How Does “Dying For Our Sins” Work?


How Does “Dying For Our Sins” Work?
Brian Zahnd

When we say “Jesus died for our sins,” what does that mean? It’s undeniably an essential confession of Christian faith, but how does it work? This much I’m sure of, it’s not reducible to just one thing. I’ve just finished preaching eight sermons on “The Crucified God” and I know I’ve barely scratched the surface of what the cross means. To try to reduce the death of Jesus to a single meaning is an impoverished approach to the mystery of the cross. I’m especially talking about those tidy explanations of the cross known as “atonement theories.” I find most of them inadequate; others I find repellent. Particularly abhorrent are those theories that portray the Father of Jesus as a pagan deity who can only be placated by the barbarism of child sacrifice. The god who is mollified by throwing a virgin into a volcano or by nailing his son to a tree is not the Abba of Jesus!

Neither is the death of Jesus a kind of quid pro quo by which God gains the necessary capital to forgive sinners. No! Jesus does not save us from God; Jesus reveals God! Jesus does not provide God with the capacity to forgive; Jesus reveals God as forgiving love. An “economic model” of the cross just won’t work. It’s not as if God is saying, “Look, I’d love to forgive you, but I’ve got to pay off Justice first, and, you know how she is, she’s a tough goddess, she requires due payment.” This understanding of the cross begs the question of who exactly is in charge — the Father of Jesus or some abstract ideal called “Justice”?

When we confess with Paul that “Christ died for our sins,” we don’t mean that God required the vicious murder of his Son in order to forgive. How would that work anyway? Did God have some scale of torture that once met would “satisfy his wrath?” Think it through and you’ll see the problem. Was death not enough to satisfy this god? Did it have to be death by crucifixion? Did torture have to be part of the equation? And how does that work? Was there a minimum number of lashes required in the scourging? Did the thorny crown have to have a certain number of thorns in order for this god to call the scales balanced?

Are you squirming yet? Do you want to say, “Well, some of the abuse Jesus suffered was gratuitous torture by the hands of cruel men.” But if that’s the case, how does this division of labor work? How much was necessary to “satisfy God” and how much was just for the sport of it? No, this approach to understanding Jesus dying for our sins clearly won’t work.

So what do we do? Let’s begin here: Before the cross is anything else, it is a catastrophe. It is the unjust lynching of an innocent man. This is precisely how the Apostles spoke of the crucifixion of Jesus in the book of Acts.

“This Jesus…you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” –Acts 2:23

You killed the author of life, whom God raised from the dead.” –Acts 3:15

“God raised up Jesus whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.” –Acts 5:30

“The Righteous One you have now betrayed and murdered.” –Acts 7:52

The Bible is clear, God did not kill Jesus. Jesus was offered as a sacrifice in that the Father was willing to send his Son into our sinful system in order to expose it as utterly sinful and provide us with another way. The death of Jesus was a sacrifice in that sense. But it was not a sacrifice to appease a wrathful deity or to provide payment for a penultimate god subordinate to Justice.

Let me suggest that when we say Jesus died for our sins, we mean something like this: We violently sinned our sins into Jesus, and Jesus revealed the heart of God by forgiving us. When Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them,” he was not asking God to act contrary to his nature. When Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them,” he was, as always, revealing the very heart of God!

At the cross we violently sinned our sins into Jesus, and Jesus absorbed them, died because of them, carried them into death, and rose on the third day to speak the first world of the new world: “Peace be with you.”

When I say “we” violently sinned our sins into Jesus, I mean that all of us are more or less implicated by our explicit or tacit support of the systems of violent power that frame our world. These are the very political and religious systems that executed Jesus. At the cross we see where Adam and Eve’s penchant for blame and Cain’s capacity for killing have led us — to the murder of God! At Golgotha human sin is seen as utterly sinful. God did not require the death of Jesus — but we did!

So let’s be clear, the cross is not about the appeasement of a monster god. The cross is about the revelation of a merciful God. At the cross we discover a God who would rather die than kill his enemies. The cross is where God in Christ absorbs sin and recycles it into forgiveness. The cross is not what God inflicts upon Christ in order to forgive. The cross is what God endures in Christ as he forgives. Once we understand this, we know what we are seeing when we look at the cross: We are seeing the lengths to which a God of love will go in forgiving sin.

The cross is both ugly and beautiful. It’s as ugly as human sin and as beautiful as divine love. But in the end, love and beauty win.


The artwork is The Crucifixion (1515) by Grünewald Matthias.

  • No where in the Bible does it say to be righteous means to punish others. Nor does it say God’s intention in Christ’s incarnation and mission was to placate his wrath or anger or some idea of ‘justice.’ It says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son…” The motivating factor is love, nothing else. Love (as per the bible) is forbearance and forgiveness – and forgiveness must come from the heart, it cannot be bought. God forgave us because it was his desire and intention to do so, not any monstrous pagan theology.

  • Brother John

    Brian Zahnd, are you familiar with Dr. Paul Peter Waldenstrom’s view of the atonement? His relatively brief book, “Be Ye Reconciled To God” really helped me to understand the atonement so much more clearly (and powerfully!) than the penal sub view I had always been taught. I’m not sure if links are allowed here, but you can just do an internet search for Waldenstrom atonement and you can find the book online.

  • planet8788

    FTA: At the cross we violently sinned our sins into Jesus, and Jesus absorbed them, died because of them, carried them into death, and rose on the third day to speak the first world of the new world:“Peace be with you.”

    That’s still atonement.

  • planet8788

    And it was Adam, though the scripture doesn’t spell it out, who probably ate of the fruit after Eve, So Eve wouldn’t bear judgement alone.

  • planet8788

    He died. He paid the price. That’s all that was necessary. And then he rose again and defeated Death.

  • planet8788

    But why did Jesus have to day if all that was necessary was forgiveness? You can’t seperate them. They are together.

  • planet8788

    Death. Not eternal death.

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  • Ian Mills

    I agree with your rejection of PSA but working exclusively with quotes from Acts isn’t very persuasive. Most informed PSA advocates would gladly concede that Acts lacks the Pauline penal and economic soteriology… a convincing case against PSA needs to deal with Romans and the Johanine epistles. Might I recommend Henk Versnel’s “Making Sense of Jesus’ Death” (available free online) as a scholarly non-PSA treatment of violent atonement language in Paul.

  • Aaron McGuire

    Hi Brian, I think it’s important to remember, too, that these models of atonement you’ve referred to must have been alive with meaning and immediacy to people of those times (from the time of Gregory of Nyssa and Origen to Augustine to Anselm and Abelard to Luther to Charles Hodge to Aulen to now!). Atonement models over time use language and metaphor that make sense within those historical/socio-cultural/political/economic contexts. The problem, I think, is not necessarily with the model, but that we no longer find utility, immediacy, or meaning in these models because their language and imagery no longer ring with truth. In the same way, I think the language people use today to make alive again the mysterious meanings of atonement will one day lose their immediacy and relevance as the world changes.

    So, I’d suggest instead of dismissing old models and images as morally repugnant, it would be better to admit that even todays models, images, and symbolical frameworks will probably one day need to change, as they may one day appear morally repugnant at worst, or irrelevant unable resonate meaningfully with people at best.

    There’s more I’d like to say, but I just wanted to offer this point. Good article.

  • cristine

    wow and exactly and thank you.

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  • Verity

    amazing and beautiful article

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  • Wonder

    God can’t?
    God had to?

    What sort of a paltry deity is that?

  • Anon.

    What is the wrath of God from John 3:36? I do believe that His wrath is a facet of his love. It doesn’t mean He is a “wrathfully deity”, but it is wrath all the same. And what about Romans 5:1? What does it mean to be justified? I’m not being rhetorical, I am really asking.

  • George Norman Lippert

    Hi Pastor Zahnd,

    The mistake you are making (if I may be so bold and you are open to consider it) is in groping for understanding using your intellect alone.

    Where does the actual Bible come into play here? Are there not dozens upon dozens of verses that explain, in no uncertain terms, that Jesus paid for our sins with his blood?

    By disregarding those passages, you’ve been forced to rely only on your own intellect to make sense of the cross, and come up short and apparently frustrated. Understandably.

    However, if you do choose to go this route, I’d submit that the onus is on you to explain why it had to happen at all. Surely you’ve considered the following:

    Jesus predicted his death. When Peter warned him away from it, Jesus rebuked him as Satan.

    When the time came, Jesus asked his father to take the cup (responsibility) from him. “Not my will but yours be done.” He knew it was God’s plan and went to it, despite his human fear.

    These things imply– even more, they demand– that Jesus not only knew the cross was coming, but knew it was his purpose, and God’s will.

    If one believes the Bible at all, this is undeniable: Jesus went to the cross willingly, despite his fears, because it was “God’s cup” for him.

    People killed Jesus, but God allowed it for his purposes.

    So. If Jesus’ death on the cross was *not* (as the Bible repeatedly explains) a substitutionary payment by the only perfect human for all of imperfect humanity…

    Then why did God will and allow it?

    If the cross was not the only way for God to build a bridge to us, to satisfy his absolute righteousness, what possible purpose could it serve?

    Let me be blunt: if you are suggesting that God allowed his son to be tortured and killed *for anything less* than the sole salvation of us lost sinners, then that truly is a monster God, worthy of no devotion.

    If your God sent his son to die as some sort of object lesson or symbol or just because he didn’t want to stop those unruly murderous humans, then truly, he is not a god worth following.

    Forget measuring the thorns or the lashings or the drops of blood. Your intellect has reduced you to attempting spiritual calculus by counting your fingers and toes. The real tragedy (and dubious logic) is in suggesting the cross happened for *any other reason* than to satisfy God’s righteousness and grant us Jesus’ perfection.

    I’m sure you have an answer, and I see why it required weeks of sermons. But it will all boil down to the same thing. With respect, if your god made his son “drink the cup” of the cross for any other reason than to pay for the sins of all, then yours is the monster god, the helpless god, the capricious god, and I reject him utterly.

  • George Norman Lippert

    Chapter and verse for this?

    All I can think of is “the wages of sin is death”. Is that not God’s law?

    Philosophically, how can God possibly be righteous if sin has no consequence in his presence?

  • Merritt E. Spencer

    You just quoted a verse that describes the consequences of sin. It is death, not eternal life in pain. Sin has consequences. It is death, spiritual death, death of the soul. Ezekiel says the soul that sins, it shall die.

  • george norman lippert

    I’m confused. Above you said that it’s a man-made rule that sin must be punished. But now you seem to agree that it is God’s law that the wages of sin is death (we won’t quibble about what *kind* of death).

    Both things can’t be true, can they? That sin doesn’t require punishment AND that God’s law decrees death as the wage of sin. So help me out here?

    I mean, I hate to sound condescending, but the overarching premise– that sin is no biggie for God and he can just dismiss it like a library fine– seems so ridiculous and untenable as to be laughable. And yet Pastor Zhand (and a lot of you) seem to take it completely seriously.

  • Merritt E. Spencer

    I did not say there was no consequences to sin when I said it is a man made idea that God does not have the power to forgive and show mercy and must punish sin. It seems laughable to me that you would think the Creator lacked that power. Our being gifted with eternal life at the discretion of our Creator is the only way we can receive eternal life since I think we both agree we cannot earn it or deserve it. There is only one kind of death–absence of life, but there are two kinds of life, physical life and spiritual life.

  • george norman lippert

    Wow, this is getting complicated.

    I’ll cut to the chase. It’s silly to use God’s omnipotence as a catch all for whatever doctrine you want to throw at the wall. There *are*, in fact, things God cannot do, and they all boil down to this: God cannot defy his own nature. He cannot break his own laws.

    It’s intellectually empty to say “if God wants to just forgive sins, he can, because he’s God.”

