The Substitutionary Life of Christ
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:25 pm    Post subject: The Substitutionary Life of Christ Reply with quote

The Substitutionary Life of Christ

Many people believe in the “substitutionary death of Christ”, although there is not a single passage in the New Testament which explicitly states it. A view which has been around at least since the middle ages, is that Jesus was God’s substitute to take our punishment for sin so that we wouldn’t have to be punished. To appropriate this one must “pray the sinner’s prayer” and/or “trusted in the finished work of Christ, which He accomplished on the cross in our place. According to this view, the purpose of Christ’s death is to make it possible to escape hell and get to heaven. Salvation is conceived as being salvation from hell, rather than from sin, and it is thought that when God looks at the “saved” person, He is blinded to that person’s sin, and sees only Christ’s righteousness.

But nowhere in the New Testament do we find this reason for the death of Christ. Rather we find a quite different reason --- given by scriptures such as the following:

He himself offered up our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. [I Peter 2:24]

And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (II Corinthians 5:15)

For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Romans 14:9)

who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:14)

...he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26


There is no doubt that Jesus died for us. Here are some passages that state this either explicitly or implicitly:

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NAS95)

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 NAS95)

“The one who knew no sin, He made sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE"—” (Galatians 3:13 NAS95)

“who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:14 NAS95)

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16 NAS95)


Those who believe that Christ’s death was substitutionary, understand the words translated “for us” to mean “instead of us” or “in our place.” When we examine the words in Greek, we find that this is clearly not the case. The phrase translated “for us” is taken from the Greek words “huper hāmōn. ” The phrase means “on our behalf” or “for our benefit.” If the writers had meant “instead of us” or “in our place” they would have used the phrase “anti hāmōn.” But nowhere do we find this phrase in the entire New Testament!

However, there is one instance in which a different Greek phrase is used in stating that Jesus died for us.

For God has not appointed us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

In this case, the phrase is “peri hāmōn.” This phrase means “concerning us” or “about us.”
Jesus death concerned us or was about us. In other words, we were the object of His love. We were the reason that He died.

So is the Greek word “anti” (in place of) ever found in the New Testament concerning what Jesus did for people? Yes, it is! We find it so used in Matthew 20:28 and in Mark 10:45.

...just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28 NAS95)

The Greek phrase “anti pallōn” is translated “for many” in this verse. The meaning is “instead of many” or “in the place of many.” Jesus Himself said these words! Does this clearly indicate that Jesus stated He would die in the place of many people?

For years, I was confused about this. The preposition “anti” is used in this way only in Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45. Is it appropriate to base a doctrine on these two passages? Yet, Jesus doubtless meant what he said! If He hadn’t meant “in the place of many”, surely the gospel writers would not have used “anti” in relating what He said. I examined the text carefully, wondering whether I missed something. I realized that sometimes “anti” means “against.” I considered this possibility. But what would it mean for Jesus to say that he would give His life “against many”? Such a translation seems meaningless! So I laid the problem on the shelf. I stopped pondering it.

But about a year ago, I began to read the statement again in its context. The mother of Zebedee’s sons had just requested that Jesus would say that her two sons might sit on each side of Him, in His kingdom. The other ten disciples were indignant. Then I read the following:

But Jesus called them to Himself and said:
You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. [Matthew 20:25-28]


The context of Mark 10:45 is identical.

Rulers among the nations lord it over the people they rule. But among God’s people, the leaders are servants. Jesus Himself was the supreme example of servanthood. He stated that He did not come to be served, but to serve. And in the same sentence, stated that He came to “give His life as a ransom for many.” Did He refer to the death He would die on the cross? That seems to be what we all take for granted. I have always done so, myself. But how would that relate to Christ’s words that leaders among His disciples would be their servants? When I reread the passage, it occurred to me that He may have meant the giving of His life, in the sense of the surrendering of Himself while He yet lived! Did He not give His very life for the benefit of those whom He served? Paul urged the brethren at Rome to present their bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, this being their true spiritual service of worship. Was not our Lord Jesus the very paradigm of giving up one’s very soul or self for the sake of others? The Greek word translated as “life” is neither “bios” nor “zōā” but “psuchā”, that is, “soul” or “self.” It is the same word that was used for “life” in Mark 8:35 in recording the words of Jesus:

