Wednesday: The Master Teacher and Reconciliation
Human relationships all too often break down. We become estranged from one another. The person who was once our close friend becomes, over time, someone we distrust. However, such a broken relationship can be mended. When that happens, we experience the wonder of reconciliation. Few human experiences are as sweet as this.
How does reconciliation lie at the heart of Christ’s incarnation and His role as Master Teacher? 2 Cor. 5:16-21.
If we feel blessed when a relationship with another human being is restored, how grand should we feel when we are reconciled to God? In 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Paul is clear about who is doing the reconciling – God the Father has taken the lead in mending our broken relationship with Him. And He has done this reconciling work “through Christ”
(2 Cor. 5:18, NRSV). “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19, NKJV).
Again, though, we are not simply to be consumers of the joys of reconciliation. We are to learn from the Master Teacher. In His incarnation, Jesus participated in the work of reconciliation. And we, too, are invited to participate in it. God has reconciled us to Himself through Christ. And now we, with Paul, are given “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18).
Colossians 1:15-20 is another of the great New Testament passages on Christ’s incarnation. Often thought to be a hymn, the first half of the passage discusses Christ’s role in creation (Col. 1:15-17), while the last half focuses on Christ’s role in redemption (Col. 1:18-20). Through Christ’s role as Creator-Redeemer, God reconciles all things to Himself. The work of reconciliation that God accomplishes through Christ is cosmic in scale, impacting “all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20, NRSV).
While we could never match the cosmic scale of the Master Teacher’s work as reconciler, we are invited to participate in “the ministry of reconciliation” in our own sphere (2 Cor. 5:18). Could this be what was in Jesus’ mind when He prayed, “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” (John 17:18, NKJV)?
|What are practical ways we can reflect God’s role as reconciler? That is, in what situation right now (if any) can you help people be reconciled with each other?|
Today’s lesson touches on Jesus role as reconciler - a role that is a natural outflow of Jesus/God’s nature and character of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:21 is a profound verse that aligns with yesterdays Philippians 2:1-11 passage. In the English translations, it seems to be saying that God somehow made Jesus to actually be 'sin'.
However, if we go back to the Greek, we find the word ‘hamartian’ used twice in this verse: the (One) not having known hamartian He made hamartian that we might become righteousness of God in Him.
Hamartian, derived from hamartia, means “forfeiture due to missing the mark”. What does this mean? Let’s go back to where this forfeiture took place to find out.
In Eden, prior to ‘the fall’, Adam and Eve were created to live ‘abundant life’/eternal life as a citizen of the Kingdom of God - and they were living it. That is to say, they were 'hitting the mark’ - living abundant/eternal life within the Kingdom of God that they were created for. Foundational to this abundant life is living with a heart that freely desires to be in harmony with the essential principle/Law/constant of other-centered beneficence (Agape love) that is central to the underpinning nature and character of abundant/eternal life.
But then Adam and Eve were unfortunately seduced by The Serpent into instead embracing a heart motivated by self-seeking/self-exaltation (Genesis 3:6). Having abandoned their former heart-orientation of other-centered beneficence that is the essential foundational principle/Law of abundant life, they unfortunately consequentially disconnected their connection with abundant/eternal life. This was the terminal state that God had warned them about in Genesis 2:17. Thus, they were now in the state of ‘forfeiture due to missing the mark’ - they were now fallen humanity. And because they were humanities first beings, humanity as a species became terminal - doomed to (self)-extinction.
Romans 5:14 points out that there was no chance of humanity reconnecting itself back to abundant life. Humanity within itself could not reverse this 'terminal heart-condition' from self-seeking back to other-centered beneficent.
What would actually fix this situation - actually restore other-centered beneficence back within humanity? Someone from outside humanity would need to actually become a valid member of humanity and live a life that unwaveringly held on to other-centered beneficence. And in so doing, that someone (a 2nd Adam) would retain their connection with abundant/eternal life (just as the 1st Adam had started out doing) and therefore re-establish humanity's connection back with abundant/eternal life. This is precisely what Jesus did as the 2nd Adam of Romans 5:19. As a consequence of doing this, each human now has one of two options - partake of the inheritance of the 1st Adam via retaining a heart motivated by self-seeking or partake in the inheritance of the 2nd Adam via participating in a heart-renewal initiative facilitated by the 2nd Adam via the Holy Spirit.
This is what I would propose that 2 Corinthians 5:21 is outlining. That Jesus, who had no first-hand experience with sin (ie 'knew' no sin/hamartian/forfeiture due to missing of the mark) as a member of fallen humanity, was ‘made to be’ (via incarnation from outside humanity) a valid member of humanity in order to be its 2nd Adam and actually reconcile humanity (as a species) back into connection with abundant/eternal life (via living a life of unwavering adherence to other-centered beneficence). The idea of Jesus “being made hamartian" (human) is elsewhere validated in parallel verses/passages across scripture (Hebrews 2:14-17; Isaiah 53:12; Romans 8:3; Galatians 3:13; Philippians 2:7).
And as the 2nd Adam, Jesus then offered this ‘alternative’ humanity inheritance to anyone who is willing to undergo 'heart restoration'. That 'heart restoration' process is what 2 Corinthians 5:21 means by the term "might become" - genometha. Genometha is a verb derived from ginomai which means actually come/generate into being via bringing about actual change/growth. Thus it is referring to actually being transformed rather than merely considered to be transformed. This is also parallel with what Isaiah 53:3-5 is unpacking when it concluedes with "and by His stripes we are (actually) healed". Consequently, 2 Corinthians 5:21 is describing actual reconciliation that is brought about by actual repair of the original problem that actually caused the disconnection in the first place: actual 'heart transplant' to fix the actual 'terminal heart condition' of humanity as a species and, in turn, each individual human being. No wonder God is looking on the heart rather than the outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7). He is looking to see that the heart transplant is uptaking, staying viable and therefore enabling growth.
I would propose that this is how The Master Teacher actually reconciled/reconciles humanity (a) collectively as a species so that terminal is no longer the only option/outcome and therefore also (b) individually for each member of humanity who is willing to be personally reconciled.
And this is how we also become reconcilers - desiring and submitting to having our hearts recreated back to treating others with other-centered beneficence that they, in turn, might desire to have their hearts healed too.
Phil - thank you for giving the expert’s view from the language perspective to highlight the correct understanding of ‘might become’ to mean “actually come/generate into being via bringing about actual growth/change.”
I had understood ‘might become’ in terms of the walk by faith which is ours to maintain. I am always happy to improve my understanding!
I don't always get to respond to your affirmations, but I do read them.
