God’s Super Plan
God’s Secret Wisdom and Mystery Revealed (and planned ‘before’ the world was created)
1 Peter 1:18-20 NIV The Apostle Peter stated “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”
Revelation 13:8 NIV … The Apostle John says “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.”
Romans 5:12 NIV The Apostle Paul says “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, (Adam) and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned – “
Let’s review what happened to the human race as a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience:
- Adam’s disobedience brought judgement and condemnation for all men.
- The judgement was that all men would be cut-off/separated from God. It was a death penalty.
- God withdrew His Spirit from man’s spirit.
- The principle of evil, the sin nature, like a virus, invaded and infected the heart and mind of ‘every’ man.
Wow. It really couldn’t be much worse…separated spiritually from God for eternity. But sadly, most of the people in the world don’t get it…they don’t know that they are living in a fallen state of imperfection with the father of evil in charge of the world system and his ‘sin nature’ is alive and at work in their minds to keep them ‘blinded’ to the truth of God. They don’t know they have an alien default system operating inside their internal operating program that has the sole purpose of keeping them blind to the truth of God. (Refer back to Chapter 2, The Default Program).
God’s plan, God’s solution to humanity’s problem is not the solution that you and I would have come up with if we had been put in charge of devising a solution to save the human race from death and eternal separation from God. We do not know the mind of God. Nor can we understand and comprehend His ways. God is sovereign and He is Creator and Lord of the universe, and as Psalm 115:3 NIV says ‘Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him.’
One of my main objectives in trying to explain to you God’s plan and solution for designing and installing a ‘system’ to save mankind from separation and death is ‘so that’ you will come to a deeper awareness of the LOVE that God has for mankind. God’s plan for the salvation and reconciliation of fallen man is designed as a demonstration of His love. He designed a plan that no entity, no being, could produce or even conceive of. He designed a plan that only the one and only true and living God could install and bring to fruition…all with the intention of demonstrating His absolute sovereignty through a demonstration of HIs love.
1 John 4:8 NIV The Apostle John wrote “…God is love.” John did not state it as God can be loving..or..God loves…or God demonstrates love….no…John says ‘God IS love.’ He IS love. The word-phrase states God and love as an equivalent. They are one and the same. The statement is worded precisely to clearly declare and mean that ‘God IS love.’ Love is who and what He is in his essential and core nature. Love is the essence of what and who He is. ‘We’ can only know love, give and receive love, experience love…but God IS love. God is the creator and source of love.
To demonstrate His love…God chose and then designed the plan/program/concept/system of ‘atonement’ as His solution for reconciling the judgments and penalties that created separation between God and man. When God wrote the script for the plan as to how to save you and me, He made God the Son, Jesus, the main character and star of the plan and script. God is God…nothing can be compared to ‘Him’…His power is beyond what we can even imagine. He always goes ‘big’. He creates solar systems and planets and constellations. He created ‘life’. So it stood to reason that His plan to save His people on planet earth would be to go ‘big’…something of fashion that only God could design and pull-off.
So let’s look at God’s solution – the principle of ‘atonement.’ God being God, established the rules and laws of the universe. God established the plan/program/concept/system (hereafter referred to as system) of Atonement to be the declared ‘law’ as to the application of principles that God installed into His plan for the salvation and reconciliation of man.
Atonement is a total system created by God that has the power to ‘trump’ any and all principles, systems, forces, laws, rules, entities that are at work to separate mankind from God. Within the system of atonement there are cooperating-principles that serve as the fundamental components of the system. One of the central principles in the system of atonement is the principle of an ‘innocent third party’. (i3p) Such i3p would be installed between the offended party (God) and the guilty party (man). The i3p had to be an innocent third party, not guilty of the offenses assigned to the guilty party. The laws/rules of the system declared that the i3p had to be guiltless of the laws/rules/(sins) that were attributed to belonging to the guilty party. The rule that God installed said that the guilt and the death penalty that belonged to the guilty party would be conveyed to, laid upon, transferred to, the innocent third party. The i3p would literally inherit the full condemnation and guilt with all installed penalties that rightfully belonged to the guilty party. The i3p would then receive the death penalty and blood shedding that was due the guilty party. The rules stated that the i3p must be put to death and its ‘blood’ shed as an act of ‘propitiation’.
A key component in the atonement system is ‘blood’….yes, blood. Because God is God, the only wise God, sovereign ruler/creator of the universe, He gets to make the rules. These rules are the ‘Laws of God.’ In Hebrews, chapter 9, vs 22, NIV, the Apostle Paul wrote “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins”. And not just any type of blood. God made a rule that said that only a sinless innocent third party would qualify as the propitiation. Within the principles of the system of Atonement is found the reason and understanding of another of the great revealed mysteries of the New Testament…God incarnate, born of a virgin. Why was it necessary that the Son of God, the Lamb of God, be born through inspiration of God’s Spirit and not through the gene pool of a man? Because as already established in the prior posts… all men (all humans) are born with a sin nature. They are infected with the sin principle working in the bodies from their time of birth. God the Father designed Himself to be the birth father of Jesus ‘so that’ Jesus would be born ‘without’ sin and qualify as the sinless atoning sacrifice in accordance with God’s laws related to rules that God designed to govern His plan and system of atonement. The Atoning sacrifice could not be infected with sin or guilt of sin…could not have or be with ‘sin’.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV The Apostle Paul wrote “God made him (Jesus)who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Under God’s rules, only God the Son, who was born without ‘sin’, who was not guilty, would qualify to be the Atonement systems ‘innocent third party’ and have your sin, my sin, the sin of the world, transferred onto him ‘so that’ he could receive the death penalty that we were due. Only Jesus qualified to shed sinless blood. He took our place. God placed our guilt and penalty on Jesus. Jesus died and shed blood for us…so that we could be forgiven and receive eternal life. Ka-boom, boo-yah, WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(The following is taken from GotQuestions.org, an online website, from their article: What is Propitiation).
