Soteriology 004Romans 3:24-25 • Dr. Andy Woods • January 27, 2016 • Soteriology - The Doctrine of Salvation
Soteriology 04, Romans 3:24-25
January 27, 2016
Good evening everybody; we made some handouts for tonight but I think we ran out, that’s okay because they are on the website, under sermon archives and we’re going to try to get handouts to people before class so we’ll make more next week, but the ones for tonight you’ll find posted there on our website.
Goode evening and welcome to lesson 4, I know it says session 3 there and that’s because we didn’t finish session 3 so we’re going to finish session 3, which was supposed to be last week, we ran out of time, and then we’ll hit session 4 in the second part of the hour. You recall that we were talking about atonement which is the third major subject in soteriology. We talked about the definition of salvation, we talked about election versus free will, and then you might recall last time we started talking about the doctrine of the atonement.
The atonement, we defined it as a substitutionary death of Jesus in our place. We went through the false views of the atonement, all of the false views deny the concept of substitution. We looked at the role of the blood and we learned that the atoning death of Christ makes salvation free to us but it wasn’t free to Him, so the New Testament points to His blood constantly. And then we saw that the atoning death of Jesus Christ, contrary to what five point Calvinism teaches, Jesus’ death is for the whole world.
And here’s a slide that we just rushed through last time at the end so I just want to slow down just for a second, make sure that we get this. One of the things to understand about the atoning death of Jesus Christ is its finality, and there are basically three ways that’s communicated. The first way is through the fact that Jesus, at the right hand of the Father, is always portrayed as seated. So Jesus now is at the right hand of the Father and He’s always portrayed as seated. You see that in Colossians 3:1. [Colossians 3:1, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”]
Now the book of Hebrews, Hebrews is written to Jewish Christians, that’s why it’s entitled Hebrews. Hebrews 1:3, look at that just for a minute, it says, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and He upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins,” look at this, “He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Now to a Jew who understands the tabernacle layout really well those words would just jump right off the page because in the tabernacle, with the old covenant system, of all of the pieces of furniture in the tabernacle there was no chair. And the reason there was no chair is God was trying to communicate something, that the priest’s job is never completed. So under the old covenant there never was a final dealing with the issue of sin. And that’s why when they offered sacrifices on the Day of Atonement, which we’ll talk about in just a minute, they had to do the whole thing the next year, and the next year, and the next year. And that’s why God, I think it’s around Psalm 40, looks at the old covenant system, which is something He gave, and He said I’m not pleased with this system.
So it was never to be the final act, it always prefigured something greater on the horizon. And the difference between the New Covenant and the Old Covenant is that in the New Covenant under Christ His work is finished. And that’s why He’s portrayed as doing something that never took place in the tabernacle; He’s portrayed as seated. And a Jew reading the book of Hebrews, that would just jump right off the page at that. To us Gentiles that really don’t know much about the tabernacle or the Old Testament, we just gloss right over that, but the imagery of Him seated is a huge, HUGE, HUGE deal.
And as you go through the book of Hebrews, I have the verses there on the screen, you’ll see that imagery is used constantly. [Colossians 3:1, Hebrews (Jewish readers) 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:1-2; Revelation 3:21; One time – Hebrews 9:12, 26; 10:10, 12, 14; Finished (teleō) – John 19:30]
So Christ, in His present session, at the Father’s right hand is always portrayed as seated, with one little exception; the only exception would be Acts 7:55 and that has to do with Stephen’s death. Stephen is the first martyr of the church age. And there Jesus is portrayed as standing as Stephen’s soul is welcomed into heaven, I think more out of respect for Stephen as the first martyr of the church age or of the New Testament times or the age of the church. [Acts 7:55, “But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”] But other than that Christ is always portrayed as seated because the Lord wants us to understand that Christ’s work is finished. So Colossians 3:1 he’s seated, all of those references in Hebrews He’s seated; Revelation 3:21, another picture of Jesus in His present session and He’s seated.
And the imagery of the finality of the atonement is also communicated through the constant references to one time in the New Testament. So, for example, take a look at Hebrews 9:12. The author of Hebrews is trying to get his audience not to go back to the old system and he’s showing these Jewish Christians the superiority of what they have in Christ. Under the old system there was repetitious sacrifices because the old covenant never dealt in finality with the issue of sin.
But how different with Jesus Christ. Hebrews 9:12 says, “and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all,” see that language there, “having obtained eternal redemption.” The Greek word for “once for all,” one time, is the Greek word hapax; hapax means one time. You have in Greek something that we call a hapax legomena, and that’s a fancy way of saying… legomena means a word, hapax legomena is a word found only once in the New Testament. So this word, hapax, is used to communicate one time. And that term is so precise that we even have a name for words used only once, named after that word, hapax, hapax legomena. But all the way through those Hebrew references it keeps saying hapax, hapax, hapax.