Thank you for your thoughts, Phil. At first I thought that maybe your argument could demonstrate that 2 Cor 5:21 can also be seen in another way than is traditionally done. But then I looked again, and the text clearly says that God made Christ "to be" sin/miss the mark. That's saying much more than that Christ became or "was made" human or "became a valid member of humanity." It says He became sin or He became one who "missed the mark"! In 2 Cor 5:21, Paul goes a step beyond Phil 2:7 where he writes that Christ "took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." In fact, Paul affirms the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy, "the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isa 53:6, 12
The writer of Hebrews also echoed the teaching of the sin offering that goes back to the gates of Eden when he wrote "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." (Heb 9:28) When John the Baptist cried, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29) he was drawing attention to the substitutionary death of every sacrificial sin offering. (Recall that sinners confessed their sins over the animals before slitting their throats. Yes, it was horrible. It was supposed to be. Sin is horrible.)
The fundamental biblical teaching of Christ taking the "wages of sin" (Rom 6:23) on Himself in the place of humanity has softened millions of hearts and brought them to repentance and faith.
I appreciate your reference to Christ as the second Adam. Christ did, indeed, become the "second Adam" and thus re-connected humanity with divinity. But it was not in place of His substitutionary death. Rather it is another aspect of the salvation story.
Christ became the "Reconciler" by giving humanity a new heritage and by removing the barrier that sin had set up between humanity and God. He removed the misperception of a God who made arbitrary demands as He demonstrated the self-giving nature of God's character.
I appreciate your emphasis on the power of the gospel to change lives - something we usually call "sanctification," but I believe that it cannot be separated from the act of justification which Christ effected by His substitutionary death on the cross.
Since New Testament writers repeatedly call the way of redemption a "mystery," I believe we will studying it for eternity and learning more and more of the depth of the love of God.
Thanks Inge - I genuinely appreciate your response...
Because the tone of textual response is ambiguous, I wish to state at the outset that what I write comes from a calm heart and is written in a spirit of 'collegial peer review' - meaning that I appreciate being able to look at scripture in detail, with you and others, and not that I am trying to be academic for the sake of being academic (Those who know me know that I am a very down-to-earth person).
The view/s I have outlined do not merely come from textual analysis of a single text - it is the result of 'triangulation' of many concepts and therefore many texts/passages that I have looked at (and continue to look at) in great detail over extended periods of time. However, the process has also involved going beyond the presuppositions that I had been taught and held for most of my life. This was not an easy nor comfortable process. But what I have found (and continue to find) is that there is another cluster of presuppositions that actually align much more consistently with the above-mentioned triangulation. I still critically appraise the views I am discovering (via trying to disconfirm them, so I am not seeking confirmation bias) - but the more I critically appraise, the greater the base of support I find emerging in confirmation of these views as a consequence. They are not my views - they are there in scripture. Bottom line is that English translations have been interpreted through a 'set' of presuppositions that reflect human ways of being which are different to God's way/s of being - as reflected in Isaiah 55:8,9.
I could dialogue the above points you raised - but only if you are interested in doing so...
By way of one small example, in regard to the point you raised regarding "...the text clearly says that God made Christ "to be" sin/miss the mark", I provide the following quote from Barnes notes on the Bible that parallels my own 'research' findings:
"To be sin - The words 'to be' are not in the original. Literally, it is, 'he has made him sin, or a sin-offering' ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν hamartian epoiēsen."
But what I think would be more time efficient at this point is to ask for further clarification of the following questions that are essentially asking the same thing:
In what way did Christ "bear the sins of many"?
How did God lay on Christ the iniquity of us all?
In what way was Jesus death substitutionary?
These questions tap into a core presuppositions underlying what is believed to be the actual nature of atonement/reconciliation.
I would greatly appreciate your answer/response to these questions as a foundation for a bit further dialogue (I am aware we will only touch on a small slice but its a start to further dialogues at other points along the way - like we have been doing over the past years...)
Thanks in anticipation...
Thanks, Phil. What you say about examining other texts and "triangulating" the results holds true for me as well. In re-reading the Bible (currently in the Old Testament), as well as Ellen White's writings, I continually come across passages which I attempt to "try on" with your view of the issues and find that the resulting change is so major that it just "doesn't fit." I'm not sure we can hope to persuade each other. But that doesn't mean that we cannot share our view of things.
I don't understand what you see because, if anything, leaving out the extra words makes the point even clearer: "He has made Him sin" or "He has made Him sin offering" - especially when we keep in mind that the "sin offering" was to die in place of the guilty sinner.
I think that's a question we will explore in eternity. I'm afraid that trying to specify this further than Scripture does will only result in error.
I would be hard put to express it as well as Ellen White, so please allow me to quote from Desire of Ages, p. 25:
Upon reviewing our exchange, it occurred to me that we may have different views of what it means to be "justified." For instance, what does "justification" mean to you in the context of these references?
In this context I see that as we accept Christ for our justification and identify with Him in His death, we are "justified" (i.e. declared just, righteous).
I believe in Romans 5:10, "reconciled" is equivalent to "justified" and "much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" refers to His life in us sanctifying us (changing our hearts/characters). Thus Rom 5:10 covers the two aspects of salvation - namely justification and sanctification.
PS You also wrote:
Appreciate it. 🙂 In a previous comment I was simply stating my impression that focusing on "design law" rather than God's Law reflective of His character seems impersonal, compared to recognizing that a personal connection to the Life Giver is what sustains life.
No, we won't - and that's a good thing. Each of us needs to be persuaded in our own mind by the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:5).
For sure - that's all I am trying to do too. Lay out what I discover so that others are stimulated to do some digging and reflecting upon what they believe and the basis for that belief.
With regard to the notion of the ways in which Jesus "bore our sin/s", I find that this notion is referring to the totality of all the aspects that Christ experienced in his role as The Son of Man, the 2nd Adam including:
* the 'stepping down' from Creator to human with 4000 years of degeneration since the time of the 1st Adam and with the willingly-embraced responsibility to succeed as the 2nd Adam (the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all - ie the responsibility to actually first-hand fix the terminal sin condition via, as The Son of Man, re-establishing a beneficent other-seeking heart back within humanity as a valid/authentic member of humanity). Having a beneficent other-centered heart is the foundational difference between those within vs without The Kingdom of God.
* being personally reviled, abused, scorned, misperceived, maligned, tortured and crucified
* experiencing in human form the sorrow and empathy for humans who were the victims of abuse or neglect at the hands of humans - as well as anguishing sorrow for those He had created that use their life energy to abuse others and/or destroy themselves
* the strain of being tempted under the most extreme circumstances any human has ever faced and having to bear up under temptation so as not to give in to temptation (as per Hebrews 5:8,9 for the purpose of Hebrew 4:15).
Essentially, it was the 'cost' He had to 'bear' for becoming the 2nd Adam - SOMEWHAT like the cost a rescuer has to bear via the trauma and personal injury (and sometimes death) involved in retrieving people trapped under, for example, a building collapse, etc. I think of the rescuers killed in their efforts to rescue/save Twin Towers victims - the 'price' they 'paid' in the course of necessarily responding to people impacted/trapped/injured by 'lawlessness'.
