Most Christians subscribe to the doctrine of substitutionary
atonement. Christ “stood in” for sinners
throughout His passion and crucifixion.
He took our place. He got what we
deserved. Isaiah says, “he was wounded
for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities…” (53:5). He also writes that Messiah would be “like a
lamb that is led to the slaughter…he opened not his mouth” (53:7). Substitutionary atonement means that Jesus
took upon Himself the sins of the world and received the just punishment for
those sins so that when a person believes (in the person and mission of Christ)
God sees and applies the finished work of Christ in that person. As Paul wrote to the church in Corinth “For
our sake he [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we
might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). In other words, Jesus allowed the brutality
of scourging and crucifixion so that through faith in Him all might be saved from
the consequence of their sins.
So we know why He let horrible things happen to Him. I’m wondering why we are remaining silent
like sheep being led to slaughter in this culture. Who is it we think we are standing in
for? For decades the Church has remained
passive and quiet (on the whole) concerning the holocaust of abortion. How has that saved the unborn or even slowed
the pace of abortions? We’ve let
humanists and atheists use their friends and supporters in politics to convince
Americans that acknowledging God in the public sphere is not only unwanted but unconstitutional
and therefore criminal. Because the
Church sat quietly by, prayer outside the four walls of our churches has all
but disappeared in this country. And now the Church is dutifully acquiescing to
the overreach of ungodly judicial tyranny concerning the destruction of
marriage (the foundation of civilization).
Who exactly are we saving by surrendering to the ungodly
whims and passions of those who rejoice in the celebration of sin? How is righteousness being established or
promoted by Christianity’s lack of willingness to engage the enemies of the
cross (see Philippians 3:18)? Why does
the modern Church equate “love thy neighbor” to “yield to anyone’s sinful
demands”? We are being led to annihilation
not because we think anyone will benefit from our destruction but because we
have neither the will nor the heart to stand and go toe to toe with evil. This cannot be what Jesus meant by “love thy
One of the seminal events in Jewish history was the four
decade long wilderness wandering after being set free from Egypt. The people were punished by God for refusing
to enter the Promised Land and engage and dispossess its inhabitants. One representative from each of the twelve
tribes of Israel was sent to spy out the land.
They returned to Moses and told him that the land was as bounteous and
fruitful as God had assured them. But
ten of the spies said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they
are stronger than we are” (Numbers 13:31).
Caleb was one of the two spies who tried to get the people to trust God
and engage their enemies. Instead they
decided their best course of action would be to depose Moses and “choose a
leader and go back to Egypt” (Numbers 14:4).
Faithless and spineless.
The parallel to today’s Church is undeniable. Like God did for the Hebrews in Egypt, Jesus
has done for the Church. He has set us
free by the power of His own hand.
Christ has delivered us from slavery to sin and death (Romans 8:2). God told the Hebrews to go and take the
Promised Land. Jesus has told the Church
to go and make disciples. And just like
the Hebrews of antiquity who complained that their enemies were too strong to
obey God, the Church today has decided it is better to lay low and permit evil
to remain established in society than to openly oppose and engage it in
battle. We’ve chosen leaders like the
ancient Hebrews who swear that God wants us to go back into bondage and slavery
to sin. That the will of God is to let
evil remain entrenched in the land He gave us.
And like the Hebrews of old the Church is going to get what
it deserves. God will wait until all
those who refuse to engage cultural evil die off so that a new generation will
be given the chance to be blessed for obedience. And the Church that yielded to fear and
selfishness will become a byword in future generations. A byword for failure and disobedience. Just like when Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians
10:5 “Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were
overthrown in the wilderness.”
Do we really want to explain to future generations of
Christians why we let enemies of truth and righteousness freely impose their
will on us? Who is being saved by our
retreat from battle?
Ray Rooney, Jr.