And by the way, these are great verses to show your Roman Catholic friends who believe in transub-stantiation, which is the idea that every time the mass is partaken of Jesus is being re-crucified. Did you all know that Roman Catholics believe that? It’s what’s called transubstantiation; it’s the re-crucifixion of Jesus Christ at every Eucharist. And obviously that doctrine can’t be true because Jesus died one time; that contradicts hapax. So the proper view of the Lord’s Table or the communion is not transubstantiation or the perpetual re-crucifying of Christ, Jesus said “do this in” what? “in remembrance of Me.” We’re not re-crucifying Christ, we’re looking backward to what He did singularly.
And then the finality of the atonement is also communicated through the Greek verb teleō. You remember Jesus’ final words on the cross in John 19:30, what did He say, “It is finished!” That is a translation from the Greek word teleō, which means finished. And that verb,teleō, is in the perfect tense in Greek, it’s actually translated or it’s written tetelestai. The perfect tense is a one-time action in the past with ongoing results. So in the Greek language tenses are a big deal. So when that word translated “it is finished” it’s the Greek word actually tetelestai from teleō, it is finished, or to finish, in the perfect tense, one-time action with ongoing results. And it’s actually an accounting term, tetelestai. All over the New Testament world they found bills, like if someone had their bill paid, which is always a happy thing, to get your bills paid, someone would stamp on there tetelestai which literally means paid in full. So that is the word translated “It is finished!” Christ’s final words on the cross.
So you take those three concepts and you put them together, His seated position, the word hapax, and the Greek verb, perfect tense, tetelestai, what we believe is that there is no more atonement for sin. The sin question has been permanently dealt with. And what we do is we just receive it as a free gift. So it’s very different than the old covenant where the sin question was never permanently eliminated. So the old covenant was just a shadow of greater things to come. A shadow is not a reality; a shadow is a prefigurement of a reality. So I stand about six foot six and you can see my shadow before I enter the room sometimes. The shadow is not me, the shadow is a prefigurement of me. So when you go home tonight you’re not going to kiss your significant other goodnight, you’re not going to kiss their shadow, (at least I hope you won’t do that), you’re not kissing them, the shadow is just a prefigurement.
So the old covenant is just a prefigurement of greater things. And so why would these Hebrews wander back to that old covenant? The author of Hebrews is rebuking them for that. They have the completed act in Christ, the old covenant is just a shadow, the reality is Christ who completely and in finality dealt with the sin question. So if all of that is true we do not pedal religion; religion is God goes His part, you do your part. Religion always mixes works with faith. So religion will say well, God did 90% now you’ve got to kick in your 10%, and what you have to do is usually three things, pray, pay and obey, which means you never have any assurance of your salvation because how do you know if you’ve prayed enough and obeyed enough and paid enough. So you go to your grave wondering if I’ve done enough.
So we don’t teach that upper column, [Jesus Christ did 90% , you must do 10%] what we teach is the bottom column that [Jesus Christ did 100%] Jesus did everything. We understand that because of the finality of the atoning death of Jesus Christ. And we contribute nothing to that process other than to receive it as a free gift. So that’s the difference between religion and the truth which is God did it all. We don’t believe in a system where God bought lunch and then we leave the tip kind of thing. God did everything! Christ did everything! And we receive it as a free gift.
And in God there is only one way to receive a free gift and that’s by faith. Romans 4:4-5 is a key verse that says, “Now to the one who does not work but” what? “believes in Him. [Romans 4:5, “ Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”] So belief is the one thing we can do to receive something from God which is not a work; belief means to trust, to rely upon. So we teach the gospel in such a way that we believe Christ did everything and we receive that finished work by faith and if we won’t receive it by faith, if we’re somehow thinking we’re contributing to the process somehow, Jesus did most of it but we’ve got to do part of it, then that’s what you would call a false gospel.
So a true gospel is sola, sola means alone in Latin) sola fide, fide means faith, faith alone; sola Christus, Christ alone, sola gratia, grace alone, sola Scriptura, based on Scripture alone. And by the way, who gets the glory in all of this? God does, not man, because we didn’t contribute to it, we just received it as a free gift; sola deo gloria, to the glory of God alone. So those are the five solas which were the rallying cries of the Protestant Reformation: sola Scriptura, Scripture alone, sola Christos, Christ alone, sola gratia, grace alone, sola deo Gloria, to the glory of God alone. I think I missed sola fide, faith alone.
So faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone, based on the Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone—end of story. If anybody adds a single thing to any of those solas alone then they’ve just taught a false gospel. And this is the significance of understanding the atonement in its finality.
Now one other quick subject here on this subject of the atonement is people think that the concept of the atonement just jumps out at you in the New Testament. Certainly its developed the most in the New Testament but what I want you to see is that God the Holy Spirit, as He authored the Scripture started to drop the atonement in seed form very early in the Bible. So the doctrine of the atonement shows up really, really early, and the rest of the Old Testament and into the New Testament develops the doctrine. So don’t think of this as just a New Testament doctrine.
