Substitutionism Vs Propitiation [continued]
by Apostle Eric vonAnderseck
Substitutionism is the Default Doctrine of the False Religious System
Substitutionism is the default doctrine of the False Religious System. What is a default doctrine? We can explain that by looking at the keen senses of a dog. Although dogs have a keen sense of sight and hearing, smell is their keenest.
Their sense of smell dominates all their other senses and is what they fall back on when tracking. In the same way, substitutionism can be understood as the default doctrine of the False Religious System. It is the doctrine that Christians are taught to fall back on continuously when questioned about their faith.
Questions of sin are answered by saying, “Jesus is my substitute”.
Questions of weakness are answered by saying, “Jesus is my substitute”.
Questions of healing are answered by saying, “Jesus is my substitute”.
Substitutionism Produces a Negative Victory Over Sin
Did you know that to believe that Jesus is our substitute produces a negative victory over sin? What is a negative victory? A helpful example: After World War I, it was said that the allies experienced a negative victory over the aggressors. They had merely succeeded in preventing their insurgence. Twenty years later they faced the same enemy and World War II began.
To believe that Jesus took our place produces this same negative victory over sin. In that substitutionism separates the faith of the believer from the terms of the covenant, you’re lacking both experience and discernment.
Everything looks good on paper: Jesus is said to “give us His place”; we are said to be righteous because he is righteous; we are said to be holy because He is holy. But in that all the connections to the covenant that make Jesus a living reality are broken, new habits of faith are never developed and the cycle of sin and death continues to repeat itself. We saw that illustrated on the Sliding Scale.
It’s like digging into a hefty slice of triple deluxe chocolate cake while on a diet. Your mind is making a connection to your appetite and cravings at the moment, but you’re not considering the bigger picture – the numbers you see staring back at you when climbing onto the bathroom scale in the morning. A diet plan always looks good on paper, but there’s a part we have to play.
Believing Jesus to be the substitutionary sacrifice for sin means to most that Jesus did it all and we’re somehow trading placing with Him. He took all our sin, garbage, disease, and bad stuff and He gave us His righteousness and godliness. Selling this illegal trade was made easy by the devil—victory is claimed as a legal document, but faith is left empty; it’s not joined to the sanctified knowledge and tools the Holy Spirit works with to make Jesus a living reality in our lives.
Know this, if you are not working with the same frame of knowledge the Holy Spirit works from, your discernment is broken. You’re not able to discern between the works of debt, the works of the flesh, the works of the covenant and the works that adorn the gospel of Christ.
Most might be tempted to say, “There are no works! Jesus is my righteousness – period! If that were true, if you really did not care to discern, then why are Christian books written to try to find new ways to victory? It is because the victory in Christ that is claimed as a legal right apart from the covenant hasn’t become something you can live out.
The idea that faith does not have works is a contradiction in terms we looked at when studying the Sliding Scale. We observed the devil’s deceptive maneuvering to appease the conscience.
The bottom line is that with substitutionism, faith does not have an activity of expression that represents Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ is not actively represented in your faith, your faith is dead. That is a serious problem.
In the final analysis, after years of frustration and confusion, Christians have stopped going to church and settled for fire insurance. Believers have said, “I may not be able to live a victorious life over sin, but at least I have fire insurance.”
This means I may not be a good example of Christ (God knows I have tried), but at least I won’t go to hell. This is a negative victory. This is what substitutionism has delivered to the church.
Substitutionism Takes Away Your Choices of Faith
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Substitutionism takes away your choices of faith because the focus is on a trade that summarily dismisses the terms of the covenant that provide our choices of faith. With no responsibility to the terms of the covenant, confidence is placed in the love of God outside of covenant.
For them, believing that Jesus is our righteousness is not effectual because their acknowledgement of Jesus Christ does not allow them to also mold their confidence with God through the terms of the covenant, nor submit to the Spirit of God who uses the terms of the covenant to bring the experience of Christ to the believer daily. Jesus cannot mediate the covenant.
These are those who desire righteousness without obedience; and as we know, There is no such thing as righteousness without obedience. Abraham obeyed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness (Jas.2:23).
Evangelism that enflames this earthly spirit of “loving” and “trusting” God outside of His covenant creates shallow converts that always struggle with faith and puts emphasis on carnal ordinances for perfection, while those things which are from above always remain out of their reach.
Jesus is the Propitiation for our Sins, NOT our Substitute
1 John 2:2, “And He (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins...” This verse does not use the word “substitute”. It uses the word “propitiation”.
Propitiate: (web.) to appease and render favorable; to conciliate.
Isaiah prophesied about those who would look at the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ as a substitutionary work. He said, “Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him (as to take the responsibility of) and with His stripes we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:4- 5).
