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Monday: Our Crucified Substitute — 109 Comments

  1. Jesus bore the PUNISHMENT of sin or the RESULT of sin. In the story of the prodigal son,who bore the punishment of sin. Where was the payment? I think it is very sad how the PART of the Seventh Day Adventist church portrays God the Father needing the blood of Jesus to forgive.

    • God the father needed the blood of Christ because it was the only way to pay the ransom for sinners. This is not a Seventh day Adventist teaching, this is a biblical teaching and it is the plan of salvation. Please read below.
      Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Hebrews 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

      May God bless you,


      • When the Bible talks of the blood of Jesus cleansing us from our sins, it is not referring to the red fluid with red cells, white cells, platelets etc. Blood is only a metaphor and it represents life. "For the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Lev. 17:11). So the blood of Jesus would mean the life of Jesus and the shedding of His blood would represent His death.

        Another fact which helps me to understand the blood of Jesus as a metaphor is what He told us to do with His blood. In John 6:53-56, Jesus said the following: "53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
        54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
        55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
        56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." So He wants us to drink His blood. Many of Jesus' disciples said, "This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" (v. 60) And "from that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (v. 66).

        We drink the blood of Jesus by receiving His words. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). Jesus' words stand for His thought, His motives and His life and we need to imbibe them. The Holy Spirit will use Jesus'words (the Bible really) and create "a clean heart .. .and renew a right spirit" in us (Psalm 51:10).

        EGW talks of "the pardoning blood" as being "inseparably connected with the resurrection and life of our Redeemer, illustrated by the ever-flowing stream that proceeds from the throne of God, the water of the river of life" (Lt 87, 1894) 7BC 948.1.

        Oh, the blood of Jesus! May we all drink of it as He told us to.

    • Hi Larry, I agree that the choice of the word "punishment" was unfortunate in this instance. Perhaps it is based on the fact that the death is the "wages" of sin? But wages are "earned," not assigned as "punishment." 😉

      While we're mentioning the "wages of sin" (Ro 3:23), perhaps we should remember that the real wages of sin are eternal death - or the "second death." The whole sanctuary system which the Hebrews followed for thousands of years was based on the truth that Jesus would die the death that we deserve (second death) so that we might have the life that He deserves. Incomprehensible but beautiful truth. Praise His Name!

      • How did He die the second death when He didn't stay dead? Where was the lake of fire? I thought there was total darkness not the life giving fire that the righteous will stand in and the same fire that th wicked are consumed. A little confusing to me.

        • Larry, please consider that if Christ did not die the death we deserve so that we can have the life He deserves, then we are all doomed to die the death we deserve. Ro 3:23 So which death is that, if not the second death? Does not everyone, except a few who will be alive at His Second Coming, fall asleep in the first death, only to be resurrected? How do you read Isaiah 53:4-5?

          See hrist was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. “With His stripes we are healed.” (Desire of Ages, p. 25)

          If you are incredulous that Christ could die the second death in our place, you might as well be incredulous that God could be incarnate in humanity. The concept is impossible in human terms. It defies logic. So do Christ's miracles and much more in the Bible.

          (By the way, I know of no biblical reference to "llife giving fire that the righteous will stand in and the same fire that the wicked are consumed." That is someone's interpretation that makes things confusing.)

          • Where does it say in the Bible that we "deserve" death? Did God say we deserve death or did He say we would die? Isaiah 53 says He suffered because of selfishness. In Gethsemene He had to choose not to use Hus power to save Himself it also says WE CONSIDERED Him stricken and afflicted of God. Here is where the lies of Satan are addressed God did not punish or kill Him. We were lied to. Jesus came to reveal the Father.

          • "The life-giving fire that the righteous will stand in and the same fire that the wicked are consumed" by.

            You had expressed some misgivings about the above statement in Larry's post above. It is true, it is someone's interpretation. But the idea has some Biblical backing I'm beginning to think.

            Heb. 12:29 reads, "For our God is a consuming fire." So the question arises, "For whom? Or to whom?" Talking about the sinners, EGW writes, "The glory of God would be to them a consuming fire." {SC 17.2}

            Are the sinners consumed by the glory of God? Regarding "the great final day, when judgment shall fall upon the rejecters of God’s grace", in The Desire of Ages, p. 600.2, we read, "Christ, their rock of offense, will then appear to them as an avenging mountain. The glory of His countenance, which to the righteous is life, will be to the wicked a consuming fire".

            "At the second advent of Christ the wicked shall be consumed “with the Spirit of His mouth,” and destroyed “with the brightness of His coming.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8. The light of the glory of God, which imparts life to the righteous, will slay the wicked." – {DA 107.4}

            In the Third Angel's message, he who receives the mark if the beast "shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever" (Rev. 14:10-11). The smoke is identified in Rev. 15:8 as "smoke from the glory of God, and from his power" which filled the temple.

            In Isa. 33:14. A question is asked, "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" And the answer comes right back: the righteous.

            So the effect of the glory or presence of God or "the brightness of His coming" is determined by the condition of one's heart---whether the heart has been healed by God's grace or whether it has persistently rejected the pleadings of His Spirit. In other words, the glory of God has opposite effects on the righteous and on the sinner. Whereas the righteous are ready to live in His glory (?the everlasting burnings of Isa. 33:14), the sinner are destroyed by it.

            All of this is to say that sin is a fatal condition "and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death" (James 1:15). God does not have to actively inflict death. "We are not to regard God as waiting to punish the sinner for his sin. The sinner brings the punishment upon himself. His own actions start a train of circumstances that bring the sure result. Every act of transgression reacts upon the sinner, works in him a change of character, and makes it more easy for him to transgress again. By choosing to sin, men separate themselves from God, cut themselves off from the channel of blessing, and the sure result is ruin and death." – {1SM 235.2}

            I am still working through some of the Bible verses and EGW quotes included above, but I find them compelling.

            • Thank you, Pramod. I'm reasonably familiar with those quotations, and I understand that the wicked are destroyed 'by the brightness of His Coming" (2 Thess 2:8 at the time of the Second Advent. However, it seems to me that the destruction of the wicked after their resurrection doesn't quite fit this pattern. It seems that here, God does His "strange work" (Isa 28:21) after they bow their knees in acknowledgment of His justice. (Ro 14:11) God does not want to destroy the wicked, but for their sake as well as the eternal safety of the universe, He must annihilate them. That said, they would have self-destructed long ago if He had not put them on life support (probation) so that their characters could be fully revealed. But then, even in this world we hold the physician who "pulls the plug" on life support responsible. So God Himself takes responsibility for the destruction of the wicked.

              I was particularly thinking of "life-giving fire" when I remarked that I could not find any biblical reference to such a concept. Life-giving breath, yes, but not life-giving fire. I would be interested in any support you can find.

              It seems to me that the truth about God is beautiful enough that we don't need to add our own enhancements.

    • Larry, the parable of the prodigal does not address the atonement, but addresses the Joy of God when sinners repent, and shows how He will receive them with great joy and celebration, throwing His arms around them, give them the "best" robe, shoes, and restore their place in the family of God(the ring).

      God's law demands death to sinners just as you would demand justice if someone was destroying your loved ones. Why must the innocent perish at the hands of the wicked? Sin is dreadful and an abomination. Like cancer, sin must be destroyed or it will destroy all in time.

      The Law demands the blood(life) of the sinner, but Jesus offered HIS blood(life) in their/our place so He can forgive the repentant, and He calls ALL sinners to "repent and believe the gospel!"(Mark 1:15) He offered His blood, God did not demand it, but God accepted it on behalf of all sinners who would repent.