Let me give you some examples of that. Probably the first time the atonement shows up is in Genesis 3:21, notice Genesis 3:21 just for a minute. Genesis 3:7 is the first example of religion in the Bible, it says, Genesis 3:7, the first act of religion in the Bible says, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.” So they realized that they had sinned and they were trying to fix their own sin. That’s religion.
Atonement, though, shows up in Genesis 3:21. Genesis 3:21 says, “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” So verse 7, they’re trying to clothe themselves and God says you’re not going to clothe yourselves, that’s not how you’re going to fix your fallen condition, I will clothe you. Now how did God clothe them? He clothed them with animal skins, right? Genesis 3:21.
Now where did these animal skins come from? Did they just drop out of the sky? Obviously not! God right there on the spot took an animal and killed it and used the skin of that animal to clothe Adam and Eve. Now what did the animal do wrong? Nothing. The animal is totally innocent. So right there at the beginning of the Bible you see your first glimpse of the atonement where an innocent animal, or scapegoat, is going to be punished in the place of the guilty. And God is going to take that provision and use it to fix the sin problem of Adam and Eve. So the whole distinction between atonement and religion is right there in Genesis 3.
Take a look at Genesis 22, the Holy Spirit, in the story of Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac, really starts to unfold the doctrine of the atonement. Remember how Abraham had waited for a son named Isaac; Isaac was born miraculously, and then God one day says okay, take Isaac and kill him. So the whole prophetic program is going to go through Isaac, Abraham knew that, and now God says, seemingly in an irrational way, I want you to kill Isaac. And Genesis 22 is that whole story.
Genesis 22:2, “He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son,” [whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”] Well wait a minute, I thought there was another son that Abraham had through Hagar, named Ishmael, Genesis 16. Well, if that’s true, why does He call Isaac his “only son.” And the answer is God does not recognize things we do through human works. Do you understand the story of Ishmael and Hagar and all of that, Genesis 16, it was basically Abraham and Sarah trying to help God fulfill His promises. So poor God can’t fulfill His promises, we’ve got to contribute. Now what is that? That’s religion.
God says the way it’s going to happen is I am going to bring forth Isaac in My providence. So it’s interesting that God didn’t even recognize as his son Ishmael. He says “your only son,” Abraham, is Isaac. Now this rings a bell because God’s Son, in the Trinity, is also called His only Son as well. And then where is Isaac supposed to be offered? Verse 3 says on Moriah, Mount Moriah. Well, that should ring a bell; isn’t Mount Moriah where Solomon built the temple a thousand years later, 2 Chronicles 3:1. [2 Chronicles 3:1, “Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”]
And a thousand years after that isn’t that where Christ was killed? The same exact mountain! So what is happening here is the Holy Spirit, two thousand years in advance is revealing the atoning death of Jesus Christ gradually. It says “On the third day Abraham raised his eyes, wasn’t Jesus resurrected on the third day? [Genesis 22:4, “On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance.”]
Now take a look at verse 5, Abraham was told to take Isaac to Mount Moriah and kill him, and then notice what Abraham says in Genesis 22:5 to his servants: “Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there,” Moriah, where he was supposed to die, and look at this, “and we will worship and return to you.” Now if he was told to kill, God told Abraham to kill Isaac on Mount Moriah, why in the world would Abraham say to his servants, “we,” that’s myself and Isaac, are going to go over there and then we will come back?
Well, obviously Abraham had such a faith in God at this point that he knew that God would have to do what, even if Abraham killed Isaac? He would have to raise him from the dead. And this is exactly what the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 19 says, Abraham is in this chapter called the hall of faith, of people who believed God at great odds and Abraham reasoned to himself that God’s promises, if they’re true, even if I kill Isaac, Isaac is going to have to be resurrected from the dead. [Hebrews 11:19, “He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.”]
So you see the whole doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Jesus is being gradually unfolded here in Genesis 22. Genesis 22:6 says, “Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, [and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together.”] Does that not sound a little bit like Christ carrying His own cross two thousand years later? And by the way, Isaac was not just a little kid at this point, he could have fought back against his father. Doesn’t that sound like Jesus voluntarily laying down his life?
And then you go down to Genesis 22:13, it says, “Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; [and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.]”
And then you go down in verse 14 it says, “Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, [as it is said to this day, ‘In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.’”] So here we learn that it’s not going to be Isaac that’s going to be killed, it’s going to be this ram. Does that not sound like somebody who kind of jumps into the line of fire at the last minute, as our substitute? And by the way, a ram is a male animal, so the sacrifice that God is going to accept is going to be a male. And we could just go right on through this chapter and see point after point after point where the Holy Spirit, keep in mind the Abraham story is 2,000 years in advance, is gradually unfolding the doctrine of the atonement, in seed form.
