by Travis Bryan III
There are four components of the cross principle of redemptive withdrawal:
- God WITHDRAWS His protective hedge or hand from a person and permits the devil and his minions to attack the person usually within certain limits. Main example: God withdrew His protective hand from Jesus and allowed Satan and his earthly representatives to attack and crucify Him. This can and does happen to good believers. See Job 1:9-12; 2:1-7; Luke 22:31-33. It can also happen as a corrective to people engaging in evil acts. See 1 Cor 5:5; 1 Tim 1:19-20.
- God always does this Withdrawal for a REDEMPTIVE PURPOSE, never for a vengeful or retaliatory purpose. In Jesus’ case, God’s purpose was the salvation of the world. In Peter’s case (Luke 22), to sift Him of his fleshly, impulsive and selfish tendencies. For the sexually immoral man in Corinth (1 Cor 5:5), that his spirit might be saved on the day of the Lord; and for Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim 1), so that they would learn an important lesson.
- God’s withdrawal of protection GRIEVES Him and He always SUFFERS WITH the sufferer. Luke 19:41-44; Col 1:23-24; 2 Cor 1:5; Ex 12:23 KJV; Gal 2:20; Dan 3:25; John 11:35-36. God never inflicts suffering. He only SUFFERS WITH the sufferer. God never causes violence to anyone. God absorbs violence for everyone, especially His enemies. Rom 5:6-9. The story of Calvary is the proof text for this principle. God loves and suffers with His enemies but never directly causes them to suffer. Rom 5:6-8.
- Through these 3 components and the principle of the cross, God allows Satan, sin and evil to SELF-DESTRUCT in an Aikido-like fashion. The word “aikido” means “the way of peace” or “the way of the harmonious spirit.” Aikido is a martial arts technique that trains “warriors” to engage in non-resistant combat, turning the force of aggressors back on the aggressors in order to neutralize them and hopefully to enlighten them regarding the evil in their heart that fueled their aggression. The cross reveals that God wisely uses this aikido-like strategy in judging sin and overcoming evil.* Heb 2:14; Col 2:15; 1 Cor 2:6-8; Ps 37:1-3; Ps 7:15-16; Ps 9:15-16.
- In summary, we may thus state the principle of Redemptive Withdrawal as follows: God judges sin, defeats evil, and works for the redemption of creation by withdrawing His protective presence, thereby allowing evil to run its self-destructive course and ultimately to self-destruct.*
All of the following elements are therefore found in the cross of Christ: God’s wrath, God’s judgment, God’s justice, God’s violence; God’s vengeance, God’s mercy, God’s grace, forgiveness and unconditional love. God’s wrath and justice are not separate components from God’s love. God’s fiery love at the cross is His wrath and judgment to those who resist it.
*Paragraphs 4 and 5 were taken verbatim from volume 2 of a two volume work released in April, 2017, by author Gregory Boyd, entitled Crucifixion of the Warrior God, pages 767-768.
Another New Testament example of Redemptive Withdrawal:
2 Thes 2:3-12
He (Holy Spirit) who letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. . . V7
Then in v11, “God shall ‘send’ (read ‘permit’) them strong delusion . . . ”
This is the archetypical paradigm of God’s wrath, vengeance, justice, judgment, mercy, grace and unconditional love throughout the Bible.
More Redemptive Withdrawal (RW) Truth
- Redemptive Withdrawal (RW), the cross, is God’s only way of JUDGMENT of people throughout Bible. It is a restorative way, never a retributive way. Outside of RW, God has no judgment of humanity. RW is not like the judgment of man under a law court. Law judgment is always retaliatory or retributive. God does not judge in this way, ever. John 3:17-18; 5:21-22; 7:24; 8:10-11, 14-17, 26, 50; 9:39; John 12:30-33, 47-48; 16:8-10; Ps 9:15-16. God’s RW way of justice is profoundly different from man’s and Moses’ way.
- RW is God’s WRATH. God has no other way of wrath toward human beings. God’s wrath always happens through the principle of the cross when He removes His protective hedge from us and allows Satan to do what he is always bent on doing, attack humanity to the maximum extent permitted. Ps 78:48-49. God never directly inflicts based on anger, violence, vengeance or wrath. He allows the wrath of Satan to do its thing. Rev 12:12. All anger, wrath, violence, vengeance originates in Satan. God limits Satan and takes the blame for what he does. God allows it always for a redemptive purpose. He alllows Satan to defeat his own purpose by causing people to die to self so God can raise them up as new creations. 2 Cor 4:10-17.
