Earlier today, I posted a comment at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2013/03/31/the-stone-table/
The comment was at #6, and I’m disappointed that it was removed, although admittedly my comment probably had the effect of spoiling the mood of their Easter celebration.
So I’ll just reproduce my comment here:
“If a willing Victim that has committed no treachery is killed in a traitor’s stead, the Stone Table will crack; and even death itself would turn backwards.”
I’m troubled by the fact that the above text itself has every hint of substitution, but no hint of representation. (Yes, “stead” can connote some kind of representation in very rare cases, but the above text is not such a case. In fact, the wording of the text seems to imply the absence of representation!) Presenting the substitutionary aspect without the representative aspect really robs the gospel message of it’s power, and results in a sad caricature of the real thing.
“It is because Jesus, as Israel’s representative Messiah, was therefore the representative of the whole human race, that he could appropriately become its substitute.” — N. T. Wright, “The Cross and the Caricatures”
2 Corinthians 5:21
Common English Bible (CEB)
21 God caused the one who didn’t know sin to be sin for our sake so that through him we could become the righteousness of God.
The “stone table” text effectively rephrases 2 Cor 5:21 this way: “God caused the one who didn’t know sin to TAKE THE PENALTY for our sake so that through him we could ESCAPE the righteousness of God.”
Why it is wrong: (1) The idea of “BE sin”, i.e. represent sin, is excluded. (2) The idea that through Christ we could “BECOME the righteousness of God” is also excluded.
Again, this is the difference between propitiation and expiation. Propitiation only sees an escape from penalty. But expiation sees a true cleansing of the sinner’s heart, so that having been made truly righteous, the penalty of everlasting death is no longer relevant to the righteous believer (God also simultaneously cancels all debts), but remains relevant to the unjustified unbelievers who will be permanently destroyed by God’s wrath at the final judgment.