And then take a look at the book of Exodus for a minute, we have the Passover Lamb. You recall that the Jews were in bondage there in Egypt, and God, to get them out, was going to bring forth ten plagues. The tenth plague would be the death of the firstborn all over Egypt. Now you say, well, why did God kill the firstborn of the Egyptians? And the answer to that is Exodus 4:22 where God calls Israel His firstborn. [Exodus 4:22, “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn.’”] So God says okay, you’re going to take My firstborn, I’m going to take your firstborn. That’s a literal outworking of Genesis 12:3 where God says, when He started His program with Israel, “those who curse you, I will curse. [Genesis 12:3, “And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse….”] See how literal that is.
And by the way, we all know that the Egyptian army got drowned in the Red Sea. Why did God drown the Egyptian army in the Red Sea? The answer to this is think back what the Egyptians were doing to the Hebrew children in the Nile. Weren’t they, in Exodus 1 and Exodus 2 drowning those Hebrew boys. [Exodus 1:22, “Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”] Moses miraculously escapes that, so God says okay, you want to drown my people, I’m going to drown you. That’s an outworking of Genesis 12:3, “whoever curses you I will curse” At any rate, God is coming in judgment on plague 10 and the firstborn all over Egypt are about to die and the Jews, to escape that wrath, to let the wrath pass over them, (that’s why we call it Passover) they were to take an animal, they were to kill that animal, called the Passover Lamb, they were to apply the blood to their doorposts, and when God saw the blood on the doorposts, in plague 10, He passed over the Jewish homes that had the blood on the doorposts.
Now that whole thing that I just described there is a description of the atoning death of Jesus Christ. When the wrath of God comes, and it will, and God sees the blood of His Son applied to us, His wrath will pass over us, just like His wrath passed over their homes and their firstborn was not killed in plague number 10.
Now this Passover lamb that was killed, I mean, this is very Christological; this is 1500 years before Christ ever entered our world, but if you look at Exodus 12 and you take a look at verse 5, God gives instructions of what this Passover lamb is to be like: “’Your lamb shall be an unblemished male,” so the lamb had to be male and it had to be unblemished, it sounds a lot like Jesus, doesn’t it. Jesus—a male, Jesus—unblemished by sin. And then if you drop down to Exodus 12:46 He said, “‘It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house,” watch this, “nor are you to break any bone of it.” When you kill this Passover Lamb and you apply the blood to the doorpost of your home so that My wrath will pass over you in plague ten, make sure that you do not break the bones of this Passover Lamb. That sounds a lot like Jesus, doesn’t it, because in John 19:31-37, the Romans, to get the bodies from the crosses down quicker, began to break the legs of the crucified victims, because when you died on a cross in the Greco-Roman world you basically died of suffocation. And you would push your body up as you were nailed to that cross to get your next breath of air, but to expedite the process they would break the legs of the victims so that they could not get their next breath of air so that they’d die more rapidly.
[John 19:31,”Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.  So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him;  but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.  But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.  And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.  For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.”  And again another Scripture says, “THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.”]
And you know the story from John 19:31-37, they got to Jesus and they did not break His legs because he was already dead. So none of His bones were broken. And what I’m trying to show you is that’s prefigured 1500 years earlier in the Passover Lamb. And another example of the atonement being prefigured in the Old Testament is the Levitical sacrifices. There’s the nation of Israel in Egypt, in Goshen, they were brought out after plague ten, they passed through the Red Sea, the Egyptians followed, God closed the Red Sea on the pursuing Egyptians and drowned them. And then the nation moved from that area down the Sinai Peninsula to Mt. Sinai. And that journey is about two months. And at Mount Sinai God gave them, the nation of Israel, the Mosaic Law, and part of the Mosaic Law was the sacrifices.
As you study the book of Leviticus, chapters 1-5, I think you’ll see about five kinds of sacrifices there. And people really misunderstand these sacrifices. The fact of the matter is, the nation of Israel was already in faith, because by faith they had put the blood of the Passover Lamb on the doorpost while they were in Egypt. So they were already in faith, they were already redeemed. Well, if they were already in faith and they were already redeemed, why in the world would God, two months later, give them five sacrifices to follow in the book of Leviticus. There’s about a two month journey from Egypt down to Mt. Sinai. And you’ll find that chronological data given in Exodus 19:1. [Exodus 19:1, “In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.”] So if they are already redeemed and already in faith, why give them sacrifices? And the answer to that is guess what God’s people do? God’s redeemed people sin. Did you all know that? Just because you’re a blood-bought saint doesn’t mean you still don’t have a propensity for sin. So if we still sin the question becomes how does God continue to fellowship with His people who are in sin? And the answer to that question is given in the book of Leviticus, chapters 1-5, through those five sacrifices.
