Did God forsake Jesus on the Cross? Part I (Habbakuk 1:13)

“God’s eyes are too holy to behold sin. Because Jesus was carrying your sin, He forsook Him on your behalf…”

So goes the modern evangelical sermon. At the end of the day, the listeners understand this basic fact — God cannot stand man as he is. He is repulsed by man’s sins so much so that He had to “forsake” His Son (who bore man’s sin) in order to look upon them again. Nothing demeans God’s value for humanity like this teaching. Isn’t it interesting that this SAME God became a Man and ALL His friends were sinners? (Matt. 11:19, Luke 15:1-2). It is obvious, therefore, that there is definitely something wrong with such teaching!

Those who hold this view often base their theory on a prooftext (Hab. 1:13). Let’s examine it closely.

Habbakuk 1:13 (NKJV)
13 You are of purer eyes than to behold evil,
And cannot look on wickedness…

Most preachers stop here. But the verse ACTUALLY continues: “Why do You look…”!

The text is not saying God cannot look upon sin. The Prophet actually questions God for being holy and yet looking upon those who sin! Actually the original Hebrew says “Why do you look WITH FAVOUR on those who deal treacherously.” He looks at them with favour! (The translators were “playing smart” by leaving that out).

Does this mean He approves of sinful conduct? No! But His nature will love MAN regardless! God’s response to sin is ALWAYS Grace! God will abandon no man, not even the sinner!

The Penal Substitution Theory (“God was angry and needed Jesus’ offering to be appeased”) divides the functions in the Godhead. In that view, God is mad, the Son is bearing His wrath. They are not united but separated in the work of Redemption. But 2 Corin. 5:19 tells us clearly that “God was IN CHRIST reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them…” (NKJV). The phrase “in Christ” shows union in purpose and location between the Father and Son in Redemption. God was not only with Christ when He became sin for us, He was IN HIM AS ALWAYS! God NEVER abandoned Jesus. They were UNITED, accomplishing the work of Redemption.

God is thus not repelled by sin, or else sin is stronger than Him.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2020.


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