With regard to the notion of Jesus death as substitutionary, I believe it was his life of obedience unto death that was 'substitutionary' - doing for us what we could not possibly do for ourselves (due to the phenomenon referred to in Romans 5:14). This is why I believe Isaiah 53:5 concludes with the metaphor of healing rather than pardon/exoneration. While the Bible does use 'judicial' language, its context is authoritative declaration of the 'state' something/someone actually is in - not to bring about that state by its determination. An example of this would be the custom of those healed from leprosy needing to present to the priest who would then pronounce them clean/healed - or righteous (in harmony with the state of what needs to be in order to be non-leprous) or justified (re-aligned back to the the state of health that needs to be in order to be non-leprous).
As simply as I can summarise it, my understanding of justification is actual 're-alignment' back to righteousness (what ought to be). Practically this means a person submits to having a new heart and right Spirit re-instated back within them which in turn reconnects them back to abundant eternal life (this also involves exercise of faith as per Romans 4:21,22). Sanctification is then putting this new heart to work in the process of progressive reconditioning of the character (as per Romans 8:6-13 - via a person working out their salvation using the Spirit empowerment that gives them the 'energy' to will and to do in accordance with the righteousness of abundant life/beneficent living: Philippians 2:12,13).
There is much more than justification that we differ on views about. Essentially, I believe we differ on the fundamental premises/presuppositions of what happened in Eden and what is/was needed to actually fix/repair that which got broken in Genesis 3:6.
This is what I believe (as briefly as I can outline it so that it makes at least some coherent sense as a whole)
1. True/abundant life necessarily involves (a) being ongoingly connected with the Source of The Breath of Life (Acts 17:25,27), and (b) living in harmony with the mechanisms/laws that maintain life (hence the principles expressed in Deuteronomy 30:15,16 re what results in retention of life and what results in forfeiture of life). True Life cannot exist on any other basis than these two components in tandem.
2. The mechanisms/laws/constants/principles that maintain life are beneficent other-centered, freedom-based and non-arbitrary in nature. (Interestingly, the beneficent nature of these mechanisms is also perpetual in nature. And perpetual is what makes something eternal - never ending/running out. Thus the Source of The Breath of life is eternal (never running out) and the beneficent-based mechanisms that maintain life are also perpetual/eternal.
3. Created beings necessarily need hearts that freely choose to live in harmony with beneficent other-centeredness and freedom (note the pivotal role of "heart" in, for example, Deuteronomy 30:17,18 as but one verse illustrating this core dynamic).
4. Adam and Eve, prior to Genesis 3, lived in connection with the Source of The Breath of Life, and had hearts that desired to live in harmony with beneficent other-centeredness (and freedom). Thus they were living the abundant life (zoe) of John 10:10 that Jesus later had to re-instate as a consequential need in response to points 5 & 6 following.
5. Satan seduced Eve and in turn Adam to exchange beneficent other-centered hearts for self-seeking/exalting hearts. This correspondingly should have simultaneously disconnected them from the Source of The Breath of Life (as per God's fore'warning'/cautioning in Genesis 2:16, 17) - except that God intervened (mercy and grace in accordance with His character) to 'temporarily suspend' this inherent consequence in order to create time and space for salvation. The wages of sin is death means that the naturally following consequences of lawlessness is disconnection from life - inherent cause and effect (note Paul's prior reference to "wages" in Romans 4:4 giving an indication of how conceived of the notion of what and how wages bring something about). Sin causes its own 'punishment' (negative consequences) via self-destruction (as per eg, Galatians 6:7,8; James 1:14-15; Ephesians 4:18; Psalm 34:21).
6. The thing that was needed to fix this situation was to essentially reverse it - to have humans once again have hearts that are beneficent other-centered in place of self-seeking/exalting (Romans 5:19 most succinctly; Psalm 51:10-12; Ezekiel 36:26).
7. Jesus entered humanity from outside of humanity via incarnation by God/Holy Spirit and became the 2nd Adam - a do-over of the 1st Adam so to speak (Romans 5:12-19). This time the 2nd Adam successfully held on to the requirements for retaining connection with abundant life regardless of the temptations thrown at Him - including the temptation of death (Philippians 2:8). Jesus as the 2nd Adam was the tangible fulfilment of what The Day of Atonement was intended to teach at its core. Yes, there are other dimensions to salvation (including the unmaksing of sin's true nature and character and the corresponding vindication and revelation of God's nature and character), but the 2nd Adam is the core around which and from which those other dimensions arise/are affirmed/etc).
8. Now humanity had two representatives: 1st Adam being the default 'terminal' inheritance of all humans (except Jesus: Romans 5:14) and the 2nd Adam being the inheritance of abundant life (John 10:10). Now it is up to each human to freely choose whether to embrace or reject the offer to join in the inheritance of the 2nd Adam (John 3:3-6). Those who reject the offer retain their 1st Adam 'terminal' inheritance.
I also believe the Day of Atonement 'ritual/s' was/were intended to reflect the above. Because the life was considered to be in the blood (Leviticus 17:11), 'shed blood' represents the laying down of one's life (as per Isaiah 53:12, John 15:13). This laying down of one's life in love represents/reflects a beneficent other-centered heart. Hence, the 2nd Adam was the actual means of Atonement.
Because sin is self-punishing/destroying, there is no 'justice penalty' required in order for God to retain His Holiness/Righteousness. Rather, God's righteousness is retained because He actually fixed what was broken - the terminal heart condition of the 1st Adam via the 2nd Adam. This is how the Lamb of God actually took away the sin (lawlessness resulting from self-seeking hearts) of the world. This is how the 2nd Adam bore our sin/s - taking on Himself the task of actually getting involved at great personal cost to effect repair of what was broken.
Finally, I find Romans 8:3 to be a parallel expression to 2 Corinthians 5:21.
What I have outlined above is a 'bare-bones summary' of what I believe is supported within and across scripture. However, I have had to learn to suspend and go beyond my prior presuppositions that sin and salvation were a forensic issue and instead see through the presupposition of salvation as an actual healing/restoration process. I had to keep asking myself the question: "is there an alternative view/explanation/definition of concepts that is validly supported by the original languages" - and in each case I found there was. And what surprised me was that this alternative was more and more inherently harmonious that the one seen under my prior presuppositions. But this was no easy task (as its not meant to be) - my former presuppositions kept nagging at me. Many times I turned to God to guide me in my Bible study incase I was going wrong - for I was very concerned that I might be because what I was finding was uncomfortably different (cognitive dissonance!).
I’m really enjoying this discussion and learning a lot. Thank you Inge and Phil for that.
Jack Sequeira’s book Beyond Belief has and excellent discussion on the “sin problem” (chapter 1 of https://www.jacksequeira.org/beyond00.htm
A few quotes that might add to the discussion:
Sin originated in heaven in the mind of Lucifer, the leader of the angels [see Ezekiel 28:14,15]. The Bible doesn’t explain how sin could arise in a perfect being, because sin is unexplainable. That is why it is referred to as the “mystery of iniquity” [2 Thessalonians 2:7].