Those five sacrifices were never designed to redeem the nation; they already had redemption. They were never designed to save the nation; they already had salvation; they were already in faith. What they were designed to do is to restore broken fellowship between them and God, because you can go home tonight and you can have a big fight with your spouse, my wife’s up there, I’m not planning on doing that tonight by the way. But if you offend your spouse you’re still married, aren’t you? But what has been broken? The communion between you, the fellowship.
So what happened is the nation of Israel is moving from Goshen and in through the Red Sea and then down to Sinai and there’s about a two month journey there, it’s basically like taking your kids on vacation is what’s going on there. You’re taking your kids on vacation, you’re just out of the driveway and what are the kids saying? “Are we there yet!” “I’m hungry, I’m tired, I want to go home,” you know, complain, complain, complain. And that’s basically what is happening with the nation of Israel as they’re traveling to Sinai. And you see all that during that two month period. So the issue is how does a holy God continue to fellowship with these people in spite of their perpetual sin? And the answer is these sacrifices in Leviticus 1-5 are there to not get them saved, see when we fall out of fellowship with God we don’t get unsaved, but it is to restore broken fellowship.
So as a Christian who has already been redeemed I still sin. Now when I sin I don’t stop being a Christian, I don’t stop being God’s child but the fellowship between myself and God is broken. So the provision for me is 1 John 1:9. 1 John 1:9 was not written to get me saved, because this book, the book of 1 John, is written to Christians, people that are already saved. It is to restore broken fellowship. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When I agree with God about what my sin is, whatever it may be, and the word translated “confess” is homologéō, homo as in same, logéō as in word, it’s basically agreement is what that’s saying, you’re agreeing with God about your sin. Then what happens is the fellowship that’s been broken is now restored because of the provision of 1 John 1:9. So what I’m trying to show you is this provision of 1 John 1:9, which restores broken fellowship, is already prefigured in the Old Testament. It’s prefigured in those five sacrifices that are explained in the book of Leviticus, chapters 1-5.
The atonement is prefigured in what’s called the Day of Atonement, which is in the book of Leviticus, chapter 16. And in the Day of Atonement one person could enter the Holy of Holies; the tabernacle is divided into two rooms, the holy place and then behind the curtain as you move there towards the left side of the screen or the west you see the Holy of Holies. And the only person that could enter the Holy of Holies was the high priest, who was a descendant of the tribe of Levi and Aaron’s line. And he could only enter the Holy of Holies after the proper sacrifice had been administered for his own sins. And so what he did on the Day of Atonement, the Hebrew is Yom Kippur, “Yom” means day, “Kippur” means covering, is he went into the Holy of Holies and he took the blood of a sacrificed animal and he sprinkled it on the mercy seat, on the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle, which is just below those cherubim, angels, and as that happened the nation’s note of indebtedness was postponed for one year. And that’s what happened on Yom Kippur.
Now here is a picture of the high priest’s garb that he wore and you’ll notice there towards the hem of his dress are bells and those bells were very significant because as long as people could hear the bells as the priest was in the Holy of Holies everything was okay. But what happens if you stopped hearing the bells? Something must have gone wrong, maybe the priest didn’t offer the sacrifice correctly for his own sin or didn’t sprinkle it properly on the mercy seat. And in fact if that happened the priest could be struck dead immediately. So if you stopped hearing the bells you say to yourself oh, wow, I think something went wrong and the priest just got struck dead. Now what you didn’t do is just rush in by yourself because you’d be struck dead.
So according to Jewish tradition, this doesn’t come from the Bible but it does come from Jewish tradition, there was a rope tied around the priest’s foot whereby his corpse could be dragged out of the Holy of Holies. That way you wouldn’t have to go in and be killed yourself as you went into the Holy of Holies. So all of this is delicate imagery given to us by God and it’s a pre-figurement of what is to come.
What happened to that veil that separated the holy place from the Most Holy place? Matthew 27:50-51 says that when Christ died that veil was torn asunder. [Matthew 27:50-51, “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.  And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook and the rocks were split.”]
And according to Josephus, the Jewish historian, that was not a little shower curtain there; it was a several feet think piece of embroidery and when that ripped what it signified is we, as God’s people, through the shed blood of Jesus, can go into the Holy of Holies anytime we want to, to receive grace during a time of need. And we’re too busy to pray, right? We have this awesome privilege that those in the Old Testament times could never even have dreamed of, and yet we live, many times, beneath our privileges. We don’t really understand the privileges that we have. We have privileges today that those in the Old covenant could only dream about. And under our system it’s not a repetitious sacrifice over and over again because the next Day of Atonement you did the same thing, and the following Day of Atonement you did the same thing. In our system it is tetelestai, meaning it is finished, paid in full. There is no future sacrifice for sins needed.