    If God can break his own rules, he isn’t God, and is therefore not worth following. If God’s righteousness demands cleansing for sin, then cleansing must happen. If cleansing requires death (those persky wages of sin) then death is required. Call it some sort of metaphysical death all you want, it’s still a death, and it’s still required.

    If Jesus didn’t have to serve as that death in our place, then why did he go to the cross at all?

    It’s not a monster God that sacrifices his own son to save us all. It’s a monster god that let’s his son be tortured and killed for any *lesser* reason.

    If I had to believe that God could break his own laws and forgive just because he wanted to, I’d abandon that god as weak and dishonest (and he’d forgive me anyway, because why not?)

    If I had to believe that God would send his own son to be tortured and killed by humanity for some other reason than to save us all, *that* would be a pathetic, manipulative, small god that I could not respect or follow either.

    Strong words, but Zhand makes strong claims (and you do, too). In short, I reject your god utterly. He’s useless. He’s not the God of the Bible.

  • Merritt E. Spencer

    I see nothing in the bible that says God cannot do evil. In fact it says God can do evil. I don’t believe that God will do evil, but I disagree with your view that God cannot do evil. Being able to break His own rules does not mean God is not God. In fact God being able to be unloving is the very thing that allows God to be loving. Love is a choice, not just for us but also for God. It is not intellectually empty to believe God has the power to be merciful and forgive us of our sins. In short I reject your god utterly, a robot unable to deviate from his computer programming.

  • George – Great post. I have just finished reading Is. 53 in the Message Bible. Incredible translation. Really mirrors your post and PSA thought in general. Plus it’s a very good rendering of the Hebrew thoughts. I know Brian respects Eugene Peterson, the author. I’d encourage him to reread this translation.

  • Christopher

    He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭2‬:‭24‬ ESV)
    But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (‭Romans‬ ‭3‬:‭21-26‬ ESV)

    Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 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. 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. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭53‬:‭4-12‬ ESV)

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  • Terry Rousseau

    Death is death, and Jesus died. Debt paid. We are free.

  • Terry Rousseau

    That was the whole point of the blog, you missed it entirely.

  • Terry Rousseau

    The verse does not say eternal death, simply death.

  • shawn c

    Per your theory, we as human all die and as we experience death our debts are paid? Why do we need Jesus?

  • shawn c

    So in terms of salvation, we don’t need Jesus since we pay for our sin as we die, no?

  • planet8788

    If you don’t want to be resurrected, yes, you you don’t need Jesus.

  • shawn c

    No, I’m sinply implying that the Bible meant eternal death when it talked about wages of sins. How did Jesus pay for our sins if he didnt die eternally?

  • Terry Rousseau

    The wages of sin is death. If death means eternal separation from God, them to pay the price of or sin Jesus would have to be eternally separated from God. Jesus is not eternally separated from God. Therefore death is not eternal.

  • Guest

    No. It just says death. It’s hard to discuss death versus eternal death because God, by definition, exists outside of the time dimension. Which is why he is beginning and the end. He exists outside of our 4-dimensional world (box) that we experience.

    Jesus died, just like the lambs that were sacrificed in old Testament. Did he have to be raised up… maybe not. Paul said he did. Otherwise death would have defeated him. Not easy to comprehend.

  • planet8788

    No. It just says death. It’s hard to discuss death versus eternal death because God, by definition, exists outside of the time dimension. Which is why he is beginning and the end. He exists outside of our 4-dimensional world (box) that we experience.

    Jesus died, just like the lambs that were sacrificed in old Testament. Did he have to be raised up… maybe not. Paul said he did. Otherwise death would have defeated him. Not easy to understand

  • shawn c

    Exactly. If wages of sin is death(not eternal death), then as we die(death) we pay the wages of sin ourselves. Where does Jesus’ reparation for our sins come in? No one should go to hell because they all paid for their sins through death of their own.

  • Terry Rousseau

    I disagree with that. When we die that is the wage of our sin. We are dead, done, dead done. But if we accept the death of Jesus as our payment, then we are given the gift of eternal life. Jesus conquered death, apart from Him I pay the penelty.

    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.

  • shawn c

    “We are dead, done, dead done.” Your statement contradicts the Bible: “And these will go away into eternal punishment”(Matt 25:46) Per Matthew, we don’t just die. We’re not just dead, done, dead done.

  • Terry Rousseau

    There is no coming back from dead. Its eternal.

  • GardenofEdenOrg

    This explanation is exactly what the Holy Spirit revealed to me about 10 years ago as I was falling asleep one night. It came to me like a flash of light without me even pondering on the subject. Enlightening. I thought I’d write it down when I woke up but it had slipped away from me and I could not remember it when I woke up. Similar to those who’ve had a NDE and said that they had access to all knowledge and tried to hold onto it as they were coming back to Earth. Once they were back here it was gone.

    It was mankind that believed we needed a sacrifice, not God. That’s why they performed animal sacrifices. God wanted us to know that sacrificing innocent blood was not necessary to please him. The sacrifice was in sending Jesus here to this dark place to reveal his true nature, knowing what his fate would be as a result. He came anyway. That is pure love. This evening it was bothering me that I had forgotten what was revealed to me that night which is what led me to this article. Thanks to you for writing this, the Word of Wisdom has returned to me. God Blesses You!

  • I am sorry. I find your “revelation” entirely anti-thetical to the Scriptures. Read Hebrews where Christ is the FULFILLMENT of the sacrificial system of the OT. Passover is a type.

  • Right on.

  • John

    You have confused Attributes and Essence. God’s essence is love. His holiness, wrath, mercy and such are expressions of his essence (or attributes) but his essence is love. In fact, whatever God’s essence is, it has to be the same eternally, and before creation, there is nothing to be “set apart” from, so God is only holy, at creation. But what is eternal about God is God’s essence as a relationally of love. Thank God.

  • Richard Monyer

    This is the perfect, complete goodness of God revealed to the world that our God and no other god would demonstrate so much love for His creation than to overcome evil with good.

  • TheGunsOfNavarone

    So for 57 years you have adhered to a philosophy whose core concept didn’t make sense to you?

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  • Dirtbeard


    i just finished “Farewell to Mars” – i completely buy into the polemic of not waging war in the name of god, even a secularized cultural god. i am still wrestling with what this actually looks like in the age of isis (the islamic group, not the egyptian goddess). i am also wresting with your view of the atonement.

    i was helped in this way by scott mcknight’s metaphor of the bag of golf clubs. if i understand him correctly, he offers this metaphor to say we should not hold to just one theory of the atonement in the same way we do not use just one club.

    with this in mind, as much as i agree that we should not force a penal substitution theory to the fore as an acid test… i cannot abandon it altogether and soley embrace your view as well.

    maybe i just need to listen to your sermons, but what do you do with passages that speak of god’s wrath being satisfied, of the need for a sacrifice, for the need for death? this sounds like there is an aspect in which the death of jesus did save us from god – in the sense that it propitiated his justice.

    i get that this is waaaay over played. but how can it be completely abandoned?

  • Here is my sermon series on this topic.

  • Dirtbeard


  • Yvette

    I’ve had these questions for so long…in fact, they were impeding my growth as a Christian because I couldn’t get past them. Thank you so very much for so simply explaining this. It’s made a world of a difference to me.

  • Christy Marie

    What Bible have you been reading?! God is the acting agent in the destruction of the wicked. Anybody can read this and see it is plainly obvious.There are probably hundreds or even thousands of passages that state the following sentiments:

    “God will turn the sins of evil people back on them. He will destroy them for their sins. The LORD our God will destroy them.”-Psalm 94:23

    “I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath.
    Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.”-Ezekiel 25:17

    “In the hand of the LORD is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices;
    he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its
    very dregs.”-Psalm 75:8

    “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”-Revelation 20:14-15

  • Christy Marie

    I am a Christian, and sadly, I’d rather learn about the Bible from an atheist these days. They’re usually more honest.

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  • alb

    O dear, I respectfully submit this essay is a Scripture/truth concealing half-truth. The Bible is clear that God Himself “crushed” his Son and that “he was wounded for our transgressions…that “the punishment due us was upon Him” and that “the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (see Isaiah 53). The substitutionary death and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ who was “crucified from the beginning of the world” in God’s plan is the foundation of true Christianity and the Gospel itself. Could one make a greater error than to confuse the this of this doctrine and bully the plain meaning of Scripture by calling it “child abuse”? The author’s inability to understand how that is done seems to me to be a highway for him to deny the plain – albeit mysterious in it’s “how-ness” – meaning of the Bible. “Christ died for our sins”, was “an atoning sacrifice”, was a “a propitiation” (one who turns aside wrath) for us (see 1 John 2). “All our sins were laid on Him” (see 1 Peter 2). “This is my blood poured out for you…for the forgiveness of sin”. I submit these words lose their understandable meaning and their life changing power when seen without the foolishness of the wisdom of God” (see 1 Cor 1) being allowed to speak above the gnostic complication of this “sophisticated” view.

  • alb

    This book is a great scholarly and cross-testament analysis of this doctrine and I think it would do well for the author of this blog – and his readers – to engage it –

  • Crystal S.

    I agree!

  • rickopodomus

    In regards to the Old Testament portrayals…”You have heard it said…but I tell you…”

  • Tom Payton

    Thank you! It would seem that the need for justice and payment is our need that is projected onto Abba.

  • Awesome post!

  • pennyjane

    thank you for putting to rest some ideas in my head that i knew could not be much in the way of truth but hung on because they seemed irreplaceable. “we violently sinned our sins into Jesus and Jesus revealed the heart of God by forgiving us.” that’s a secret revealed, a glimmer into the awful and wonderful mystery.

  • pennyjane

    some of us are not all knowing. some of us can see a great and wonderful truth that mystifies us in myriad of ways. some of us can love even without a complete understanding. that must seem mindless to you, for that i’m sorry.

  • David Slowinski

    ReRead what you posted; ‘THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH”. This states not that God will destroy you for your sin, but that death is sin’s ultimate consequence.

  • James

    If your God is not Good, then your serving him is merely self-interest and you had better not make any claim to virtue or presume to recommend virtue to others. You are just kowtowing to power.

  • Jimmy

    A theology devoid of atonement is essentially what you are preaching.

  • Of course I’m not doing that. Atonement is God restoring the human race to himself and restoring creation to its original goodness. It’s not a penal atonement, but a restorative atonement…an at-one-ment.

  • ultracalicokittycat

    it was that one sentence, “At the cross we discover a God who would rather die than kill his enemies.”, where I thought, “Oh!…” Honestly, before I read this, I Always Wondered what “Jesus dying for our sins” meant.

  • Jimmy

    It’s restorative. But it’s also legal/penal, commercial, and all the other stuff. That is why Paul uses metaphors such as “justification” and “redemption,” etc. These are legal and commercial words. You can’t just skip over them, and explain them away with something a little more warm and fuzzy.

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  • Jesse

    Basically what you are saying is that through Jesus’ death and resurrection we have been given a new identity, namely His.

  • Martin Accad

    Short! Sharp! And brilliant! And that’s why I dislike so many traditional hymns about the cross at easter time… Thank you Brian!