The essence of Lucifer’s sin was self-exaltation [see Isaiah 14:12-14]. Self-centeredness, the love of self, is the underlying principle of all sin. It is in complete opposition to the principle of selfless, self-sacrificing love, which is the foundation of God’s character and government [see 1 John 4:7, 8, 16]. Sin, then, is basically rebellion against God and His self-sacrificing love.
The Bible uses some 12 different Hebrew words in the Old Testament to define sin and about five Greek words in the New Testament. These can be combined into three basic concepts. All three are expressed in Psalm 51:2,3: “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.”
The Bible defines sin in terms of three words or concepts:
a. Iniquity. This does not primarily refer to an act of sin, but to a condition of sinfulness; by nature, we are spiritually “bent” [see Psalm 51:5; Isaiah 53:6; 64:6].
b. Sin. Literally, “to miss the mark.” This refers to our failures to measure up to God’s ideal [see Romans 3:23; 7:15-24; Isaiah 1:4-6].
c. Transgression. This is a deliberate violation of God’s law, a willful act of disobedience [see 1 John 3:4; Romans 7:7-13].
Since we are all born spiritually bent, it isn’t difficult to see why “there is no one righteous, not even one,” and why “there is no one who does good, not even one” [Romans 3:10, 12]. Our sinful condition (iniquity) makes it impossible for us to do anything but miss the divine mark (sin) unless we have a Savior. That is why the gospel is our only hope of salvation.
Inge & Phil, I have found your discussions intriguing.
I have found the Word of the LORD quite clear as to the problem and the solution. Humans were created in the image of God (Gen 1:26) they chose to know evil, God's desire is for us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom 8:29)
How is that possible? The Word tells me, that Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1John 2:2 ISV, 1John 4:10 ISV), He bore our sins on the cross (1Peter 2:24), the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (1John 1:7), Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), Jesus himself said the Son of Man came to give His life a ransom for many (Matt 20:28), this is My blood that is poured out for the forgiveness of sins (Matt 26:28 ISV) and Paul said Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many (Heb 9:28)
So I must disagree with Phil's perceptions below - we are not saved by Jesus' life only but by His perfect life and His substitutionary death and His sending the Holy Spirit to change our hearts and minds to be like His.
Thanks for your input Sieg and Shirley.
Shirley, I can accept your disagreement with what I have written. No problem.
I happen to agree with every word you wrote in your first two paragraphs (and the accompanying references). And I find every word you wrote to be consistent with what I had written. Please let me explain myself...
What I have learned is to go beyond the phrases themselves to unpack what those phrases actually mean in detail. For example, how does the blood of Jesus cleanse us from sin, how does the Lamb of God take away the sin/s of the world? I have found that Scripture does give detail to these questions - that we are meant to know as much as we can know for now and be continuing to grow in that knowledge so that we know more today than we did yesterday. This is consistent with the notion/idea/concept of 'Present Truth'.
I don't know if you have seen Ty Gibson and David Asscherick's Table Talk Episode (Season 3 Episode 7) titled "If God is forgiving, why did Jesus have to Die". I have been watching these guys for a while with interest as they are progressing down the same lines of investigation that I have gone down and are coming to similar conclusions. Anyway, for what its worth as I am not trying to persuade you to change your views - just sharing what I am finding...
Till our paths next cross...
For our readers, here's the "Table Talk" to which you refer:
If God Is Forgiving, Why Did Jesus Have to Die? | Table Talk S03 E07
I am re-watching it as I have time. Half-way through, I notice that they use the very same language I have been using in my comments. 🙂
I think we may see/hear with different eyes and ears. 😉
Speaking of which reminds me of Ty Gibson's book, See with New Eyes: The True Beauty of God's Character. I recommend it. Unfortunately it's only available in paperback.
I should also mention that viewers can access the full Table Talks playlists and other playlists by LightBearers by clicking on this link.
Thank you, Inge, I watched the Table Talk link you provided, it is fascinating to hear these four men discussing hard questions. What I heard was that Jesus' death was necessary to solve the sin problem, that there was no other way, except for God himself to be the atoning sacrifice, because He loved the world.
Phil, I'd like to focus on the video we both affirm. I love the way David Ascherick addresses the paradox of God being both the offended party and the one who does the "atoning." He likens sin to a hand grenade thrown into God's creation. To limit the damage, God throws Himself on the grenade and it is His own death that saves humanity.
I think a problem arises when we see the sacrifices in the sanctuary services as the heathen do. The heathen sacrifice to placate/ appease an angry God.(That is Satan's willful distortion so that we might misunderstand the character of God.) However, in God's sanctuary, God offers Himself as the sacrifice to solve the sin problem. Furthermore, both the priest and the sacrifice are types of Christ, who is Prophet, Priest, King and Sacrifice. (Yes, it isn't "logical." It is paradoxical, like much of Christ's teaching - as in "the first shall be last and the last shall be first.")
I think I watched the video earlier, but I saw much more this time than the first time around. It's worth watching more than once. Try watching it again and listen to hear the underlying assumptions about substitution and penalty.
Again, I highly recommend to all our readers the video episode that Phil recommended earlier: If God Is Forgiving, Why Did Jesus Have to Die? | Table Talk S03 E07, by Ty Gibson, David Asscherick, James Rafferty and Jeff Rosario.
I need to re-clarify that the reason I 'affirmed' this video was not because I believe it represents a 'final' position on the subject, but that it reflects progressive growth process and that such is leading these respected SDA persons down similar paths that I have investigated with similar unfolding views as a consequence. But there is further unfolding yet to continue in the lines of progression being developed in this video. Hence, I would hilight what the presenters themselves state at the outset, for example, between 4:30min - 5:30min.
I absolutely agree with you. And with absolute respect to you, what I would also propose is that the notion of God as "offended" also reflects this same misunderstanding. Am I saying that sin is no big deal or that God is not deeply concerned about it and deeply involved in directly dealing with it? Not at all. But the notion of God being offended then subtly but nevertheless profoundly means that sin itself is not the only problem to be dealt with - God's offense also has to be dealt with. And such a view therefore influences what one sees salvation as necessarily comprising and in turn how it does so.
You also stated
I absolutely agree with the words you have written - but I see the nature of the elements differently. By way of brief illustration, I do believe that Jesus was a sacrifice and that procurement of salvation involved sacrifice - but not in the way that it was the death that directly procured salvation. Jesus sacrifice was a 'life of faithfulness/obedience (even unto death if necessary)'-based one. Hopefully we can continue to constructively discuss these matters more in due course...
I can appreciate that some may think/dismiss this as merely academic intelectualising, I can only say that the process I am advocating is one that I am able to participate on a small-scale local level that is resulting in profound life-change for people (under the Holy Spirit/God and to His praise and glory).
Thanks again for the interchange....
Replying to comment by Phil van der Klift on Nov. 2 and previous ones:
Phil, I think you may be wearing lenses that cause you to misunderstand what I wrote:
I was using "offended party" in the legal sense. When there is a breaking of a law, there is an "offense" and an "offended party." Certainly sin is an offense against God. (Compare Ps 51:4) Note that image also indicates that, except for the Creator's intervention, sin destroys the sinner.
