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Mahaney Quotes March 28, 2007

Posted by Joe in Random Musings.


Good stuff yesterday.  I’m thankful that you are a critical reader brother and  I am with you on that book.  I’m not sure I will be reading it quarterly, but maybe twice a year.  Ok.  Probably once.  But I’m still with you!  We just can’t hear the message of that book enough.  It is too vital.  And we are much too quick to forget it.

Not only that, but we are very slow to see all of life in light of the gospel.  We fail to realize that the Lord does a sanctifying work through this message.  For what I have been seeing a great deal lately is that it is only as we come to understand how God relates to us through Christ that we can rightly relate to everything in the world (including Hisprovidence ).  That’s huge.  If I don’t understand justification by faith alone, I can’t raise my kids right.  I can’t walk with you through life right.  I can’t respond rightly when I sin–or when I do well.  On and on I could go.  We are desperate for a greater understanding of what God has done for us in Jesus and how God now relates to us through Jesus.  It’s a lifelong pursuit, but let’s pursue it hard!

That being said, I’ll take up the two quotes you mentioned yesterday.  Here is the first.

“[On the Cross, Jesus] is being made to experience the full fury of the wrath of God — the intense, righteous hatred of God for sin, a wrath that has been stored up beginning with Adam’s sin and extending to all of your sin and mine, and to all the sin to the end of this world’s history.” 

From my lowly vantage point, the quote is precise except for the words after the final comma.  I’m thinking you are with me here.  Here comes the dreaded ‘L’!  Limited atonement.  Did Jesus suffer for every sin?  I think the biblical answer is clearly no.  Maybe He did in some sense (like the common grace sense), but not in the sense that He paid the penalty for every sin committed in the whole of human history.  With that I definitely disagree, for as you noted, if Jesus did pay that penalty, no one would ever go to hell.

That being said, I would mention two things.  First, I am quite sure that Mahaney believes this truth.  Second, this goes to show how difficult it is to describe what Jesus suffered through without becoming ‘nit-picky’ about doctrinal precision.   This is especially true about ‘limited atonement’ or what is better called, ‘particular redemption.’  Jesus died for the sins of those who would believe in His name–that is, for His elect.  Any other conviction leads to the inevitable logical conclusion that no one should suffer in hell, because Jesus paid for all their sins–including their unbelief and rejection of Him.

I think this is why ‘particular redemption’ is the least emphasized doctrine of grace in the New Testament.  That is accurate right?  This is a doctrine that is clear enough, but it is not something that is ‘particularely’ dwelt upon in the NT.  Jesus died for His sheep.  Yes.  That is very true (John 10).  But we are most definitely called to call everyone to repentance.  And when we stand in front of a group of people, we should be able to say (and I do), “Jesus died in your place.  Turn to Him all the ends of the earth.”  This can be said, I believe, without our being unfaithful.

Ok, with all that said, I would summarize by saying that I disagree with Mahaney’s final words in that quote.  That’s difficult to do, b/c I respect him so much, but it is true.  However, I do think the quote serves to point to the issue I raised above.

As for the second quote, that will have to wait.  One thing I do want to know about that quote, however, is the context.  For it seems to me that he is emphasizing the fact that no one will ever experience the fullness of God’s wrath like that, because Jesus suffered it on behalf of billions!  So that statement is true.  Sure, people suffer for their sins in hell, but they do not suffer for the sins of billions in hell.  Ok, enough for now.  I hope this helps.  It is good to discuss!

Basking in His merciful redemption of me,




1. Worshiping through Thought « Seeking Him - March 29, 2007

[…] yesterday you gave me your thoughts on this quote: “[On the Cross, Jesus] is being made to experience the […]

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