The Good News that Conquers Our Predicament, part 5

According to the New Testament, Christ set us free from bondage through another "exodus." The God of the Old Testament, who freed the Israelites from bondage to Pharoah is the same God of the New Testament, who again frees his people from bondage.

At the Transfiguration Event, we read, "And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure (the Greek word is exodus) which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:30-31)

Vanhoozer comments,

“The mention of ‘exodus’ in connection with Jesus’ death in the account of his transfiguration is hardly coincidental; it rather stands for the entire passion narrative section introduced by that episode. This new exodus, like the earlier one, is God’s mighty act.” (The Drama of Doctrine [WJK, 2005], p. 41).

It is also not coincidental that Jesus’ “Passion” (his suffering, death and resurrection) occurs during Passover Week. The Passover was the celebration of Yahweh’s liberation of the Israelites from the captivity of Egypt. The Last Supper is a Passover meal:

“During the Passover meal someone, usually the youngest son, was designated to ask the question “Why is this night different from other nights?” At this point the host would retell the story of Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt and the meaning of the various elements of the meal. As the host of the Last Supper, Jesus would have been the one who retold the story. Later, the parallels between the Passover and the Last Supper which Jesus was establishing would be quite apparent.” (R.H. Stein, “Last Supper” in Green, McKnight, Marshall, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels,[InterVarsity Press, 1992], p. 447)

Again (to harken back to my previous post), it is not coincidental that Paul uses the exodus paradigm of liberation to articulate the Gospel.

  • “…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. ” (Col 1:12-14)

Walsh and Keesmaat comment,

“This language of inheritance, forgiveness and rescue from one empire in order to be freed in another kingdom harks back to the exodus narrative. It was Israel who was rescued from the imperial captivity of Egypt. It was Israel who received the promised land as an inheritance. And it was to rebellious Israel that God revealed himself as a God of forgiveness (see Ex 32:7-34:10). Now, says Paul, we experience an exodus liberation in Jesus…In postmodern terms, this liberation is not in order to enslave us in yet another regime that would violently impose it ideology on us…the kingdom of the beloved Son is a kingdom won not through violence imposed on others but through violence imposed upon the Son.” (Walsh and Keesmaat, Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire, p. 110)

How does Jesus free us from bondage? The word is “ransom.”

  • “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
  • “Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:13-14)
  • “You were bought at a price.” (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23)

God’s plan of Redemption is for all Creation, and it is accomplished through the “ransom” of captive humanity from bondage. Leon Morris writes,

“Paul assumes the creation story which sees people as originally in right relationship with God. But the coming of sin made them slaves to sin (Rom 6:6) and liable to the sentence of death (Rom 6:23). One way of viewing what was done at the cross of Christ was to see it as the paying of a price (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23), specifically a ransom (1 Tim 2:6) that frees people from slavery or the death sentence. Releasing people from bondage with the payment of a price is just the sort of thing that the ancient world saw as redemption.” (Morris, “Redemption” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, p. 785)


Next: Tying it all together: How Redemption is about restoring Shalom between God and His Creation through the Reconciliation of Atonement.

Links to the entire series:
1: Define the Predicament, and You Understand another Facet of the Gospel
2: Predicament #1: The Lack of Shalom
3: Evil Bondage in the Place of Shalom
4: EXODUS and the GOOD NEWS of FREEDOM in Paul
6: Another of Humanity’s Predicaments: Broken Relationships
7: The Prophesied Kingdom of God
8: The Kingdom of God Restoring Israel from Exile
9: The Kingdom of God Healing Broken Relationships
10: The Kingdom of God and the Atonement
11: The Kingdom and the Mission of God’s People
12: What is my view of the Kingdom of God?

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gegraphtai said...

Hello Bob,

I have read your previous posts to bring myself up to speed on what you are teaching. The more you write the more I see you waging war with the Idea of the gospel as it has been historically taught. Of course it is your intent to make all the benefits of salvation and God's redemptive work the message of the gospel. Thus making the good news the fact that we will have peace. But now you are taking salvation and confusing it with good news. All I ask is this, where is your biblical mandate?

- gegraphtai

Jim Martin said...

Bob--A very good post. Reading this post makes me want to read the others in your series (which I plan to do).

Bob Robinson said...

Could you clarify your question? Are you saying that "ransom," "peace," "freedom," "redemption," "reconciliation" are all ideas that have NOT been historically taught? What do you mean when you say I am confusing salvation with good news?

gegraphtai said...

Hello Bob,

My point is this, you take every element of God's redemptive plan and give them equal weight as if they all lead to salvation. Thus the confusion you add to gospel. For you gospel is salvation. I ask where is your biblical mandate for that?

gegraphtai said...