So what I’m trying to get us to understand is these intricate concepts of atonement, restoration of fellowship, sacrificing an innocent scapegoat, don’t break any of its bones, I mean, these are not things that are just thrown at us in the New Testament; these are things that are intricately developed in the pages of the Old Testament. They just happen to find their fulfillment or their realization in Christ and that’s why John the Baptist could say, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” the whole world. [John 1:29, “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”]
So John the Baptist could see all of these grandiose concepts that had been in existence, all the way since the time of Moses and even Abraham and even the Garden of Eden, coming to their fruition and fulfillment in Christ Jesus. So one of the things to understand about the atonement is it’s hinted at many, many times in the Old Testament. So that’s a little bit about the atonement, its definition, it’s false views, the role of the blood, the extent of the atonement, the finality of the atonement and the Old Testament prefigurement of the atonement.
That was the introduction so now we’re ready for today’s lesson. Here we’re looking at the fourth major subject in soteriology, the doctrine of salvation, which are salvation words. I actually think I can do this fairly quickly. I’m basically getting this idea from Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary. And Chafer, in his day, was known for his Bible conferences and oftentimes what he would do is he would do conferences just on salvation words, because each salvation word brings out a nuance about our salvation that the other words really don’t emphasize. So if you really want to understand what Jesus did for us you need to understand what Chafer called five salvation words. And each one brings up something very special, or a nuance, or a highlight that the other ones don’t bring up.
So here are the salvation words: the first one is redemption, and you’ll see that word in Romans 3:24, you’ll see the word redemption. Redemption is the Greek word apolytrōsis, and redemption basically means payment of a purchase price in order to release someone from bondage. It’s like a ransom, a price is paid so somebody can escape bondage. And redemption has already been prefigured for us in the Old Testament, right? In what? The Passover Lamb, because the Passover Lamb, once Pharaoh in Egypt saw all of these dead firstborn everywhere and he saw that the Jews, their firstborn were still alive, that’s what broke his will and that’s what caused him to release the nation of Israel from bondage. And they had in bondage there in Egypt for over 400 years.
So when you think of redemption think of the Passover lamb, the blood of the Passover lamb was paid to release the nation of Israel from bondage. So what has happened to us in redemption is Jesus Christ, because of His sacrificial death and what he has done for us, has released us from the bondage that we were in to sin and Satan and the world system. And so redemption is a beautiful, beautiful salvation work. It’s a reminder that salvation is free to us but it was not free to Jesus, whose blood was spilt; He was that ransom to release us from bondage.
The second salvation word is reconciliation, it’s the Greek word katalassō, you’ll find that word many places in the New Testament, Romans 5:10, for example, you’ll see it there. [Romans 5:10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”] And reconciliation has this idea of a change in relationship, from one of hostility or enmity, to one of peace. So “in Christ” we have been reconciled, the relationship that we had with God has been changed from one of hostility to one of peace. Now this concept presupposes that before we came to Christ we were God’s enemies. And a lot of people really don’t understand this and if you don’t understand that you can’t appreciate reconciliation. Romans 5:10 says, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled,” so before I come to Christ I’m on a collision course with the judgment of God, I am an enemy of God. [Romans 5:10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”]
But the moment the shed blood of Jesus Christ is applied to me is the moment that I am reconciled to God, there has been a change of relationship from one of hostility to one of peace. Now who changed? God didn’t change because God does not change, Malachi 3:6 says that. [Malachi 3:6, “For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.”] I changed! I changed because a provision has been made for me and I received it by faith. That changes me from an enemy of God to reconciled to God.
This word, katalassō, reconciliation, is used to describe being restored to your wife or your husband so it’s used in a relational sense, getting right with somebody before you worship God, Matthew 5:24; being restored to your spouse, 1 Corinthians 7:11. [Matthew 5:24, “leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” 1 Corinthians 7:11, “but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.”]
Sometimes the word is used to describe the fact that we have been reconciled to each other. You know, the Jews and the Gentiles hated each other’s guts in the first century, but as Jews got saved and Gentiles got saved they were all reconciled to each other in the same church, the body of Christ. So sometimes this reconciliation is used of horizontal relationships but its primary meaning is vertical, we have been reconciled to God because of the shed blood of His Son.
The third salvation word, and take a look at Psalm 103 for just a minute. Psalm 103:11-12. The third word is expiation, and this refers to… now watch my language very carefully, the removal of sin’s eternal penalty. So the removal of sin’s eternal penalty! Now on the Day of Atonement, going back to the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy of Holies what you’ll discover is that there were actually two animals that were used on the Day or Atonement. The first animal was killed and its blood was applied to the mercy seat and that postponed the note of indebtedness for sin for a year. The second animal was released into the wilderness, it just ran out into the wilderness. So the death of the first animal is something called propitiation, which we’re going to talk about in just a minute, but the second animal that’s released into the wilderness represents expiation. It’s the idea that the sins, the consequences of sin have been attached to this animal and it’s released into the wilderness signifying that because of what happened with propitiation God no longer holds our sins against us.