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Jesus was probably not speaking here of physical life, but rather of a person wanting to save his life for his own purposes instead of giving it up for the sake of Jesus and the gospel. As the supreme example, Jesus Himself never tried to save his life for Himself. Rather He lost it for the sake of those whom He served. For His life was not lived for His own benefit, but for the benefit of those whom He served. In that sense His life here on earth was substituted.

But what about the word “ransom”? How is our Lord’s service to His people a “ransom in place of many”? Greek lexicons state that the word “lutron” comes from the verb “luō” – “to loose” or “set free” or “liberate” or “deliver”. The word “lutron” is not limited to “ransom” in meaning. It often refers to other means of deliverance. Beginning with the Strong’s number, here are the various forms of the word which occur in the New Testament, and their wider meaning:

3083 lutron (noun) means of deliverance
3084 lutroō (verb) to deliver
3085 lutrōsis (noun) deliverance
3086 lutrōtās (noun) deliverer

As an example of the word lutrōtās being translated as “deliverer”, let’s consider Acts 7:35

Acts 7:35 "This Moses whom they refused, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ God sent as both ruler and deliverer by the hand of the angel that appeared to him in the bush. RSV

The translators of nearly all bible versions translated the word as “deliverer” in this passage. Here are a few of those versions: AV, ASV, BBE, TRC, Darby, Douay, ERV, ESV, KJ21, NAS95, NIVUS, NKJV, RSV, Rwebster, WEY, Williams, WTNT. The translators of the NRSV also recognized the broader meaning, translating the word as “liberator.” I have been able to discover only three versions in which the word is translated as “redeemer”, Rotherham, JB2000, and YLT.

In the Septuagint, the forms of “lutron” sometimes refers to ransom, but other times clearly do not. Consider the following passage in which the English translation of “lutron” is in error:

Go, speak to the children of Israel, saying, I am the Lord; and I will lead you forth from the tyranny of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from bondage, and I will ransom you with a high arm, and great judgment. And I will take you to me a people for myself, and will be your God; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the tyranny of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land concerning which I stretched out my hand to give it to Abraam and Isaac and Jacob, and I will give it you for an inheritance: I am the Lord. (Exodus 6:6-8 LXXE

Clearly God didn’t ransom or redeem the Israelites in the sense of paying a price to the Egyptians for them. Indeed, the Egyptians lost at every step. They lost their crops to locusts; they lost their herds to plagues;they lost the first-born of their animals and of their children; they lost gold, silver, and clothing which the Israelites had taken from them, and finally many of them lost their lives in the Red Sea. No, God didn’t redeem the Israelites from the Egyptians (unless the word is used in the sense of “deliver” or “rescue”; He released them from the Egyptians.

Now let’s examine the words of our Lord in the light of what we have learned:

... the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His whole life as a means of deliverance in place of many.

The whole sentence is a statement concerning the completeness of Christ’s service to people. His life here on earth was not spent in serving Himself, but in serving others. He gave His life on earth to deliver them from their sin and their sicknesses.

The sick man who had waited so long at the pool of Bethesda, no longer had to compete with others to get into the pool while the waters were stirring. Jesus delivered him from his illness. There were many people who no longer had to struggle with their illness, seek physicians, and try various remedies in an attempt to be healed. Jesus delivered them.

Even Isaiah 53:3, regarded by many as an indication that Jesus “took our sicknesses upon Himself as well as our sins when He died on the cross” is given quite a different explanation by Matthew:

And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother in law lying sick with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and served him. That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases." (Matthew 8:14-17 RSV)

It was while here on earth, and not on the cross when Jesus took away infirmities that Jesus delivered people from diseases.