The image Dave Asscherick conjures up is powerful and fitting, IMO. Try imagining it. I can't quite see how you get this out of it:
I understand that you do not like the notion of sin being related to "law," but the Bible consistently refers to sin as the breaking of God's law (1 John 3:4) as well as a breaking of relationship. That's undoubtedly because God's Law is all about relationship. God speaks to us in language we can understand, and I don't think it's a helpful to suggest that the language doesn't mean what it appears to mean. 😉
I affirm everything you say about what happened in Eden and more.
You also wrote that God doesn't have to "punish" sin because sin brings its own punishment. I affirm that as well *and* I recognize that God had to do something about the consequences of sin or humanity would have been doomed to eternal destruction. The "wages of sin" is death - eternal death, just like God said. No amount of "re-alignment" can do away with the consequences/wages of sin, unless we choose to believe that what God said is not true, and then we have a whole other set of problems.
Your "good news" appears to focus on what we have always recognized as sanctification - the change of life that re-aligns believers with the character of God. This is important, but it does not answer the question of what happens to the guilt incurred and the natural consequences of breaking the divine Law of life for earth and heaven.
God, in the person of Jesus Christ, literally took the "wages of sin" upon Himself. That's how He "became sin" for us. He took our sin upon Himself so that we, who would have been destroyed by our own actions, could have the life that is rightfully His.
As Ellen White so beautifully put it:
Responding to Phil van der Klift's comment of October 30:
I affirm all of what you wrote above and more. Yes, in a sense, Christ bore the sins of humanity all of His earthly life. Certainly He was weighted down by a human body degenerated by 4000 years of sin.
But there's so much more: In a sense that we cannot fully comprehend, on the cross He experienced the guilt of sinful humanity that caused a separation between Him and the Father. Isa 53:6 (You have yourself pointed out that sinners are "naturally" destroyed in the presence of a holy God. So I expect you understand this separation.)
While bearing the sins of humanity, Christ experienced the agonies of the "second death," which is the natural consequence/wages of sin in a way we cannot begin to imagine. The One who was always united with the Father was separated from Him because of sin. That's why He agonizingly cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?!" But His trust in the Father triumphed over despair when He cried out, "It is finished! Father into your hands I commit my spirit."
He experienced the second death so that you and I can go free by trusting in Him:
There are other facets to the Atonement as well, and the "second Adam" inheritance is one. But we must not deny a fundamental teaching of the sanctuary services and substitute another facet. It is this *and* that, not this *or* that!
Thanks again for your responses Inge
Thank you for clarifying what you meant when you used the term “offended party”. The nature of communication and perception inherently necessitates that sometimes multiple interchanges are needed for the sake of progressively greater clarity of “lenses”. I always want to understand what you see and why you see things that way/those ways, so your successive replies are helpful to that end.
If it is merely that I challenge the notion of sin as legal “law” because I personally do not like it, that would be inappropriate/wrong for me to do so as I would be acting out of self-interest. Rather, I challenge the notion because I find/contend that the evidence doesn’t appear to support the premise that God and reality operate upon/within a legal paradigm. I don’t expect others to adopt this view, but I would hope that there can be an environment of constructive and respectful yet robust debate of the topic and evidence. And this not merely for the sake of academic debate, but as a reflection of people who hunger in their search of non-propositional truth. Historically, Adventism has sadly lacked capacity for and support if constructive exploration of important and practically-relevant aspects of a Christian world view. And this has had disastrous consequences. I am hopeful that perhaps this may change one day.
This statement is an example of why I need to -as precisely as possible - understand your basis/‘evidence’ for this conclusion as I find robust evidence in support of the opposite. Perhaps we will get opportunity to further explore/discuss this issue down the track...
Briefly, I am proposing that justification is submission to having our heart re-aligned from self-seeking back to self-giving. It is the moment of my surrender from going my own way and instead submitting to receiving God into my heart - so to speak. It is what I would propose happened to the thief on the cross that day. What happens to the ‘guilt incurred’? I would propose that the guilt dissolves at that moment because propitiation/remission has taken place. The state that produced the ‘guilty stance’ no longer exists and therefore the guilt no longer exists. But this too is a topic perhaps for further constructive discussion down the track...
I reaffirm that I willingly embrace any facet that has robust evidence supporting its existence. I do not deny any teaching merely because I have a ‘this or that’ mindset. Rather, I question the robustness of the evidence that has been used to underpin certain teachings where I find that evidence to be lacking in robustness. This is a principle that I find characterised early Adventism but subsequently dissipated (as per the quote below). Hence, the above-outlined hope that Adventism can once gain accommodate and support constructive exploration of such. I read and re-read passages - and the wider context that such passages are located within - such as the following as one means to hold myself accountable (and be held accountable by yourself and others on this forum) to what I am doing and why:
Thank you again sincerely for your time and effort as we continue to each be sharpened by our interchanges. Each time you or others raise a counterpoint, I do go back and recheck things and read further and deeper. I grow so much in this process and the spin-off is I am able to help more and more people in my daily encounters too as a consequence. If it wasn't for this 'rubber hitting the road' aspect, I wouldn't bother putting so much and time and effort into exchanging on this forum. Till next exchange...
PS I would have embedded the links to the above EGW quotes, but I am afraid I don't know how to do that yet...
Yes, Phil, we must study for ourselves. But that doesn't mean we have to reject the most fundamental teachings of Christianity and start over again. 😉 I believe that, as Seventh-day Adventists, we have the privilege of having a better understanding of the substitutionary atonement because of our understanding of the sanctuary teachings. Perhaps you would find a a deeper study of the OT sanctuary services helpful. (Some decades ago, I spent a few years immersing myself in the subject, using several books by early Adventists as guides.)
You apply Isa 53:5-6 as referring to Christ taking on human nature, but that is not "robust evidence" to me. A human body, however, degenerate, is not "iniquity. (Isa 53:6) Taking on a human body did not fulfill His role as a "guilt offering" (Isa 53:10) or "bearing the guilt of many" (Isa 53:12)
There is no room for all the "robust evidence" for the substitutionary atonement in a comment. The evidence is widely recorded by others. But here's a sample:
Once again: A human body/human nature is not sin, in itself. Thus it does not fulfill the texts above.
I do wonder why you consider it so important to deny that Christ died the death that we deserve so that we might live the life that He deserves. I go back to the image David Assccherick suggested: Sin was a hand grenade thrown into God's perfect creation. To save humanity, God threw Himself over the grenade and died in humanity's stead. The substitutionary death of God the Son is such a powerful demonstration of the self-sacrificing love of God that I must wonder why you would want to deny it. The only reason I can come up with is that you can only see a sacrificial death in the heathen sense of a sacrifice offered to appease an offended deity. That is NOT what we teach! (See Fundamental Belief 9)
PS To add links to your comments, you can look up "HTML hyperlinks" on the internet. If I write our the code, it won't show, but will produce a fake link. 😉 Then you can go to https://egwwritings.org/ and find the quotation you want to use, click on the "sharing" icon and copy the code. I'll try to give an example using "[" and "]" instead of "<" and ">"
The link above then looks like this: [a href="https://egwwritings.org/" target="_blank"]https://egwwritings.org/[/a].
