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Original Post (Thread Starter)
by Charlemagne

It seems as though every time I hear a Christian talk about the cross, it is usually said that Jesus Christ suffered God's wrath on the cross. I'm not aware of any verses that ever speak of God being wrathful towards His obedient Son. However, there are a number of verses associated with sacrifice that give God's attitude towards a sacrifice as "acceptable", "fragrant odor", "well pleasing", "delight", etc. "Well pleasing" is obviously quite the opposite of wrath.

In the Old Testament, the smell of the burning sacrifice was said to be a "fragrant odor" rising to God. Eph 5:2 says, "...and gives Himself up for us, an approach present and a sacrifice to God, for a fragrant odor." The smell of roasting meat and fat is a very pleasing and delightful smell especially if you are hungry.

Phil 4:18 "...receiving from Epaphroditus the things from you, an odor fragrant, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God." The Philippians gifts were a sacrifice and they were well pleasing, acceptable, and a fragrant odor.

In Hebrews 10:5-10 we are told that God did not really delight in the approach presents and sacrifices. God delights in obedience. God delighted in His obedient Son Who said, "Lo! I am arriving--In the summary of the scroll it is written concerning Me--To do Thy will, O God."

I think one of the most astounding things Jesus ever said was "I do always the things that please Him(the Father)"(John 8:29) What pleases a father more than when His child is obedient? The cross was a test of that obedience. The Lord Jesus Christ faced the cross and said not My will, but your will be done.

"...through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just." Rom 5:19

"...He humbles Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."(Phil 2:8)

The Israelites were supposed to make sure that the animals they sacrificed to God were flawless specimens without blemishes or physical imperfections. The flawless qualities of the Lord Jesus Christ were things like humility, obedience, faithfulness, devotion, and endurance. These were the qualities that were tested and manifested in the context of His trials and sufferings. And these were the qualities that were a delight to His Father.

What was an Israelite saying when he brought his sacrifices before God? I think he was saying something like this: "I know I sinned and blew it. I know you are angry with me. I'm flawed and imperfect and I have disobeyed you. But here is a perfect animal. Take delight in this perfect animal and be at peace with me and let there be reconciliation between us.

"For if, being enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son..."(Rom 5:10) We have reconciliation with God through the death of His Son, for the flawless qualities of His Son were a delight and a "fragrent odor" but without the resurrection of Jesus Christ do we have salvation from sin and death? "...much rather, being reconciled, we shall be saved in His life."(Rom 5:10) A dead savior, cannot save anyone. "Now if Christ has not been roused, vain is your faith--you are still in your sins!"(1Cor 15:17) We should always be flawed sinners and mortal and dying if Jesus Christ had not been raised to life. Because He now lives, He can one day raise us to flawless righteousness and immortality. "...through a Man, also, comes the resurrection of the dead. For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be made alive." (1Cor 15:21,22)

We should have a high opinion of the worthy qualities of the Lord Jesus Christ. "Worthy is the Lamb slain, to get power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!"(Rev 5:12) The Father knows His Son to be worthy "Wherefore, also, God highly exalts Him, and graces Him with the name that is above every name..."(Phil 2:9) He is worthy to receive honor and glory and one day every knee and tongue will honor Him.

Liked Replies
by Robin
I believe the scripture is plain that Christ bore the punishment for our sins, enduring the wrath of holy God on our behalf. As He bore our sins in His own body on the tree; as He "became sin for us," He suffered the penalty for sin on behalf of those who believe.

Isaiah 53 immediately comes to mind, and verse 5 certainly describes God's wrath poured out against guilt. "Pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities,the punishment for our peace was upon Him ... The Lord caused the iniquity of us all to fall upon Him."

The Apostle Paul describes His work in terms of imputation: Adam's guilt imputed to us, Our sins and guilt imputed to Him so that He could bear the punishment of God for our guilt and atone (pay for) our sin, and His righteousness imputed to us.

Christ bore the wrath of God on behalf of the redeemed.
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by Pilgrim
To expand a bit and to add an addition to what Robin wrote, which I totally agree with...

Using your 'logic', God hates sinners and is angry with the wicked day and night (Ps 5:5, 7:11; Prov 6:16-19; Hab 1:13; Mal 1:1,2; Jh 3:36; Rom 1:18, 9:13; Eph 2:3; et al). The Lord Christ came as a substitute for sinners, having been made sin (2Cor 5:21) had of necessity to endure the wrath of God received the just punishment due those for whose whom He died at the crucifixion (Matt 27:46).

Additionally, the NT uses the word "propitiation" [Gk: hilasterion, hilaskomi] to describe what the Lord Christ accomplished in His vicarious substitutionary atonement on the cross (Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1Jh 2:2, 4:10). The definition of "propitiation is to appease the offended one's wrath by the removal of that which offends. This is exactly what the Lord Christ did in behalf of His people according to justice; to endure the wrath of God in enduring God's judgment as punishment for the sins which were imputed to Him.

It is true that God eternally loves the Son and from eternity loved all those for whom He predestinated to salvation in Christ (Eph 1:4,5, 2:4; Rom 8:29,30). This is in no way contradictory to the wrath which God has for all sinners nor the wrath which was poured out on the Lord Christ on the cross as their substitute.
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by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by Charlemagne
Hello Pilgrim,

If God's attitude does not "change" then how would you understand a verse such as this:

"And through Him to reconcile all to Him(making peace through the blood of His cross), through Him, whether those on the earth or those in the heavens." (Col 1:20)

Does this reconciliation and "making peace" have only to do with our attitude toward God or does it involve God's attitude toward believers also?