  • Rowan Moses

    The cross is a mystery. When I was a kid I would tear up (still do today) when I sang certain Hymns about the death of Jesus and somehow deep down inside me I knew that the Cross is the way God reveals to us that he loves us no matter what and we are his children no matter what we do. Jesus died for our sins and as much as I agree with Pas Zahnd on this I also like to believe Jesus died for my sins not because God doesn’t count my sins but because we don’t. The laws and principalities are hard taskmasters. I spend one whole year just smoking pot everyday and I would never ever forgive myself for wasting my life but somehow because Jesus died for my sins I know deep down inside I don’t have to pay my dues to the Principalities and Powers that demand karmic justice for doing what I did. Jesus is all forgiveness and love and I know that I won’t have to pay for my futility because he died for my sins. I don’t have to bear the consequence of my sins, its totally erased coz Jesus payed the price for it on the Cross. One of the songs that I came across this Good Friday said that he was left alone with our sins abandoned by God. It does not mean that God actively abandoned Jesus but that the path Jesus took to be with us was not easy. He knew that we would never believe that we are free and we always believed in karma and the monster God so he bore the consequence of us sins to show us that he is willing to do anything for us, we’re free from everything. Another meaning of the Cross that came to me during my moments of psychological trauma was that “God wants to be with us more than we want to be with him”, I know this sounds silly, obvious and stupid but it makes sense to me. God in Christ is with me now and sees how much I suffer because of my sins and cannot see me like this and for a moment becomes a rebel against what we want God to be- Holy and Infinite. God becomes Godless and takes upon himself our own Godless condition so that he may be all in all in our Godlessness. The mystery of the Cross is also the mystery of the Godless God who is with us in our most despicable condition. Its not simply atonement, if you call it something its solidarity.

  • Tony Ghosn Shelala

    I am afraid Brian is right. Brian’s spiritual reading of the Bible goes beyond our limitation of
    reasoning when dealing with old and new testament verses about love and justice of God. He sees things
    from a different perspective that originates from the heart of our Lord. Some of us used to think that
    the level of understanding God as written in the old books is the same as in the new testament. This is
    totally wrong for one reason. Previously God spoke to the forefathers through the prophets and other
    ways. In the new testament God revealed himself in the life of his only eternally begotten Son, the
    perfect image of God. You think the level of inspiration, or shall I say our understanding of God as
    written, is the same as in the prophets versus the Son of God? I don’t think so. Even John the baptist
    expected a messiah who is willing to cut off trees but was surprised by the attitude of Jesus to the
    extent of sending some of his adherents to ask Jesus whether he was the messiah or not. According to
    Jesus the heavenly Father was worried about his prodigal son while he was away engulfed with the sins of
    the world. When the son came back he was expecting his father to treat him like a slave. What was the
    response of the Father? First he did not open a conversation with the his son, nor blamed him and told
    him that he had to pay a price for his wrong doings. Instead, the Father addressed his servants to
    prepare a feast saying that we all must rejoice for my son came back to me. The prodigal son realized
    that life away from home by itself is dirt and death in the end. Myself I see redemption when the
    absolute love of God, as revealed on the cross, breaks my heart turning me from a position of rebellion
    and confrontation with God, or his laws, to a life of reconciliation to God and fellowship in the spirit with our Lord and savior Jesus the Christ as his bride (the church).


    From Beirut, Lebanon

  • Blessings to you, Tony.

  • Tony Ghosn Shelala

    No Jimmy. Atonement is not dismissed in Brian’s devotions. There is no salvation without atonement. The thing is how you would interpret it properly far from being just a mathematical equation: The blood versus our sins. It’s not the blood that redeems but rather Christ who gave his life to the last drop of blood overwhelming us by the ultimate love of our heavenly Father. It’s how our rebellion is defeated leading us to reconciliation to God in a life of fellowship with Jesus in the spirit. Blessings.

  • Heikki Hilvo

    Thanks, Brian. You opened my eyes to understand the cross in a new and rather revolutionary way.

  • Love it

  • Jimmy

    The “mathematical” component to atonement is one of the primary ways that the New Testament talks about atonement. In spite of Brian’s protest otherwise, terms like justification, debt, guilt, forgiveness, reconciliation, ransom, purchase, bought, redemption, forbearance, are legal and commercial metaphors that the New Testament uses to describe what Jesus did for us on the cross. Terms like cleansing, sacrifice, atonement, and propitiation are steeped in the Old Testament sacrificial blood cult terminology, and is by nature, violent. Brian may like to pretend these words don’t exist, or to loosely explain them away in a flippant manner, or he may even find a “scapegoat” in Eastern Orthodoxy theology, but such doesn’t mean he is on firm Biblical grounding. I appreciate a lot of what Brian has to say on many topics, and even some things he has to say on atonement. But some things he just flatly gets wrong, as he refuses to accept the tensions that exist within Scripture regarding the nature of God, and what happened on the cross,

  • Thank you for this.

  • Brian Foster

    The “bloody cross” has been there since Moses. Some blood from the lamb was painted with hyssop (an awful paint brush) and from side to side and top dripping down to the bottom, it always made a bloody cross. Those who were behind the cross (or the door) were saved. This is why the Paul could say to the Philippian jailer to believe in Jesus and you and YOUR HOUSEHOLD would be saved. Jesus was the Passover Lamb. This Lamb was never never for the forgiveness of sins. In the levitical law, a female lamb was for sins. This was a lamb for Redemption, a Peace offering. God got his share with the blood poured at the alter, the priest got the right shoulder for his part, and the rest was brought home to roast for the first night of Passover. This is why Jesus is the Prince of Peace, He was the perfect peace offering so our relationship can be Right with God.

  • Scott Bennett

    So true!
    Thanks Brian!

  • Steve

    I agree. If the wages of sin is death…then blood was definitely needed to bring justice. Like you mention in Isaiah 53…it pleased the Lord to crush him. Tying this piece of scripture in with 2 Corinthians 5…God made him who knew no sin to be sin…it becomes clear that at the cross, God saw his son as the culmination of all committed sins. And if sin leads to death, I would definitely believe that God wanted to crush anything that was destroying his creation that SO LOVES.

  • lee

    this is amazing that God would rather die than kill his enemies !! do you understand the word ENEMY ! In the new testament Jesus also states love your enemies, . this is incredible blashemy , the God made man like himself, with great abilities of the mind, man choses evil and God comes and commits suicide ! This is pure satanism, using the name of a good man, considering the state of the world today it will now take the deaths of all the hosts of heaven to bring sanity to the kindom of hell. Jesus taught like all the prophets before that personal responisbility was the criterion ” go and sin no more” “take up your bed and walk’ “go sell your wealth and aid the poor” show where in the bible God ordained this massive incredible change in divine law .. He says againand again Im the same yesterday today and forever …. I changeth not . Blashemy and lies, Paul again changes the law of “all the green things as food” when he has a vision of the earths animals on a blanket and God saying dont call unclean what I have made clean ” calling vegetarians weak creatures Paul corrupted the scriptures and his agents are empowered to continue the vison of the prince of this world./

  • Paul Mould

    I am shocked how the orthodox biblical teaching of propitiation has suddenly been thrown out of the window because the whole idea of God’s wrath is so distasteful to many Christians today. It is not the concept of God’s wrath that should be rejected but many modern foolish distortions of it. If you read Paul’s most complete exegesis of the Gospel (his letter to the Romans) you will find that the wrath of God is discussed at some length in the first two chapters. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Rom. 1:18) . Christ’s sacrifice must deal with this problem. This indeed the case: “God presented Him [Christ] as the One who would turn aside his wrath, taking away sin through faith in his blood” (Rom 3:25). For a much fuller discussion of the doctrine of propitiation see “A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith: 2nd Edition” by Robert Reymond

  • Penal satisfaction atonement theory is modern, not ancient. It’s Calvinism, not orthodoxy. The Eastern Orthodox church has always called PSA a heresy. Satisfaction atonement theory (non-penal) dates to Anselm a thousand years ago…and the Orthodox have been critiquing it ever since. So you may very well continue to support some version of PSA theory, but you should at least know that the critiques of it are hardly sudden or modern.

  • Paul Mould

    That’s just plain silly. We must let the Bible speak for itself. The Greek word translated (accurately) as “turn aside… wrath taking away sin” means “a sin offering, by which the wrath of the deity shall be appeased; a means of propitiation” (Strong’s Concordance). You can’t just dismiss it as “Calvanism”, Surely there are many aspects to the atonement. As John Stott has stressed that this doctrine must be understood not as the Son placating the Father, but rather in Trinitarian terms of the Godhead initiating and carrying out the atonement, motivated by a desire to save humanity.

  • Brian, as N.T. Wright points out, that’s just not true.

    Chapter 5 ‘Surveying the Heritage: the historical pedigree of penal substitution’ of Pierced for our Transgressions by Steve Jeffery, Mike Ovey, and Andrew Sach.

    N.T Wright (though not agreeing with everything in the book still) says:

    “…it firmly and decisively knocks on the head an old canard which is repeated yet again in a letter in the Church Times (20 April 2007, p. 13): that ‘penal substitution’ was invented by Anselm and developed by Calvin, and that it excludes and even contradicts other ideas, not least the ‘Christus Victor’ theme. Over against this, J, O and S offer a catena of passages from Justin Martyr, Eusebius of Caesarea, Hilary of Poitiers, Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus, Ambrose, Augustine, Cyril of Alexandria, Gelasius of Cyzicus, Gregory the Great, and Thomas Aquinas.”

    quoted from…

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  • I know after sharing this I will not be asked to preach in some place – lol 😉

  • Chaplian Wally

    Forgiveness is the power of Mercy from a humble God who sacrifices himself on a cross for you. The nature of true mercy always requires a sacrifice by me to you, or you to me. or us to God or ultimately God to us. Mercy and sacrifice are interdependent in AGAPE LOVE.

  • Trebor Renirraw

    So if I were to put this new revelation from this old blog in my own words, the glorious gospel is that God the Father sent his son Jesus Christ to be pulverized by mankind and die by suffocation so that we could give our wickedness the best shot we had, so that we could see how really, really bad we we were and then God could respond by saying ….. no big deal …. I love you…. I forgive you. Hmmm …doesn’t sound much better than the child sacrifice illustration to me.

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  • Tyler

    With Augustine we should say, “I believe in order to understand.” This is truly the foundation of all knowledge. One can feel the love of God without being able to scientifically describe it. Hyper rationalism does not understand a knowledge that includes the possibility of learning and growing with experience.

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  • Ryan

    “The cross is not what God inflicts upon Christ in order to forgive. The cross is what God endured in Christ as he forgives.”

    Why can’t it be both? We don’t need to throw out or vilify propitiation altogether, instead we can bring it back to its fuller definition. I would argue that even the way the author has pontificated still necesitates propitiation.

    Justice is not some abstract ideal, it is part of the nature of God that he is constrained to because it is a part of him, just like his love. He is the definition of justice, it is not separate from him as the author indicates.

    We wouldn’t say that the cross indicates that God was trying to appeal some abstract ideal of love would we? Of course not! Instead the author said that at the cross “we are seeing the lengths a God of love will go in forgiving sin.” (GREAT statement btw) The author sees love as stemming from the character of God, we should see justice the same way. Why not pair this statement with “at the cross we are seeing the lengths a God of justice will go to accept humanity once again.”?

    He is tied to love AND justice in the cross because he IS love and justice. Let’s not drop off either side of that truth.

  • Glen Gibson

    Well thought out. I shared this article on the “Jesus is Even Better Than You Thought” group on Facebook. I hope a lot of people get to read this.

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  • Nimblewill

    I wrote this several years ago.

    The Cross

    It was ugly yet beautiful.

    It was horrible yet necessary.

    It was bloody yet healing.

    It was dirty yet cleansing.

    It was vile yet pure.

    It was sinful yet holy.

    It was then yet now.

    It was them yet me.

    It was Him.

  • Nimblewill

    But didn’t Jesus consistently tell the Jews that they were wrong about their perception of who God was?

  • Nimblewill

    After reading the comments section, its the church that’s bipolar!

  • Glen Gibson

    I wanted to share a brief clip called “Why Sacrifice”. I think it ties in well to this article.

  • hellbindercda

    I am sorry for being late to the party on this, But I was thinking about this and googled thus here I am. I want to get a response.
    Jesus is god and man… the god part of Jesus cant die only the man part. But of the man part of Jesus only the body can die.
    So are we really saying and believing that a bodily blood sacrifice is what saved us? or justifies our “sin”?