      This arrangement offers restoration to sinners. How good is that?!

        • Yes, the father embraced his once lost son and welcomed him back into the family fellowship, and notice the type introduced here in the fatted calf. Yet the whole point of the story was to answer the accusation of the Jews in Luke 15:2, that Jesus "received sinners". So Jesus illustrated just how wonderful this receiving is from the perspective of God, with great rejoicing over the repentant sinner.

          Also, concerning Christ suffering the "2nd death". First, the 2nd death means the death that comes due to the wrath of God. Jesus received the wrath of God, which is separation from life through guilt. He endured the horrible guilt of the finally impenitent as God withdraws Himself from them. This Christ experienced, and once dead, the suffering is ended and the penalty paid. Being Himself sinless, Jesus the son of man was raised up to glory, having received the wrath of God toward all sinners on their behalf, and now ministers for them before God forgiving all who repent, believing on His name.

          Sinners who themselves faith the wrath of God cannot be raised again since they are not sinless. The law demands they be removed from Life since they violate the Law of Life in God's government.

  2. WE see here clearly demonstrated how God deals with sinners and exactly what and how His wrath is exercised.

      • God is the source of life and joy.

        When sinners declare their independence from God by choosing to serve self instead of Him, they separate themselves from the source of life and joy. Separation from the source of life results in instant death - which would have happened to Adam and Eve if Christ had not stepped into the breach and granted probationary life to our first parents and their offspring. What a merciful God!

      • Larry, One answer would be Yes. However a definition would need more particulars. If you are questioning God's omnipotence then if you believe in the creation story, God is the source as well as the sustainer of life as we know it.

      • Is God the source of pain and death? The answer is a clear "no". Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). And we know God the Father is just like Jesus (John14:9).

        Sin separates us from God (Isa. 59:2) and "and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death" (James 1:15).

        "We are not to regard God as waiting to punish the sinner for his sin. The sinner brings the punishment upon himself. His own actions start a train of circumstances that bring the sure result. Every act of transgression reacts upon the sinner, works in him a change of character, and makes it more easy for him to transgress again. By choosing to sin, men separate themselves from God, cut themselves off from the channel of blessing, and the sure result is ruin and death." – {1SM 235.2}

  3. Can someone please assist me,Did satan the devil know beforehand that Jesus was going to rise from the dead after 3 days?

    • The Bible doesn't say, does it? So no one can give you a definitive answer, and I wonder why you are asking.

      But my guess is that Satan understood Christ's words better than anyone else and actively feared that Christ would rise again. So he stationed himself and an army of demons around the tomb to prevent the resurrection - all to no avail. One angel from heaven was enough to rout the whole army of Satan!

    • Did Satan know that Jesus would rise from the dead on the third day? I believe that he did.

      When Jesus foretold his trials, death and resurrection (Matt. 20:18-19), the priests had mocked and ridiculed him. But, after his death, "they remembered that Christ’s predictions had so far been fulfilled" and "like their father, the devil, they believed and trembled". – {The Desire of Ages 777.1}

      The Bible tells us that Satan "knows that his time is short" (Rev. 12:12). How does he know that? "The devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19).

  4. I don’t know that the devil knew that Jesus would be resurrected. One thing is for sure is that even if he knew, he could not stop Jesus’ resurrection. That is the reassuring fact that we have in our Lord and Saviour…God has the ultimate power of death and life.
    With that knowledge, it is important that while we may feel separated from God at times because of sin, it should be our fervent prayer to be re-connected to Him as He will take us through whatever the devil meant to be otherwise.

  5. The total abandonment Jesus felt on the cross brings to mind the sense of abandonment God's people will experience during the time of trouble. EGW wrote in Maranatha p 130 "The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger,—a faith that will not faint, though severely tried. Those who now exercise but little faith are in the greatest danger of falling under the power of satanic delusions and the decree to compel conscience. And even if they endure the test, they will be plunged into deeper distress and anguish in the time of trouble, because they have not made it a habit to trust in God. The lessons of faith which they have neglected, they will be forced to learn under a terrible pressure of discouragement."
    How important it is for us to arm ourselves with the faith Jesus had to carry Him through His darkest hours.

    • Being pure and without sin as Adam was at creation, Jesus was born with a connection to God that we as sinners do not have and is the reason we need to be born again.

      God hates sin, and when the sin of the world was given to Jesus he felt the separation from God caused by unrepented sin. Jesus became the serpent on the cross. He received what we deserve, so that we could receive what he deserved.

      Jesus felt that the sin he bore would forever separate him from God, and Jesus could no longer see past the tomb. It was to him so painful that the cross itself was barely felt. At this greatest moment in history Jesus faced death alone, forsaken by God and man. Because of his great love for us, Jesus remained obedient to God and suffered that death.

      The trouble we will have to face pales by comparison.

      This is not to disagree with what you said Maureen, but to agree. Yes, we need to practice faith and obedience now to arm ourselves for the future. I just wanted to highlight how much more severely Jesus suffered on our behalf. A suffering we will never have to face if we repent. A suffering though that unrepentant sinners will face at the end.

  6. sin is trully sinful,that can be clearly seen by its consequence on the cross.
    also i like the question addressed to us at the bottom of the lesson "... a claim accompanied by repentance, confession, and a resolve to forsake that sin?" time after time we claim the righteousness of christ but we dont really make a resolve to abandon the sin. but thank fully God can give us the power to abandon sin and save us from this body of death.
    Again when The allurements of sin seem so enticing and we are about to fall into sin,it is so difficult to remember the awful concequences/results of sin as seen at the cross.May the Lord teach us to clearly see the consequence of sin in contrast to its fading/shortlived/unfulfilling benefit.

  7. @ Chai, If you read the following verses,Matt 20:19;27:63; Mark 8:31;10:34; Luke 18:33;24:46 and John 20:9. Jesus said that he would die and rise again after, on the third day. Satan's emissaries; the chief priests and Pharisees, requested for the sepulchre to be secured.

  8. Knowing the horrific price Jesus paid for my sins so I can have eternal life with the Father (never separated from God), brings me to my knees. I have the choice to embrace this gift of sacrifice and salvation even in my darkest days. O Lord, help me build my faith in you and be obedient to your will.

  9. I love this promise. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

  10. Larry, you wrote:

    "I think it is very sad how the PART of the Seventh Day Adventist church portrays God the Father needing the blood of Jesus to forgive"

    According to Ellen White, it is us who needed to see the effects of sin and rebellion:

    “Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God.” [Education page 263]

  11. Amen... What a loving and gracious god we serve... Always making provisions for his people...Thank you Lord

  12. Hi dear brothers and sisters!

    I want someone to help me, until now i don't get well how Christ have been our substitutes. Is it Fair and justifiable that an innocent people can die for the guilt one?

    • You are correct in questioning that. Keep on questioning. God wants us to think. What you believe should make sense. God is love. God is love. God is love

      • Yes, "God is love", and "Love worketh no ill [no harm] to His neighbor" (Rom 13:10).


        Earlier you posted the phrase, "sin doesn't kill". Sin doesn't kill? No, sin brings separation from God, and separation from God (Life) is (sooner or later) death.

          • Brother, Death is the result of the separation from God, which is our Choice.
            God wishes for us to have abundant Life not death.

          • From the lesson:

            "Jesus truly bore the wrath of God against sin; the PENALTY for our transgressions fell upon Him... How bad sin must be in the sight of God that it took one member of the Godhead to suffer the guilt and PUNISHMENT of sin in order for us to be forgiven it!"


