Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
The Atonement of Christ is a central doctrine of New Testament teaching. None of us have been helped in our understanding of this doctrine by the very mistaken translations of important Atonement terms and related salvation vocabulary that have been present in all of our English Bible translations.
Historically, the problem stems from the failure of the Protestant Reformers to understand these doctrines correctly. They simply brought over into Protestantism and Protestant Bible translations the salvation vocabulary they had learned from the Roman Catholic Church.
I pointed out in the last two or three Bible Nuggets that a major clue to the fact that something is very wrong in our understanding of Bible doctrine is the contradiction between Romans 2:13 and Romans 3:20. At Romans 2:13 it is proper to translate the underlying Greek word by the English word “justify.” But to translate the same underlying Greek word by the same English word “justify” at Romans 3:20 results in a contradiction.
In Romans 3:20 and most other places where the underlying Greek term appears in the New Testament, when it does not directly refer to the Old Testament dispensation, the term should not be translated “justify” but “made righteous.”
The mistaken theology which has led to much mistranslation in the New Testament portion of our English Bibles has to do with the Atonement of Christ. There are a number of different “atonement theories,” nearly all of them seriously mistaken on major points. But the chief culprit is known as the “penal satisfaction theory of the Atonement.” This theory was propounded historically by Augustine and very beautifully by Anselm. At first look, it seems to be in accord with the Bible, and all of us who have learned anything of theology and Bible doctrine at all have been taught this theory.
I raised this question before:
So what difference does it make?
You be the judge.
If the Bible teaches one thing, but we are being taught another, does it matter at all?
I say it does.
So what is so wrong with the “penal atonement theory”?
First, something must be very wrong if in the effort to support this theory we are provided wrong translations of our Bible!
The penal atonement theory claims that our Lord Jesus Christ was punished for our sins. The Bible says no such thing.
The penal atonement theory claims that our Lord Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin on the cross. The Bible says no such thing.
The penal atonement theory claims that our Lord Jesus Christ became our substitute when He died in our place. The Bible says no such thing.
The penal atonement theory claims the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us when we believe on Him. The Bible says no such thing when it is correctly translated.
The penal atonement theory claims our sins are forgiven when we believe on Christ. The Bible when correctly translated says no such thing. Forgiveness is a legal action where no real change occurs in the one forgiven for the change takes place in the attitude of the forgiver toward the one forgiven. That is not what Bible salvation is about. Bible salvation is about the removal of sin in this life through the power of regenerative change wrought by the Holy Spirit in the life of every believer. That regenerative change produces the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23) in our life providing the power to live above sin and in righteousness.
The penal atonement theory attributes no more efficacy to the blood of Christ than it attributes to the blood of the Levitical animal sacrifices under the Law, for the penal atonement theory and its advocates deny that the blood of Christ produces any change in this life, directly contrary to the affirmations of the New Testament.
The seriousness of these matters is briefly expressed in the note at Galatians 3:13 in the forthcoming Lavender New Testament, which I cite below at the cross references given for Galatians 3:13. Please read that note carefully and repeatedly until you understand it.
On another note, you may have noticed I have not posted any Bible Nuggets for nearly a week. The Internet has been “out” in my area, perhaps because of severe thunderstorms, I have not directly heard. I am to be visited tomorrow to have my service checked out carefully. I noticed that the Internet is now on today, but sometimes it goes off unexpectedly. I wish to thank those who have expressed concern.
For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:
(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on pages 1350-1351 for Galatians 3:13.
(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 1370 or in Logos 5 Bible software for Galatians 3:13.
