The spring 2013 semester commenced at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. On Tuesday, students, faculty, staff and visitors gathered at Binkley Chapel to celebrate Christ, the Advocate for sinners and Atonement for sin.
Southeastern invited James K. Dew Jr., Dean of the College at Southeastern and Associate Professor of History of Ideas and Philosophy and Dr. Charles E. Lawless, Dean of Graduate Studies and Professor of Evangelism and Missions to join the elected faculty by signing the Abstract of Principles and Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Both of these documents reflect the confessional values of Southeastern and Southern Baptist life, and the signing of the documents themselves represents a covenant between the faculty and the Seminary.
Dr. Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Professor of Preaching and Theology, entitled his message, “Let God Be True and Every Man a Liar: A Mandate for Global Evangelization.”
Beginning his message, Akin asked the attendees, “Why do you, I, and the whole world need Jesus as advocate and as atonement?
“Quite simply,” Akin said, “sin is the reason. The apostle Paul exclaims that there is a sin severity and a Savior necessity. In properly seeing sin for what it is and Jesus for who he is, you will truly see the severity of sin and your need for Jesus.”
Preaching from 1 John 1:5-2:2, Akin emphasized that Jesus is sent by God the Father to be both an advocate and an atonement. Making a practical point, Akin said that people unfortunately go to great lengths to hide sin. “In doing so, you are saying sin is really not a big deal,” Akin said. “Also, you are saying, ‘Jesus really didn’t have to die.’”
Alluding to John’s expression, “God is light,” Akin noted that this reference to God is found throughout the Psalms, Isaiah, Micah, and especially in the Gospel and Epistles of John.
Akin said, “This is a revelation of God’s character. In the Gospel of John, light often means life. Hence, light and life are linked together and both are revealed through the person of Jesus Christ. Those who ‘walk in the light,’ says John, have life and fellowship. John’s point is that we are not sinless but that we must sin less. But if we do sin, we have a righteous advocate: Christ Jesus.”
Not only is Jesus the righteous advocate, he is also the propitiation on behalf of the sins of the world, Akin said. “The word ‘propitiation’ carries the meaning of ‘satisfaction.’ The wrath meant for sinners is poured out on Jesus. This is a glorious display of amazing grace and reconciliation.”
Closing his chapel message, Akin said, “Praise God the Light has not gone out, it is fully seen in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Let us be faithful to take this Light and Life to the ends of the world proclaiming it to every man, woman and child.”
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.