    What “sin” is that? Are we saying that “sin” only lives in the body? What about the soul and spirit? Neither of those died with Jesus and according to the new testament at least human souls and spirits don’t die either. Paul does make some strange statements that would lead one to believe that he (and others of his time) did think the body was evil/sinful. “what can set me free from this body of death”.

    Is there a hidden Christian doctrine that thinks the soul is righteous and needs to get set free from its sinful body? That the only way to live again in a new body is through faith in Jesus? Is this really what Christians are believing weather we realize it or not?

    I suspect there are an awful lot of Christians who don’t know what they have signed up for with this. It really boils down to a human body/blood sacrifice to appease the wrath of god.

  • hellbindercda

    Jesus only died bodily, even though he “took on the sin of the world”. Did he do this literally? or was it only accounted as such symbolically?

    In Ezekiel’s time “soul” meant a living person.

  • jennifer

    Thank you so much for your insightful post, Brian.
    Surely all atonement “theories” must be evaluated in the light of our understanding of who Jesus is. As one who believes that Christ is the revelation of God, “the true light that gives light to every human being” (John 1:9), I find that appeals to arguments based on “historical pedigree” and cherry-picked fragments of scripture, made by some of the commenters in response to your post, really miss the mark as judged by this criterion.
    As the revelation and incarnation of “the true Light”, Jesus calls us out of darkness to Himself, redeeming us in showing us the way to the Father, so that we may turn, and be saved. Since it is impossible to imagine that Jesus, as He is revealed in the Bible and by the Holy Spirit, would EVER require the torture and death of another human being for any reason, so it is impossible to attribute such a requirement to the one whom he called Abba. Rather, his self-sacrifice is an example of giving the ultimate gift, ‘the laying down of one’s own life for one’s friends.’
    So I find your perspective, Brian, to be from the essential vantage point of seeing the ‘Jesus Christness’ of God. As Jesus commanded that we must love each other as He loves us, even including our enemy, so does He reveal the depth of God’s love for us. The cross is not therefore what God requires to settle up the accounts of our sin, as the tidy explanation of the penal substitution theory would have it. What a small God (and one much like ourselves) that would be! We would be far wiser to confess that in the cross we are witness to the profound Mystery of God’s love. As you’ve powerfully expressed, the cross is where we glimpse “the lengths to which a God of love will go in forgiving sin.”

  • Teena Stewart

    Thank you for explaining in such a way that I can grasp the idea that shows a more loving God.

  • John1966

    So you’re saying we killed Jesus, and in so doing, manifested the worst in human nature. And in response, God forgave us. So our murder of Jesus was an essential opportunity for God to show that he forgives even the worst sin, to prove that none of us, no matter how sinful, are beyond the reach of God’s huge magnitude of forgiveness. I get it, it sounds logical. But it’s WRONG. You just made it up out of thin air, simply because, as you admitted, you disqualified the traditional doctrine as “repellent” to you. But meanwhile, the traditional doctrine, that Jesus bore the penalty of our sin in his bodily suffering, that the wrath of God was satisfied by God inflicting pain and death on Jesus, remains the truth of the bible, immune to your disapproval of it. You are free to present an alternate doctrine foreign to the bible, one that fashions God into your image, that is, your own personal, emotional sensibilities, preferences, and biases, a “God” who is “nice” and never angry, who doesn’t view sin as serious enough to warrant severe punishment, whose holiness is so insignificant that mixing unholiness into it is no big deal. You are free to arrogantly, self-righteously choose to believe that your sin is not more severe than being a murderer, not severe enough to warrant the extreme wrath of God, not severe enough to warrant Jesus suffering an outrageously tortuous penalty in your place. But you are not free to call that tired, recycled, phony doctrine biblical, or call it Christianity. For a conspicuously clear text on how our sin was laid on Jesus and then punished by God in his wrath, read Isaiah 53. That is, assuming you have a bible, or care to read it, or care to believe it.

  • So good.

  • Mok

    i think you got the message exactly wrong. there are a number of instances where god forgives in scripture without sacrifice. jesus readily forgives others without it. sacrifice is a horrid system based on contract: sin = debt; sacrifice = payment. hence there is no forgiveness in a sacrificial system, it’s a transaction. if jesus paid the debt; the father did not forgive anyone. now the next question is what kind of being / god determines that debt is settled through death (and a torturous one at that). it’s insane. the argument of his righteousness is hollow and based on bronze age sacrificial thinking. jesus did not fulfill the requirements of sacrifice; he nullified the entire system by showing god is not like that. man-made religion molded god in the image of our petty wrath: one that cannot forgive but has to be paid. jesus requires us to forgive our enemies, without them making any payment to us – does he then expect a better forgiveness from us than what the father can give mmm?

  • Jesse Kloeppner

    This may seem simplistic but I think your point is very valid that the cross is a way for the father to communicate a message that was not getting its point across through all of His interactions of the Old Testament years. The cross can be seen as the ultimate prophetic act to explain God’s thoughts and heart for humanity! Like the prophetic acts of Amos, Jeremiah, and Isaiah, except this act is not just silly or ridiculous, like waking around naked, but rather shocking and revealing of the true nature of lawlessness and the desire to be in control of our destiny through politics and religion which often times leads to murder. Including murdering God if we had the opportunity.

    Thanks for your voice and I hope that you continue to press in for more insights like this!

  • Lynn Pereira


  • Rob

    I love the point of this – God took the hit, turned the other cheek and let us hurt him rather than fight back.

    However, there is another interesting side to this – “For how much worse punishment do you think he will be considered-worthy— the one having trampled-underfoot the Son of God, and having regarded as defiled the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and having insulted the Spirit of grace?”, which brings us to the base of the reality of the Cross — “Yet it was the Lord’s delight and desire to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the Lord’s delight and desire will prosper in his hand.”

    It was God’s wish to crush himself rather than take vengeance, because he has something better — “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

  • Rob

    Looking at the whole gospel (Genesis through Revelation) entails the need to accept the fact that the Lamb of God was God himself. “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” So God is not some split personality – he willing sacrificed himself and gave us a choice rather than hit back. It’s not in his nature to be vengeful – God is love. Learn it fast, before it’s too late.

  • melanie statom

    For Christians, all scripture must be read in light of Christ, including the Old Testament. The radical revelation of Jesus Christ IS the revelation of the mystery of God in human flesh…..What does ” God’s wrath look like in Jesus?…A God who suffers wrath and definitively does not inflect it.

  • KinCarnasis

    No mystery at all… It is that kind of thinking that prevents people from being set free and being able to gain understanding the knowledge of truth. There is no mystery about it and because you veil it, you probably don’t know it very well yourself.

  • KinCarnasis

    No excuse. By insisting it is a mystery, you lead a veiled existence and will never know the knowledge of the Truth. Loving without complete understanding also places you in a point where your love can be misplaced and that love abused. By the very fact you insulted someone in this reply, not once, but twice, shows your lack of love, because you do not have understanding. This is the classic hallmark of the religious, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth. (2 Timothy 3:7)

  • KinCarnasis

    57 years, and only glimpsed it…

    Wait until you find out about the real reason Jesus laid down his own life, and nobody took it from him regardless of the violent way he died. Full-Time Pastor Brian Zahnd didn’t tell you that Jesus said, “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” (John 10:17-18) and neither did Full-Time Pastor Brian Zahnd know the actual reason Jesus laid down His Life.

    57 years and just a glimpse it…

  • KinCarnasis

    “We must be careful in elevating any of God’s attributes over and against his other attributes.” What the in the sentence of Gehenna are you talking about? Hahaha. Brother Matthew Abate, God is Love, not an attribute we call love. Diminishing God is that easy for you…. Ever wonder what happened to the Pharisee? I digress.

    Let us say that, for argument sake, that love is just an attribute. Should we really be careful not to elevate God’s attributes over and against his other attributes?

    “Faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

    Ouch! What is the greatest of these things that Paul compared? Which is greater? Which was more elevated than the other and if need be pitted against another would win? Oh, my friend, that would the attribute of love, would it not?

    Actually, in all seriousness you will never read read that God is Justice, God is Faith, God is Hope…these things are indeed attributes of God. Those things flow from God; God, Who is Love. So Justice is administered by Love, Faith flows from Love, Hope is powered by Love.

    “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

    Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” (1 John 4:7-21)

    Welcome to big leagues brother.

  • KinCarnasis

    “God has not changed and God is righteous. If anyone, including His son, is with sin, he must be punished.” Such opprobrious words. You have no idea what you are talking about. God’s love can not override his nature? Where does Scripture say, “God is Righteousness”. No where! Absolutely in no place at all! What do we see though? Yes, Scripture states it clearly, “God is Love!” Even God’s righteousness must submit to this, therefore let us find out what is righteousness.

    “Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:6

    Wow that was pretty simple. All you have to do is believe and you are considered righteous. It really didn’t require much. I could go on, but the gull is beginning to turn bitter.

  • KinCarnasis

    No that is Moses’s Law.

  • Oh, right. Clearly you have some magical insight into what I do and don’t know. Or not.

  • HowDoes “Dying For Our Sins” Work?

    “To try to reduce the death of Jesus to a single meaning is an impoverished
    approach to the mystery of the cross”

    What mystery are you referring to Brian? Do not the Scriptures give a clue? Is it that difficult
    to find the truth of the matter? It seems that you, like so many ‘liberated’
    people who impose a false premise on the incarnation:‘the life and death—and
    resurrection’ of the second person of the Trinity in order to justify an [apparent]
    displeasure with any notion that allows for justice—or retribution—especially on
    God’s part?

    “The god who is mollified by throwing a virgin into a volcano or by nailing his son to a tree is not the Abba of Jesus!” …Neither is thedeath of Jesus a kind of quid pro quo by which God gains the necessary capital to forgive sinners. No! Jesus does not save us from God; Jesus
    reveals God! Jesus does not provide God with the capacity to forgive; Jesus
    reveals God as forgiving love…”

    Where, in Scripture, did you find this? Where do you find the teaching you refer to? Indeed, what is this ‘necessary capital’ you refer to—a view you impose on those
    whose exegesis differs from yours. If you have evidence that yours adheres to
    the biblical text rather than to social mores etc, should you not be able to evidence this from Scripture.

    Regarding the accounts of the crucifixion, you seem to have chosen to ignore the obvious i.e. the fact that they were stating a de facto state of affairs—this is exactly what they did. The incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ was an act of divine self-giving—God in Christ [Triunity. The apostle Paul CLEARLY states (2 Corinthians 5) refers to exactly this; moreover, Paul makes it glaringly obvious that it is because of Christ’s giving of himself
    that anyone who ‘is reconciled’ maybe reconciled—‘..;that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them.’ i.e. those ‘IN’ Christ.

    Nowhere does Scripture suggest that God somehow lacks the propensity to forgive—that he ‘acted contrary to his will’—what nonsense.

    Of course GOD did not require the death of Christ in order to forgive fallen mankind—rather HE
    gave of himself so that we MAY be rescued,reconciled,redeemed from the state of
    affairs that has existed since mankind was banished from the presence of God. The atonement is the act of God that releases/rescues (Colossians 1:13) the believer from the power of the Devil, who is not a concept but an ‘individual.It’s regretful that you make a mockery of the seriousness of the fallen state of mankind—even fallen angels. Of course GOD is not a monster. At the cross we discover one who died for the unjust—i.e You, me and the rest of humanity: ‘For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might
    bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,…’(1
    Peter 3:18)

    You say that, ‘The cross is where God in Christ absorbs sin and recycles it into forgiveness.’ You make it sound as if this were a utilitarian act of some kind of cosmic-economist rather than
    a Just and Holy God—even the creator and sustainer of the universe—who before
    the creation of the world had allowed for both the free-will choice of the
    creatures made in His image (Imago Dei)—allowing for both the opportunity of both rebellion and reconciliation—the swelling of the redeemed, with Christ, on the New Earth—to be revealed at the eschaton.