It is clear what you are doing. You do not like the emphasis that other Emergents make and you are trying to be a middle ground voice to make Emergent Theology more palatable to the Reformed Evangelical. Well Bob I have serious concerns with what you are doing. First you are forced to do theology like you are running a pasta shop. Let’s see how much of this sticks when I throw it against the wall. I mean seriously to say all atonement theories lead to heaven is just plain false. Again I say it is up to you to prove your Biblical warrant for this. I want to see your exegetical work. Second I doubt your exegetical work will stand up. You are in danger of forming your systematic theology with out exegetical warrant. Third I do not deny the themes that you bring up. What I do deny is the weight you give those themes. For example you quote many others as saying that Jesus’ main theme was the Kingdom and you believe that means we are to preach the Kingdom. So are you saying that we now have to rescue the Church from the Disciples? What happened in the transition from Christ to the Disciples? Did someone miss the message and now it is up to us, the 21st century church, to rescue Christ’s real message?

My question for you is what is the New Covenant? Clearly Christ announced its arrival in the Lord’s supper and it is carried forth by the disciples. I want to know what you believe this to be and why based on what passages. Secondly then I want to know how it is you make the leap to make Shalom peace and everything else on par with the New Covenant.

Bob Robinson said...

Gospel is NOT salvation? Where is the biblical mandate for THAT?

In my understanding of the biblical text, the Gospel that Jesus proclaimed was "the Good News of the Kingdom of God." This meant that the deliverance (salvation) of humanity is found in the Messianic work of Christ to free the people from what Paul calls the "domain of darkness." The Kingdom of God is salvation language: Because Christ is King, we are "transferred to the kingdom of the beloved Son." In the Kingdom, Christ conquers the evils that are the antitheses of Shalom: poverty, indebtedness, blindness, oppression, broken relationships (between God & humanity, also between humans & humans, and humanity with the Creation), etc. The Kingdom of God is where all of Creation is being redeemed to the glory of God.

This is all in the Bible, so I guess THAT is my "biblical mandate" (if that's what you are asking).

My next couple of posts will get into the details of the "Kingdom of God" and how this brings about Redemption and Reconciliation between God and His Creation.

Bob Robinson said...

1. My "exegetical work" should be evident in the verses I have cited and the evangelical sholarship I have quoted. To accuse me of bad exegesis is to just dismiss the work that has been done in these posts. That is sloppy argumentation. None of what I have said here is new to me, it is what some of the the best evangelical scholars have written. I even give the page numbers in the books so you can look up the quotes!!!

2. I like the analogy of the "pasta shop." Pretty funny. I understand your contention, since you are convinced that Penal Substitution IS the gospel, it would appear to you that when somebody spotlights other biblical presentations of the gospel it is not enough or it is misleading. My contention is that penal substitution is NOT what many of these biblical passages are teaching, and therefore, if we are doing good exegetical work, we must not read that into these passages. When we bring Penal Substitution into every discussion of the death of Christ, we are guilty of what D.A. Carson called "illigitimate totality transfer," where we falsely load up one idea or word with the totality of what we find in other texts. We must let individual texts speak for themselves without loading them up with our preconceived theological notions.

3. To deny (as you seem to do) that we should not preach "Kingdom" is (I believe) to deny our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and his proclamation of the Gospel. I do not think that the Disciples should trump Jesus (or vice-versa). However, if the Gospel that is revealed in "the Gospels" is denied by the likes of you, then I have to ask in return, "where is your exegetical evidence and biblical mandate for doing so?"

4. The New Covenant is exactly the point of all this. I will be connecting to the New Covenant more in the next posts, but we should realize that Exodus is the framework for the Gospels.
Both Exodus and the Gospels recount the words and deeds of the person that came to be a covenant mediator, Moses and Jesus. Vanhoozer explains som of the parallels: "In Exodus, the last half of the book records the institution of the covenant between Israel and Yahweh; in the Gospels, the long passion narratives function in the same way. Each covenant mediator erects a 'house' for God (Moses the tabernacle, Jesus the church), and each appoints a successor (Joshua for Moses, the Paraclete for Jesus). The exodus - God's delivery of Israel from their oppression in Egypt - is the great saving event of the Old Testament." (Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine, p. 40)

My point is this: If we miss that the "great saving event of the Old Testament" is the exodus deliverance (and the giving of the Old Covenant), we might miss that the "great saving event of the New Testament" is Christ's deliverance (the New Covenant). Yes, salvation is Gospel.

Anonymous said...

Weekly Meanderings
...7. Drew Moser often has a short video posted. Here’s one where Pat Robertson leg presses about 1,000 pounds.
8. Can’t resist linking to Marko: Kinkade’s never been my favorite, though I know folks who like him plenty.
9. Kay Warren, Rick Warren’s wife, is committed to helping those with AIDS. Lynne Hybels, at Willow Creek, also has worked hard at the same global issue.
10. Leonard Hjamarlson’s weighing on how to look at Scripture.
11. Bob Robinson’s series on shalom and the gospel and freedom — very good stuff.
12. Going fishing? Plan ahead and ask Fr. Rob. He’s done his best to find the positives in a tough fishing trip....