We may well ask, “In what sense did Jesus give Himself as a means of deliverance in place of many? Those persons whom Jesus healed or delivered from sin were unable to heal or deliver themselves. Jesus poured out His life, while here on earth in place of the many whose efforts to take care of themselves was useless.

It occurred to me that our Lord’s service to His disciples did not cease with His death. He still ministers to His people. He still gives Himself for the sake of the people of God.
A scriptural statement of this occurs in the book of Hebrews:

... Jesus, ... because He continues permanently, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save permanently those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:24,25)

So it appears that Jesus still benefits His people through His substitutionary life!
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SoaringEagle



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Concerning Isaiah, a fellow forum member named Evangelion wrote:

Isaiah does not say that he died in our place, but that he died "for our transgressions... for our iniquities... for the transgression of my people..." and was made "an offering for sin..." who "bore [ie. took away] the sin of many... made intercession for the transgressors".

The word "bore" has been frequently mistranslated. In this context it does not mean "took upon", but "lifted up" or "took away"; in other words, Jesus removed our sin, he did not take it upon himself as his own. You can check this against any good lexicon.

The NET Bible has a good translation:



    Isaiah 53:11-12
    Having suffered, he will reflect on his work,
    he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done.
    "My servant will acquit many,
    for he carried their sins.
    So I will assign him a portion with the multitudes,
    he will divide the spoils of victory with the powerful,
    because he willingly submitted to death
    and was numbered with the rebels,
    when he lifted up the sin of many
    and intervened on behalf of the rebels."




Verse 11 says that he "carried our sins"; verse 12 explains that he "lifted up the sin". So Jesus lifted up our sins and carried them away.

The imagery finds a paralel in an earlier verse:



    Psalm 38:4
    For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.



Here the psalmist refers to his sins using the same language that Isaiah would later employ; as a burden which must be removed. While the psalmist sees no end in sight for his pain, Isaiah promises that the Messiah will come and carry away our burden of sin.
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since Evangelion referred to Isaiah 53:12 (He bore the sins of many), I assume he was writing about the Hebrew word "nasa'". This word seems to have a multitude of meanings. In the NASB, here are some of the ways it is translated:

sustain--------------- Gen 13:6
raised, lifted up----- Gen 13:10,14
spare---------------- Gen 18:24,26
grant----------------- Gen 19:21
went----------------- Gen 29:1
accept--------------- Gen 32:28
look with desire---- Gen 39:37
bring---------------- Gen 44:1
load----------------- Gen 45:23
carry--------------- Gen 45:27
forgive------------- Gen 50:17
swear-------------- Ex 6:8

I don't know how I'd deal with this word if I were studying Hebrew vocabulary.

The Greek Septuagint uses the Greek word "anapherō". This is also the word used in I Peter 1:24 "He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree." This Greek word can mean "offer up". So one possible meanng seems to be that He offered up our sins to God. It can also mean "carry up". And it can mean "bear" in the sense of "endure". Perhaps the sentence is a reference to Jesus enduring our sins, or rather the result of our sins that we (human beings) inflicted upon Him on the cross.
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Homer



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paidion,

You wrote:
Quote:
Many people believe in the “substitutionary death of Christ”, although there is not a single passage in the New Testament which explicitly states it.

and:

But nowhere in the New Testament do we find this reason for the death of Christ. Rather we find a quite different reason --- given by scriptures such as the following:


It is difficult to prove your point given the oft use of metonyms in scripture. If you maintain there is no direct reference to a substitutionary aspect of Christ's death, but that it was for "enabling" us to no longer sin, then you ought to be able to produce a direct statement in scripture that says this.

I have full confidence that Jesus death took care of the consequences of my sins, not in this life, but consequences in the age to come. If it is maintained that the purpose of the atonement is to end our sinning in this life, it would seem the atonement is of limited effect.