    At least we agree on the fact that the cross is, as you say, ‘both ugly and beautiful’ but your obsession with love—seemingly without regard for justice—ignores that fact that the Cross of Christ not only offers reconciliation it also disarms the powers of darkness (Colossians 2:15)—for which,at least according to Scripture.

    Soli Deo Gloria

  • KinCarnasis

    Yep. It is called your words. Here let me quote you,

    Rob Grayson says, “oh beautiful mystery…”

  • I have no interested in discussing this further with someone so judgmental.

  • KinCarnasis

    Yes, righteous and correct judgments appears judgmental. I agree. Perhaps you should discover that magic and mystery are not aspects of Christianity that in line with Scriptural and godly truth. Take care Rob.

  • Whatever, dude.

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  • bobbygrow

    I am doing a series of 3 posts comparing Brian’s view to Friedrich Schleiermacher’s. I just post the first one:

    In case anyone is interested.

  • jennifer

    For an engaging recording which summarizes the major theories of the Atonement from the time of Paul down through history, search Dictionary of Theology Atonement on St Johns Nottingham timeline website:
    You can also find it via youtube:

  • Rich

    Matthew- Is it possible that it’s the Lord’s will is “knowing” that taking the form of Jesus on Earth would result in death in order to reveal his true nature (which was never achieved in the OT)? It’s like a firefighter running into a burning building knowing he’s gonna die to save a small child. The child sees the love of this person and is saved. I’m trying understand Is 53. Is 53 opens with this: “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed”

  • Pastor Brian Zahnd should take this a step further, and make it explicitly clear, without mincing words that Jesus’ death on the cross IS NOT A MUST REQUIREMENT for the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of souls. Period.

    We are saved by God’s grace through faith. And embracing the LOVE of God makes this easily possible or attainable. It’s that simple. Jesus revealed God’s love through his teachings and his remarkable life, from birth through his teenage years, to his adult life, up to and including his death, resurrection and ascension.

    If anyone looks at the cross without allowing his heart to be awakened by the LOVE of God, salvation will not come. He may recite ‘the sinner’s prayer’ a million times – salvation will not come. Salvation comes when our eyes are opened to ‘see’ God’s love in a powerful way that moves us to surrender our all to God. This can happen at the cross. It can also happen elsewhere – outside the cross.

    But is there power in the blood of Jesus? Of course, ‘Yes!’ I gave a sermon on this here:

  • Jesus and Atonement

    King David saw into the mind of God concerning blood sacrifice:
    Psalm 51:16-17, “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart – These, O God, You will not despise.”
    Psalm 40:6, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.”

    And also:
    Jeremiah 7:22-23, “For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’”
    In Matthew 9:13, Jesus said, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

    In conducting the Passover Supper Ceremony, Jesus always intentionally did not include animal sacrifice – like lamb meat because he abstained from the slaughtering of animals. (The Jews upheld the spilling of blood as a requirement for the forgiveness of sins or the atonement of sins). Christ always opted for bloodless passovers. This practice and attitude of Jesus shows clearly that God the Father does not require blood sacrifice in order to forgive sins. Jesus even forgave people their sins before he died. His blood wasn’t spilled then! For example in Matthew 9:2, “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.’”

    For the forgiveness of our evil deeds/sins/iniquity => for our salvation, God simply asks for repentance from the heart; a broken and a contrite heart. Jesus came on the scene and made it all clearer: He revealed that when we get an understanding of and embrace the LOVE of God in such a way that we surrender our all to God, and allow our hearts to forgive others, in as much as we seek God’s forgiveness, therein is our salvation. This process allows us to see God as a loving Father and to see other people as our brothers and sisters. We also acquire the faith to believe that our eternal future is secured in God (or in God’s plan).

    For our salvation, there’s no need for animal sacrifice; the sacrifice of the village king’s first son or the sacrifice of an innocent girl or man captured (kidnapped) by the king’s guards. And of course, no need for God to sacrifice an innocent Jesus. Stop and think for a minute: To punish an innocent man for the deeds of wicked or guilty offenders… it justice?

    To understand the, “Gospel of Salvation”, we must look at what Jesus did and taught about SALVATION. Our major focus must be, “The gospel according to Jesus”. And not the, “The gospel according to Paul”. Paul’s version of the gospel is mixed up. It has Jesus’ version in it but mixed up with the olden Jewish version of atonement and with his own concocted version of “the fall of man”, “the original sin” – of the spiritual death of everybody from birth due to the fall of Adam, the first man. By the way, we know Adam was not the first man. Before Adam and Eve came, there were Andon and Fonta. After Cain killed Abel, he relocated to another place and married there. That tells us clearly that there were humans living in other communities outside the Garden of Eden. And thank God for the Urantia Revelations (The Urantia Book). The first couple (Andon and Fonta) walked on Earth about 1 million years ago. Adam and Eve came about 38,000 years ago. Please, do the math.

    Jesus never taught or endorsed the atonement doctrine “as a must requirement for the forgiveness of sins.” He chose to go through the death on the cross, knowing fully well that one of the blessings that would accrue would be the final liberation of ‘many’ from blood sacrifice. Hence he said in Matthew 26:28, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Take note he said “…is shed for many…” Shed for “many”. He didn’t say, “Shed for all”. He knew there were and would be “many” who would fervently cling to atonement/blood sacrifice. His death on the cross took care of those people – the “many”. It helped to deal a great and final blow to the barbarism of blood sacrifice. He became, as it were, the last sacrifice. But he didn’t have to do it. It was not a must requirement. …and a prophet Isaiah, foresaw the sufferings of our Jesus…

    Salvation comes as a result of God’s powerful divine love – be it at the cross or outside the cross (the cross apart). For example, there are other inhabited planets, where the people there (aliens) get saved and they know nothing about any cross. But the love of God is available. Paul’s or Christianity’s doctrine of salvation is strange and impractical in many other inhabited planets. However, Jesus’ salvation message (mentioned in an earlier paragraph above) is applicable to “all” here on Earth and in every other planet inhabited by mortal intelligence. And there are lots of them. 🙂 Go figure!

    …Also, Jesus never taught the original sin doctrine (the spiritual death of every child due to the fall of Adam and Eve). Even the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke to a large extent, show that Jesus didn’t teach all that. Our dear brother Paul and his associates concocted all that! And mixed them up with Jesus’ gospel of, “The Kingdom of God is within you; God’s love and salvation by grace through faith and faith alone; not of works; not of blood sacrifice.” The atonement doctrine is a man-made doctrine. We may say, “It is not of God; not of the Devil but of man.” By the way, a major reason Paul taught the atonement doctrine (and in some places, promoted it AS A MUST REQUIREMENT) was to win over many Jews to his Christianity. But of course, history shows that he did not succeed. For the most part, the Jewish community blatantly refused to be swayed by Paul’s salvation message. Our great brother, Paul did a lot to promote spiritual growth and enlightenment. Yes! But his diluted and mixed up message of salvation has created a confusion that persists to this day.

    Shalom and Hallelujah! #OneLove #Peace

  • Guarionex

    Well Said!

  • Guarionex

    Mr. Abate: It is not surprising at all that individuals who portrait God as the ultimate “author of evil” will take issue against the statement “God did not kill Jesus”. But again, this is the great epistemological divide that Zahn is alluding in his piece. Although he is not entirely clear about his critique, he is going after the hyper-rationalist foundation of penal substitutionary atonement theory. And by quoting the verses from Act, he is attempting to prove (somewhat successfully, I think) that the whole concept of penal substitutionary atonement (a 16th century protestant construction) flew over the heads of the ocular witnesses.

    Yet those Galileans were the ones appointed by God to proclaim his good news aided by the Holy Spirit. Because of their work and perseverance many came to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Now, the obvious question is:

    Can we fulfill our appointed devine calling without fully understanding all that went on in Golgotha? I’ll let the disciples answer that question for you. I’ll take Zahn’s argument on the atonement over the 3,000 Old testament verses you can quote, knowing that I might be “wrong” (according to your epistemological foundation), and yet not disqualified to do what I was created to do: “Glorify the One who is the sacrifice that atones for our sins–and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” Peace

  • caming

    Tell us more about your worship of John Calvin.

  • caming

    Rob, you’re a thousand percent right. It’s a beautiful mystery. Those who hold to stale, medieval doctrine, or believe our meager attempts at theology have revealed everything at the cross, are doomed souls who continue to feast at the tree of knowledge.

  • KinCarnasis

    Hello Caming, actually John Calvin and I would disagree a lot. So instead of looking for ad hominems and other fallacies to tend to your points, why don’t you step up and go into a real discussion.

  • Caming – I heartily doubt that are “doomed”. Let’s avoid any arrogance and have a little grace for various parts of the Body and their atonement expressions.

  • caming

    Coming from the troll who trashes another’s innocent statement on a faith blog? Yes, I should take advice from you. Run along, troll.

  • caming

    Arrogance is assuming that a cross event that occurred thousands of years ago has no mystery. And if an atonement expression is viewed as “concrete,” leaving no room for other interpretation (hence, dogma), then it has no place in dialogue.

  • caming

    Note: That said, doomed was probably a bit harsh. How about, “off course”?

  • KinCarnasis

    Who is trashing who? At not time have I trashed anyone, the only one who did so has been Rob and now you. The only one trolling appears to be you.

    It is also not a mystery, you do not know what Love is from your responses, so good luck convincing anyone else you know God. Glad we had this talk.

  • KinCarnasis

    So let me repeat. God is not a mystery, God is Love and anyone who loves, knows God and is born of God. To say that God is a mystery, is quite detrimental and to say that Love is an aspect of God’s Characters is not scriptural and not a biblical doctrine. So either you know who God is, or you don’t. It isn’t a mystery.

  • KinCarnasis

    There is no mystery, if you do not know why Jesus died, you aren’t reading your Scriptures. There is no room for interpretation, it’s all there in Black and White.

    1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

    Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.


    What’s the mystery caming? Do you even know what a mystery is? It is a mystery to those who are perishing but you claim to know some sort of Truth, how is it still a mystery to you?

  • KinCarnasis

    Or a reveal of your character.

    1 John 4:6-7 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

    I am saddened people have gone their entire lives and only got a glimpse of it, but when the Son has set you free, you are free indeed. Are you free caming? Do you know what the Son freed us from? So yes, I made a comment concerning it. Does this mean I do not love, no this means I know an evil that took place and saddened that their lives have gone by with only a glimpse.

    Take care of yourself, when you are ready to have a grown up conversation and actually accept responsibility for your words, I will be waiting. Those who are from God know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error because we love and we who love are born of God and know God and I hope one day you can experience God in the only way He must be experienced.

  • KinCarnasis


  • Yes “doomed” is a pretty strong judgment. And not true of course 🙂 I agree on mystery, but those who are more dogmatic on say PST are not necessarily arrogant. Many just sincerely believe that. So have dialogue. It *is* arrogant, or perhaps it’s just better to say judgmental, to say they are “doomed”, so glad you took that one back 🙂

  • There is mystery. And there is some certainty also. Great is the mystery of godliness Paul said. I don’t think any of us can claim to fully understand *all* the atonement. So it makes for respectful dialogue. I disagree with much of Brian’s post, but I’m not a “PST only” guy either. There is mystery. Should be if God is bigger than us and knows and understands more! I like that actually!

  • Amen, Randy.

  • KinCarnasis

    Yes. Thank-you for taking the time to discuss this. That word mystery, as used by Paul is not the romanticized word we have come to learn by our fictions of literature and non-fictions of the ‘who done it’. That mystery is “mustérion” as explained by Paul means, “a secret, a hidden truth.” and should have been rendered as much because that was the context.