The word propitiation carries the basic idea of appeasement or satisfaction, specifically toward God. Propitiation is a two-part act that involves appeasing the wrath of an offended person and being reconciled to him. The necessity of appeasing God is something many religions have in common. In ancient pagan religions, as well as in many religions today, the idea is taught that man appeases God by offering various gifts or sacrifices. However, the Bible teaches that God Himself has provided the only means through which His wrath can be appeased and sinful man can be reconciled to Him. In the New Testament, the act of propitiation always refers to the work of God and not the sacrifices or gifts offered by man. The reason for this is that man is totally incapable of satisfying God’s justice except by spending eternity in hell. There is no service, sacrifice, or gift that man can offer that will appease the holy wrath of God or satisfy His perfect justice. The only satisfaction, or propitiation, that could be acceptable to God and that could reconcile man to Him had to be made by God. For this reason God the Son, Jesus Christ, came into the world in human flesh to be the perfect sacrifice for sin and make atonement or “propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). The word propitiation is used in several verses to explain what Jesus accomplished through His death on the cross. For example, in Romans 3:24-25 believers in Christ have been “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.” These verses are a key point in Paul’s argument in the book of Romans and are really at the heart of the gospel message. In the first three chapters of Romans, Paul makes the argument that everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, is under the condemnation of God and deserving of His wrath (Romans 1:18). Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). All of us deserve His wrath and punishment. God in His infinite grace and mercy has provided a way that His wrath can be appeased and we can be reconciled to Him. That way is through the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus Christ, as the payment for sins. It is through faith in Jesus Christ as God’s perfect sacrifice that we can be reconciled to God. It is only because of Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection on the third day that a lost sinner deserving of hell can be reconciled to a holy God. The wonderful truth of the gospel is that Christians are saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to God not because “we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). The only way for God’s wrath against sinful man to be appeased and for us to be reconciled to God is through Jesus Christ. There is no other way. This truth is also communicated in 1 John 2:2, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” An important part of Christ’s saving work is deliverance from God’s wrath; Jesus’ propitiation on the cross is the only thing that can turn away God’s divine condemnation of sin. Those who reject Christ as their Savior and refuse to believe in Him have no hope of salvation. They can only look forward to facing the wrath of God that they have stored up for the coming day of judgment (Romans 2:5). There is no other propitiation or sacrifice that can be made for their sins.
We see the principle, the concept, of an ‘innocent third party’ appearing very early in the bible. Adam and Eve had ‘sinned/fallen’ and they were hiding from God because they had become aware that they were naked, without clothes. Genesis, chapter 3, vs 21, “and God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Hmmm…garments of skin… God took the skin of an animal and made a ‘covering’ for Adam and Eve to cover their ‘nakedness’. God first introduces the concept of bringing an ‘innocent third party’ into the equation between God and man and having this innocent third party provide ‘something’ that God required to create a ‘covering’, a propitiation of type, between God and man. We see further manifestations of the concept of an innocent third party in the early biblical historical accounts with various people as they sacrificed and shed the blood of animals to/before God. No explanation is provided as to the principles of sacrifice that are involved in making a sacrifice to God. We just see the principle of an innocent third part evolving.
The most ‘revealing’ of the early demonstrations of the principle of atonement is the event and time of Moses and the Hebrew nation where the nation is enslaved in Egypt. The story of Moses and Pharaoh, the 10 plagues, the last plague being where the death angel is sent by God to kill the firstborn of ‘every’ man and animal. God tells Moses and his brother Aaron to tell all of the community of Israel to take a 1 yr old male lamb from the sheep or goats and to slaughter (kill) the lamb and to ‘take some of the blood’ and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses…so that when the death angel comes…he will see the ‘blood’ and when he sees it he will pass-over the house that has the blood on the doorframe. The use of i3p ‘blood’ was a revelation of the ‘propitiation’ principle…it ‘covered over’… causing the judgement to ‘pass-over’.
Then, not long after God had delivered the Israelites from Egypt, He decided it was time to provide a detailed schematic of His principle of ‘atonement’ and fully install the ‘Old’ Testament system. The Old Testament system of Atonement was a temporary system that was to be a type-of, and point toward a permanent, perfect and eternal system that would be installed in the New Testament and revealed in the coming and person of God the Son, Jesus Christ.
God prescribes the total system of atonement and that system is introduced to us in the book of Exodus beginning in chapter 25 (fascinating reading). But it is vital, vital, for us to understand ‘why’ God chose to provide a system of ‘atonement’. The system of atonement was given to Moses when God called him up to the top of Mount Sinai for a meeting. Moses was with God on the top of the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights and it was in this meeting that God tells Moses why He is going to introduce the system of atonement, Exodus, chapter 25, vs. 8, “Have the people make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.” Wow..and double WOW! God the Creator of the creature, desires, wants, has a need, to ‘dwell’ with His creatures. This ‘desire’ is the essence of all of God’s activity ‘toward’ mankind. God’s desire to dwell with His people goes back to ‘why’ He created mankind in the first place. Throughout the bible, God is presented to us as a ‘father’….Jesus taught us to pray..”our “Father” in heaven.” God’s original design and intention for the Creator-creature relationship was ‘so that’ He could live with His children and have a relationship with them. God foremost presents Himself to mankind as a ‘father’…He wants to live ‘with’ us. In the next post, we will look at the Old Testament ‘system’ of Atonement that God prescribed to Moses which provided for the Levitical priesthood and the tabernacle (or house) that God would live in ‘so that’ He could dwell with His people.