Consider this passage:

Revelation 7:9-17 (New King James Version)

9. After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10. and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11. All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12. saying:


“ Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
Amen.”

13. Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”
14. And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17. for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

This passage calls to mind Jesus' story about those without the proper garment, and the nature of that garment. Those who believe in the substitutionary atonement did not invent it out of thin air.

God bless, Homer
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Homer wrote:
It is difficult to prove your point given the oft use of metonyms in scripture. If you maintain there is no direct reference to a substitutionary aspect of Christ's death, but that it was for "enabling" us to no longer sin, then you ought to be able to produce a direct statement in scripture that says this.


I fail to see how the metonyms of the Bible hinder the abundance of scriptural evidence for the fact that the purpose of Christ's death is to deliver us from actual sinning. On the other hand, I know of not even one Scripture that tells us that Jesus died in order that God might be blinded to our sin and see only Christ's righteousness. Nor do we find a single Scripture that states that Jesus died so that we could go to heaven.

The passages which do give the reason for Christ's death all agree that it is to deliver us from sin or to do away with sin.

I Peter 2:24,25
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been [wholly] healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Hebrews 9:26
... He has appeared once for all at the end of the age to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Romans 14:9
For this purpose Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Titus 2:11-14
For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this age, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.


These passages appear to be quite direct in my understanding. Indeed, I can't think of a more direct way of stating the purpose of Christ's death, the purpose of enabling us to overcome sin. For decades I have maintained that this deliverance (or salvation) is a process which will be completed at Christ's return when the first resurrection takes place. That resurrection will be for only those who have coöperated with that enabling grace. Those who won't coöperate must reap the consequences of a severe correction. God does not permit sin to be maintained in His presence. Or will God place the robe of righteousness on us so that He is blind to our ongoing sin?

Quote:
I have full confidence that Jesus death took care of the consequences of my sins, not in this life, but consequences in the age to come.


So do I. But how did His death take care of those consequences? I think they took care of it by delivering us from sin so that we are on the road to salvation, and when the process is completed at the resurrection, we will not need further correction, but are fit to "be permanently with the Lord."

Quote:
If it is maintained that the purpose of the atonement is to end our sinning in this life, it would seem the atonement is of limited effect.


Not at all, when we consider the whole process. We human beings are so impatient; we want the finished product right away before going through the necessary process.

In the passages you quoted about the necessity of robes, notice that there is no indication that the Lord puts the robe on them. Rather, as you quoted and underlined: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. So they washed their own robes and cleansed them in the blood of the Lamb. So it took a coöperation to be clean. Jesus had His part in the action. But it would be ineffective, if "they" hadn't done the washing. Even as Isaiah quoted Yahweh:

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Come now, let us reason together, says Yahweh: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken." Isaiah 1:16-20


Or as Jeremiah said:

Jeremiah 4:14 O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved.

Quote:
This passage calls to mind Jesus' story about those without the proper garment, and the nature of that garment.


Right. We must put on the proper garment ---- the garment of righteousness. None will be allowed in to the marriage supper of the Lamb without righteousness. And this righteousness, Christ has made possible through His supreme sacrifice!

Quote:
Those who believe in the substitutionary atonement did not invent it out of thin air.


No they didn't. It may also be said that those who believe in prayer to Mary didn't invent it out of thin air. Those who believe that God planned every event which has ever happened or ever will happen, did not invent it out of thin air. I could go on mentioning dozens of other beliefs which were not invented out of thin air. What then, is the origin of all these beliefs? In most cases, those who believe these things believe them because they were taught to believe them.
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Rick_C



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Troy (soaringeagle),
I just wanted to say thanks for your post on this thread.
(It was a real blessing to me), Smile
Good to see yer back @ FBFF too, thanks.
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Homer



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To my mind, a point is being missed in this discussion.

Quote:
The word "bore" has been frequently mistranslated. In this context it does not mean "took upon", but "lifted up" or "took away"; in other words, Jesus removed our sin, he did not take it upon himself as his own.