            The thought speaks about the "penalty" and the "punishment" for sin. Jesus, I believe, became the greatest sinner that the universe has ever seen. The accumulated burden of all our sins were upon Him. He became the very embodiment of sin, and He bore the ultimate "punishment" for sin.

            Of course the common view has God punishing (killing) sinners, in that great public execution which will be the Lake of Fire. (All the Redeemed and all the holy angels will see it taking place.) And of course it is commonly understood that God Himself will be the great Executioner. If this is the reality of the matter, then we must say that it was God that executed, killed, His own Son. Abraham's hand was stayed, but in the Father's case, He went through with the actual killing.

            Larry, I'm sure you appreciate that the subject is a large one, but suffice to say that, in my view

            "God does NOT stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression" of His law. (Great Controversy p.36) It is sin that kills.

            And yet, I suggest that we must acknowledge that God will kill (destroy) everyone that rejects Him, in the same sense that He said to Noah, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth" (Gen 6:7). Mass killings are not "strange" in the sense that they are unusual or rare for God. Such events are reasonably common. However, in my view, those killings must appear "strange" to the human rationale because God's way of "killing" is not man's way. God's way of doing that is so much higher than man's way, so as to render it almost unrecognizable from a human perspective.

            From a human perspective, I believe that it will eventually be seen that "God destroys no man. Every one who is destroyed will have destroyed himself." (Christ's Object Lessons p.84.)

            Christ will remain eternally "holy, HARMLESS, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens". (Heb 7:26 KJV)

        • The question from the lesson asked ,what is it like to feel separation from God due to sin? What we feel is conditional to each ones particular circumstance. Our feeling of separation is not predicated on Gods' feeling. If separation is a given for sin, I would refer to Hebrews 13:5, God will not leave, or separate us. Repentance is not the same as separation. Not sure the reason for the question. The anguish that Jesus suffered being separated from the Father, is entirely different from human mortals in a sinful environment.

        • Hi Stewart,

          i think that perhaps the "sin doesn't kill" statement should read "sins [plural] don't kill" for sins [the things one does] are but the inevitable results of sin [separation from God]

          From what i understand it is not sin that "brings separation from God", but separation from God is what sin actually is.

          We read: "God made Him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him [Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21

          • The word sin is a word we only use in a church setting or with church people. I have recently started using the word selfishness. When I share spiritual matters with non church people, they understand the word selfishness a lot better than the word sin.

          • Annette,

            I like what you say about sin not 'bringing' separation from God, but separation from God is what sin actually is. Thank you.

            The "everlasting punishment" that Jesus refers to (in Matt 25:46) is precisely that -- everlasting separation from God. Sin really is so strong that it has the power to do that... I think it is stronger than any of us really appreciate. The reason for this is that "the strength of sin is the law." (1Cor 15:56) The law of God written in the heart, and lived, has the power to hugely bless; but the law transgressed has [but no, as you've shown me it does not "have" the power, it really "is"] the power to separate the transgressor from Life.

            God does not actively separate anyone from Himself... that work, I believe, must be solely attributed to sin.

      • Rumazi and Larry, the bottom line is that the atonement is a mystery beyond our understanding. If we take all of revelation together, we know that God is pure, unselfish love. Unfortunately we often do not understand His love correctly. That's why we cannot understand how the destruction of the wicked can actually be an expression of love. The alternative, as I see it, is that the wicked would be forced to live forever in an atmosphere they hate.

        I think we need to be careful how we talk about the incarnation and the atonement, since it is beyond our experience and beyond or understanding. The Bible does indicate that God was *in* Christ reconciling the world to Himself. It was God Himself who provided the atonement for sin. He was the One who died in our place. He died the death that was ours so that we might live the life that is His.

        Christ is not just "an innocent person." He was and IS God Himself who, through His death, provided an atonement for the guilty race.
        Please review the following texts and ask God to make their meaning plain to you:

        Heb 9:22 without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (NIV)

        1 Pet. 3:18 'For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.'

        1 Pet. 2:24 'He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness,'

        2 Cor. 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

        Galatians 3:10,13 'Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them.' [...] Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, 'Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree.'

        Isa 53:4-6, 10
        Surely he has borne our griefs
        and carried our sorrows;
        yet we esteemed him stricken,
        smitten by God, and afflicted.
        5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
        he was crushed for our iniquities;
        upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
        and with his wounds we are healed.
        6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
        we have turned—every one—to his own way;
        and the Lord has laid on him
        the iniquity of us all.
        Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
        he has put him to grief;[i]
        when his soul makes[j] an offering for guilt,
        he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
        the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

        Isaiah 53:12 - "yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors."

        • Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Has anyone researched the context of this often quoted text for proof that God wanted blood? If God wants blood, then there is no difference from paganism.

          • So if it is beyond our understanding, that's it? Stop learning? Just keep repeating the same old cliches and walk away satisfied? The founding fathers of the SDA Church would be horrified at the thought of not struggling to find out answers. Sorry if this sounds harsh.

          • Larry, for the sake of mutually beneficial conversation, why don't *you* tell us what you see in the context of that quote from Heb. 9:22?

            As for me, I believe that pagan sacrifices are a perversion of the system that God set in place at the gates of Eden. The sacrifices offered by Adam and Eve and Abel were to represent the death of the Son of God Himself. Over and over, God reminds His people that blood represents life. So without a death - in this case the death of the Son of God - there could be no remission of sins.

            By contrast pagan sacrifices were intended to be payments to appease an angry God - the polar opposite of a God Who gives Himself for the sins of His people.

          • Larry, I did not end the discussion, but gave you thoughts to consider. Please respond to these, rather than dismissing my comment outright. No need to be our "sound harsh." Just respond. 🙂

            We are to wrestle to understand the light God has given, but we are to be wary of going beyond what He has given.

            There's certainly enough truth in the Bible that we *can* understand so that if we apply that to our lives, we will have little occasion to wonder about what we can *not* understand.

          • Larry
            God does want blood at all. However, abrogation of the law demands death. Hence the 'shedding of blood' in reference to death due to sin.
            So as quoted by Inge in Heb 9:22 we can not escape with our sins except a substitute is found to die in our place.

        • It seems to me that "The Atonement" is not a mystery. It means at one ment. To be in agreement. "The Atonement" has been distorted through the years to mean appeasement. Does God want us to be one with Him? Or does He want to be appeased? I think the latter can be a mystery.

          • Inge, I would challenge this conclusion of the atonement being out of our understanding since it has been described in ways we can understand it. We might not understand how WE could deserve such love, but we can understand it or how would all declare that God was Just in the end?

            I agree we often find the incarnation mysterious, but there is no need to understand that fully while seeing the justice and mercy of God in providing a valid and acceptable substitute for sinners in order that they might be saved. If this was not clear in how it works, Satan would have come out into the open to protest to all creatures and show how God is guilty of being unjust. But since Satan sees the justice, he works with great power to keep us from seeing and believing it ourselves. This is the only way he can rob God of His subjects, by blinding them to the truth through the allurements of sinful flesh.

            Concerning the incarnation of Christ, He lived and died as men, being Himself a man, as the Bible makes very clear. No mystery there. His Divinity was not an active part in His life, and like us, He needed the constant presence and power of God through the Holy Spirit to live His sinless life, showing us His example. His death was real and not caused by the act of being crucified, but He died due to the "wrath of God", as all unrepentant sinners will experience for themselves. The lake of fire will purify the earth and end the restless misery of the wicked. God loves them too, but gives them the desire of their heart, which is to be where He is not. Only in the 2nd death and lake of fire blotting us out of existence can we escape from the presence and love of God. When denied this presence and love, Jesus perished in our place in order that we need NEVER experience this ourselves!

