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The Purpose of Christ's Sacrifice

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by No*s, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    I'm continuing a topic in another thread that would be off-topic.

    No offense taken, but I ask it in return. I am certain of my interpretation. I ask the same question to you, because nobody really held substitutionary atonement until Augustine, and even then the theology wasn't really flushed out until the time of Anslem of Canterbury. That would raise qustions about it to me (well has). [/quote]

    Before I go too much further, let me explain what I believe about the work of Christ. When Adam and Eve sinned, they distorted and corrupted the image of God within them, and they were then subject to corruption. The results of this aren't God's punishing them for their sins, because that would be easy, but instead He cast them out of the Garden in an act of mercy.

    This transgression sold us into bondage to Satan, and the powers of corruption and death are his tools. These powers are Satanic, and with them he enslaves the whole human race. Christ came to heal our broken nature, break the power of corruption, and take death by death that we could live. Christ is a ransom to Satan and death. If Christ were taking our punishment, then He would be a ransom to the Father and thus make God the enemy of humanity.

    I know that's a brief explanation, but it's necessary to explain my responses to the Scriptures below.

    That's a good description of the situation. He "took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows." He was "stricken," "smitten," and "afflicted" on the cross and that taken by His contemporaries as if it were a curse from God. We are led astry by our transgression in the Garden and our personal transgressions, and they also enslave us to sin and inflict corruption on us. This is a punishment of nature for our sins, and the next phrase makes that clear. It says "by his wounds we are healed."

    Here's a translation that shows how I view it:

    But the righteousness (δικαιοσύνη) of God is through faith in Jesus Christ in for all those who believe. For there is no distinction. Everyone was sinning and falls short of the glory of God and are being made righteous (δικαιούμενοι, a participle from δικαιόω ) by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, that God presented as an atonement through faith in His blood to show the His righteousness (δικαιοσύνη again) by through the act of passing by our sins that were committed beforehand, by God's delay, to showHis righteousness (δικαιοσύνη) at this very time, in order to be righteous (δίκαιον) and the one who makes righteous (δικαιοῦνδτα, another participle of δικαιόω) them out of faith in Jesus.

    Notice how different the translations are. Notice how your translation translates δικαιοσύνη as "righteousness" once, but nowhere else in the immediate context. If it were translated as "righteousness" in every case, this verse wouldn't say anything about justification. The other words with the δικαι root also mean something to do with "righteous."

    I think it's safe to say that this verse doesn't say anything about "justifying" us, because that requrires the arbitrary changing of definitions in the middle of a passage. Without it those words, it simply cannot be used to say that Christ has taken God's punishment for our sins. Rather, God delayed any punishment because of His righteoussness so taht we could become righteous and to show this righteousness.

    The sacrifice here is one of redemption, of "buying" us. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross bought us from the power of sin and the devil. This act then reconciled us to God, because we no longer are opposed to Him simply on account of who we are. I don't see any substitutionary atonement in this verse.

    No, it is a central theme in Protestant Christianity. Eastern Christianity doesn't have this theme and never has even though it has existed for 2000 years. We have something similar in that God does become a sacrifice for our sakes. However it breaks down at that point. Jesus sacrifice enables us to become righteous. It isn't just Christ's righteousness imputed to us, but it becomes our righteousness as well and we are made to conform to it. As 2 Peter 1.3-4 says, Christ called us "unto His own glory."

    This is one of the great divides between my tradition and your tradition, and they aren't compatible.
     
  2. Steve

    Steve Active Member

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    I view it differently, Gods imidiate Judgement (punishment) for their transgression was that they should be cast out of the Garden and He cursed the ground thorns and also womans pain in child birth etc. This was their imidiate Judgement, but also when he warned them about eating from the apple, he said 'In the day you eat of it, dying you will die' (literal translation). So this also was a judgement, so after they rebeled it happened, rebel and their will be consequences.