Quote:
Isaiah 53:11-12
Having suffered, he will reflect on his work,
he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done.
"My servant will acquit many,
for he carried their sins.

So I will assign him a portion with the multitudes,
he will divide the spoils of victory with the powerful,
because he willingly submitted to death
and was numbered with the rebels,
when he lifted up the sin of many
and intervened on behalf of the rebels."

Verse 11 says that he "carried our sins"; verse 12 explains that he "lifted up the sin". So Jesus lifted up our sins and carried them away.


It would seem necessary to recognize that we are dealing with figurative language. Sins are not things to be carried anywhere. What kind of figure of speach do we encounter in this, and many similar passages? I believe it is a metonym, the reference being to the consequences of our sins, namely death.

Noun 1. metonym - a word that denotes one thing but refers to a related thing; "Washington is a metonym for the United States government"; "plastic is a metonym for credit card"

Metonyms are among the many kinds of tropes used in scripture. We often read them without recognizing them for what they are, while immediately understanding what is meant. An example is this statement of Paul:

Galatians 6:14 (New King James Version)

14. But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.


Who will argue that the cross does not metonymically speak of the passion of Messiah? That Paul gloried in some pieces of wood?

But people will argue that Jesus bore our sins, becoming a sinful wretch, or He carried them away as though they could be put in a sack.

If Jesus death was to enable us somehow to live a righteous life, then why was it necessary? Did not Job and Zacharias do pretty well prior to the cross? (example of metonym Very Happy ) If Jesus death somehow empowers us to live righteous lives, just how does it accomplish this? Surely we are told, if this is so, or is it a mystery? Or does it merely motivate us? It seems to me we are changed, not by some mysterious removal of sins, in particular those we have not yet commited, as though they were things, but rather by the sending the Holy Spirit into our hearts.

In the Old Testament, we find the blood sacrifice as a type of the sacrifice of Christ. Indeed the practice is ancient, as we read in Genesis and Job. And it was required even for sins commited in ignorance:

Numbers 15:22-28 (New King James Version)

22. ‘If you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments which the LORD has spoken to Moses— 23. all that the LORD has commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day the LORD gave commandment and onward throughout your generations— 24. then it will be, if it is unintentionally committed, without the knowledge of the congregation, that the whole congregation shall offer one young bull as a burnt offering, as a sweet aroma to the LORD, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the ordinance, and one kid of the goats as a sin offering. 25. So the priest shall make atonement for the whole congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them, for it was unintentional; they shall bring their offering, an offering made by fire to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their unintended sin. 26. It shall be forgiven the whole congregation of the children of Israel and the stranger who dwells among them, because all the people did it unintentionally.
27. ‘And if a person sins unintentionally, then he shall bring a female goat in its first year as a sin offering. 28. So the priest shall make atonement for the person who sins unintentionally, when he sins unintentionally before the LORD, to make atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.

Hebrews 9:22 (New King James Version)

22. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

Hebrews 10:16-18 (New King James Version)

16. “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17. then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18. Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.


We are "given a new heart", which enables us to serve the Lord, and we are freed from the future consequences of our sins. Praise God! We are not left to wonder "how high the bar is" or whether we have, or will, get over it!

Paidion, I have no disagreement with you regarding the necessity of yielding to Jesus as Lord.

God bless, Homer
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Homer you wrote:
If Jesus death was to enable us somehow to live a righteous life, then why was it necessary?


The same question could be asked regardless of your "theory of atonement". For example: "If Jesus death was to enable us to escape the eternal consequences of our sin, then why was it necessary?"

Quote:
Did not Job and Zacharias do pretty well prior to the cross? (example of metonym )


Pretty well (in spite of Job's attributing his righteousness to himself instead of to God).

Paul said (Rom 4:16) that we have the faith of Abraham. So does that mean we can have a saving faith apart from the death of Christ?