    Jesus said Matthew 4. “To you has been given the mystery [mustérion] of the Kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables.” It doesn’t make sense in today’s definition of the word mystery and that is because mystery has lost it’s meaning. So how it actually translates is, “To you has been given the secret, hidden truth [mustérion] of the Kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables.” Which makes much more sense and now understand Jesus didn’t say the Kingdom of God is a mystery but rather He said I am giving you the secret hidden truth of the Kingdom of God while to the others I they just hear nonsense parables.”

    Isaiah 28 explains, those who have not Teacher, will receive knowledge in a stammering tongue and foreign language, and so the Word of God comes to them a little here and little and for that very reason they will stumble and fall, captured and snared because they have no knowledge and the Word of God remains a secret hidden truth.

    So I ask again, to whom is the secret hidden truth still a mystery? Those on the outside. This very much appears to polarize this situation. If you one claims there remains a mystery (in the context of unknowing and knowable truth) then they are speaking from the outside; on the other hand, if you claim to know the Christ and born of God, then to you was already given the secret hidden truth and it is not a mystery any longer.

    Does that mean we do not understand everything? No, but there are elementary things that we should have been taught from the beginning, in which Christianity barely touches. These things are called elementary, simple, the base foundation in which all other knowledge is sourced. However, these things are not taught as being elementary but some sort of advanced knowledge, “Secret Mystery” but Paul says in Hebrews 5, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God” and in Hebrews 6 tells us what they are:

    1) Changing one’s mind (repentance) from Dead Works [Note: Notice it is not repentance from our sins, this is very important distinction]
    2) Faith towards God. (Who is God).
    3) Instructions about baptisms. (John’s baptism was with water and repentance and was for a purpose and time, but there was one greater than him who would come to baptize with Spirit and Fire).
    4) Laying on of hands.
    5) The resurrection of the dead. (Ask almost any Christian, including pastors, on what this means and most do not know).
    6) Eternal Judgment. (This is one is the one everyone focuses on not realizing some forget who God is and actually proclaim judgments that are not His).

    Then he says, “…if you know these things….THEN…on to Maturity – if God permits.”

    In any case, yes, I will concede that there is “mystery” but it is only to those who are perishing.

    I know I said a lot here and I apologize if it appears I went off tangent. The goal is to recognize, if we claim to be born of God, a Child of God, saved through the Blood of Christ, then we have the ‘secret hidden truth’, it is not a mystery any more.

    John 12:38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

  • KinCarnasis

    “A God who suffers wrath and definitively does not inflect it.” Powerful!

  • Sure. We have some revelation as Christians. But, we know in part and we prophesy in part. The Scripture simply states that. That’s a WE not just THEY. The most profound act of Christ is the atonement. Certainly we need some humility regarding it.

  • KinCarnasis

    Yes, treating this with reverence and respect, and this is absolutely done in humility (there is no self-righteousness in my expression of this.) Calling it a mystery is actually the opposite of humility, a self-righteous pedestal in which the religious hold back the knowledge of the Truth from those who actually need it. Remember, mystery to the apostles does not mean mystery to the 21st Century reader. Mystery meant a hidden truth, but that truth has been revealed. It is not hidden any longer and has not been for 2000 years – yet, arrogantly (opposite to humility) men have sought to keep it a secret and continue to call it a mystery. The simple fact is, anyone who claims to be a Christian, yet professes what Jesus did on the cross as a mystery, simply doesn’t know what He accomplished there, and absolutely has not read the Scriptures. This is a very important fact and those who do not know, will not be able to live in the fullness of the Truth and if we do not have the Truth, we will not be free as Jesus said, ““If you abide in My word, obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, you are truly My disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    So let’s read the mystery:
    Paul said, “When you read it you can understand my insight into the “mystery” of Christ, which in other generations was not disclosed to mankind as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; It is this: That the Gentiles are now joint heirs with the Jews and members of the same body, and joint partakers sharing in the same divine promise in Christ Jesus through the good news. (Ephesians 3:4-6)

    Is there a mystery Randy? It has already been revealed. To continue to call it a mystery disrespects the apostles, the prophets and even Jesus Christ who laid down His Life so that this may be accomplished.

    So now you understand that the most profound act of Christ is the atonement, and humility would state it isn’t for us to squander for ourselves and proclaim it a mystery but to share this news for all because all are now joint heirs and joint partakers sharing in the divine promise in Christ because of what He did at the cross and raised up three days later.

    “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word as an official messenger; be ready when the time is right and even when it is not keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome; correct those who err in doctrine or behavior, warn, exhort and encourage those who are growing toward spiritual maturity, with inexhaustible patience and faithful teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:1-3).

    So next time someone claims to be a follower of Christ, proclaims that what He did was a mystery, correct them.

  • Glen Gibson

    It’s interesting that the atonement of Christ is regarded as an eternal event- meaning it was not limited to time and space so we and all that came before Christ are atoned for by this one eternal act. I keep hearing from Christians who insist that if you don’t make a good decision now on Earth, in this time and space, you have eternal consequences that cannot be undone and God has to surrender to “Lady Justice” and keep you out of Heaven or annihilate you (meaning you cease to exist). It seems like there is a confusing narrative that people have been taught over the years. Wouldn’t eternal punishment or annihilation mean that evil prevails in the end? And wouldn’t your good decision to follow Christ be what saves you? Allowing you to take some credit for the “transaction”? We categorize Christ as the Savior but reject His ability to save all, redeem all, love all. More importantly, we are blind to how depraved and unrighteous we all are and the mercy that Christ has for us daily, showing us He is so much more. Romans 11:32-36 is where I’m coming from.

  • Queennee Perez

    Because of the fall of Adam and Eve they were set out from the presence of the Lord. The Atonement of Jesus Christ was our Heavenly Father’s plan for us. Jesus Christ atonement make it possible for us to go back to our Heavenly Father’s presence. In the book of John Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life. I want you to think about the life of our Savior Jesus Christ. How the Savior suffered for our sins, died, and was resurrected, making it possible for us to return to our Heavenly Father. Through Him everyone can overcome sin and live again. Also;
    How he helps us find our way through life? How he is our great example? How he invite us to serve others. As you think about the Savior, keep in mind that part of His mission was to teach us how to live. He invites us to love God- and to Love and serve others.
    That may not always seem easy, but remember that we don’t have to do it without help. In fact, He will bless us so we can live the disciple’s life and find true joy as we turn and follow Him.

    “We have been provided with a perfect example of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ—and we have been instructed to follow that example… we need not walk by the shores of Galilee or among the Judean hills to walk where Jesus walked. All of us can walk the path He walked when, with His words ringing in our ears, His spirit filling our hearts, and His teaching guiding our lives, we choose to follow Him as we journey through mortality.

  • Queennee Perez

    The Kingdom of Heavens are full of mysteries. But The Lord revealeth depend on how worthy are thou.
    In James 1:5
    It is said;
    If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,and upbraideth not; and it shall given him.
    Let him ask in faith and he shall recieve it.

  • Brian Zahnd wrote, “…sinned our sins into Jesus, and Jesus absorbed them”

    But what is a “sin?” In what sense do they “exist?” How are they “absorbed?”

    Was it necessary for Jesus to be crucified and die before anyone could be assured eternal life? Why or why not?

    Didn’t we already know how corrupt humans could be without Jesus having to be crucified?

    And when Jesus WAS crucified no one apparently knew he was equal to God, part of a Trinity.

    We humans relate to the suffering of a wide range of species. We sympathize with them. Perhaps it is our egos that likes to believe a divine being suffered “with us.” But even non-human animals relate to the cries of species not their own, for instance it was recently discovered that deer react to the sound of a crying baby of almost any mammal species, not just the cry of a baby deer. So there is both empathy and aggression throughout nature. Which reminds me of a poem…

    No chipmunk had to be crucified

    on a tiny cross of twigs

    To save all the other chippies,

    Had to have nails pounded

    through his little paws,

    Had to take upon himself

    all the sins of all the chippies

    that ever were or would be

    and die in agony

    So that after they died

    all the chippies

    could live again forever,

    But only if they believed

    in all the sayings and doings

    of the chipmunk crucified

    on the tiny cross of twigs.

    Antler, Last Words

    Though I admire Jesus for deploring the temptations of wealth, organized religion and its powerful sway, as well as hypocrisy, I no longer find the doctrines of either “original sin,” or “imputed righteousness” believable. I don’t think the cosmos is the way it is simply because one human couple failed a test, nor do I believe that we ought to “eat Jesus’s flesh and drink his blood” not even metaphorically.

  • Matthew Peter Klein

    Once again Brian….. AWESOME. I really have started to see part of the meaning of the cross is for God to show us when we do our worst to Him his response is to say…. “I forgive you because you don’t understand what your doing….”

  • Matthew Peter Klein

    Lol… All of Christendom believes the cross is a mystery…. We ask these questions because there are many angels and there have been hundreds of brilliant men of God that have wrestled with the cross fom millennia. You position seems ignorant of that struggle. Maybe you need to ask yourself, if the cross was to forgive sins then how did Jesus forgive sins of people in his ministry before the cross or how did God do it in the old Testament without sacrifice. If God could forgive without any medium then why the cross…. Why the brutality. Jesus forgave without any of that long before God died.

  • Matthew Peter Klein

    In camming’s defence I would say the view of PSA is doom as it puts God in a sadistic light that is no where close to the love of the Father. This view actually creates damage in the brain as studied. See The God Shaped Brain

  • Matthew Peter Klein

    But you can also postulate that God’s justice is setting right what sin made wrong. If you think of sin as a disease then Jesus came to cure all our diseases and by his stripes we are healed. God’s wrath is against the sin that binds us. His justice is not punishment but it is the right call. A judge can say it is just that people do not starve or that children should not be forced to work. This is also justice but there is no punishment. The problem is that Christianity has married the world justice with punishment.

  • KinCarnasis

    Matthew, would I be objecting to it, if all ‘Christiendom’ believed the cross is a mystery. There is no mystery, and only remains a mystery to those who do not know and the Apostle Paul even stated that it only remains a mystery to those who are perishing!

    2 Corinthians 4:3 If our gospel is hidden [kept a mystery], it is hidden [only] to those who are perishing.

    I am not sure what you are objecting to as you say, “Maybe you need to ask yourself…”

    Matthew, what is your position? That the Cross is a mystery, or that forgiveness of sins did not come via the cross in the first place, and therefore the Cross meant something else. If this is your position, then you are closer than all these who continue to claim a ‘mystery’ concerning it – because the Cross is not a mystery.

    Hebrews 9:22 “In fact under the Law almost everything is cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness [neither release from sin and its guilt, nor cancellation of the merited punishment] (concerning the things under the Law).”

    So let’s bring it out in the open now, why the cross and the brutality? It was because the Nation of Israel and every Jew were held in an eternal chains unable to break free, because their accuser, the Law bound them, and in order to be free from the Law – it required the shedding of blood. Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for His sheep, so there was no more excuse to rely on the Law for their life but unto God alone!

    Hebrews 9:18-20 “So even the first covenant was not put in force without [the shedding of] blood. For when every commandment in the Law had been read by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of the calves and goats [which had been sacrificed], together with water and scarlet wool and with a bunch of hyssop, and he sprinkled both the scroll itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant [that seals and ratifies the agreement] which ‘God’ ordained and commanded [me to deliver to] you.”

    To give you context, Matthew, from Exodus 3-19, the people of Israel were commanded to listen to God’s voice and obey his commands and before this there was no Law!

    Yet, despite the miracles, the signs, the power demonstrated, the hardships overcome by supernatural circumstance, they remained a selfishly stubborn and rebellious nation. Foolishly blaming the lack of knowledge of God’s will for their disobedient actions.

