Today’s reading: Deut 21:1–22:30, 2 Cor 5:11–21, Ps 38:1–22
Today’s theme: Actual Atonement
When Jesus shed His blood on the cross, He made actual atonement for all those who would put their faith and trust in Him, namely God’s elect people from every nation, tribe and tongue. This is a powerful truth when we consider the fact that we are regenerated (made a new creature), by the Holy Spirit.
This big truth synchronises well with the rest of today’s reading; God’s just law, judgement, the price that Christ paid and the call to evangelism.
Accept atonement, O LORD, for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, and do not set the guilt of innocent blood in the midst of your people Israel, so that their blood guilt be atoned for.’ Deuteronomy 21:8 (ESV)
This is the opposite to what was said when Jesus was being tried and executed in Matthew 27:25 (which shows how far the religious establishment at the time, had fallen away from biblical faith), but ironically the work of Jesus on the cross atones for the shedding of His own innocent blood.
Jesus became cursed for us
his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance. Deuteronomy 21:23 (ESV)
Galatians 3:13 reminds us that Jesus was hung on a tree and became a curse for us. Even in this list of laws to govern the people, we find God’s word pointing forward to Jesus the Messiah.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”.
God’s laws for society
And you shall do the same with his donkey or with his garment, or with any lost thing of your brother’s, which he loses and you find; you may not ignore it. Deuteronomy 22:3 (ESV)
God wanted an advanced and godly society where a man’s duty of care for his neighbour was clear. Our laws today find their roots in God’s law.
Cross dressing is wrong
“A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 22:5 (ESV)
Distinction and definition in the roles between men and women is holy before God and is crucial to the wellbeing of society. A person that cross dresses is not seen as comical or regarded as having a ‘personal issue’, but one that God considers to be an evil abomination.
Cross dressing is open rebellion against God and His created order.
The Ox and the Donkey
You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. Deuteronomy 22:10 (ESV)
This is a great illustration regarding being unequally yoked with unbelievers, as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 6:14-16. One will drag the other down or one will wear the other out because they cannot share the same burden or go at the same pace, they are unbalanced and unsuited to work together.
God’s just law
“If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. Deuteronomy 22:22 (ESV)
The laws of God’s society were very advanced for the time they were in, exacting punishment on both man and woman. It shows us that by the time of Jesus, the administration of the law had been corrupted in favour of men. Notice that in the account of John 8:4, only the woman is brought to Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:11–21
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 2 Corinthians 5:11 (ESV)
Knowing that one day we will all stand before God’s Judgement seat, we should look to persuade others to respond to the call of the good news.
Compelled by love
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 2 Corinthians 5:14 (ESV)
God’s love for us in Christ should keep us from living selfish lives, it should compel us to live our lives for God’s glory and to build others up in love.
…and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:14–15, ESV)
The Apostle’s conclusion is a wonderful truth, we were all dead in our sin through our inheritance of Adam’s original sin and our own sin. Jesus came and died for all, not just for a particular type or race of people, but for all the peoples of the earth. All without distinction but not without exception.
The “those” spoken of are those who put their faith in Jesus and live their lives like Paul, in light of His love. Elsewhere in the bible we read that these are God’s own elect people, they have “actually” been atoned by Jesus’ death and resurrection, they are those from every nation, tribe and tongue for whom Christ died.
Universalists try to use these verses to say that everyone is saved because Jesus died for everyone, but this is an abuse of the text and takes it thoroughly out of context with the passage and with the rest of the bible. The benefits of the atonement are limited to those who put their faith in Jesus.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
When we are saved, we are regenerated or made a new creation in Christ.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 (ESV)
We are God’s Ambassadors in the world and we should make God’s appeal clear to all men, which is; be reconciled to God, or come into relationship with God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
When we are saved, not only are our sins forgiven, but God imputes the righteousness of Christ to us. In other words, not only is our great debt paid but our account is credited with millions of pounds too!
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on 2 Corinthians 5