Quote:
If Jesus death somehow empowers us to live righteous lives, just how does it accomplish this?


I wouldn't know. How does it accomplish "salvation from the consequences of sin"?

Quote:
Surely we are told, if this is so, or is it a mystery?


I am aware of no Scripture that reveals the "how".

Quote:
Or does it merely motivate us?


Oh, it does far more than that!

Quote:
It seems to me we are changed, not by some mysterious removal of sins, in particular those we have not yet commited, as though they were things, but rather by the sending the Holy Spirit into our hearts.


I agree. It seems that the Holy Spirit (the Father and the Son, according to Jesus) would not have come to dwell with us, if Jesus had not died for our benefit. (John 16:7)

But it also seems that the enabling grace of Christ became available to us through His death and resurrection:

And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and reality came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16,17

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sensibly, righteously, and piously in the present age, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our benefit to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:11-14


Notice the passage in Titus clearly gives the reason Jesus gave Himself for us ---- nothing about saving us from the consequences of sin.

Quote:
In the Old Testament, we find the blood sacrifice as a type of the sacrifice of Christ. Indeed the practice is ancient, as we read in Genesis and Job. And it was required even for sins commited in ignorance:


Why was it "required"? Did those blood sacrifices make the people righteous? "Sacrifice and offering you did not require, but an open ear" ---- an open ear to hear what God says, and to do it.

The practice is ancient all right. The heathen from virtually every nation sacrificed to their gods to appease the wrath of these gods. The Jews imported the practice into their own religion. God hadn't said a word to the Israelites about sacrifice when He brought them out of Egypt:

Jeremiah 7:22 For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices.
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Sean



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paidion, what is your understanding of this text:


Rom 4:5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
Rom 4:6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
Rom 4:7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
Rom 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin."

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Paidion



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sean, you have asked a question, which I do not want to answer lightly. This passage is part of Paul's whole thesis in writing the book of Romans. Much of Romans relates to Paul's showing the Jews that they cannot be justified (shown to be righteous) by self-effort in doing the works of the law, but through an ongoing faith by which one can appropriate the enabling grace of Christ, and thereby overcome wrongdoing and live righteously.

I will need to make a commentary on a large part of Romans in order to adequately explain my understanding of the passage in question. I intend to work on this when I can find the time. Please be patient with me.
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Homer



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paidion,

You wrote:
Quote:
Why was it "required"? Did those blood sacrifices make the people righteous? "Sacrifice and offering you did not require, but an open ear" ---- an open ear to hear what God says, and to do it.

The practice is ancient all right. The heathen from virtually every nation sacrificed to their gods to appease the wrath of these gods. The Jews imported the practice into their own religion. God hadn't said a word to the Israelites about sacrifice when He brought them out of Egypt:


You continue to make the assertion I have underlined in your quote. What is your authority for this? Please show us where you get this; it sounds like something from a secular source.

The practice of blood sacrifice is indeed ancient, doubtless as old as the Fall.

Genesis 4:4 (New International Version)

4. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering,

Genesis 8:20 (New International Version)

20. Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.

Job 1:5 (New International Version)

5. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom.


So we see righteous men, long before there was an Israel, offering blood sacrifices to God. And we also find God, long before Israel, commanding it:

Job 42:7-8 (New International Version)

7. After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8. So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has."


How did these ancient people know God required these sacrifices? Although we read little of what God commanded in these ancient times, we can be certain they received commandments prior to Moses, for Job says:

Job 23:12 (New International Version)


12. I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.


And are we to believe God accepted sacrifice that He had not commanded, for which there was no divine warrent? I think not:

Leviticus 10 (New International Version)
1. Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 2. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.


You continually quote David:

Psalm 40:6 (New International Version)

6. Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but my ears you have pierced;
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require.

To which could be added:

Psalm 51:16-17 (New International Version)

16. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

Hosea 6:6 (New International Version)

6. For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.


What you seem to fail to grasp is that these statements are not absolute, but relative; they do not make void the many commands and regulations (literally hundreds) regarding the blood sacrifices, which were but a type of Jesus' sacrifice for us.

