Yesterday I wrote about the importance of the Resurrection and I want to continue in that vein today. It seems to me that a lot of our emphasis is in understanding how the cross works. We have a variety of theories of the atonement. And within some circles the theory of Substitutionary Atonement or the more common name of the Penal Theory is so strongly pushed that this is deemed to be the Gospel message and our salvation is purely based on our understanding and knowledge of it.
However, this emphasis and worldview is simply wrong and in many ways is bordering into heresy. Let me clarify first that I don’t think its heretical to believe in any theory of the atonement. Rather, the heresy starts to take shape when we make the theory of the atonement, the actual message of salvation.
For Paul says to the Roman church:
Rom 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Rom 10:10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
The two criteria for salvation is that firstly we are to confess that Jesus is God. And secondly believe deep within us that he was raised from the dead.
Furthermore we find in the very first sermon Peter preached on the day of Pentecost further clarification that the act of forgiveness of sins didn’t take place on the cross.
Act 2:23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
Act 2:24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him…
Act 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Act 2:39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Clearly our salvation. Clearly our forgiveness of sins is not based on the death of Christ. Rather, its based on the resurrection of Christ. For Paul says elsewhere about the resurrection, if there was no resurrection there is no forgiveness of sins. And if there is no forgiveness of sin, then we are fools to be pitied.
Simply put, New Life is found in the resurrection.