The "target=_blank" makes it open in a new window. You can leave it out. When you do it correctly, you'll see the result in the comment form when you submit it. 🙂
Thanks again Inge
I actually agree with all the quotes you posted - and I agree with the words of Fundamental Belief 9. Where I differ is my understanding of the concepts that the words represent in these quotations and references.
The hand grenade metaphor (which David used on the back of nuclear radioactive meltdown) is great to illustrate that Jesus was killed in the course of his work to save us. However, it was not Jesus taking the force of the blast that saves us. This is because sin kills via being a terminal condition that destroys a person from within via separating that person from connection with the Source of the Breath of Life and the conditions necessary to maintain connection with abundant life (ie God's 'natural/moral' Law and associated laws). And the only thing that can address a terminal condition is actually putting the condition into remission. This had to be done at a collective humanity level so it could in turn be undertaken at an individual level.
I am proposing refinement rather than rejection of fundamental teachings of Christianity - and certainly not starting from the beginning all over again. I am questioning some of the presuppositions involved in the fundamental teaching - namely that Jesus death was the key factor that attained our salvation.
All I am saying is that if I look at the state of things before and after the fall, what 'broke' is identifiable and therefore what needs to be repaired/fixed is also identifiable (because it is the reversing of what got broken). Jesus needed to live a life of obedience unto death (which is what the 1st Adam should have done - although it wouldn't have come to death for the 1st Adam - but it did for the 2nd Adam). Therefore Jesus death was consequential to (ie sustained in the course of) the salvation/redemption activity of the 2nd Adam, rather than the basis of it.
Thus, without the shedding of blood (ie absolute self-sacrificing heart manifest in a willingness to hold on the self-renouncing even when faced with death), there is no remission for sin (actual healing of the core issue that actually fixes the terminal sin condition within humanity as a species in order to enable it to in turn be fixed in each individual who is willing to participate in having their heart renewed back to alignment with what is needed to be connected back to abundant life again).
I am not trying to change your view. I am only trying to enable what I am finding/proposing to be seen and understood accurately for what it is - as I am trying to better understand accurately the details of your perspective. Each time you (or others) respond, I do go and double check things to see if I am overlooking something and therefore in error.
I do appreciate your time.
So I can understand better how you agree, please tell me, whether you agree that
And could you please answer briefly, rather than re-posting all the reasoning behind your position, much of which you have already stated.
Moderator Note: We have closed discussion on this topic, which has prevented Phil from replying. We expect to allow comments on this topic some time in the future when a post is more relevant to a post on the topic.
Phil, the only way Jesus could save me from the grenade was to absorb the full impact Himself, and thus spare me the inevitable results if He didn't. That alone gives me the opportunity to become a new creature, since I cannot become a new creature without my past sins, which have been committed by me, taken care of. Since the "wages of sin is death", and "the soul that sins will die", that needs to be settled since the law is "holy, just, and good", and remains for all eternity. The justice of the law requires "payment" for the sin committed. Let us say for argument, that Jesus did not die in my well deserved place. Could I become "perfect" while the stain remains? The best life cannot atone for sin, only death. If the guilty propitiates for himself, the death is eternal. If One who is pure and holy pays the cost, allowing me to be pardoned and counted as if I had done no wrong, I can then move forward in the sanctified life with no outstanding debt to the law. Adam's sin of a moment could never be pardoned without death, even if living a perfect life for the rest of eternity. The offense still stands in violation of a "perfect" law. If no death takes place, the law is no longer valid and all would be free to violate it.
Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission(pardon) of sin. I would cease to be found faultless, and be disqualified for eternal life no matter how perfect I might live from that time forward. The sin committed requires justice. Jesus took this justice upon Himself to save me from it. He is represented in scripture as having been slain "from the foundation of the world". Adam would never have walked out of the garden alive and free otherwise. Jesus' death saves us from the penalty, and thus we may be saved from the power, and eventually, the presence of sin. Salvation includes all three, or there is no salvation.
In the sanctuary teaching, no one could enter the holy place(representing in types the sanctified life) without the cleansing blood offered. Death is the only acceptable, just means for making satisfaction with the law when violated.
This is the teaching of the law, the prophets, Christ, and apostles.
Moderator Note: We have closed discussion on this topic, which has prevented Phil from replying. We expect to allow comments on this topic some time in the future when a post is more relevant to a post on the topic.
Thanks Robert. What you wrote appears to line up not only with Scripture (some of which was cited earlier), but also with what our pioneers concluded after much study, affirmed by Ellen White:
I really like the metaphor of God throwing Himself on the grenade meant to destroy humanity. No metaphor is perfect, but this covers several aspects of the Atonement quite well.
As we know the "penalty of transgression" is the second death. The penalty of transgression is not a human body or human nature. The incarnation, by itself, did not serve to bear the penalty of transgression. There is much more to explore, and some of it will take eternity, because our human minds cannot fully comprehend the mind of God.
Paul often used language that even Peter admitted was difficult to understand. Yet, a close study of Paul shows his comments are not that difficult once one understands Paul's manner of expression, which seems to be the source of confusion for some. So finding what Paul states elsewhere often helps to decipher his meaning on the same subject.
Jesus never sinned, yet died "for"(huper: in the place of) sinners(1 Cor 15:3). So this helps in understanding the meaning of Paul when stating that God "made [Jesus] to be sin for us". While Jesus was sinless, He was "punished" as if having been guilty of all sin. (Yes, I understand some will not accept the idea of punishing, and it must be correctly understood. I may be punished by another or by my own folly.) It would be like someone very wealthy knocking on your door as you are packing up to move out of your foreclosed home, and while handing you the title deed, says: "your home is paid for, so you can stay". He did not own the debt, but paid for it as IF he did, and YOU are the one benefited. Jesus had no debt incurred, but paid for ours as IF it were His own debt. So who did He pay?
Phil, I was wondering if you could expand on: "Someone from outside humanity" needing to become human. Could this have been anyone/anything(angel/goat, lamb, etc)? Why God/Creator? Who/what is making this demand/requirement?
Doesn't this also raise the question of "how human" Jesus really was if it required one from "outside humanity" to be worthy of taking this debt for sinners to the satisfaction of....who/what?
I realize this study will last for eternity, yet wonder if there are some answers to be found today.
I agree - Romans 8:3 would be the closest parallel to 2 Corinthians 5:21, but I also listed others in my original post.
Re hyper, see the following from HELPS Word Studies:
This valid intepretation of hyper casts a different light upon what is being conveyed in Romans 8:3: Jesus getting involved first-hand to actually fix the damage (terminal heart-condition) that underpinned sin/lawlessness. Interestingly, this is also a valid manifestation of the notion of propitiation - not appeasement in terms of calming someone down, but 'appeasement' in terms of actually fixing that which is actually causing the damage thereby actually repairing and restoring things back to their original state (rather than 'paying compensation' that doesn't actually return things back fully and completely to their former state/condition).