    They demanded the Law by their actions, then they demanded a Judge for their works, then demanded a King, all the while God was telling them that He alone is God, there is no other – yet, they refused to hear his voice and by the Law sealed by blood, they were condemned to be accused day and night by it.

    So my friend, why did Jesus come?

    Matthew 15:24
    “Jesus answered, “I was commissioned by God and sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.””

    The cross is not a mystery. You said it yourself, God and Jesus could forgive sins prior to the Cross – so why the Cross?

    Luke 24:44 “This is what I told you while I was still with you, everything which has been written about Me in the Law of Moses and the [writings of the] Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

    So whose position is ignorant of that struggle, and ask yourself what were they struggling against? That the cross was the fulfillment of the Law and it’s demands! Freeing those who were in forced submission to it, simply because they were born a Jew. The cross a symbol of freedom from the Accuser, who accused them night and day.

    There is no mystery Matthew, and there remains a struggle only for those who cannot accept that. Something, perhaps several here who posted, are actually ignorant of.

  • KinCarnasis

    AMAZING INSIGHT! Mok, I missed this reply as I there was some contemptuous talk about the Gospel being a mystery (If the Gospel is hidden, it is only hidden to those who are perishing as the Apostle Paul wrote).

    You bring up some excellent points.

    1) If the debt is paid in full, then there is no forgiveness of debt!

    The logic that says God could only forgive us if the sin debt was paid up (either through you, or a propitiatory process of replacement of you such as a sacrifice) is flawed – If the cross paid our sin debt to God, then we do not have forgiveness of sin but sin debt that has been paid in full. We must remember that, because that is important.

    2) What kind of God determines debt through death.

    Exactly. Scripture says succinctly that God did not require sacrifice for forgiveness of sin; and, of sacrifice and offering he neither desired, nor did He delight in.

    Therefore if it was not God (or at least the God of Jesus, and the true Children of God) who set up this system, which God set up this system? This one is the most difficult to demonstrate, but paying attention to Jesus and his words, the prophets of Jeremiah, Isaiah, and etc. It becomes very easy to find out who/what demands death for sin.

    It all started with the first lie in the garden, and the nuance of this lie is going to catch everyone off guard – the serpent’s first lie was not that if you eat of the Tree that you will become like God and not die… God even concluded that ‘They have become like us’ and had to kick them out of the garden…

    After kicking them out of the garden, Adam called Woman, “Eve” which means “Mother of all that is living!” which is quite opposite to a reality that she was the originator of death! The fact is, people are destroyed for their lack of knowledge and rejection of it, not obtaining it. The first lie, was not not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge – That was the first act of disobedience against God, the first sin that resulted in death (that is what caused their death).

    The first lie is subtle, and is missed by everyone and is found in Genesis 3:33 except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘You shall not eat from it nor touch it, otherwise you will die.’” in response to the Serpents inquiry, ““Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

    If you can find the lie, your eyes have been opened and you will find out why Jesus condemned the Pharisee, Sadducee, and Lawyers at the Temple including the High Priests because they were followers of the first lie, they are Children of the Devil, who was the first liar. When you find out what the lie was, it will literally destroy everything we were taught by our Christian predecessors, and realize they too fell for the same lie.

    3) Jesus nullified the entire system by showing God is not like that.

    Exactly. He did fulfill the requirements of a system, a system not established by God but men. Specifically one man, who, like the liar before him, did exactly what she did and added a Law to God’s command that were never God’s in the first place.

    Jesus died on the cross, fulfilled the requirement of the Law, so that Israel would have no excuse, redeeming them from the sins committed under an obsolete and ungodly system. In it’s place, He established a New Covenant. A new covenant in which all sin is forgiven, not repaid, and in which all mankind is reconciled (no more Jew, no more Gentile) and the eternal inheritance is released for all mankind.

    It is such an easy Gospel to understand, but it has been wrapped up in a lie, a veil which even to this day as people live by it, are blind to seeing.

  • Sheila Warner

    The statement about God not desiring sacrifice but mercy (some versions replace mercy with love or something like it) is found in Hosea,, and Jesus references that passage in Matthew. Purportedly it is God himself who set up the system which became obsolete. After all, God met with Moses on the mountain and gave the Law to Moses. Jesus was referencing what God was trying to say–the system of sacrifice for sins was to reveal the inherent tendency of people to commit sin. In other words, the spirit of the system was missed by the people. St Paul refers to the Law as a tutor which led us to Christ. Also, if you believe in a literal Adam and Eve, then you must therefore believe in a literal transmission of the Law to Moses by God. So it is not man who set up the system, but God himself. So why then, does God say he doesn’t want sacrifice? I think the prophet is saying that merely performing a ritual without the proper change of heart toward God and others is meaningless. You can’t mix up a literal interpretation with a non literal interpretation, which it looks like you are doing. Hebrews states that because Jesus was sacrificed for our sins, there is no more need of earthly sacrifice because Jesus has replaced the old priestly sacrificial system with himself as our high priest, and his blood as the ultimate sacrifice. That certainly seems to point to substitutionary atonement.. And, when a debt is owed that can not be repaid, the debtor has the option of forgiving the debt. The parable of the ungrateful servant highlights this idea. It also states that the original debt that was forgiven was reinstated when the servant whose debt was forgiven turns around tries to get money owed to him by another. There is a plethora of theology on the significance of Christ’s death on the cross. It’s not cut and dry.

  • KinCarnasis

    Sheila, “That certainly seems to point to substitutionary [sic] atonement.” I never said it didn’t, scripture says quite clearly there was a propitiatory sacrifice. It just does not mean what ‘Western’ Christianity thinks it means. It had nothing to do with the forgiveness of debt, but as even Mok mentioned, a full repayment of a particular debt for a particular purpose / reason. The children of God were not slaves to God, but to a system they wrought upon themselves through their stubbornness, disobedience, and wickedness. Galatians 2:23-24 states quite clearly that the Children of God under the first covenant, were destined to be slaves to the Law (not to God). They are equally represented as Hagar, Ishmael, Esau..etc. Jesus did not come to pay a ransom to God, nor repay a debt these people had to God, no, He paid the ransom price of the Law to free them from it once and for all. Romans 4:15 For the Law results in [Law’s] wrath, but where there is no Law, there is no violation [of it either]. Romans 6:14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the Law as slaves, but under [free through] grace. Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being the (new covenant)] has set you free from the Law of sin and of death [(which was the old covenant)]. So it is quite cut and dry, He did this so that no man has any excuse, as before – those under the Law could use the Law as an excuse for why they could not live righteously (because they were slaves to it, they had another Master) and now, with their debts paid in full and the Law made obsolete and passed away, they are now without excuse and free. Therefore now, without a Law to violate, their sins are no longer taken into account. This aligns with the One True God, Who is Love, Who does not keep a record of wrongs (You are perpetually forgiven of sins past, and your sins are not taken into account for the present or future). Romans 10:2-7 For I testify about them that they have a certain enthusiasm for God, but not in accordance with [correct and vital] knowledge [about Him and His purposes]. For not knowing about God’s righteousness [which is based on faith], and seeking to establish their own [righteousness based on the Law], they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the Law [it leads to Him and its purpose is fulfilled in Him], for [granting] righteousness to everyone who believes [in Him as Savior]. 5 For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on Law [with all its intricate demands] shall live by it [slaves to the Law]. 6 But the righteousness based on faith [which produces a right relationship with Him] says the following … We are not saved by our own efforts, doing so is impossible.”

    So recap. 1) Jesus died to free people from the Law, fulfilling the Laws demands, repaying a debt that did not need to be repaid but doing so made sure that no man had an excuse. 2) Those who are under the Law were slaves not to God, but the Law itself, the Accuser who accused them Night and Day. 3) Forgiveness comes now through Christ to God, who is Love, and does not keep any record of wrongs.

    What Jesus did on the Cross was for Israel, and those who submit themselves to a Master who is not God. Their sin (not sins), was to demand any other Way to righteousness but God Himself and Jesus paid the price so that they did not have to. That is called Grace, that is Mercy, that is Love. 1 John 2:2 He [that same Jesus] is the propitiation for our sin [the atoning sacrifice that holds back the wrath of the Law that would otherwise be directed at us because of our violation against it]; and not for ours alone, but also for the sin of the whole world [who seek to find a different Master and become slave to it].

    There is no Law, only God’s command, that is Love. Love wins 😉

  • KinCarnasis

    There is a secret, and it remains hidden from those who continue to read from the Law.

    2 Corinthians 3:14 But [in fact] their minds were hardened [for they had lost the ability to understand]; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted … 15 to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil [of blindness] lies over their heart.

  • KinCarnasis

    Good point.

  • KinCarnasis

    “Jesus’ death on the cross IS NOT A MUST REQUIREMENT for the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of souls. Period.”

    Wow. Karo!

    You were so close….until the last paragraph…We are not saved by God’s grace through [our] faith, we are saved by God’s grace through [His (Jesus)] faith. To claim that grace is only administered by our faith, is like when retailers promise a free gift but only if you buy their product: It’s not a free gift.

    Just like the Truth is the truth even if nobody believes it – Salvation is salvation, even if nobody believes it.

  • KinCarnasis

    Those who still read from the Law, live by the Law, and operate out of the Law are slaves to it, that includes Christians who have returned to the Law or have mixed the Old with the New. They remain blind, and the hearts hardened so they will never understand. So yes, what you call the ‘Church’ is quite bipolar, they have mixed with the old with the new not realizing they have destroyed it all.

  • KinCarnasis

    That is because “Western (Protestant) Christianity” is actually a child of Roman Catholicism. As long as we adopt and continue to pursue the principles of Constantine Christian dogma in our lives, we will always error. Constantine was not Christian, and those invited to the ecumenical councils were friends of Rome, not of Jerusalem (which they burned and sacked and destroyed more than once).

  • KinCarnasis

    Jesus never spoke of hell, and discounting existence of a ‘everlasting’ punitive action is actually following His Teachings. Jesus did not save us from God, He saved us from the Law of Sin and Death which started the day the Woman (later known as “Eve”) lied… oh, you were never taught that… I guess it will be a little slower.

  • Sheila Warner

    Yea, I just knew “substitutionary” wasn’t quite right, so I wan’t surprised by the [sic]. Anyway, your reply makes sense. I had a discussion with my sister about God’s forgiveness on the cross as not limited, but it was for every person. I just couldn’t put it into words as well as you did. When my dad used to talk about the passage that reads “not by works, that no man should boast” (he loved his KJV), I said the “works” referenced were specific to the Law, as outlined in the book of Galatians. And, as you point out, in Romans as well. I don’t know why I didn’t grasp what it was you were saying.

    One thing that really always intrigued me is that God (supposedly) used the a great worldwide flood to punish people, and that was way before the Law was given. God also showed his displeasure about Abraham’s lie that Sarah was his sister, not his wife, before the 10 Commandments. We also have the Cain killing Abel thing, wherein Cain fears for his life after the murder, and God puts a mark on him to protect him from vengeance from others. Again, how was murder wrong before the 10 Commandments?

  • Sheila Warner

    What is the secret? The veil over the hearts of the Israelites, or the fact that there is a veil at all? Not sure of what you meant by “There is a secret”.

  • Hi Kin! Greetings and salutations to you. Jesus always told people, “Your faith has saved you!” It is the faith, exercised by the individual believer that ushers in salvation. Your “faith”. Not Jesus’ “faith”. It is “your faith” that is required because you are the one in need of salvation. The individual mortal is able to exercise faith or manifest faith, in part due to the divine quickening or divine enablement from the spirit of God in him/her – that Still Small Voice. Hope this helps.

