great pronouncements, which include the Virgin Birth and the divinity of Christ in Isaiah 7 and 9. What better way to lay a foundation for the atonement than by animal sacrifice, the importance of Passover, and the reading of this chapter?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
What so many forget is this simple truth - the Atonement is the Gospel. Some deny it outright, and they are the mainline theologians of apostasy. The systematic theology of Braaten-Jenson denies and mocks the Atonement, but they were the "conservatives" (don't laugh) trying to keep ELCA talking about theology when others thought it was meaningless. The Gospel is this - Jesus has died for the sins of the world and for yours. There is no other way to be forgiven and saved that to believe in this truth. The wrath of God abides with all those who are unbelievers, but God loves those who believe in the Atonement of His beloved son.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
When we look at the facts of the Atonement, the horrible mockery, torture, and death of Christ, accompanied by mockery and abandonment, we see the full price paid by Christ for our sins. The Gospel says - You are forgiven through faith because those are your sins laid upon Him. He bore your sins and paid for them. You cannot pay for them or pay Him back.
When we look at all the systems, ancient and modern, for self-justification, for righteousness earned by works, then we understand what a great message of grace this is. Faith takes away the payment by works. Faith takes away the abiding sense of guilt fashioned by the works salesmen. When a contrite heart feels no relief, there is the crucifix - the price has been paid.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
The New Testament teaches redemption two different ways. One is based on the marketplace - paying with His innocent blood, suffering, and death. The other meaning of redemption is setting the slave free (based on luo - to loose).
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
This chapter is so important in the New Testament that most of it is reproduced when the various citations are added up. We could easily say this is central for the Gospel in the New Testament, and many use this as the Gospel for Jewish people, because it comes right from their teaching and worship.
That is why I find teaching the Old Testament so easy, since everything is a setting for the Gospel, such as the many Psalms teaching the work of the Messiah and Psalm 22 as the Atonement psalm. If we look at denial of the basic articles of faith by the modernists, the Old Testament is a resounding repudiation of their unbelieving and uncomprehending claims. No better proof can be found of such people blinding themselves and hardening themselves through the efficacious power of the Word. The more they deny the revealed truth, the more they hate and mock it.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
The purpose of the Atonement is clear. We are like sheep, going this way and that way, getting lost, messing up so many different things - and yet the Lord placed all those sins on Him.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
This is a perfect description of the trial and death of Christ. He had all power to escape and to destroy His opponents, but He willingly died for us - instead. He warned them so they would know what they were doing. In the midst of this horror, faith bloomed, and the centurion said - Surely this man was the Son of God.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
This is one of clearest examples of how Jesus fulfilled Isaiah many centuries after people heard these verses over and over again. He was crucified with criminals and yet He was buried in a rich man's grave.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
This is the triumph of the Gospel. What seemed to be a horrible tragedy for the disciples and all the followers became a cosmic victory over sin, death, and the devil. No matter how sin grieves us, this cross is the ultimate comfort. God has forgiven and forgotten the sins of all believers. This gives up peace of mind, because we realize that tormenting ourselves is really against the Gospel of the Atonement. It is like saying, "You have not done enough. I will torture myself until I feel I have done enough to deserve forgiveness. In fact, I may never forgive myself." That by itself is a denial of the Atonement. The sin against the Holy Spirit is not an individual sin as such, what we normally name, but denying faith in Christ at the time we die. And of course, any denial of Christ and His Atone is a sin against the Holy Spirit, but many repent. That should always be emphasized.
Not carnal sin, but unbelief is the foundation of all sin, as Jesus taught.