            Isn't this "how" it was accomplished? Jesus came as one of us to suffer in our stead the wages of sin, that we might find salvation from this end ourselves through the repentance of faith which works by love resulting in being again one with God in Christ.

            • J.B. Phillips wrote a book entitled, Your God Is Too Small. I read the book many years ago, but it is still true today that most of us have a too small concept of God. Zophar, one of Job's friends, asked the rhetorical question, "Canst thou by searching find out God?" and the implied answer is, "Certainly not." I believe he spoke truth in this matter, because if we could encompass God by our understanding, we would be greater than Him. And insofar as divinity is intimately involved with our salvation, the "how" of salvation is way beyond our understanding. In fact, I understand that it will be our study for eternity because there is so much more to it than we can currently comprehend.

              However, God has revealed enough for us to trust Him and thus be saved. I fear that if we attempt to pin down all the details so that they are "logical" to our minds, we run the danger of reducing God to our level, making Him "too small" to save us.

              The philosopher turns aside from the light of salvation, because it puts his proud theories to shame; the worldling refuses to receive it, because it would separate him from his earthly idols. Paul saw that the character of Christ must be understood before men could love Him or view the cross with the eye of faith. Here must begin that study which shall be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity. In the light of the cross alone can the true value of the human soul be estimated. (Acts of the Apostles, p. 273)

              It seems to me that "the cross" is symbolic of the Atonement which "shall be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity." Thus I believe there is a lot more to the atonement than we can currently understand. I look forward to that study. 🙂

              PS It seems to me that it is precisely on the matter of "a valid and acceptable substitute for sinners" that logic protests that it is not possible that the death of one can be substituted for the death of millions, and we must honestly acknowledge that we do not understand it all because our minds are finite, while God and His plans are infinite.

          • Hi Larry.

            There is this closing statement in chapter 6 of the book "The Man who is God" by Edward Heppenstall which brings a lot of clarity to the subject of atonement, and it is written so beautifully that for me to paraphrase it would not do it justice.
            Jesus was meek and lowly in heart. He stooped to the death of the cross in His love for sinners. He stooped to everything but sin and selfishness. To behold Christ always denying Himself in His love for lost men is the supreme revelation of God to man. The glorification of the Father was the supreme purpose of His life. His choices never varied. This was the expression of His innate sinlessness, the utter purity of His love and devotion to God.

            Only once in the history of our world has man been able to witness a flawless, stainless, perfect human being. Only one Person ever born of a woman lived an absolutely righteous life and was then able to offer this perfect righteousness as a gift to unrighteous men.

            In Jesus we are confronted with this Man. He has no parallel. All other human beings are sinners. In all the universe and before all of His creatures, God has one sinless human being. One noble vessel that ever remained in its purity came from the Potter's hand. He was perfect in surrender and obedience, perfect in faith and righteousness. There is but one spotless Lamb in the flock, given up to death for our sins. In Him we see God giving Himself for sinful man.

            If Christ was stained by sin at any point along the way, then He could not offer to unrighteous men a perfect righteousness.

            Jesus is not merely an example for us to follow. He alone is our righteousness, our life, our wisdom, our sanctification, and our redemption.
            Atonement is well described by the statement that it is a sinless and perfect gift of God to man, devised by God and executed by God.

    • Rumazi As I understand there is no other human being that will die for the sins of another human being. You do not have to question the gift that is given for the substitution of sinful humanity. That is Gods' design. There is no other that is better. This plan was formed by the eternal Three. Father, Son& Holy Spirit.

    • Hi Rumazi. To answer your question is it fair? No it is not fair, it is terribly unfair, but Jesus did it anyway because he loves.

      Is it justifiable? When done by God, yes. No created being could ever make the atonement for others. God alone can make both the substitution and the assignment - He alone can judge who he will cover with Christ's righteousness.

      Remember, you and I are born sinful. We are born condemned. That is not fair on us, so Jesus also died unfairly for us.

      Sin created a great unfairness and the substitution by God fixes everything, humanity's condition, Satan, death and sin itself.

      • Ian, we are born with a choice just as Adam was created with a choice. Due to his choice we are no longer immortal, but we are born neutral, neither justified or condemned, and given a life of probation in which to choose whom we will serve. What are the choices?: self or God.

        The Bible teaches clearly that no one is guilty for the sin of another, and none are guilty until they sin. Through Adam we have a fallen nature(fallen from the Divine nature Adam was created with, but still, we are born without sin until we sin), but through Christ we can become partakers of the Divine Nature again.

        Sin is not unfair, since it is a choice. It's sin, and nothing more. Some may give into peer pressure or threats, and sin, but they choose to do so. God created us with the ability to be free moral agents, able to choose for ourselves and God has always extended the invitation to "choose this day whom you will serve". What we do with our choice is up to us, and God will honor that choice that each has made with either Life or Death. He is sovereign and His government has a law that those who serve Him will choose live by. Those who violate that law forfeit the life He gives them. It's a choice either way, and we alone can make that choice.

        Rumazi, according to God, who is Sovereign, it is just to be pardoned by the One who has propitiated the violated Law of God. We can propitiate the law for ourselves IF we choose to, but we are guilty and cannot be resurrected from death which is the penalty for sin. Jesus died AS IF guilty, but was sinless so after suffering the "wrath" of God against sinners in our place, He was raised again due to being sinless Himself, but His infinite sacrifice while sinless, propitiates the law and this allows God to be just while justifying sinners who repent through faith in Christ.(Rom 3:25,26) Since God accepts this sacrifice, why would any of His creatures question it? Even Satan will confess God is just in forgiving sinners.

        • Hi Robert. Not so - you contradict Psalms 51:5 in saying we are born neutral. It is also why Jesus said we must be born again. Unless we are born again we cannot even see the kingdom of heaven. Our first birth is faulty, we are born out of touch with God, sinful from the moment of conception. Jesus was different from us in that way as well because like Adam, he was began life with the Spirit in him, an unbroken link to God. He could, unlike us, see God and live.

          The 'unfairness' of Sin is that we are born lost into a lost world, and why no human apart from Christ has ever not been sinful. That is 'unfair'. But Jesus died on our behalf and offers free salvation. That too is equally 'unfair' and cancels out the other.

          We start lost, we are offered free salvation, and all we need to do is accept it.

          We fail to correctly understand that sin is an inevitable result and consequence of separation from God. No being in this universe can go it alone. It was and is Satan's great mistake, he separated himself from God. Misusing free will he shut God out and became the first sinner.

          Likewise we unaided by God will always choose the wrong. It is only the power of God that allows us to make the right choices. It is only by restoring our connection with God that we do this. And again, this not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. Eph 2:8 (but the whole paragraph Eph 2:1-10 gives this in great clarity - eg Eph 2:3 "by nature deserving of wrath").

          It is our greatest blunder to assume there is any good thing in ourselves. There is not. No one is good, but God (as Jesus said). It is our greatest blunder because we fail to understand sin, and then fail to understand the cure because they are linked.

