Thursday, January 26, 2012

Note: Ernst Kasemann--Justice Is The Opposite of Condemnation

Ernst Kasemann noticed long ago that the ministry of condemnation is contrasted with the ministry of righteousness (see 2nd Corinthians 3:7ff), something Luther longed for and found in Romans. There is no condemnation of Jesus on the cross, no wrath against him. As Romans 3 teaches us the cross of Jesus is the righteousness of God and it has no condemnation of any man in it. Isaiah 53 as a poem of the cross and resurrection precludes any idea of it; where is the wrath in Isaiah 52:13 through 53? Answer: Not there. Further, the "meta-narrative"(to borrow a phrase from N.T. Wright) of the Bible shuts out, when looked at carefully, any thought of God's righteousness containing condemnation for mankind. The Exodus for instance was the saving of a sinful and sinned against people. At Jerusalem Jesus accomplished the greater Exodus. Jesus' cross is a "way out of no way," salvation at the sea, just as with Moses, only far greater, far more glorious. The justice of God the Father is not the justice of Edward Longshanks. The king extracted every bit of tax owed to him, down to the last hen's egg! God the Father does not use the cross to extract every last bit of punishment from Jesus, a punishment that should have been mankind's. On the contrary, if only we could see the righteousness of God on the cross as the greater and lasting Exodus, but theology is still handicapped by this concept and unable to dig its way out. It's no surprise that so many think of Christians as "meanies," it would seem that the Father in heaven is the ultimate meanie, extracting every last bit of suffering from Jesus in order that his righteousness be satisfied!

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