Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Let's get this over with, can we?

He was a big guy, and angry.  He was shouting abuse at the open air preacher, and miraculously the Lord gave me the courage to actually approach him. 

When I spoke to him he immediately calmed down and we had a really friendly and really frank talk about the things that bothered him about the Gospel.  One of the issues he had was the teaching of eternal punishment.  He said that if Christ was able to take the punishment for sin and do it in a few hours on the cross then could he not take his punishment in a few hours - why did it have to be spread out for ever and ever?

It was a good question but the Bible has a good answer, and it's this - Christ is an infinite person.  God's wrath against sin is infinite, and that means that finite creatures can never exhaust it; the penalty is infinite, so finite creatures can never pay it.  Even mighty angels that sinned will be punished forever (Revelation 20 v 10; Jude 6), because they are creatures too.  This is why God could not send an angel to be incarnated and to die - that would never satisfy God's righteous demands against sin, but God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3 v 16).  This was not an angel who was given but His co-equal, co-eternal Son, and He was able, in finite time, to pay the infinite price and satisfy infinite justice because He is an infinite person.  It is for this reason that people have rightly concluded that Christ must be God in order to have paid sin's penalty.

In regard to His suffering for sin, the Lord Jesus said what no human or angel in hell will ever be able to say; He said "It is finished!" (John 19 v 30), His resurrection proves He paid it all.  The people who find themselves in hell will only be able to say "It is forever."  Don't go there - salvation is offered to all, and given to those who accept their guilt and trust in the One who died for sinners.