          Sin is not our problem. It is God's problem. Our only solution is to come to God, and the closer we come to God the more "He" clears the sin out. We do not work on clearing sin out, we only work on building a relationship with Jesus, and everything else comes from that. We discourage our members when we indicate that they must fight against sin because failure is inevitable. Just like Jesus told Peter, the answer is in building a relationship with God (Matt 26:41). The stronger we make our bonds to God, the greater our ability to resist sin through that bond. Willpower is useless in the fight against sin. Willpower should be spent in the building of the relationship, and that will take care of the sin problem.

          Our members are strengthened when we get them to leave their sins in the hands of God completely releasing it all to him.

          Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. (Matt 22:37) Focus on nothing else, it is the source and the key that unlocks every good thing.

          Want to see that in action? Read https://ssnet.org/blog/gods-love-wins/

          • Ian, I expected this protest using Ps 51:5, yet I encourage you to understand what David is saying, and also what he is not saying. The child when born, what sin is it guilty of? The Bible teaches we are not guilty for our father's sin, and our father cannot be guilty for our sin, but "the soul that sins will die" is the word of the LORD. So how do I differ from this? Yet, that baby will grow and make choices, and if choosing to sin, is now a guilty sinner. Jesus was born of a "sinful" woman, yet He was not born guilty. He grew up in a wicked enviroment, yet without "spot or wrinkle, or any such thing" was found in Him.

            We are lost when we choose and act contrary to God's will. Search it. The sad truth is all but Jesus have chosen contrary to the will of God, and need a savior. Paul writes in Romans 5:12 that in Adam all die "because all have sinned", or chose to sin of their own accord and guilty because of their own choosing.

            We are born neither guilty or justified, but with a lifetime of choices to make. We may have inherited sinful desires and tendencies, but until we act on them, we are sinless, since temptation is not sin, or Jesus would be guilty, for He was "in all points tempted like us", but without sin.

          • Hi Robert.

            David is saying that we are born into a state of sin - an inherited disposition to sin. We are born into this sinful condition before we are guilty of the act of sin. This derives from the original sin of Adam and Eve from which we inherit our natural propensity towards sin. We sin because we are morally deranged. Our hearts are naturally depraved.

            Because of sin his [Adam’s] posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience. -- SDA Bible Commentary, 5:1128.

            There is in his nature a bent to evil, a force which, unaided, he cannot resist. -- Education p29.

            This is why we are by no means neutral. We are born sinful. There is in fact no such thing as neutrality when it comes to God and to sin. Whoever is not for God is against God (Mat 12:30).

            Romans 5:18-19 repeat the position of original sin twice.

            18 - "one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people". This 'all people' includes not only the newborn but even the unborn. We are condemned because we are born sinful, quite apart from our acts of sin.

            19 - "through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners". Paul immediately repeats it a second time to make sure we understand that our natural state is that of a sinner, again, apart from our personal act of sin.

            Romans 5:13-14 point out that we are sinners apart from the law, which Paul emphasises by drawing our attention to those who lived before the law was given.

            There are almost innumerable quotes that repeat the above, because this is the position that the whole bible and the words of Jesus support.

            So it is rather a case of when, not if, we sin. The acts of sin are the natural result of our state of sin.

            We sin, acts of sin, because of our inherited state of sin, because of Adams original sin.

            Note that in all this I specifically mean original sin not original guilt.

            Two wonderful resources that discuss this very well are at https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/sites/default/files/pdf/sinoriginal-web.pdf and also Edward Heppenstall's book "The man who is God", in particular chapter 6 here http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/books/mangod/manch6.htm

          • Ian, Check the lineage of Jesus, He decends from Adam like you and I.

            This should settle the question. When I say we are neutral, it means neither guilty of sin or justified from sin. We cannot be condemned for anyone else's sin, so until we sin as defined by the Bible, we are not born guilty. This is the understanding I have been promoting. I'm not saying we don't have a fallen nature, we simply are not guilty until we sin. Until this is understood, your quoted passages are not worth discussing. If you understand how guilt is acquired, you will understand what Paul is saying. Most read outside of the context of his whole epistle, focusing on single verses. His writings cannot be read in such a manner, as Peter warned.

            • Robert, it might be helpful if you would define what you mean by "sin."

              I'm wondering about the practical difference between being separated from God and being "guilty" of sin. ...

          • Inge probably has it right. To define sin.

            I like this definition (from Adventist Biblical Research article I mention above):
            "This sinfulness of the human heart, which we will call SIN, produces individual acts of transgressions which are sins."

            We share in the results of Adams original sin which Heppenstall describes nicely as well with:
            "Original sin is not per se wrong doing, but wrong being."

            There is no good in us. Take the worst people or acts of violence or hate you have ever heard of. There but for the grace of God, are you and I. We are completely reliant on God for all life, but most importantly reliant on him to protect us from our evil nature.

            The Great Controversy describes the result in the end time when God removes his protection and influence from the finally impenitent.

            As for the discussion on Jesus, he was the second Adam, born like Adam in purity and holiness because he was the son of God, but with the genetic inheritance of thousands of years of sin because he was also the son of Adam. Jesus was born in a right relationship with God, an unbroken connection to the Father that is not our privilege. In a world vastly different from Adams and heavily laden with the curse of sin, he passed over the same ground and won where Adam had failed. In one way Jesus was like Adam at his creation and in another like you and I. In a completely different way he was also still in very nature God, but that aspect he voluntarily laid aside. Phil 2:6-8.

            Jesus did not inherit a propensity to sin from Adam, but we do.

          • Inge, what does the Bible say? How does scripture define what is sin? Most SDA's keep these passages in their back pocket. 🙂

          • Ian and Inge, Adam and Eve were created sinless, in the image of God, yet it was an action that God warned them against and an action that God judged them as guilty for. Yes, we know these are the "works" that result from a sinful breakdown in the heart, but God is clear: all will be judged by works, not inward thoughts, which will always be expressed in some outward "work" under the right circumstances. Every sinner exposes their own heart by sinful "works", even if no other human eye ever sees it.

            Jesus was tempted. Like us in "all points". Yes, we could debate for the rest of our time on earth over what the differences are between Jesus and us, but in the end, it's self above God which is sin. Lucifer was higher in perfection than Adam and Eve or even Jesus as a babe, but sin was found in him through his "works". So, knowing that God judges sin by it's workings, how is a baby guilty of itself? Doesn't matter how wicked mommy and daddy are, what is a newborn baby guilty of that it CHOSE to think, say or do? Upon what does it stand condemned? If anything, so was Jesus at His birth. If Jesus has advantage over anyone, He cannot be their Example in all fairness. Be careful how you interpret the nature of Jesus incarnate. Our Example is the Son of Man after the fall. While sinless, fully tempted, but choosing to abide in the will of God always. We can do the same by the same power working in Jesus. We can be like Him (1 John 3:2,3). If you choose to, you can find the "quotes" to support your views. Well, so can the other side of the question.

            But does this matter? We have proof that perfect beings with no "propensity to sin" can sin, so what does one's nature at birth/creation matter? We all; us, Christ, Lucifer, Adam and Eve, have the ability to choose. Jesus, as a creature, had choices like us to face and was tempted to sin as we are. (please, no argument as to the differences, the truth is; Jesus was tempted to place self above God/others in considering His own needs/wants at any given time.)

            If Jesus was beyond sinning, how could He have been tempted? Why the entire nights in prayer for His own faith and faithfulness, even having "resisted unto blood, striving against sin"?

          • Hi Robert.

            I cannot agree that an unborn, newborn or young child who dies before the age of consent, is not subject to the second death because of no act of sin. This line of reasoning introduces the idea that some can get to heaven without a saviour and that it is better for children to die and be saved than to grow up and possibly, by wrong action, lose eternity.

