“At the cross the Son of God died a death in which all the weight of divine vengeance for sin was compressed into a few hours of bodily and spiritual anguish.”
When I read this statement my brain hiccupped. Really? I’m not sure it is wrong, but then again, it sure doesn’t sound right. Let’s consider if it were true:
1) What is hell then? If “ALL the weight of divine vengeance” against sin was here, what is going on in hell? Is hell not God’s wrath, anger and vengeance being poured out on unconverted sinners?
2) Does bodily suffering really remove sins? I know we are healed by His stripes, but is this the same as saying bodily suffering removes the punishment of sin? If ALL the weight of sin’s vengeance were here, might I be able to suffer some pain for my little, tiny lie I told? Can I pain my way through more sin and get its punishment removed?
3) What was the point of resurrection if bodily suffering removed sin’s punishment? Couldn’t He have just suffered and called it a day then?
4) What about the discipline of the son whom God loves? Why would God ever punish anyone for any sin if ALL the vengeance has been poured out already?
5) When Ananias and Sapphira died for their lies to the Spirit, was this double jeopardy?
I imagine it was thinking along this line that lead people to invent purgatory, where a guy could work off his sin with bodily suffering. I imagine it also had something to do with monks who would flagellate themselves for their sins and felt they were removing sin. In fact, this statement was probably invented by a guy trying to refute Catholic thinking. “Christ suffered so I don’t have to” kind of thing.
I have a feeling that this is a fine sounding statement that overstates the point. I imagine it is heard with much head-nodding and “amen”ing. But I have some reservations about it. How about you?