Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday's Ministry Musing: Answering Tough Questions Quickly

Last Wednesday it was 8:26 and I had 4 minutes left in the sermon. Suddenly a hand in the back raised. It was Freddie. Freddie is a neat young man. Just to give you a glimpse on that night he was wearing his tongue ring, sporting an orange tie, and wearing leather pants. Freddie can sometimes ask silly questions. But Freddie can also ask really good questions. So right before the conclusion to the sermon Freddie had a question, and it was a doozy. "If Jesus died for all of our sins, then why is he not in hell."

The implications of that question are huge. At first I thought about discussing it with him after the sermon. But there it was hanging out there and I could see a puzzled anxiousness on many of our students. So, how do you answer that question in 4 minutes and still get a conclusion to your sermon? I stuttered, I stumbled, I restarted and then I stumbled again. Still puzzled. I knew I could not give the long answer.

So how would you have answered that question in less than a minute? Would you have even tried? I'll tell you my answer either later today or tomorrow. But, think about it.


  1. I think the answer here probably lies in the fact that the cross is not only Jesus dying for our sins, but also him displaying his absolute faithfulness to God's covenant promises to Israel...thus, a displayal of God's faithfulness.

    He does not participate in sin (and therefore deserve Hell) in order to eradicate sin. Indeed, if he did, then he could not have saved us...he would be no better than Aaron's priests.

    Is that kind of where you are on this?

  2. Tom,

    Great thoughts. In while I agree with what you are saying I actually took it a little different way.

    Would you agree that Christ does "become sin" in a sense? I know that can be somewhat of a controversial subject.

    Anyways...I chose to focus on the eternal nature of Christ and therefore the eternal nature of His sacrifice. However, I also realize there are some difficulties in what I originally said to him. I'll post my answer to him some time shortly.

  3. Ummm, I don't think that he 'becomes sin' in an ontological sort of way. I think by that, the biblical writers and theologians following them probably mean that he fully identified with humanity on the cross - sinners become his brothers and sisters. He becomes them so that they can become him.

    He no more became sin ontologically than we are sin ontologically. Sin is something other than us, but is still part of us.

    That's an interesting question. I suppose I didn't see that coming, so I hope my answer isn't 'rambling.' But, to be honest, I don't even know of the controversies you speak of. Did my answer fall on one side or the other?



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