RE someone from outside of humanity - need to be a someone not a something because that someone needed to be able to validly take the place of the 1st Adam and this time 'do it right' so to speak. What requires this? The 'reality' that is being contingent upon a person living in (a) connection with the Source of The Breath of Life and (b) in harmony with the beneficent other-centered mechanisms of life via a heart that desires to do this. I would propose that this is the only viable basis upon which life is actually possible - which is why it is the necessary basis of life within The Kingdom of God.
With regard to the question of how human Jesus was, as far as we understand, Jesus was fully human and fully divine. So, 100% human. I do not find evidence of the notion of 'satisfaction' being involved other than satisfaction that what was broken has been restored back to the way it was meant to be (ie righteousness/'rightness' restored. God is always 'pleased/satisfied' when things are they way they are meant to be/'right' - the definition of the Hebrew and Greek terms for righteousness).
I absolutely agree with you that this study will last for eternity AND there are some answers to be found today...
Hello Phil –
It is again to my great delight as I followed your latest expositions to help understand Righteousness, Justification, Sanctification, all freely available through gratefully applied Faith. God blesses you with humble patience as you expound His Truth.
My journey to discover Truth regarding Righteousness by Faith started with KJV Rom.3:20-23. The Holy Spirit used the little words “of” vs. “in” to start to open up my quest to better understand the what – how – who - and what for - related to Righteousness, Sanctification, and Justification.
I cannot reach back to formal, theological training, but trust that, ultimately, understanding comes by spiritually revealed Truth provided by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Truth can be revealed to anyone who has the right heart-disposition to receive it (in our day and time, Ellen White is a great example).
Obviously, spiritually revealed Truth will always be supported by Scripture. As we all know, ‘interpreting/understanding’ *differs* in each person as one is disposed to understand its meaning in the context of the interpretation of one’s own ‘heart/mind’. Rom.12:2
I do not ‘like/seek’ to reference other’s conclusions in my own search for understanding Truth, but when I read your first comment eight months ago, it struck a familiar cord in me and my soul rejoices ever since when reading your posts.
I hope, for your own edification and others who follow your comments, I am listing the following Scripture references to further help facilitate understanding of 'Righteousness'. All references are based on the KJV, capitalization included.
Jeremiah23:6 – “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (margin:Johovah-tsidkenu)”
Isaiah45:22-25 – “Look(or turn) unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (23)I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return: That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (24) Surely, shall one say: in the LORD have I righteousness and strength, even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. (margin or: Surely he shall say of me, in the LORD is all righteousness and strength). (25) In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.
Rom.1:17; 1Cor.1:30; Rom.3:20-23; 2Cor.5:21; and all of Hebrew Chapter 7. This chapter contains very interesting references when comparing the person and Priesthood of Melchizedek to the person and Priesthood of Jesus Christ. It is very well worth our attention and deserves our scrutiny to help us understand the Deity of the Son of God who willingly exposed Himself to the ‘cause of the sin which leads to unrighteousness’(unfaithfulness) that we may be saved by HIS Righteousness, 'earned/obtained' through His unwavering Faith.
Our Savior’s Love for mankind was stronger than His desire to save Himself; by this - His choice - He obtained victory over death for us, and with this, the requirements for Salvation of man are fulfilled - all that is left for us is to have Faith(again).
Brigitte, as you enjoy reading Phil's expositions, I would like to share a link to a website of a group of SDA pastors that I have found so inspirational and their articles have encouraged me to continue to study the Word of the LORD myself.
Ty Gibson and David Asscherick are from:
Light Bearers - https://lightbearers.org
There is also a link under "Resources" above to a video series David Asscherick did on the Trinity, your comments inspired me to re-watch them and his explanations helped me better understand the role and work of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Thank you, Shirley - I made a note of your suggested website link.
Regarding the central role of faith, Romans 4:21 in conjunction with unpacking the Greek word ‘pistis’ helped me understand what faith is more fully.
In brief, faith is being “divinely persuaded” (via The Holy Spirit) that God is fully able to do what he says He will do. Therefore faith involves both (a) knowing what God says He will do - which also is linked to how He says ‘reality’ operates - and (b) trusting that God is able to do what He says.
God inspires our faith - and as faith is exercised, it grows (because whatever activity we repeatedly carry out grows stronger).
Phil, I believe it is even more clear if we look at what was demonstrated on the mountain of God's appointment in regards to Abraham and Isaac when a ram was, "caught in a thicket by his horns", and "Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up...in the stead of His son."(Gen 22:13)
stead = tachath: instead of, for, for the sake of(the most relevant definitions in this case/context)
What Paul writes in 2 Cor 5:21 is in perfect alignment with this in the light of 2 Cor 15:3. Romans 8:3 is focused on a broader aspect of Christ's work, and "for sin"(for = peri: concerning), meaning that He was establishing true righteousness, which had been replaced by a false standard of works of the law without change to the heart, making even those works of the law sinful.
"The wages of sin is death, but the Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord".
Without this substitute death on my part, I cannot be pardoned, the record of my sin remains, and the wages fall upon me, which is death. In these circumstances, sanctification(healing, holiness, etc) cannot take place.
Jesus' death "concerning" sin and "in the place of" sinners, does nothing for anyone until they "receive Him"(John 1:12). To receive means to accept and DO what He teaches, which would lead me to "deny [myself], take up [my] cross and follow [Jesus]"(Matt 16:24). It is this continual following that brings the healing change of holiness into the life. True repentance will naturally lead into this life of transformation. Yet many claim to be justified who never come to this experience. This is what Isaiah speaks of in Isa 4:1, where there are those who take the name of Jesus, but continue in their former ways, not following the Lamb "withersoever He goeth"(Rev 14:4). It is for this reason that Paul calls all to "examine yourselves"(2 Cor 13:5). This following Jesus is "the work of a lifetime", where pardon is the work of a moment in those who truly believe and receive Jesus as their LORD and Savior.
The sanctuary model teaches this as well with its two divisions of courtyard and inner sanctuary. The former is Jesus' work FOR us, the latter His work IN us. One follows the other.
For what it's worth, RE huper/hyper, Strongs outline of Biblical usage is listed as:
I in behalf of, for the sake of
II over, beyond, more than
III more, beyond, over
According to Thayer's we read:
1. properly, of place, i. e. of position, situation, extension: over, above, beyond, across. In this sense it does not occur in the N. T.; but there it always, though joined to other classes of words, has a tropical signification derived from its original meaning.
What I understand is that by Jesus' death, Adam and Eve walk out of the garden clothed in garments of skin, and Isaac walked back home with Abraham to tell Sarah a wonderful story! And for all three and us, an incentive to live by the power of God according to His "good, acceptable, and perfect will".
Robert - thank you for giving your valuable insights in this ongoing dialogue as we all share our thoughts with each other. I enjoy the learning taking place and appreciate everyone's contribution toward helping to better understand the work done on behalf of humanity's Salvation.