  • Matthew Peter Klein

    Well said…. I think we are using the understanding of ‘mystery’ in different ways. There are many Christians that don’t understand atonement and to them it is still a mystery. However it is not a mystery to me anymore. It is though incredible, powerful, mysterious….. That God would have such grace…. That the enemy is actually the law and not Satan. This is the mystery revealed to us but yet most believers still do not know this and so they continue to perish while believing. This is my point.
    However the point still stands that Jesus was forgiving peoples sins, bot jewelry and gentile, before the cross. Therefore the cross is more then forgiveness of sins but a display of the grace of God

  • KinCarnasis

    Yes. Good points! It will take a while for people to realize that Satan means the “Adversary”. That the “Adversary” is not always a spiritual Lord of Evil, but in fact, the Law of Sin and Death which bound those under it to continual torment as nothing they could do would ever free them from it, nothing they could ever do (including keeping it) will ever make them righteous, and everything they ever do remains in scrutiny and judgment because if you break just one command, you are guilty of breaking them all! Yes. It is incredible, powerful, and to those who are discovering, quite mysterious! Though it isn’t a mystery, and remains only a mystery to those who keep putting leaven in the dough, old wine in new wine skins, new patches on old clothes, thinking that the Law of Moses which is the pinnacle commands of the Old Covenant, still have a place in the New Covenant – then yes, it remains a mystery because to this day, as the Law of Moses is read (believing it is God’s Instruction relevant to today) their hearts are hardened and their minds blinded by a veil, and that veil is only removed when they turn their hearts and minds, not to the Law written in stone, but the Law written on our Hearts by gace through faith, [faith] not of our own, but by Christ Jesus, the author [the beginning ]and finisher [the end] of our faith!

    The last point, forgiveness of sins was far before the his death on the cross, because in reality, the cross was about paying off a debt, not forgiveness – Jesus, as a mediator between God and Man, always had the power of God to forgive regardless of the circumstance, that is grace – that is mercy – that is Love. Love wins.

  • KinCarnasis

    This will be a shock to you Karo, but you have been reading that Scripture all wrong because you still think Salvation is achieved through your effort (btw. This also includes the effort you place by exercising your faith.) If by grace, then it is no longer based our effort, otherwise grace is not grace. Would you like to read Ephesians 2:8-10 again?


    Ephesians 2:8-10
    For it is by grace that you have been saved through faith; **(faith)** not of your own, but it is the gift of God and not as a result of effort, so that no one will be able to boast or take credit in **any way for his own salvation.** For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we would walk in them.

    Hebrews 12:2 “So let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

    We are His Workmanship! We are His Creation! So naturally, we are His Faith! He is the Author and the Finisher of Faith. It is His Faith that is accredited to Him as Righteousness so guess what? We are His Righteousness.

    2 Corinthians 5:21 “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

    So it had to be His Faith. A faith that we received and not by some circular logic that the faith we received was a result of our faith in order to receive faith. We received His Faith!

    Even Peter states, that it is not Faith of our own but received! Not by ourselves or other, but by our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    2 Peter 1:1
    Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ…

    So next time you think it was your own faith that was the cause of your salvation, realize that to claim such – gives you boasting and credit for his own salvation, and as such completely goes against the teachings of Paul, and the foundation of Christianity.

    Romans 10:7, “It is impossible to be saved on our own efforts!”

    Lastly, yes, our faith has a place in our daily lives, and our faith in God is important, just salvation is a result of the Faith of Jesus Christ, and that is what we are to believe. I do not belittle the fact that we are to walk in good works, walk in love, walk in faith, walk in hope, live it all. I just want to make it clear, that Salvation is not our own, and therefore it is not our faith that ultimately saved us but His.

  • KinCarnasis

    Sheila, you said,

    “One thing that really always intrigued me is that God (supposedly) used the a great worldwide flood to punish people, and that was way before the Law was given. God also showed his displeasure about Abraham’s lie that Sarah was his sister, not his wife, before the 10 Commandments. We also have the Cain killing Abel thing, wherein Cain fears for his life after the murder, and God puts a mark on him to protect him from vengeance from others. Again, how was murder wrong before the 10 Commandments?”

    And I replied.

    “There is a secret, and it remains hidden from those who continue to read from the Law.
    2 Corinthians 3:14 But [in fact] their minds were hardened [for they had lost the ability to understand]; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted … 15 to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil [of blindness] lies over their heart.”

    The Jews know when you ask them, “What is the Law?” They will answer the Torah, the Pentateuch, the Written Law of God. This is the books of Genesis to Deuteronomy. It included the story of Abraham, Cain and Abel, etc. Everything written from Genesis to Deuteronomy is known as “The Law” and these books are sealed in the Ark of the Covenant, the Old Covenant including the Commands written therein. So if you are looking for Spiritual revelation through reading the Law, what did Paul say will happen? You won’t see it, nor will you understand it!

    Jesus told us what God’s Commands were, the apostle John wrote, “God is Love!” What are those commands? 1) Love God with your entire being! 2) Love one another as you love yourself! 3) Love as He loves us!

    This is not saying the the Law was not good (even Paul had to write these things) but we will not understand until the veil is removed and we stop mixing old wine in new wine skins, leavening the dough, or putting new patches on old garments (as Jesus said in parables). Do not rely on the Law for your righteousness! Do not rely on the Law to be justified! It is by Faith we are made Righteous, and it is by Grace we are Justified!

    So to ask, how was murder wrong before the 10 Commandments? Can you see what is wrong with that correlation now?

    I wish I could go into more detail about these five books, but you will see most of Israel’s and now Christianities woes originate. Jesus spoke in parables concerning the Law for a reason. 😉

  • Sheila Warner

    You sound like the preacher in the church I grew up in. I know all about the Law, the Torah, the Pentateuch, etc.. If it is the Law that condemns us, what was the source of condemnation prior to the Law? As to the veil over the hearts of those who were following the Law, I am also well aware that Jesus told parables to (supposedly) hide the truth of who he was from the Jewish leaders, but those who trusted Jesus would understand. But, even his disciples didn’t always understand what Jesus said or did. I don’t see the Bible as literal any longer, and part of the reason is the sometimes circular or contradictory statements used by some theologians. Hence, my quibble with why the Law is seen as the tool for revealing sin, while sin was punished prior to the Law. It’s a contradiction of what the Bible says, when Paul uses the Law illustration. Of course, Paul was writing about the Jews of his time who rejected the Gospel. He didn’t speak of people prior to the Law. It’s a narrow viewpoint, and one that enables Christians to cluck theie tongues at the poor Jews who are unable to accept Jesus.

  • KinCarnasis

    “If it is the Law that condemns us, what was the source of condemnation prior to the Law?”

    Yes! Your eyes then are open!

    Paul said,
    “Romans 5:13 “Sin was [committed] in the world before the Law [was given], but sin is not charged [against anyone] when there is no law [against it].”

    The truth is, who wrote Genesis to Deuteronomy? When was it given -as in when did the Hebrews receive this knowledge? The truth is, it was written by Moses, and that is why Jesus always referred to it as:

    John 7:19 “Did not Moses give you the Law? And yet not one of you keeps the Law. Why do you want to kill Me [for not keeping it]?”

    Acts 13:38-40 “38 So let it be clearly known by you, brothers, that through Him forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you; 39 and through Him everyone who believes is justified and declared free of guilt from all things, from which you could not be justified and freed of guilt through the Law of Moses.”

    So the Law was given to the rebellious because they demanded a Law to tell them the difference between right and wrong, not because the Law was required to tell them the difference between right and wrong. The Law was given to the people of Israel by one man, Moses. There was no witness to these events but the testimony of his own, there is no binding arbitration except for what was dictated by Moses and agreed to by the Assembly of Israel who then put it into action by the shedding of blood. Israel submitted themselves to a master, and became slaves to it by their ignorance. Although Moses gave the Law, He wrote within the Law that there was a better way, and he admitted that he never was able to enter the promised land himself, because of what he did. Moses, a man chosen by God for a purpose, wrote in the Law the clues about what is actually the truth and what actually was God’s Laws and what actually was the first lie.

    Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.

    So let’s be clear, as much as others will try to tell you this, the Law of Moses is NOT the Law of God. “My people” had the Law of Moses, and they were destroyed because they lack knowledge, rejected knowledge and the Law of God.

    Is the Law evil? No, but is it the Adversary? Yes. Is the Law sin? No. Does the Law define sin? Yes. Does that mean that without the Law there was no sin? No. Before the Law sin was committed to the world, after after the Law sin was charged against him who violated the Law. The wages of sin is death, and the power of sin comes through the Law.

    1 Corinthians 15:56 “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin [by which it brings death] is the law”

    The question is, can you be a slave to sin without the Law? No. You cannot, because where there was no Law, sin was not taken into account and therefore sin has no power over you!

    I understand, all of a sudden nothing makes sense, that is why you ask – What was sin before the Law [of Moses]? Well, if you are going to the Law [of Moses] for that information, you will never find it! That is the heart of problem!

    Here is the skinny of it, if you reject God’s Law (which His Commands are simple), you have submitted yourself to another Law – Whether imposed on you by another, or you are a law unto yourself. This, this is the first lie ever recorded in Scripture and it is so subtle that many do not find it. If you choose to follow a lie, then you will not be in His Truth and that is why Jesus died, not to forgive a debt, but to pay a debt that this lie demanded. When you find this lie that resulted in the chain reaction ever since, well then you will know. (I could show it to you but what is the fun in that).

    Now back to your question: “If it is the Law that condemns us, what was the source of condemnation prior to the Law?”

    There was none just as it is none to those who are free from the Law…

    Romans 8:1-4 “Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the Law of sin and of death. For what the Law [of sin and death] could not do being weakened by the flesh, God did: He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful man as an offering for sin [in accordance to the Law of sin and death]. And He condemned sin in the flesh so that the [righteous and just] requirement of the Law [of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus] might be fulfilled in us who do not live our lives in the ways of the flesh, but in the ways of the Spirit.”

    I don’t expect anyone to see it immediately, but from what I read you write in another forum, about Love Wins… I think you will begin to conclude properly.

  • Kin,
    Ephesians 2:8-9 King James Version (KJV)
    8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    The individual has to exercise FAITH. This “faith” wells up from the heart or innermost core of the individual man or woman; boy or girl. It is a quickening faith that is birthed, nurtured and fueled by the spirit of God. But it has to be exercised or manifested or displayed by the individual who seeks entrance into the Kingdom of God or the Father’s Fold. There’s a divine-human partnership in the exercise or expression of this faith – “saving faith”. #OneLove #BlessYou #Hallelujah

  • KinCarnasis

    Exactly, there were many men involved in writing it. It is what they wrote that matters. If it is a story, then we must realize it is a story – if it is a true history, then they must admit that none witnessed Moses receiving the Law and everyone is relying on the word of a single man (of which they wrote) and even destroying them before anyone got a chance to read them and then re-writing them for the whole Assembly of Israel.

  • KinCarnasis

    Yes, now read it again.

    For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that [*What is that? Neither Grace or Saved fits here! It is faith*] not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    The act of giving, was an act of Faith on God’s part! So that it would not be of yourself, not from you works! That includes works of faith! There are plenty of Scriptures speaks of this faith not being our own but shared and planted by others!

    If it required the exercise of faith on the individual as you say, then they have reason to boast and that is not what the Scripture says, now is it? What is the definition of exercise by the way? It is the act requiring work or effort! Your own words betray the very premise this Scripture says!

    So suck it up brother, you are wrong and time to change your belief to actually follow Scripture says and not what some man taught you to think and believe about that Scripture.

  • Elizabeth Edwards

    I completely agree with you Brian Zahnd.As you say God did not require the death of Jesus, we did. The cross is the revelation of a merciful God, one who would rather die than kill his enemies- how He must love us , a love so deep we can’t fathom, how wonderful that we are the beneficiaries . “Here is love deep as the ocean, loving kindness as the flood” as the Welsh hymn goes. As Brian Zhand sums it up ‘We are seeing the lengths to which a loving God will go in forgiving sin ” – too wonderful for words.

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