    Christ is not a ransom to Satan. He is a ransom to God, God demands Justice and Justice demands punishment for sin. If our sin goes unpunished by God he is no longer Just. God isnt the enemy of humanity but he is the enemy of sin, he hates it and will make sure its dealt with. He is a holy righteous God and will not let sin go unpunished, therefore if we have sinned and want to escape hell we need someone who is willing to make atonment for us. Either our sin is paid for on the Cross by Jesus or in Hell by us, God demands justice, hence the reason he will have his Judgement day where "every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. mathew 12:36"
    Its not a day when satan judges us, Its Gods judgement day.


    Your statement there seems to agree with my point.
    "But he was pierced for our transgressions" our transgreesions, id say its fair ennough to say that a transgreesion is transgressing God law, thats why was he pierced. For our transgressions. God demands justice, our transgressions will be punished by God not Satan, its Gods law we break when we sin. Satan himself will be cast into the lake of fire! We are all accountable to God.



    I dont think its safe to say it dosnt mean justifying. Heres why.
    Being justified and being made righteous are the same thing.
    Being Righteous is having a right standing with God.
    If you are Justified you have a Right Standing with God.
    So in a passage like that it can mean either and even if you read it with either words it still means the same thing.

    Heres some examples from your translation.
    "Everyone was sinning and falls short of the glory of God and are being made righteous"
    change "being made righteous"(being made to have a right standing with God)
    to being justified (being made to have a right standing with God)
    its the same thing, it means exaclty the same. The message is the same no matter which word you use.

    God delayed punishment to that point of time thanks to his Grace, the sins of those befor this time were not punished straight away, he delayed so that those people could also partake Gods gift of atonment. Our own righteousness wont get us far in the sight of a Perfect Holy Righteous God who sees every sin we ever commit.

    Or in my translation.
    "because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished" How can these sins only represent the first sin in the garden of eden? Does God not care about the sins commited after this initial sin?


    Jesus's sacrifice on the cross bought us from the power of Gods law and Justice. When we break Gods law we are in debt to God not the devil, so the payment was to God, that was the purpose of the sacrifice to appease God, who do you think all the animal sacrifies were for in the OT and for what reason?
     
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  3. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    And you'll find that what happened to Adam and Eve in Genesis is never called a curse, but what happened to the serpant is. The judgement was the natural consequence of their sin, and not God trying to get satisfaction for His own sense of justice. Thus, when they ate of it, they died in virtually every way including spiritually: they had tried to separate themselves from the source of life. This, naturally, elicits the superlative used about dying.

    So, basically, you're trying to tell me that God can't forgive unless He receives satisfaction. So the Son steps in and takes our punishment to satisfy His Father's anger. This makes the Father our enemy. He is the one the Son must defeat in order to save us. God wants to destroy humanity to appease His anger, so God must step in to appease God by getting hit. God is above the Law. He is not subject to it, and He made it. It doesn't circumscribe His actions.

    To say that the ransom was paid to God to enable the forgiveness of sins is to say that God cannot forgive without an insult to Him being redressed. This places the Law above God and subjects the work of Christ to it. This, ironically, was the error of the Judaizers. They believed we had to accomplish works of the Law in order to gain salvation. Paul denied this by affirming salvation comes via faith. Your view places God under the Law as well. It does it in a different way, which doesn't require us to do good works ourselves, but it still places the Law above God.

    God is not my enemy, but your view makes Him my enemy. God did not curse me with death. It is a natural consequence of my sin, and all mankind is enslaved to death and sin (the powers of Satan). This is the teaching of Paul. The ransom must be paid to the one who owns us, and the debt is the debt of ownership, and Paul says:

    Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves to whom you obey, whether of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God, that though you used to be slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from your heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been freed from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. I speak in human terms on account of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to uncleanness, and to lawlessness resulting in more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness resulting in sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what fruit did you have then of which things you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin, and having become enslaved to God, you have your fruit resulting in sanctification, and the end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 6.16-23​

    Here Paul states explicitly Christ bought us from sin, and sin is the power of the devil. It never says anything of the sort with God. He is not our enemy.

    The Lake of Fire is not a place. It is God. The ancients considered sulphur not just an element, but an expression of dvinity. The word for sulphur, θεῖον, also means "divinity." The Lake of Fire is God. The judgement of God is His appearing in the world (Mt. 24.37ff.). The sacrifice of Christ isn't about appeasing God's wrath or satisfying His justice. It's about saving us from Satan whose deception had made us incompatible with God, enslaved us, and was destroying our race.