I encourage you, if you have a moment, to read Hebrew Chapter 7 to find interesting insight into the comment Phil made in his first post:
"What would actually fix this situation - actually restore other-centered beneficence back within humanity? *Someone from outside of humanity* would need to actually become a valid member of humanity and live a life that unwaveringly held on to other-centered beneficiance."
It fascinates me to know that God's spiritual relationship with man is being established again due to the willing sacrifice of the Son of God coming to us from the realms of Heaven to freely, willingly engage in the work of Salvation for the sole benefit of mankind.
I think that we, man, do not learn enough regarding the lost estate, the spiritual disconnect of mankind from our God, and the greatness of the heavenly Son of God's sacrifice and therefore cannot feel deep gratitude which generates Faith when accepting His Gift of Salvation.
I understand the argument of Heb 7 regarding the validity of Jesus being our high priest in heaven, but not sure how it relates directly to the idea of Jesus being our propitiation for sin as the Lamb of God.
Paul in this book and chapter is addressing Jesus' fulfilment of the law(of types) and the importance of understanding His work in heaven.
Jesus fulfills the sanctuary model of His work FOR us and His work IN us. Both must be done to save us, yet we are counted righteous by His death FOR us, while we have yet to demonstrate any change. True repentance(change heart) begins this transformation by ceasing(resting) our unrighteous works of the flesh, and by the "power of God"(Rom 1:16) we begin a new, sanctified life of overcoming by Jesus work IN us.
The courtyard experience of death and washing will lead to the inner sanctuary work of growing in grace which take place as we learn of Jesus(the Bread of Life), pray in faith(with the incense of His Righteousness), and being a light to the world by personal experience as witnesses who have receive power to do this by the indwelling Holy Spirit. This inner compartment work is not accomplished in the courtyard experience, but cannot happen without it, as demonstrated by Nadab and Abihu who came into the sanctuary defiled.
The Beatitudes teach this same process as well(Matt 5:3-12).
Wow, thank you Robert for this description of the Plan of Salvation in a nutshell.
I believe it is our community of faith's understanding of the sanctuary doctrine that makes us different to other dominations.
I am saving this in my notebook for future reference!
Wow isn't it wonderful that the Father loves me and you so much that He rescues us from the devil's rulership and transferred us to His Son's glorious kingdom.
How did He do this - how could He maintain the necessity of His Principles for Eternal Life and still forgive our sins?
He did it - according to His Word - through His Son's blood, through His death on the cross.
By this amazing mysterious event - the Son's substituionary sacrifice - it became possible to change our evil hearts and minds to be holy and blameless while still maintaining the necessity of His Perfect Principles for Eternal Life.
Thank you Shirley! GOD is soooo Good!
For God so love the world that he gave his Only Begotten Son that whosoever believe in his should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
'What are practical ways we can reflect God’s role as reconciler? That is, in what situation right now (if any) can you help people be reconciled with each other?'
I dont believe the reconciliation of human to human can be compared to the reconciliation of The Godhead to human. Christ came and died for sinners while we were sinning- actively doing that which was wrong, then, we crucified Him for doing that which was right. It is said we crucified Christ even today, this present moment and nail him to the cross once again when we choose to do things that is opposite to his ways.
As long as we are 'old creatures' we will not experience that reconciliation. It is until the Holy Spirit comes and dwell in our hearts that makes us the 'new creatures'. The new creation.
2 Cor 5:16-21. Do all our contacts who were once connected to us and we became disconnected are meant to be reconnected/reconciled to us? I dont think so.
We are but a passing through in this life. We came in contact with many people, the good, the bad and the in-between. Some times we dont see 'eye to eye' and we 'fall out' and go our own ways. Does the Lord wants us to be reconnected by reconciliation to all our relationships?
Solution- If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceable with all men. Rom 12:18. Sometimes it is not possible, therefore it is not possible to reconcile all friendships.
What I have done- I gathered a lot of friends over the years, but it is said about humans, we all think differently and have our own worldviews. Because we think differently, some friendships are more self seeking and self centered. Two of the same poles do not stick together.
With other relationships, everyone think they were right and many times people think they can do it on their own. Some relationship can be reconciled, some cant.
If God has given the greatest gift for our own reconciliation with Himself, Jesus, and we receive this gift, we should pass this feeling to those around us.
There is no question about the meaning of Jesus in His prayer(John 17:18) if we compare this to the great commission of Matt 28:19,20 and Acts 1:8. The result of being reconciled is to reflect Jesus fully, who "went about doing good"(Acts 10:38).
Given this truth, it should be a simple matter to understand how to examine ourselves(2 Cor 13:5), to see if we are Christ's followers or not. Those who are sealed at last are described as having "followed the Lamb withersoever He goeth"(Rev 14:4).
I have struggled with the idea that God required a death to put an end to sin. In my limited 62 years of life, what I have come to understand is that Satan is the one requiring payment. He is the one that has painted the picture of an angry God requiring appeasement. Then along came Jesus, showing the world a different picture. What I have come to believe about Jesus death is this; God is love, that’s where love came from. The worlds picture of Him was so dark and distorted by the time Jesus came to earth, that the very people who should have been waiting and watching for Him, hated Him. God created us with the power to choose. Satan accused God of not giving us any freedom to choose. Jesus showed the universe just how far God would go, even laying down His own life, rather than take away our choice, even if it meant His creation would kill Him. Sin is not just a problem on this world, it was a universal problem. All creation had questions about God vs Lucifer. When Satan killed the Son of God, all the universe saw Satans true character and they saw God’s true character. That sealed it for the rest of the universe, now God is just waiting for a people here on earth, who are willing to be obedient to His law. Understanding His law is key to our obedience to it. I know obedience is not a word people want to hear now days, but obedience is key to our salvation.
This is how I see and understand Jesus death.
The Gospel of Reconciliation between God and man was the reason why I wanted to be His child; I want to be a child of His reconciliation. God has been in my heart as long as I can remember. I chose Him to by my Heavenly Father because I trusted in His teachings of reconciliation; it has established my place/position in the world, formed my world view.
Once I accepted Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as my Savior, Mentor, and His Holy Spirit as my Guide, there was nothing more important to me than to fully understand and live His Gift of Reconciliation in my interactions with my fellow man.
“What are practical ways we can reflect God’s role as a reconciler?” Matt.5:38-48 - In this passage, Jesus explains to us how to live a life of reconciliation.
Our Salvation is God reconciling man to Himself. The Scripture's Word of Truth says:
KJV 2Cor.5:10-21 –
v.10 – “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
v.11 – “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God, and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
v.12 – For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.”
v.13 – “For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.”
v.14 – “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge(believe) that: if one died for all, then were all dead: (15) and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.”
v.16 – “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh(status, title, position etc.): yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”
v.17 – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is (let him be)margin) a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. “
v.18 – “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation (His Gospel Truth). “
v.20 – “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
v.21 – ”For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”