Atheists’ Memes Refuted: Is the Gospel a Loophole?

boden meme2

Heresies of modalism and/or patripassianism aside [1], the Gospel is not a “loophole,” an attempt on God’s part to evade justice, as Mr. Boden states. On the contrary, it declares the righteousness (justice) of God. [2] One might think the Gospel is a loophole because it seems to put God in a bind. That is, how can God be both just to punish sin AND merciful to sinners? I will explain how both God’s justice and His mercy are reconciled in the Gospel.

The substitutionary atonement of Christ [3] is not a loophole, but is a beautiful demonstration of both the justice and the mercy of God. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness (or justice) and peace have kissed each other.” [4] This happened at the Cross.

God is holy, and one must obey His righteous Law to go to heaven. Our problem is that we all are sinners by nature.[5] Therefore we break God’s Law by sinning, and the punishment is eternity in hell. Since we have offended an eternal and infinitely holy God, the punishment must be eternal, fitting the crime. The Son of God Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, is the only One to live a perfectly sinless life, never breaking God’s Law in thought, word or deed. The Bible says, “the wages of sin is death.” [6] But Jesus never sinned, so when He died on the cross, He vicariously bore the sins of everyone who would ever trust in Him – along with the wrath of God the Father against those sins – and His sinless life is attributed to them as well. A simple way to think of it is like this: on the cross God the Father treated Jesus as if He had lived the life of every believing sinner through all time so that those sinners can be treated as if they lived Jesus’ perfect life and share in an eternity with God.

This way, God can be merciful to sinners without breaking His Law or compromising His justice. Christ’s sacrifice demonstrates God’s “righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” [7]

So we did not get by on a technicality, rather God’s Law is fully upheld [8], not abrogated; His wrath against sin is appeased, and His mercy is extended to those who believe. The Cross of Jesus Christ solves the apparent dilemma mentioned in the first paragraph. God did not create the problem of sin, but He does solve it.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [9]

Endnotes

[1] The meme is a straw man because it is not even criticizing orthodox Christianity, but for the purposes of this post, I will focus on whether or not the Gospel is a loophole.

[2] Romans 1:17

[3] See here and here

[4] Psalm 85:10

[5] Romans 3:23

[6] Romans 6:23

[7] Romans 3:26

[8] Romans 3:31

[9] Romans 5:1

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