The prophet Samual clearly places sacrifice and obedience in their proper relative relation:

1 Samuel 15:22 (New International Version)

22. But Samuel replied:
"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

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Paidion



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Homer wrote:
Quote:
The practice is ancient all right. The heathen from virtually every nation sacrificed to their gods to appease the wrath of these gods. The Jews imported the practice into their own religion.


You continue to make the assertion I have underlined in your quote. What is your authority for this? Please show us where you get this; it sounds like something from a secular source.


Do you need sources to back up the statement, "The heathen from virtually every nation sacrificed to their gods to appease the wrath of these gods"? The sources are so abundant in ancient history, that it is surely not necessary to cite them. However, I will cite one quote from The Sumerians by C. Leonard Woolley, first published in the Norton Library 1965 by arrangement with the Oxford University Press. The Sumerians, by the way, lived in the delta formed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the very birthplace of mankind, the garden of Eden (Genesis 2). Woolley writes that "the Semitic element here was swamped by the Sumerians who had imposed on it their language and their civilization and had the land called after their own name." (Chap 1 The Beginnings)

Here's a revealing quote from Chapter 4 Sumerian Society:

The fact is that throughout the religion of the Sumerians is one not of love but of fear, fear whose limits are confined to this present life, fear of Beings all-powerful, capricious, unmoral. Somehow or other virtue does appeal to the gods (that this should be so seems to be a necessity of human nature than an attribute of the godhead as conceived of in Sumer), but experience shows that mere virtue is not enough to engage and keep their favour; practical religion consists in the sacrifices and the ritual that placate and in the spells that bind them.

Interestingly enough even "subsitutionary atonement" seems to have been practised by the Sumerians. Also in Chapter 4:

... the animal stood for the man, as the liturgy was careful to explain --- 'The lamb is the substitute for humanity; he hath given up a lamb for his life, he hath given up the lamb's head for the man's head' --- and we have here a relic of human sacrifice such as was actually found in the graves of the prehistoric kings at Ur.

It seems that a man designated to be sacrificed to appease the gods, could have a lamb sacrificed in his place.

But perhaps you are asking sources for only my second sentence:

Quote:
The Jews (I meant "Hebrews) imported the practice into their own religion


This fact is present implicitly even in the Scriptures:

If the Israelites were not getting religion from the nations around them, why would Yahweh give them this instruction, "Do not learn the way of the nations" Jer. 10:2. It would have been unnecessary.

If the Israelites were not getting religion from the nations around them, why would Joshua have said:

"Now therefore revere the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:14,15 NRSV

The Israelites sacrifices, like that of the Sumerians and other nations included even human sacrifice:

Psalms 106:37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons;
Psalms 106:38 they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood.
Ezekiel 16:20 And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured.
Ezekiel 20:31 When you offer your gifts and sacrifice your sons by fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. And shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, says the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you.


Did the Israelites get these practices from the heathen? Or did God instruct them to do these things? It seems clear indeed where the practices originated. Or was the practice of sacrificing their offspring "but a type of God's sacrifice of His Son for us"?

Quote:
The practice of blood sacrifice is indeed ancient, doubtless as old as the Fall.


I don't think so. Abel's offering of his animals was not a "sacrifice of appeasement"; it was a gift to God. Abel may have offered himself to God and made a personal sacrifice, even as we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. It is stated in Genesis that God was not pleased with Cain and his offering. The problem wasn't that Cain had offered vegetables instead of meat. The problem was that Cain had not offered himself. When Cain got angry about it, did God say, "Now Cain, if you had offered meat to Me, like Abel did, I would have accepted it.". No God said, "If you do well, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do well, sin is couching at your door, but you must master it!"
This is what God required right from the beginning --- righteousness and mastery of sin. He has the same requirements to this day, and gave His Beloved Son as a sacrifice on our behalf in order to provide the grace to carry it out.
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Homer



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paidion,

You wrote:
Quote:
Do you need sources to back up the statement, "The heathen from virtually every nation sacrificed to their gods to appease the wrath of these gods"? The sources are so abundant in ancient history, that it is surely not necessary to cite them.