- The Cross is the great paradigm for RW. God removed His protective hand from Jesus and allowed Satan to crucify Him for God’s redemptive purpose, the salvation of mankind. Satan self destructed there at Calvary. Heb 2:14; John 12:31; Col 2:15. It is the same for us when Jesus’ cross is put upon us by the enemy. Ps 22:all.
The redemptive purposes of God teach us the following:
- Why bad things, things that take us to the cross, happen to good people;
- How God can save the world with violating anyone’s freewill;
- How God can destroy evil without doing direct violence or lifting a finger of His own anger or retribution against anyone;
- Why God, at the cross, is both love and wrath at the same time, LOVE to those who accept and have faith in the love of God at the cross and WRATH to those who resist and reject the love of God at the cross;
- How God makes use of Satan, sin and evil to bring about redemption, salvation and sanctification (Luke 22:31-33; 1 Cor 5:5);
- How all things, especially the negative things that happen to us, work together for good (Rom 8:28);
- Why all suffering (“the cross”) is always redemptive for those who receive it and embrace it in faith;
- How God uses for good those times when we feel spiritually dry and distant from God;
- How God uses everything, good things as well as bad things, especially the bad that Satan always causes, to save the unbeliever and to grow the believer;
- How to explain Old Testament passages that seem to be saying God is directly angry, violent, vengeful and the direct cause of evil but really speaking of His redemptive withdrawal (Ps 78:48-49). His anger and violence is actually His Redemptive Withdrawal and His allowing of Satan, the angry, violent, killer, to attack people as God did with Job in Job 1, 2 and 42;
- How the story of the cross and resurrection (Redemptive Withdrawal) are the paradigm for all truth and the lens through which we must read the entire Bible.
- How all negative forces in the universe proceed out from Satan and all positive forces come from God;
- How God can be an unconditional lover always in every situation;
- How God uses for good all the evil that Satan and his people cause against Him and His followers (Gen 50:20);
- How God, through this doctrine, gives us 50:20 vision, a NEW way to view the world (“newness of life” or a “renewed mind”) !
I have determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 1 Cor 2:2.
Redemptive Withdrawal (The Cross) in John 11
- Jesus remains WITHDRAWN for four days and lets Satan and his power of death (Heb 2:14; 1 Cor 15:26) do all he can do. God does not cause people to die of sickness. Satan does. John 8:44; 10:10. Satan is always “the destroyer.” 1 Cor 10:10-11. Jesus takes the blame from Martha for what Satan has done as He did with Job and Job’s three friends. Job 1, 2 and 42. John 11:32. To have rescued Lazarus before the appropriate time would have been to miss out on much testimony, revelation, blessing, freedom and glory!
- Jesus’ purpose in withdrawing and allowing Satan to attack Lazarus is REDEMPTIVE: to glorify His Father by raising Lazarus before a great crowd of people and to “loose” Lazarus from his bindings, a type of freeing of Lazarus which symbolizes our being freed from bondage to sin, self, death, the law and Satan’s power. Rom 6:7; 7:1-6. Our death with Christ causes our chains of slavery to the law and sin to be broken apart and fall away. The veil is also taken away from our eyes thru the cross. 2 Cor 3: 14-18. Lazarus’ face had been covered with a napkin. V44.
- God GRIEVES and SUFFERS WITH US when we get sick, suffer or die at Satan’s hands. “Jesus wept.” See V45, which by the way is the shortest verse in the Bible.
- God allows Satan to suffer an aikido-like SELF-DESTRUCTIVE effect by allowing Satan to make sick and even kill thereby facilitating the glory of God and effecting our freedom from bondage, like Lazarus, thru the cross!! “Loose him and let him go!” Remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were also “loosed” from their bindings in the fiery furnace of Daniel 3. Satan’s own assaults against us “loose” us from his power. 1 Cor 5:5; Luke 22:31-32. Satan, thru the very same cross he causes, loses his own power over people. 1 Cor 2:6-8; Ps 9:15-16; Col 2:15. This is a mystery that not even he and his fallen-angel-follower principalities and powers seem to understand. Eph 3:8-10.