To the natural man it looked like God abandoned Jesus on the cross; it looked like God put the sins of the world upon His Son. But this is a misinterpret-ation of God’s act and Isaiah saw this in the spirit.
So when believers do not understand the mystery of Christ they misunderstand 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He has made Jesus to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Believers misinterpret the words of the apostle and esteem Jesus to have become our substitute and became literal sin, so that we can become righteous.
Consider Num.18:1, “And the Lord said unto Aaron, You and your sons and your father’s house with you shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary; and you and your sons with you shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.”
He, God, has made Jesus to be the sin bearer for us, just as in the case of Aaron and his sons. They did not become sin any more than Jesus became sin.
Sin bearer: One who takes the responsibility of atoning for sin under the demands of God’s justice to appease the wrath of God.
When Aaron and his sons performed their duties as Levitical priests to prepare and slay the animal sacrifices that God specified, they were bearing the iniquity of the people. God placed upon them the responsibility of making the atoning sacrifice to keep the people from the curse of the law.
When Jesus shed His blood upon the cross, He was the sacrifice that God provided for the sins of the world, once and for all. God placed upon Jesus the responsibility of making the atoning sacrifice to keep the people from the curse of the law. He offered Himself as a lamb without blemish. He cannot be the lamb without blemish and then become blemished at the point of sacrifice.
He bore our sins: To bear the responsibility of; to take on the yoke of our redemption for our release from the penalty of sin.
For us: Jesus bore the responsibility of atoning for our sins; for us. This does not mean in our place, but for our benefit. Not as our substitute, but as one who propitiates for the benefit of another.
Consider also what God said to Ezekiel, "Lie upon your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it; according to the number of the days that you shall lie upon it, you shall bear their iniquity," (Ezekiel 4:4-6).
Ezekiel did not become sin when he bore the sins of the people. As a priest, God used him as a contact point for the people. He became the parable of their judgment. Through Ezekiel God was showing the people what lay before them as the outcome of their sins.
Ezekiel was not trading places with the people and taking their judgment upon himself as a substitute. He was bearing the responsibility of being a sign against their sins. Again, the words "bear the iniquity of the people” did not suggest a substitutionary act.
Jesus, as the High Priest, was also a sign to the people as He bore their iniquities. The sign of the cross was a symbol of shame to show how God abhors sin, but also of the covenant that God was making through the blood of Jesus Christ, to show God's mercy towards sinners. Jesus did not become sin, but bore the responsibility of our sins by providing our redemption.
Did God Abandon Jesus as Some Claim?
Some claim that when God put the sins of humanity upon His Son that He turned His back on Him and that's why Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" This scripture in the book of Psalms sheds some light on this cry from the cross:
Psalm 22:1, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me? Why are you so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring?”
God did not leave Jesus as to abandon one who is full of iniquity. No. Contrary to what most believe, God did not turn His back on Jesus because He could not behold the sin that Jesus had become. God left Jesus on the cross because it was the will of God that Jesus should die for the benefit of the human race in redeeming them back to God.
Jesus gave us a promise that He would not be aligned with the devil when saying, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” (John 14:30)
Of further note for those who believe that God will not look upon sin and therefore abandoned Jesus on the cross: Consider that Satan comes in the presence of God when he is called. (Job 1:6-12)
Sin is NOT Literal Substance
Sin is not a literal substance that can be put off and be put on again. It is the system of darkness that rules in the hearts of those who are born of the first Adam. Being born into the condition of iniquity because of the transgression of Adam, and born into the system that supports it, the soul is held captive by sin (the design and framework of the system).
Jesus could not take on the design and framework of the system of sin and atone for sin at the same time. Neither can any Christian take on the design and framework of Satan to support their pride through guile and say that they are born of God.
Let’s consider also that when Jesus died He said, “Father into your hands I commit My Spirit.” If God turned His back on His Son because Jesus became literal sin, if Jesus was now allied with Satan (as many claim) to take our place, then when Jesus said, "Father", He was actually addressing Satan as His father. This is blasphemous.
God looked upon the death of Jesus upon the cross as the fulfillment of the sacrifice that would atone for sin once and for all. He did not look upon Jesus as the magnet for sin.
Jesus addressed God as His Father – not Satan. When Jesus proclaimed from the cross, “Father into your hands I commit My Spirit,” he was proving again that at the time of His death he was still the same spotless, sinless, pure, and undefiled lamb of God.
Isaiah prophesied, “He (God) shall see the travail of His (Jesus’) soul and be satisfied,” (Isaiah 53:11).
Like People Like Priest
The doctrine of substitutionism states that God made Jesus to become literal sin so that we could be His righteousness. The question is, "Can a high priest sin and God not judge the people?"