So what has happened is this animal has been released into the wilderness signifying expiation and expiation means the removal of sin’s eternal penalty. That’s what that goat released into the wilderness signified.
So take a look at Psalm 103 just for a minute and notice verses 11 and 12. It says, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.” Watch this,  “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Let me ask you a question: how far is the east from the west? It’s an infinite line, isn’t it. You’ll notice the psalmist doesn’t say as far as the north is from the south. Do you know why that is? Because there’s a north pole and a south pole; there’s no east pole and west pole. The distance between north and south is not infinity; the distance between east and west is infinity.
So what God has done is He has removed from us, because of what Jesus has done for us, the eternal penalty of our sins. It’s like you’ve got a bunch of stuff on your computer, on your word processor and you highlight an area that you want to get rid of and you just hit “delete” and it’s gone forever. That’s basically the notion or the concept of expiation. And this is what we have in Christ. And many, many verses speak of this. Hebrews 10:17 talks about expiation. [Hebrews 10:17, “Their sins and their lawless deeds, I will remember no more.”]
One of my favorites is the prophet, Micah, Micah 7:19 talks about expiation. Notice Micah 7:19 just for a minute. “He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” So the consequences for our sin has been permanently removed, and that’s the significance on the Day of Atonement of the goat running out into the wilderness. One goat is killed, the second goat runs out into the wilderness, indicating expiation.
This is what David praised the Lord for in Psalm 32:1-2. It says, “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered!  How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!” David praised the Lord for expiation, that is his sin, the consequences had been totally removed from him. Now I want you to watch my language very carefully: expiation is the removal of sin’s eternal penalty; expiation does not guarantee that the temporal consequences of our sin is removed. For example, if you get pulled over on your way home tonight because you’re going 85 miles an hour in a 55 mile and hour zone, you cannot tell the police officer, well, gee, officer, Romans 8:1 says “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” because expiation removes the eternal consequences of my sin, which is hell, but it is not necessarily a guarantee that the temporal consequences of my sin will be removed.
Let me give you an example. One of the greatest Bible teachers in his day and even still on the radio is J. Vernon McGee, and his Bible program is Thru the Bible in Five Years. Well, why was he trying to teach the Bible in five years? Because he knew that he had a sentence hanging over his head because he was a chain smoker and if you listen to him talk he talks a lot about the cancer that he had had and he felt was coming back as a judgment of God on him because of his habitual smoking. So just because he was a Christian doesn’t mean he got a new set of lungs. If you’re an alcoholic before you get saved there’s no guarantee you’re going to get a new liver. So expiation doesn’t guarantee that the temporal consequences of our sins are removed. It’s a guarantee, though, that we will not go to hell and experience eternal retribution from God.
Now I believe this, that God, even in His grace, many times does remove the temporal consequences of our sins. An example of that would be my own cousin, who as a teenager was very much involved with drugs and crime and all kinds of things, and he got shipped by his family to a ministry called Teen Challenge. If you’re familiar with that ministry it’s a Christian ministry, David Wilkerson is the founder of that ministry, my cousin went there and got saved. And now my cousin had to come down from his addition to drugs and he will testify to this day that he anticipated going through heavy withdrawals which he did not go through; he just had some headaches and things like that which were very minor compared to what withdrawals is like if you’re coming off an addiction to drugs.
So I believe this, God, in His grace, many times allows us to escape the temporal consequences of our sins but that is no guarantee. The only thing that’s guaranteed in expiation is the eternal consequences of our sins has been removed. So that’s a beautiful salvation word. Two more and we’re finished.
The fourth word is propitiation, the Greek word for propitiation is hilasmos, you’ll find it mentioned there in 1 John 2:2. [1 John 2:2, “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”] Propitiation is that the cross of Jesus Christ has pacified, appeased, and placated God’s anger so that His wrath is diverted from me. So in propitiation the wrath of God against sin, and there is a wrath of God against sin because God is holy, but in propitiation that anger has been satisfied so that His anger is diverted from me because that anger was borne by Jesus on the cross of Calvary. That’s what’s meant by propitiation.
Now remember on the Day of Atonement there’s two goats; one goat is killed and its blood is applied to the mercy seat, that’s propitiation. The second goat is released into the wilderness, that’s expiation. So the Holy Spirit is revealing both of those concepts in the Day of Atonement. And propitiation presupposes that God is angry at us. I don’t think we hear enough about this. God, as He looks at the sinful human race is angry at the human race because of sin. Jonathan Edwards preached a famous sermon on this, which started the first great awakening in America from the east coast, and the title of the sermon is Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. And this concept is almost lost today, we hardly hear anything about this. But the fact of the matter is the wrath of God, because of the world’s sin, is aimed at the world and it’s aimed at us. Multiple verses testify to this. One of them is John 3:36, John the Baptist says, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” So what is my condition without propitiation? Without propitiation I am a candidate for God’s wrath. God’s wrath is aimed at me, it’s aimed at you, but in propitiation the cross pacified, appeased, placated God’s anger so that His wrath is diverted from us.