Or how about these two verses:

Psalm 103:9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love.(Mic 7:18)

These verses seem to show a "change" in God's attitude from "Anger" to "not angry".
Again, as stated above, it is utterly impossible for God to "change His mind" when the object to which His attitude rests. What happens is that the sinner who is under the just judgment and wrath of God is clothed with the righteousness of Christ, God sees that sinner as a totally different being; righteous by imputation. Thus, God is pleased with that individual because he/she is no longer "seen" as wicked but rather righteous in Christ. I already provided a text for this fundamental truth previously...

Ephesians 1:3-6 (ASV) "Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ: even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he [b]freely bestowed on us in the Beloved:
Until the sinner is united to Christ via repentance and a Spirit-wrought faith, which is instrumental in justification, the imputation of the Lord Christ's perfect righteousness (legal transaction), God's wrath rests upon Him (Eph 2:3). But after the sinner is united to the Lord Christ, he is deemed a son and brought into the kingdom of God wherein awaits a glorious inheritance promised to the saints. So again, it isn't that God "changes His mind", but rather the circumstances change and God's wrath which is appeased through the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ is no longer existent because the sinner is declared not guilty.

Originally Posted by Charlemagne
I don't want to reject anything that is true. Why not provide a few verses that speak about Jesus Christ suffering the wrath of God or being punished and we'll discuss.
See above in my last response to you. There are a number of passages referenced which clearly show God's wrath was poured out on the Lord Christ at the crucifixion. The wrath which was due to those for whom Christ died was owned by Christ and which He received by the Father. The Lord Christ was punished for the elect's transgressions of the law.
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by chestnutmare
Hi Charlemagne,

Thank you for making this post. It provides an opportunity to consider this error which I have heard others make yet not articulate, so while I see some serious problems with this view, I am glad we can now discuss this topic.

This view denies some of the essential attributes of God such as His unchangeable nature. The God of the Bible is not a capricious or changeable God as is man. When we attribute such characteristics to God, we essentially create and idol, a god of our own making. A god made after our own image. This is not the God of the Bible. He is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow, He is unchangeable.

Regarding the wrath of God towards sinners, I would like to commend to your reading the article "The Wrath of God in Relation to the Atonement" by Frederick S. Leahy The doctrine of God is essential to our understanding of scripture that I think you might gain much from reading this for, "If we are wrong in our doctrine of God, we are wrong all along the line. We shall be in error in every doctrine of the Faith if we hold an erroneous doctrine of God. So our doctrine of God will relate powerfully to our doctrine of the Atonement. If, for example, we do not believe that God is a God of wrath as well as a God of love, and that his essential holiness means the inevitable punishment of sin, then we shall not believe in the substitutionary and vicarious nature of Christ’s death on the Cross. That is why the doctrine of God’s holy wrath borne by his Son at Calvary is repugnant to the liberal theologian. He has an erroneous view of God."

If you will read this very short piece, I think it might clarify some essential issues for you.

The Wrath of God in Relation to the Atonement
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by Pilgrim
1. A meaningful dialog can only exist if both parties respond in an appropriate manner, i.e., when questions posted are answered and they stay on topic. Unfortunately, you have not adhered to either of these principles, but rather you simply restate your premise and ignore nearly all that has been offered to you in the way of biblical references and questions posed. Perhaps you could go back and deal with the fundamental issues that the three of us have asked you to answer.

2. There are several fundamental issues which are the crux of the matter:
  1. The two natures of Christ [cf. The Chalcedon Creed.
  2. The nature of the atonement, i.e., what was the purpose of the atonement.
  3. What actually occurred on the cross and the relationship between God the Father and the incarnate Son?

Here is my observation thus far in this thread:

1. Nearly all your biblical references have no direct relevance to the crucifixion, which is the topic at hand. You make unwarranted inferential conclusions by ignoring the CONTEXT of the references used in your attempt to support your proposition; God's wrath was not poured out on Christ.

2. You have totally ignored the didactic references offered in defense of the biblical, historic, and confessional doctrine concerning the nature of the atonement, e.g., that the transgression of God's law demands punishment and the payment of debt owed; Propitiation, Ransom/Redemption, Sacrifice and Reconciliation.

3. It is unclear whether you even embrace the doctrine of a vicarious substitutionary atonement. Did the Lord Christ voluntarily become a substitute (Gk: huper) for those whom He came to save and thus go to the cross as a sinner (2Cor 5:21; Is 53:4-6,9-12; Zech 13:7; Gal 3:13; 1Pet 3:18), having their guilt imputed to Himself.

Originally Posted by Charlemagne
Here is another quote from the article:

‘When it is stated that ‘Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us’ (Gal. 3:13), not only is it implied that we were ‘the children of wrath’ (Eph. 2:3), and under God’s curse, but also it is implied that when Christ was made a curse for us he was the object of divine wrath.

The author doesn't give us any definitive biblical statement that the Lord Jesus Christ was the object of the wrath of God but only says that it is "implied" within the statement that Jesus Christ became a curse for our sake.
Really? That is EXACTLY what the author did. Being under a curse of God is not a statement of God's love toward anyone who is cursed (cf. Matt 25:41; Gal 3:10).

All that you wrote in the remainder of your reply is totally irrelevant to the topic at hand; Did Christ suffer the eternal wrath of God on the cross as one who was under the just judgment of God in order to redeem those who were actually guilty?
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