How do you know that the heathens did not learn of, and pervert, the blood sacrifices of God's people? Abel and Noah certainly antedated the peoples you cite. Your assertion that the Israelites got the idea of substitutionary atonement from the heathen and that God accepted and endorsed it is nothing more than speculation.

Hebrews 11:4 (New International Version)

4. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.


Starke comments:
"God himself instituted the offerings, as we see from Hebrews 11:4, that as the belief of Abel in his offering had for its necessary ground the divine command, promise, and revelation, so the offerings themselves must be types of Christ. We cannot doubt that from the very beginning God reserved to himself the firstlings or first-born. Such a command He repeated, Exodus 13:2; Numbers 3:13. It was for a type of Christ, the first-born before all creations."


How could Able have had faith in his offering if it was not made in accordance with "thus saith the Lord". And why would God have looked with favor upon it? And how would Abel have known to bring the first-born?

The story of Nadab and Abihu ought to give you pause in your speculative theory that the blood sacrifice was brought into the Law from the heathen nations, instituted by God, and He just went along with it.
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
How could Able have had faith in his offering if it was not made in accordance with "thus saith the Lord".


There is no record that God ever asked Cain or Abel to offer anything to Him, so how could it be "in accordance with 'thus saith the Lord'"?

It was Cain and Abel's own idea to offer the fruits of their labour to Yahweh. They thought it might please him. God was ready to receive their offerings even though He had no need of them. It's a bit similar to the time your little boy brings you the gift of a toad, and your little girl brings you the gift of a dandelion. You don't want a toad or a dandelion, but you thank them to show them that you appreciate that they loved you enough to give you a gift.

Quote:
And why would God have looked with favor upon it?


Read the passage carefully:

And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering...

It was basically Abel whom God looked upon with favour. But He did not look with favour upon Cain, not because he offered vegetables, but because he "didn't do well" and he wasn't mastering the sin which was "couching at his door." Abel, on the other hand, submitted to God, offering himself. That was the "better offering" which is mentioned in Hebrews, not the fact that it was meat rather than vegetables. Naturally, Cain and Abel offered what they had; Abel was a shepherd and offered sheep, while Cain worked the land and offered the products which grew.



Quote:
And how would Abel have known to bring the first-born?


He didn't possess some hidden knowledge. He simply offered the best that he had, because he loved God. Cain, too, probably offered the best of his crops, though the passage doesn't say so.

God didn't want either mutton or vegetables. He wanted righteousness, and the mastery of sin. Abel succeeded. Cain didn't. That's why Abel and his offering were accepted while Cain and his offering weren't.
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Sean



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paidion wrote:
There is no record that God ever asked Cain or Abel to offer anything to Him, so how could it be "in accordance with 'thus saith the Lord'"?

It was Cain and Abel's own idea to offer the fruits of their labour to Yahweh. They thought it might please him. God was ready to receive their offerings even though He had no need of them. It's a bit similar to the time your little boy brings you the gift of a toad, and your little girl brings you the gift of a dandelion. You don't want a toad or a dandelion, but you thank them to show them that you appreciate that they loved you enough to give you a gift.



There is an easy answer to this: Abel was a prophet. Since Abel was a prophet it's no wonder where he got the idea from, God himself revealed his will to the people through Abel.

Luk 11:50 "that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, "from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.

How else could Hebrews record the sacrifice of Abel as "faith"? It certainly wouldn't be considered faith if he picked it up from the someone other than God since God dispises worship of Him in a manner other than He dictates. Therefore, God must have dictated animal sacrifice or the Hebrews citation is wrong.
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