See, God has a problem. Did you know God has a problem? And here’s His problem. He’s got two natures, holiness which must punish sin, and by the way, what did the seraphim say in the presence of God day and night? Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. So God must punish sin, Isaiah 6:3 calls Him holy, but at the same time God is a God of love, God is love, 1 John 4:8 who loves us too much to see us fall into His wrath. [Isaiah 6:3, “And one called out to another and said, ’Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.’” 1 John 4:8, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”]
So there’s a tension in God, He’s got to punish sin on one end of the stick, but He loves us too much to see us punished so what does He do? The answer to it, the way the two natures of God are reconciled is in propitiation, because when Jesus shed His blood on that cross He was paying for our sins in His body. That satisfied God’s holiness and it also satisfied God’s love because now God doesn’t have to pour out His wrath on us if we accept by faith what Jesus did for us. So propitiation is a magnificent salvation word, it reconciles the two natures of God. And in propitiation, because of what Jesus did as our sacrifice, the wrath of God against us has been pacified, appeased, placated. That was what was meant by the blood of the first goat applied to the mercy seat on the Day of Atonement, a tremendous salvation word!
And then one more is imputation. Imputation simply means transfer; imputation is Jesus Christ’s righteousness is transferred to us at the point of faith, AND is the source of our justification before God. Look, for example, at Philippians 3:9. If I was stuck on a desert island and they only gave me one verse I would pick Philippians 3:9, because Philippians 3:9 explains Christianity. Paul, in Philippians 3:9 says, “and may be found in Him,” look at this, “not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law,” Paul understood he didn’t have standing before God based on self-righteousness and performance, which is the path he was on before he was a believer, as a Pharisee. “and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God” isn’t that great, “on the basis of faith,”
I don’t produce it, it’s transferred to me. In a moment of time, the moment I trust Christ, Christ’s righteousness is transferred to me in what is called imputation and God looks upon me as if I’m just as righteous as Jesus Christ. Did you know that? That as God looks at you today, if you’re in Christ, He looks at you as if He’s looking at Jesus? You say well, wait a minute, you don’t understand the day I’ve had, or the week I’ve had, or the fight I got into or this failure or that failure. It doesn’t matter, it’s a positional truth. You are just as righteous as Jesus Christ as God the Father looks at you right now because of this glorious doctrine and word called imputation, or transfer. Martin Luther, the church Reformer, called it the great exchange. In a moment of time our unrighteousness is exchanged for His righteousness. Don’t hold out for a better deal; there’s no better deal than this. And you know, so many times we’re going to God, groveling, oh God, it’s just me, the little worm down here, can you see fit to answer this one prayer request? And we don’t really… we’re living beneath our privileges, we don’t really understand who we are. And we don’t understand that of course God wants to hear from us because He sees us as just as righteous as His Son because of imputation. And we don’t look at ourselves that way and consequently we have a very weak trepid prayer life and if we understood who we are in Christ, you know, we might behave differently as well because the best behavior modification is understanding your identity in Christ Jesus.
In fact, there are three great imputations in the Bible, Adam’s sin is transferred to us, Romans 5:12, that’s called the doctrine of hamartiology or the doctrine of sin. [Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— ” Our sin is transferred to Jesus, and that’s 2 Corinthians 5:21, He who knew no sin became sin, He didn’t become a sinner, He became the sin-bearer. That’s the great doctrine of Christology. [2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”]
And then the one that I’m speaking of here is a third transfer, where Christ’s righteousness, positionally, is transferred to us and that’s the great doctrine of soteriology. So three great transfers in the Bible, we’re talking there about the third one. Not Adam’s sin transferred to us, that’s a different doctrine; not our sin transferred to Christ, that’s a different doctrine. What I’m talking about is the very righteousness of Jesus is transferred to us at the point of faith. It’s not something we earn, it comes by faith; it doesn’t come from ourselves, it comes from God, and God looks upon me as if I’m sinless and flawless and as perfect as Jesus Christ Himself.
Do you see the meaning of these salvation words, how significant they are? Redemption, payment of a purchase price in order to release someone from bondage. Reconciliation, a change of relationship from one of hostility to peace. Expiation, the eternal removal of the consequences of our sins. Propitiation, the satisfaction of divine wrath. And imputation, Christ’s righteousness is transferred to us at the point of faith. Study these this week and watch your attitude of gratitude develop in your heart.
Now next week we’re going to blow the doors off this place because we’re going to start to deal with God’s one condition of salvation, and this is where we’re going to learn that most of the ways that we share the gospel today in modern day evangelicalism are basically unbiblical. Most of the Bible tracts we use are incorrect and I’ll show you that from the Scripture. So I’m finished talking so if you’ve got to and collect your young ones, we’ll let you do that at this time and we’ll open it up for any questions you might have.