    No, they are different things. Justifying something is taking something that isn't right, and finding an excuse to make it OK. People justify sin all the time, so that it seems OK to them. Making something righteous is like taking a boy off the street whose been a druggie, teaching him, cleaning him up, and turning his life completely around. Christ came to enable us to become righteous as God is righteous. Justifying us is the act of covering up or lessoning the importance of sins, so that they are no longer important. It is imputing righteousness onto us, whereas making us righteous is no imputation but literally making us righteous. They are two separate concepts.

    God cares about what we are, and He cast them out of the Garden lest they live forever in a state of imperfection (it was an act of mercy). Our transgressions change who we are, and subject us to sin. God, however, came to free us from all of this, so yes, He cares about it all. However, this doesn't mean that He has to kill His son just so He can forgive us. The very fact that Christ became man demonstrates that God had already forgiven us. It, thus, couldn't be the problem Christ resolved.

    As I said above, God is not our enemy. He did not give us the Law that we would be enslaved to it, but as Paul said, it was to be a schoolmaster to us. When we sin, God isn't counting our transgressions saying, "Now you've done it" but actively working to reconcile Himself to us when we have set ourselves against Him.

    I think the River of Fire might clear up my theology better.
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Active Member

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    Ok actually in light of that i will elaborate on one of my previous statements :)
    I said earlier that "God isnt the enemy of humanity but he is the enemy of sin, he hates it and will make sure its dealt with."
    If someone has sinned they seperated themselves from God, their sin has made the person an enemy to God, but God still loves the person. So you could say that God in that sense is in fact our enemy. This person is now in rebellion to God hence their seperated state, God being a Just God needs to punish their trasgression, he made the law and because he is also the judge he wouldnt be just if he didnt uphold his own law.



    If a criminal stands befor a judge the 2 are in a sense enemies, once the criminals fine has been paid the judge and the person are no longer enemies.

    God is the Judge not satan, we break Gods law not satans, God is going to hold us accountable not satan. For the people who you think are entering heaven when is Gods justice being served if not on the cross? Surly you dont think that God just lets their sin go unpunished? How is that just?



    Theres a very very important mistake it that statement that i really want to stress, your argument hinges on this point, the example you said is someone "Trying" to justify something! It dosnt mean they succeeded. People TRY to justify sin all the time, so that it seems OK to them. That doesnt mean they succeed, when they stand befor God they will soon know they only fooled themselves. If somthing is indeed justified it means it is right or indeed has been made right.

    Your statement here is wrong again because you apply the same mistaken definition of what Justifying means. What you say is what happens when people TRY to Justify themselves. They cant actually Justify themselves though. If someone is actually Justified then they do indeed have a right standing befor God(they have been made righteous). This demonstrates that the 2 are not separate concepts.


    No the very fact Jesus needed to become a man and die demonstrates that God wanted to forgive us so made a way for himself to do it while upholding his own law and remaining Just.

    Reread this with that idea in mind.
    This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished– he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Romans 3:22-26

    "He did this to demonstrate his justice/righteousness" same thing, to show that because of he is Just/Righteous he wont let sin go unpunished.
    "because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished" The people befor this time who where to enter heaven had their sins dealt with here as well, for the same reason to show that because of he is Just/Righteous he wont let sin go unpunished.
    "he did it to demonstrate his justice/righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies(makes righteous)"


    When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:13-15
    Again its Gods written code, his law that stood opposed to us, not satans. We owe God because of his written code that we couldnt keep (our sins). This also disarmed satans(accuser of the breathren) accusations against us because we now stand righteous our sins cant be used by satan because they have been dealt with.

    I really hope you think about all this openly, i sometimes think that we forget the seriousness of what we are disgussing, its not somthing i want to get wrong thats for sure. I pray that God opens both our eyes to the truth, its somthing we all should make sure we seek with a humble heart :)
     
  5. Steve

    Steve Active Member

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    I found this verse also which is very relavant to this topic.

    If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:26-31
     
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