(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them as given below:
Galatians 3:13. Christ. +*1 Cor 15:3. hath redeemed. Gr. exagorazō (S#1805g: Ga 4:5. Ep 5:16. Col 4:5). T#834. See on ver. Ga 3:10. **Ga 4:4, 5. Ge 8:21. 22:9. Ex 32:30. Le 4:20. 8:17. **+Le 16:22. 27:28. Nu 28:30. +*Ps 107:2. Is 35:9. 41:14. 42:7. 49:9. *Is 53:5-7, 10-12. Da 2:8. +*Da 9:24, 26. *Zc 13:7. Mt 20:28. +*Mt 26:28. *Mk 10:45. +*Ro 3:24-26. *Ro 4:25. 7:4. 8:3, 4. 1 Cor 1:30. 5:7. *1 Cor 6:20. **2 Cor 5:21. *Ep 1:7. 5:2, 16. *Col 1:13, 14. 4:5g. +*1 Th 1:10. *Titus 2:14. *He 7:26, 27. 9:12, 14, 15, 26, 28. 10:4-10. 1 P 1:18-21. *1 P 2:24. *1 P 3:18. +2 P 2:1. **1 J 2:1, 2. 4:10. +*Re 1:5. 5:9. 13:8. 22:3. us. i.e. the Jewish believers; as occasionally in his writings the Apostle here associates himself with his nationals, compare Ep 1:11, 12 with Ep 1:13. The Gentiles were not under the law; indeed the law was itself the “middle wall” that divided them from the Jews; see Ep 2:14, 15 (Hogg & Vine, p. 134). from the curse of the law. ver. *Ga 3:10n. %*Ge 22:18. Le 15:28. Dt 11::26. **Dt 27:15-26. *Dt 28:15. 30:15. *Pr 3:33. **Pr 26:2. Is 42:21. +*Da 9:11. +*Zc 5:3. *Mal 3:9, %Mal 3:11. +Mt 25:41. **Ro 7:6. *Ro 8:1. being made a curse. FS121N2, +Ge 34:29. This is one of the verses used in an effort to prove that Christ was under a curse, under penalty of sin upon the tree. Christ became a curse in the sense that He hung upon a tree, and only in that sense! Paul did not finish the quotation in his reference to Dt 21:23 for obvious reasons; he left off accursed of God because Christ was not under the penalty of sin whatsoever! Sin was not judged in the Person of Christ at Calvary. Atonement is not what was done to Christ, it is what He did (cf. Jn 10:17-18). As the Priest, He offered Himself, the Sacrifice (cf. Ep 5:2; He 7:27; 9:14; 10:12). Atonement does not consist in an outside extrinsic force of God’s wrath penally poured out upon Christ, satisfying justice. Atonement is internalized in the Person of Christ—”And He, Himself, is Atonement….” (1 J 2:2)—and not externalized by punishing Him. By the innate merit of His Person, Atonement is He—by Him, through Him, of Him in Triune Oneness with the Godhead. And so, Atonement stands wrought in the merit of His Person. The validating efficacy is Divinity, the bloodshed is in His humanity. He offered himself through Himself. Had there not been a Divine Self through Whom to offer himself (hypostatical union), sin could not have been removed and we would be where the Levitical animal and the Calvinists left us—in sin. The Reformation, Calvinists, and Jews have in common that they esteem Him stricken, smitten by God (cf. Is 53:12). But God is one God; thus the Punisher and the punished cannot be one! Atonement by punishment is false to the Scriptures, blasphemes Christ (cf. 2 C 5:21), destroys the Trinity (cf. Mt 27:46), contaminates the purity of the Sacrifice (cf. Le 22:19-22; Dt 17:1; Ml 1:8, 13-14; He 9:14; 1 P 1:18-19), limits the Atonement (cf. 2 C 5:14; 1 J 2:2), and results in salvation concepts on the level of the Law (cf. Ro 2:13; Ep 1:7), thus stripping the Gospel of its saving essence and transforming power! (Cf. Ro 3:20-31; 5:1; Ep 4:24; Col 3:9-10). Atonement by punishment is a satanic perversion of Christ’s work on the cross! The greatest urgency of our time is that the people of God rise up and take Calvary back! (Cf. 1 C 1:18 and note) [LNT, fn k]. Le 16:27. +=Le 23:19. 2 K 22:19. Is 53:4, 10. Je 44:22. 49:13. Da 9:27x. Mt 27:46. *Lk 22:37. Jn 18:32. Ro 9:3. 1 Cor 12:3n. *2 Cor 5:21. *He 13:11, 12. for us. 2 S 17:23. 18:10, 14, 15. 21:3, 9. Est 7:10. 9:14. Mt 26:38. 27:5. Mk 10:45. +*Jn 1:29. *Jn 10:15. 11:51. Ac 10:45. Ro 8:34. *1 P 2:24. for it is written. **Jn 5:46. Cursed. Ga 1:8. >Dt 21:23. Jsh 10:26, 27. Ps 37:22. 88:16. +*Ps 119:21. Ac 23:12. hangeth. Ge 40:19. *Dt 21:22n, 23n. 2 S 18:9. 21:9. Est 8:7. 9:13. Mk 15:24. Lk 23:33. Jn 12:32. 19:18. +Ac 5:30. Phil 2:8. tree. FS121D8, +Ge 40:19. Ac 5:30. 10:39.