The Skewing of Justice

Jesus protects us from the condemnation of the law” (Jim)

So even the woman in that story – who never converted – was also spared – why? (reference to John 8 story about the woman caught in adultery) Is everyone saved from the condemnation of the law – what about death row prisoners who are awaiting death for their crimes – why can’t they be released from the condemnation of the law – even if they convert? (SoVs)

Comment taken from Jim Jordan’s ‘Ian McKellen has more respect for the bible than the ECLA’

I am not sure why I am bringing this up but it seems like a point worth noting. This comment is likely in reference to the idea of penal substitution atonement theory. I guess I have some qualms with some of the thinking….so did this guy from Calvin’s era.

“Faustus Socinus (in 1578), an anti-Trinitarian Italian scholar, declared that Calvin’s description was “irrational, incoherent, immoral and impossible.” His objections were as follows:

  1. Giving pardon does not square with taking satisfaction;
  2. There is nothing that conforms with justice about punishing the innocent and letting the guilty go free;
  3. The temporary death of one is not a substitute for the eternal death of many;
  4. Perfect substitutionary satisfaction would confer on its beneficiaries an unlimited permission to sin.” (Wikipedia – Penal Substitution theory)

My quest is to find out how this view can skew justice.

The reason it is kind of relevant is because recently there was a shooting in the US of 4 cops that surrounds an aspect of this issue – pardon. It involved a Christian judge and a Christian Congressman…who both allowed the pardon based on some of the aspects of this idea. Now although I don’t think the judge and the congressman are at fault per se – was the idea of justice betrayed by second chances?

You see, in this scenario Jesus takes what the criminal deserves for punishment in God’s court (eternal). The ambigious part of that is ‘when’ does this pardon take effect? Immediately upon confession unto salvation (now)? Or after they die and they are in God’s court (later)? It’s really the difference between justice on this planet being fully realized or not.

See the story of the adulteress is key – from John 8:1-11. Jesus pardons someone in the here and now for their crime (an adulteress). He then puts the conviction of the crime on the people to decide the punishment (no one stones her more or less). However, in matters of the law shouldn’t the law be involved to decide the cases? Now, in our modern day society we can see pardoning the adultress – not neccesarily a crime. However replace adultery with a bank robbery – same pardon? How about murder – same pardon? Likely not.

So if we are free from the condemnation of the law (which is the judgment of the law to penalty in penal substitution) – should we let people out of jail once they convert (at this point Jesus should take their penalty)? Or is this substitution only good for heaven (God’s court) and not for earth (human courts)? And if only heaven, then are human courts superior to God’s court when it comes to dealing justly with a crime? Questions abound.


8 thoughts on “The Skewing of Justice

  1. The law will not be mocked and each one will pay a penalty for transgressions.

    It’s for justification and salvation that our sins are forgiven. We are free, therefore, not to have to engage in the religious project in this life towards that end. Christ is the end of the law for all those who have faith.

  2. “The law will not be mocked and each one will pay a penalty for transgressions. It’s for justification and salvation that our sins are forgiven” (Steve)

    You mention ‘paying a penalty’ – I am guessing you mean that in there ‘here and now’? Like if I steal from you I should answer to the law type thing.

    However, if justifcation is being ‘right’ before God’s law – how can one make this claim if they are unjust towards it (and their neighbor in the process)? I know you believe Jesus takes that upon himself and imparts justification by his righteousness to us (on our behalf)..but is that ‘now’ or when we ‘get to heaven’?

    As for the forgiveness of sins – we are forgiven now or in heaven when we get there? Also if we are forgiven and continue to steal or whatever – what does that mean?

    In the end your argument for the imputed justifcation of the believer for actions they have not done is as Socinus put it ‘irrational, incoherent, immoral and impossible’. I would stress no one truly believes this theory either.

    People that believe that theory have to agree no matter what we do (unjust or just) – justifcation cannot be changed since it is imputed from a source outside of ourselves…meaning our actions have no bearing on that working or not (here and now). And I fail to find Christians that behave like that in all honesty – who have been given what I would consider a freedom to do anything they so much as pleased with no consequences.

    I find the theory unjust in and of itself – that we are justifed by another. It makes us not pay for our actions and consequences – which is okay for those who committ atrocious things on a regular basis – but does nothing for those who seek the best life they can live on earth (there is nothing special about seeking to be righteous before the law or not seeking it – they both count for the same amount – nothing).

    This is a theory – if taught to children – would cause them to become inhumane in their treatment of one another (I am yet to see a counsellor recommend such scape-goating as an acceptable form of healthiness).

    I also think, and have argued many times, it goes against the biblical ideals of the Tanakh and the gospels (excluding John). It’s just not something Jesus seemed to teach as quoted by his writers (and I mean actual quotes that came from the very mout of Jesus) – only Paul makes this case (who never met Jesus).

    So from my stance (a) it’s not pscychologically healthy to teach and (b) scripturally is not something Jesus talked about and (c) teaches injustice for all. So I am not sure why this idea persists as Christian.

  3. There’s two purposes of the Law.

    To make it so we can get along together (as much as possible) in the here and now, and then (theologically) to show us our need of a Savior.

    We are forgiven for Jesus’ sake (He desires that we be forgiven) so we are forgiven. Now….for the sake of our eternal justification.

    But we pay a price whenever we transgress God’s law, or the laws of society.

    That price is paid in this life. Our eternal punishment was paid for us, on the cross, by Christ.

    Gotta run. Ciao.

  4. Steve, that was the best I have heard you explain a doctrine ever – and I see what you are saying now concerning the law (or your take on it). Good job my man!

    One question, the eternal price for trangressions of the law – where is that in the Torah? If this is so, then the law must be eternal me thinks (as the ruling used in the court of God).

    “That price is paid in this life. Our eternal punishment was paid for us, on the cross, by Christ” (Steve)

    Do you believe everyone will be a recipient of this ‘price paid on our behalves’? Also, if the forgiveness Jesus offers is outside of us – then does anything we do on this planet matter? I mean, we pay for what we do on earth because of societal laws (according to you) – but that’s temporary – and God has forgiven us in the eternal court…so nothing really matters?

  5. But in saying the eternal punishment is paid on the cross … doesn’t that make the punishment death only? Because the eternal punishment is seen as hell, where unbelievers will go for eternity. Yet Jesus isn’t in hell for eternity to take on said punishment.

  6. “But in saying the eternal punishment is paid on the cross … doesn’t that make the punishment death only? Because the eternal punishment is seen as hell, where unbelievers will go for eternity. Yet Jesus isn’t in hell for eternity to take on said punishment” (OSS)

    Well I know this doctrine is based on the sacrifical system of the Torah – which also only included death of an animal – so I can see Steve’s comparison of Christ’s death being equal to that of an animal that is offered on behalf of the community…I get the equation I should say.

    However, that is interesting about the eternal aspect of it – which seems to be satisfied by a mortal death. I guess hell would be the punishment of the law – but to be honest – I find no such punishment in the law? The harshest sentences the law can give is death – as for eternal consequences – it’s not even touched upon one time.

    Of greater concern, Jesus paying the price (penalty) for us on behalf of the law – but where is that in the law – this owing? What law did Jesus die for so he could fulfill it to earn us all salvation? That’s the part clearly unclear to me – and pretty much flops the theory on it’s illogical head.

  7. not touching this with 197 foot pole. 1. due to who the conversation is with and 2. the theological content of it is unimportant to my formulation of Christian theology.

    we’re saved by grace or we’re not. we gotta stop talking out of both sides of our mouths. (and by we, i mean christians).

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