            Jesus allows no such exception when he says "No one comes to the father except through me" John 14:6

            But you are most certainly right in that we are judged by our actions. This is not a judgement of whether we are sinners or not, or if we need a saviour or not. This judgement is purely to decided whether we have accepted Jesus or not. To be entirely accurate, we are not judged by our actions in some cases. Through forgiveness graciously granted, our sins are remembered no longer and we are not judged by those past, forgiven deeds. When talking about sin in judgement we really are only talking about the judgement of unforgiven sin.

            I wonder if looking at how we are judged for our actions before God is not possibly the root cause of you and I seeing it differently?

            The difference we see may be in looking at the deeper underlying problem of sin. I am pointing out that regardless of our actions we need a saviour to save us from the degraded state in which we are born sinners.

            Perhaps you allude to this when you say "but in the end, it's self above God which is sin." Absolutely! I am drawing attention to our state of being born self-centered, not God-centered and thereby being sinners.

            I see that it is rather a case of we sin because we are sinners, not that we are sinners because we sin.

          • On the nature of Christ I am not going to comment further however. On this point we clearly see it quite differently.

            I think we have both laid out how we see Jesus incarnate sufficiently for future possible readers to decide for themselves and I don't think further discussion on this point would be constructive. Thank you though for a good talk on the subject.

          • The idea that we are not sinful unless we commit a sin has too many totally unlikely possibilities. Romans 3:39,Romans 5:12, Psalms14:1,and Mattew5:28. Theory may be enticingly closer than fact.

          • Robert, I find this statement of yours a bit surprising: "God is clear: all will be judged by works, not inward thoughts."

            If God judges only be outward works, how does He judge differently than humans? I always understood that God judges the heart, while humans can only judge outward actions.

            It is quite possible, I believe, for someone in rebellion against God to still behave in a manner that would satisfy the letter of the law.

            I also wonder how you justify your statement with the 10th commandment that deals only with thoughts. According to you, I can covet all I want, as long as I don't follow through? And you can lust all you want as long as you don't follow through?

            If it hasn't become clear already, I believe that we are judged by what is in our hearts. Our "works" may not always come out the way we want, but God accepts our best efforts according to the intentions of our hearts. To believe otherwise - i.e. having to be "perfect" according to some human standard - generally results in fault-finding legalism, according to my observation.

            I further believe that the drunk just getting out of the gutter and responding to Christ may be in a better position regarding salvation than the minister in the pulpit who looks "perfect" in all respects but is proud of his "perfection." That's because God judges the heart, not just actions.

          • Paul, and others, how does the Bible define sin? Being born or transgressing the law by knowing what is good but not doing it? Keep passages such as Eze 18 in mind as you ponder this question. The wrong interpretation can lead to accepting other falsehoods. Pray to understand and follow what the Holy Spirit teaches.

          • Inge, your suppositions must be backed up with scripture. God does read the heart, which man often cannot discern without the aid of the Spirit. However, God has been unequivocal in all of scripture that all will be judged on their works. You feel some can disguise their motives well enough, yet, that is really not the case. An orange tree cannot bear apples. With Divine enlightenment, works will be the means of discerning the truth thoughts of each heart. It was a tree that revealed the heart of both Eve and Adam. We will condemn ourselves if our heart is not one with the Lord. In the days to come, a simple test will reveal the thoughts of every soul alive on the earth at that time. This test will open the way for Truth as never before and all will make a choice and their "works" will reveal that choice. Remember Daniel 3? Those who in another situation might seem faithful to God were found bowing in fear of the furnace. Their true heart of unbelief was revealed by a simple work of bowing.

            We need a clear and perfect knowledge of God to not be caught up in speculative teachings that seem right in our eyes. God's Word alone must teach us truth.

          • Robert, it appears that you regard my statement that " God judges the heart, not just actions" as a mere "supposition."

            Perhaps you did not recognize my scriptural allusions:

            1 Sam 19: 7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

            Ex 20: 17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

            The tenth commandment specifically addresses the condition of the heart or motivation, if you will. Larry is right, I believe, in drawing attention to this commandment, because it makes clear that the Law is not merely about not doing certain specific actions/works.

            Jesus also taught that sin can be in the heart long before it is evident by outward actions when he said:
            Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

            Of course, the implication is that God will judge by the heart, not merely outward "works."

            Way back in Moses' time, the Lord said, "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart" (Leviticus 19:17), implying that the thoughts of the heart are judged by God.

            Judgment on the basis of the heart rather than mere external "works" appears to me to be so elementary to anyone who understand the Law of God to be a law of Love that it should not need explanation. If, however, one sees the Ten Commandments as merely literal commandments that forbid specific activities, then I can understand the conclusion that God judges solely on the basis of "works."

            While it is true, that the condition of the heart eventually shows up in "works," it is not always so, and it is apparent that God judges what goes on in the heart before the "works" are evident.

            I think it goes back to the definition of sin, as I suggested earlier. It seems to me that you may be defining it simply and literally as "transgression of the law" and equating the "law" with the literal Ten Commandments.

            I, on the other hand, understand that anything that is not of faith, is sin. (Ro 14:23) That defines sin as something that is in the heart. That's why in the New Covenant, God promised to give His people a "new heart." I furthermore see the Ten Commandments only as an expression of the great Law of Love that is the eternal law of God - an expression adapted to people whose moral sensitivities had been dulled by hundreds of years in slavery. But even to them the Law was revealed to be one of Love. ( Deut 6:5, Lev 19:18) I understand that this was a common summation of the Law of God even in Christ's time.

            If you insist on interpreting the judging by "works" literally, without reference to the heart, what do you do with these words of Christ "37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matt 12:37)? (Here it would seem we are justified and condemned by our words, rather than our works. Taken literally, it would indicate that saying "I love the Lord and am an obedient child of God" should save us.)

          • Inge, it's not your statement, and I am aware of why you presented it and where it comes from, but it's your conclusion. The simple fact is what the Bible states. We will all be judged according to our works. How can anyone think otherwise if they have read the Bible even just once?

            The example you cited concerning Samuel was in judging one worthy of being king, not whether or not they were saved or lost. I'm sure you can see the proper relevance for that instance.

            The words we will be judged by are "works" of the heart. Righteousness/godliness is the works of faith, disobedience/ungodliness is the works of unbelief. A careful study of this subject leads to an unequivocal conclusion, based on the words of scripture. I marvel this is even a point of discussion. Do I need to cite the scriptural evidence? I thought it was basic knowledge among Bible students.

        • "Sin is not unfair, since it is a choice"

          Thank you for a most engaging discussion. I do appreciate and agree with much of what you've written. Points of agreement are too many to enumerate. However, I do see a few things differently.

          One of them is the above quote. I think sin IS unfair. None of us chose to be born into this world of sin yet we all feel its ill effects. And one of God's aims in the Great Controversy is to reveal the ghastly nature of sin.

          And the sin of our father, Adam, has affected us all. We are not born neutral neither can we be neutral. You know the verses well. Two that come to mind are the following: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12). "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).

          Another is the Biblical concept of 'works'. I do believe that it includes thoughts, words and deeds. Covetousness (Exodus. 20:17), pride (Eze. 28:17), being angry with a brother without a cause (Matt. 5:22) and looking on a woman to lust after are all examples of 'thought sins'. In fact, sin is primarily a disorder of the human mind and then secondarily involves the rest of the being.

