In the debate posting Tom said the following: “That sir, is sick! To murder an innocent child so I can get a reward.” I’ve heard others say that the cross amounts to, “cosmic child abuse.” This antigospel is taught in the emergent church movement as much as by atheists. The phrasing – “murder of an innocent child so I can get a reward,” shows a great distortion of the truth of the matter. If it was simply a matter of a reward (an extra goodie), and if Jesus was an infant killed without his consent (like in an abortion, which Tom thinks is okay), then it would be sick! It is just as sick to kill an unborn for convenience sake, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue with the same who make this child abuse claim about Jesus.
As I was listening to the sermon this morning at G3 Fellowship on Jesus being our willing substitute who took the wrath of God upon Himself so that we, who rightly deserve the wrath, are not eternally destroyed by it (Mk 15:1-20), the words of Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest at the time of Jesus, came to mind, “‘You know nothing at all. Nor do yo understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.’ He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather ino on the children of God who are scattered abroad.” (Jn 11:49b-52)
If a child, or anyone, is in the street when a truck comes speeding down, and despite the ones in the street knowing better (assuming an older child), another person jumps in front of the truck to push them out of the way and gets killed by the truck, do we consider that murder of an innocent for the reward of those who were saved? We usually call that person a hero. How about ones who are killed in military action serving to protect their country? Do we consider them murdered innocents for the reward of the nation?
We need to understand that all of mankind since Adam is born playing in the street (Rom 5:12, 14; Gen 3:23). All they know growing up is selfishness, to do things their own way, even though they really have no excuse (Rom 1:18-23). Some are more selfish than others, but no one is perfectly selfless and demonstrates the perfect love of God (Rom 3:23). Because they don’t, they are forever separated from God’s goodness (which they oppose) and are in view of His wrath which is naturally set against anything contrary to His character (sin cannot be in the presence of God any more than a person with a sunburn can stand next to a normally warming and comforting fire) (Eph 2:3; Rom 5:18). The good news is that Jesus came to stand between us and God’s wrath (Rom 3:24-25; 5:9-11; 1 Jn 2:2; 2 Cor 5:17-21). (Note that God can’t turn off His wrath against sin any more than the sun’s heat can be turned off and it still give light.) He didn’t die on the cross so that we can continue playing in the street in defiance of God, but so that we can personally know the love of God for each of us through a life of faith and repentance (Rom 5:8; Jn 3:16; Acts 2:38; Eph 2:8). Jesus went to the cross with each of us who accept Him in faith on His mind (Rom 8:29; Mk 10:45). He says He wishes all to be saved (2 Pet 3:9). Yet, not all are willing to take the pardon and forgiveness of sins that God provides through Jesus (Jn 5:44). Not only did Jesus die in our place, He was resurrected to demonstrate that He indeed conquered death and sin (Mt 28:5-6; 1 Cor 15:50-57). God triumphs over our sin and keeps us from eternal death and condemnation if we put our trust in His work through Jesus at the cross. Jesus went willingly. He went so that we may be saved from eternal wrath. He went because He loves us! He could have avoided the cross if He so desired, but instead He went like sheep to the slaughter (Isa 52:13-53:12). He went to heal us of our transgressions, our illnesses, our wandering tendencies, and so forth.
Thus, isn’t it better that one man, who was able to be raised, die than for all of mankind? Don’t we call people who accept that role heroes? Are they called Savior? In return, Jesus asks that He be allowed to be our Lord – the master of our life (Mk 8:34-38; 10:42-45; Rom 10:9); and that we allow Him to transform us by the Holy Spirit more into His likeness everyday (2 Cor 3:18; Rom 6:5; 8:29; 12:2). Being more in His likeness means having a greater love for the Father and for all others (Mk 12:28-31; Gal 5:13-14), regardless of the wrongs they have done against us.
Is that not something to praise God for? Only Satan could say the cross is cosmic child abuse (2 Cor 11:13-15). The more people he can deceive, the happier he is (2 Cor 4:4; 1 Jn 3:8). The problem is that Satan doesn’t know his Bible as well as he likes to make people think he does (Mt 4:1-11). Jesus has triumphed and is the ultimate victor! All who are joined with Him in faith are also victors (1 Jn 5:4-5).
The following article at Stand to Reason website provides more discussion about this idea of cosmic child abuse: Stand to Reason – Cosmic Child Abuse article.
If you would like to know more about how to receive God’s free gift of forgiveness, of love and acceptance, of eternal/everlasting life, send an email to Walt at: isaiahc6v8 at gmail dot com (replace ‘at’ with @, and ‘dot’ with ‘.’)