God has said that when the priest sins, wrath comes upon the people for the sin of the priest. So if Jesus as our high priest became sin, this would mean that we incurred the wrath of God, not the righteousness of God. This again shows the complete irresponsibility of the doctrine of substitutionism.
Let’s look at the example of Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, who were priests. They were sinners before the Lord and profaned the name of the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel concerning Eli, "For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knows; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not," (1 Samuel 3:13).
Because of the sins of the priest, God sent the Philistines against Israel in battle as we read in 1 Samuel 4:10, "And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent; and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen."
God commanded Moses that the priests should perform their duties before Him without flaw. He said, "And gather all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation." And Moses did as the Lord commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Moses said unto the congregation, "This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done...” (Leviticus 8:3-5).
In Leviticus 10:1, we see that the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, "took either of them his censor, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not."
In breaking the commandment of the Lord, these two priests sinned before God, and God would in turn judge the people. We read in Leviticus10:6, "And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar his sons, uncover not your heads neither rend your clothes, lest you die, and lest wrath come upon all the people..."
When the priest sins, God pours wrath upon the people. If Jesus became literal sin, He would have incurred the wrath of God upon us, not the righteousness of God.
Reparation for sins
Reparation: The act of repairing; what is done to repair a wrong; indemnification for loss or damage; satisfaction for injury.
Here we see the love of God manifested. God did no injury to man, yet man did injury to God, when Adam transgressed. God took it upon Himself to provide reparation. He provided a covenant by the blood of His own Son whereby we might approach unto Him. He provided Himself as a token for man’s redemption, thus repairing the injury. The debt of sin was forgiven. Matthew 18:27, “Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.”
Jesus did not have to become sin in order for God to forgive the debt of sin; He did not have to go to hell to suffer to provide forgiveness of sins. He only had to shed His blood; that was enough.
God atoned for sins by providing reparation…not by becoming sin. Those who believe on the Son have the forgiveness of the Father.
We now see the purpose of the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement. Here is what the scripture declare: “Aaron shall lay both hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness,” (Lev.16:21, 22).
Knowing the plan of God helps in interpreting the will of God and scriptures. The record will never violate either the will or plan of God.
The goat did not become literal sin. Remember the definition for a “sin bearer”. This applies both in the sense of Aaron and his sons “bearing” the sins of the people, and the goat “bearing” on itself the iniquities of the people.
Sin bearer: One who takes the responsibility of atoning for sin under the demands of God’s justice to appease the wrath of God.
The scapegoat represented the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That’s why two goats were offered. One was slain and one was released. When the priest laid his hands on the scapegoat, we see in this action the concept of a point of contact being made. They prayed that the animal, being spotless, would be accepted as the release of their penalty for sin when its blood was shed. The children of Israel had to exercise faith in this point of contact.
Now the goat that was released in the wilderness is a type and shadow of the resurrection of our Lord. He not only died for our sins that we may be reconciled to God by the shedding of His blood, but He rose from the dead so that we may be saved by His life (released from the power of sin through the power of His resurrection) (Romans 5:10).
Throughout the Bible we see the idea of a point of contact being given for faith, or a point of contact which destroyed faith. An idol becomes a point of contact which destroys faith. When people put their confidence in an unclean thing, they are touching those things which are not profitable for faith.
Jesus is the Point of Contact for our Faith and for our Redemption
Jesus is the point of contact for our faith and for our redemption. We cannot physically touch Him and that is why God provided tools for us to use. These tools of our sanctification (what God has separated for us to touch Him) bring us in contact with the living God. That’s why we call them contact points.
The gifts, callings, and graces of God are designed by God to bring man in contact with Him through Jesus Christ. God desires to touch man so that He can parent in man His own nature. These are the terms that Jesus is mediating as our advocate.
Because Jesus gave us the contact points of the Spirit and the tools that allow us to touch Him and He to touch us, the battlefield has been moved from the arena of the flesh to the arena of the Spirit. Jesus destroyed the power of sin and death by moving the battlefield onto a plain where Satan has no power.
All we have to do to be obedient to God and to know God is to continue to touch the things which He has provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If Jesus became literal sin, God was moving the battlefield into Satan’s arena, where Satan has power. This would have been counterproductive.
[Eric vonAnderseck serves the Body of Christ as a confirmed Apostle in the government of God. He is the founder of Second 8th Week Ministries & founder of the Network of Apostles Today. He is the IDCCST® Christian Education Curriculum author and author of over 100 ground breaking books and articles, spearingheading the return of the apostolic calling and anointing to the church.
Apostle Eric ministers extensively nationally and internationally. He is the pioneer of the new apostolic age and recognized as the leading authority in the fields of church growth, foundation building, spiritual gifts and spiritual warfare, and the leading voice in the transition of the church into the new apostolic season and reformation.]
Last Revised: 2016-06-19