          Since sin affects the mind, its remedy must also involve the mind---trust in God. Early in the history of sin, Satan had caused one-third of the angels and our first parents to distrust God. Jesus came to reveal the character of God in order to restore that trust. It is this constant focus on Jesus and the relationship of trust that will help us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2).

          • Pramod,

            Please study very carefully what Paul is stating in Romans 5. Verse 12 is more precise than many realize. Sin is a choice you are not doomed to make, but choose. Sure, many are surrounded by sinfulness without any example of righteousness, but if this was unfair, God would be guilty wouldn't He? Yet ignorance is no excuse since none can claim ignorance. What else can we conclude from John 16:8?

    • Stacy the text that you quote is from Romans 6:23. Death is earned, but eternal life is not earned, but is a gift. Given to us By our Lord Jesus. The entire chapter is worth reading more than once. I agree, choices are most important in our decisions, and requests for daily guidance from the Holy Spirit is needed by each of us.

  13. I think Satan did know Jesus would resurrect. After all, He told his disciples.
    Satan did everything in his power to manipulate people to lie and say the disciples stole his body.

  14. Omnipotence. All powerful. God cannot do anything He wants. He cannot make you love Him . If He could, then no one would be lost. He could be the God of puppets and truly do anything He wants.

    • Larry, I believe that God *can* do "anything He wants." He "wants" only what is in harmony with His character of self-renouncing love. And that means that He does not compel people to believe in Him or to love Him. That may also be the reason He always leaves hooks on which we can hang our doubts. He does not even compel us with overwhelming persuasion.

        • If we don't see the sinfulness of sin, we will question God's just requirements for sin. Only death to the sinner can satisfy the Law that is violated.

          Sin is a serious violation of someone's peace and happiness, and one sinner can pollute an entire universe.

        • If the death penalty had not taken place in Jesus, then God could not at the end of time destroy (death penalty) Satan, the evil angels and the unrepentant wicked. The same law must apply to all.

          Everyone who sins must die, and we are by no means exempt. The sole difference is that we share in that death through Jesus.

          When Jesus died on the Cross, the ultimate destruction of Satan was sealed.

        • Larry, I think I understand why you are asking the question. 😉

          There "had to be death" doesn't address the basic fact that God is the Source of all life, upholding *everything by His power.* (But humans like simple answers.) Thus any being who declares him/herself independent of God - as did Lucifer and as did Eve by believing he serpent rather than God - would instantly self-destruct as the natural consequence. However, the fact that death is the natural consequence of being out of harmony with the Law of God, i.e. the character of God, would not be immediately apparent to other beings.

          Thus God did not allow Lucifer or Adam and Even to experience the natural consequences of their rebellion. Lucifer, with his rebel host, was given an opportunity to demonstrate whether or not his government is better than the Creator's, and Adam and Eve were given a probationary period to demonstrate whether or not they *really* wanted to rebel or whether they *really* wanted to serve their Creator.

  15. Because, Larry, God told Adam and Eve if they eat of this tree that was in the midst of the garden they will surely die. They did not die that same day, but the lamb that clothed their nakedness died. Jesus had to die, so that we could live.

  16. We thank God for giving us the priceless gift in Christ Jesus. Eph 3:16-19, 'I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being. So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ; and to know this love that surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure with all the fullness of God." May God the Holy Spirit continue to enlighten our minds about the true meaning of Christ death and its implications for our daily lives. The lesson reminded me of this wonderful hymn from SDA Hymnal no.335.

    Christ has for sin atonement made,
    What a wonderful Saviour!
    We are redeemed! the price is paid!
    What a wonderful Savior!

    What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Jesus!
    What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Lord!

    I praise Him for the cleansing blood,
    What a wonderful Saviour!
    That reconciled my soul to God;
    What a wonderful Saviour!

    Verse 3
    He walks beside me all the way,
    What a wonderful Saviour!
    And keeps me faithful day by day;
    What a wonderful Saviour!

    Verse 4
    He gives me overcoming power,
    What a wonderful Saviour!
    And triumph in each trying hour;
    What a wonderful Saviour!

  17. Larry,
    I suggest that we need to be prayerful to understand spiritual matters. Spiritual matters are spiritually discerned.
    There is no way God would 'hide' His Truth to us that require us to be saved. In as much as we need to derive sense out of what we believe in, things that are beyond our comprehension as Inge said are better left.
    We need to have faith and believe His Word, the Bible is a TRUE Guide to our salvation. We need to live by Faith. The book of Hebrews is full of men and women obeyed and believed God. They took God at His Word.
    Let us not have needless multitude of questions that won't have any salvation benefits in our lives. As I said, we need to invite the Holy Spirit before we open our Bibles to help us understand what we want to learn. He will surely come and lead us into "ALL" and "NOT SOME TRUTH". When we study God's Word, let us study with no preconceived ideas, wanting to hear what we want to hear in our humanity. Let the HOLY SPIRIT guide.
    Other burning issues, let us leave them to better understood when we are saved. We will have the entire expanse of eternity to ask questions to our Redeemer that we do not have answers to now.Let us remember what Isa 55:8 says.
    I thank you.

  18. Thank you for your comment. I respectfully disagree with your statement, "needless multitude of questions that won't have any salvation benefits in our lives." In the beginning, God said "...you will die" Did He say, "I will kill you.? When I was a child, I was taught that if I was not good, God would burn me for the time I deserved until I died forever. Am I not to question that? I don't believe that the Great Controversy is about you and me, it is about God and who He is. Does sin self-destruct or does God kill? Since we are to be like God, I think this is a very important question when it comes to the issue of salvation.s

    • Larry, when the Creator leaves a creature to itself, it will perish. Or rather, it will cease to live. This is not an act of "killing", but one of giving the creature what it wants; a God-free existence. Since God is the author and sustainer of all life, this means the God-free creature will cease to live.

      In the end, God will give to each the desire of their heart.

      • I believe that you are correct in this statement. God does not kill. He is the source of life. He created the law of love like He created the law of thermo dynamics, the law of respiration, the law of gravity and all of the other natural laws that we experience on this planet. The definition of sin is selfishness. The law of love does not exist in selfishness. Selfishness separates us from God. This is expressed in how we treat each other and we are definitely living in times of extreme selfishness. The 10 commandments have long been a remedial way of thinking about the law of love. It would be prudent to always say "The 10th Commandment" Instead of "The 10 commandments." In Corinthians there is a statement that addresses this,"Every time they read the law, they put the veil back over their hearts." Why? because the law of love is so much greater than just the 10 commandments. The 10 commandments makes it so much easier to make the government of God about rules and regulations that need to be punished if broken. When broken, the authority in charge has to impose some kind of penalty. God's government is about created laws, not imposed laws. The imposed law concept came out of the Constantine era which was a radical switch from the early church. "Come out of her my people." The Constantine concept was not just about Sabbath it was about the law of love versus written law. When we vary from the law of love, a much higher standard than just the 10 commandments, we have stepped in to a higher calling and have taken "the veil" off of our hearts.

        • Hi Larry, I agree with the spirit of your comment, but not necessarily with the particulars. You see, I would not find fault with the Law that Paul describes as "holy, just and good." (Ro 7:12) The fault that you see with the law does not belong to the law, but to people who attempt to reduce it to the letter, rather than the principle of love.
          Please see my post, "God’s Law: The One, the Two, the Ten and the Many", for more details.

          I also suggest checking out Jeffrey Carl's post to see how seeing the Law of God as the principle of self-renouncing love looks in real life: "God's Love Wins ... Again."

          However we express God's Law, there will be fallen beings who make it of none effect. It is just really serious when those who profess the name of Christ reduce the Law of God to letters and forget the principles, not just in their teaching but also their actions.

          That said, I do not understand your statement,

          "It would be prudent to always say "The 10th Commandment" Instead of "The 10 commandments."

          Please clarify.


          • Of course, I agree completely with your statement that behavior is only a symptom of what goes on in our hearts.

            Subsequent discussion makes me want to add this thought:
            Some diseases do not show symptoms for a long time, even if they are deadly. In fact, it is possible that people die before the symptoms of a particular disease manifest themselves.

            In like manner, I believe that heart rebellion may be symptom-less for a long time. Someone may do all the "right things" for quite selfish reasons and die, looking light a perfect saint. But God sees the heart and judges accordingly.

  19. Very much agree that the Bible should be used as a divine tool. Written by the Holy Spirit of God as a guide to our salvation. Many are instructed and encouraged to read the Book cover to cover then brag about their achievement as though it were a novel. I agree that everyone should keep Gods word so close that maybe they eventually do read it cover to cover. But, it is more important to retain and use what is learned therein.

  20. Human reasoning is limited. I cannot think like God and attempting to question why deliverance from sin requires the remission of blood seems futile. If the creator from the beginning mandated that Adam's disobedience requires the death of His Son (He who formed the plan of salvation might have said the blood of bulls were enough,He could have but He didn't),that was His plan not ours.
    So why was death needed? Cos the creator requested it.Why? I might try to rationalize and explain it, but I'm limited in wisdom and will rather go with the fact that God requested it.

    And I'm satisfied with that knowing who He is.

    • Ayo, when we comprehend just how terrible "sin" is, we understand that the law is just in demanding death to the violator. I'm sure you would understand the need to kill/remove a cancer growth in someone you love to save their life, and sin is a cancer that will destroy the life of all creation if allowed to persist. The law is the Watcher over creation and when anything that would threaten that creation rises, the law defends creation by demanding this violation cease, and for the unrepentant, this means forfeiting life. The law is Just. Why should the innocent be allowed to be destroyed against their choice because the guilty desire it? God protects His creation and will do what all just creatures will accept. (Rev 5:11-14; 15:3)

      Since every creature will acknowledge the justice of God, all are able to comprehend it.

  21. Woow I just went over the above discussion and I have been blessed. May God continually shine more light in your pathways. I have learnt a lot. Thanks for the Questions too Mr Larry, without which I would not have learnt most of what you just shared guys.

    It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross. {DA 83.4}

  22. Let me add my two cents, as they say, regarding 'atonement'.

    The term atonement, as I understand it, just means reconciliation or agreement (or it used to mean). Now it has been reduced to the idea of appeasement, propitiation etc. (which really paints the picture of an angry God not unlike pagan gods).

    Atonement is really formed by the union of three words---at + one + ment. The word 'one' in the past was used as a verb, e. g., if I saw two people quarreling, I might say, "I am going to one them", i.e., to bring them into agreement or reconciliation. So atonement occurs in our minds. The battle is always in the mind "for out of it are the issues of life".

    So what needs to happen for us to be reconciled? Satan caused mankind and 1/3 of angels to distrust God. Jesus revealed God's character to us so we could be brought back to a relationship of trust in God (salvation by faith). This new relationship works a change in my thought processes (faith that works by love). "When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life." [COL. p. 311] This I believe is the kind of reconciliation or atonement that we need.

    I believe this is what Jesus meant in John 17:22-23 when He said, "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." He did not use the word atonement, but the idea is embedded in the verses.

    Atonement is what God wants for the entire creation---reconciliation of all beings in heaven and earth. "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven" (Colossians 1:20).

    The final atonement will be when the great controversy has ended. To quote EGW, "One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation" when "all things, animate and inanimate", in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love" [GC 678.3].

    • Pramod,

      It is GOD who set forth Jesus as a propitiation(Rom 3:25,26), so how can that make God seem angry if HE is the one propitiating?!

      This propitiation allows God to forgive sinners. This is the demand of a just and holy Law. It can be no other way or you will have to excuse sin.

      This forgiveness allows for at-one-ment, or oneness again. Being in full agreement on all things IF we repent and submit to become transformed by grace.

      Too many misunderstand propitiation, which is in the original inspired language. God knows what is just and while perfectly just, is merciful and gracious "forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin". So how is He angry if this is HIS offer to sinners? The only way we can propitiate ourselves is to die the death ourselves, eternally lost from life and no hope of resurrection, but satisfying the law's just requirement of death to transgressors. Or we can accept Christ as our propitation, who through purity of life, lives again after suffering the wrath upon sinners Himself, though sinless. He has propitiated for us, thus bringing atonement/reconciliation to all who believe.

      Consider the event of Abraham taking Isaac at the command of God to offer him as a sacrifice, which Isaac(and all of us) deserved. Yet, what took place? How was the propitiation accomplished? God provided in Isaac's place the sacrifice for Isaac's sin(representing all who are Abraham's seed). "God will provide it" is the new name given to that place by Abraham who rejoiced to see how God would redeem sinners by providing the propitiation Himself for sinners through Christ. Far from being angry, God was pleased to bruise Him on our behalf, who otherwise must perish.

      • "Too many misunderstand propitiation, which is in the original inspired language."

        Hi Robert:

        You are right. Our understanding of the word 'propitiation' is the key to interpreting the significance of Jesus' death on the cross.

        I am going to write a few things which I do NOT claim to be an authority on. However, as an honest seeker after the truth, I have tried to wrestle with the idea of 'propitiation'.

        Now 'propitiation' is from the verb 'to propitiate'.

        From the online American Heritage Dictionary of the English language:

        pro·pi·ti·ate (prō-pĭshē-āt′)
        To gain or regain the goodwill or favor of; appease: propitiate the gods with a sacrifice.

        So, as I understand it, the word 'propitiation' means appeasement of someone who is angry or not favorably inclined.

        But God has always been for us. He has loved us with an everlasting love. "The Father Himself loves you" (John 16:27). It is true that the Bible talks about God's wrath which, from my reading of Romans 1:24, 26 and 28, just means God giving us up to our choices (from Greek 'paradidomi' which word is also used in Romans 4:25). Since Jesus chose to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21), God gave Him up or delivered him up to His (Jesus') choice. Hence, Jesus' cry, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me (or given Me up)?"

        Now back to 'propitiation'. This has been translated from the Greek 'hilasterion' which in LXX was in turn a translation from the Hebrew word, 'kapporeth' which referred to the cover or lid on the Ark in the Old Testament sanctuary. Martin Luther in 1523 translated 'hilasterion' as 'gnadenstuhl' which meant seat of grace. Tyndale later translated it into English as 'mercy-seat'. In Hebrews 9:5, 'hilasterion' is translated as 'the mercy-seat'. So the choice of the word 'propitiation' may have been somewhat unfortunate.

        So, how did they go from the cover of the ark to propitiation? I am told that it was because of their picture of an angry God and the theology arising from this belief. But, if God has always been for us, the question of appeasement does not arise. On the contrary, if we believe that appeasement was necessary, then how does our concept of God differ from that of a pagan god?

        We can all agree "that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). "Hanging upon the cross Christ was the gospel." --- {21MR 37.1}. "The church and the world are called upon to behold and admire a love which thus expressed is beyond human comprehension" --- {4T 293.1}.

        Happy Sabbath!


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