For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Paul’s reference to Christ being made sin for us is derived from the Old Testament motif of the sin offerings. The sin offerings were offered to make atonement for sin.
Throughout the Old Testament the word atonement was used to convey the idea of reconciliation, sanctification, consecration, and forgiveness. This is the context which surrounds Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5.
Literally, Paul is telling us that Christ was made to be the offering for our sins, and that is how we are reconciled to God. Christ was made to be our sin offering not our literal sin.
Throughout the Old Testament the words sin and sin offering are translated from the same Hebrew word “chattath”. One writer pointed out that chattath is translated as sin offering 118 times, and translated as sin 168 times.
In Hebrews 10:6, the writer of Hebrews speaks of the sacrifices for sin. The words “sacrifices for” have been added by the translators of the KJV for clarity. Literally, Hebrews 10:6 says: In burnt offerings and sin thou hast had no pleasure.
However, we know that the author is not referring to sin but to the sin offerings instead. We know this because of the context and we also know this because Hebrews 10:6 is a quote from Psalm 40:6 which says the following:
Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
The Greek word “hamartia” which is used in Hebrews 10:6 in reference to the sin offering, is also used in 2 Corinthians 5:21 in reference to Christ being made sin for us.
It should also be of importance to us that the apostle Paul was a Jew who had come to know Christ. The things which Paul taught about Jesus were rooted in his scholarly understanding of the scriptures. Paul most assuredly would have thought through the scriptures as a Jewish scholar and would have understood Christ’s death and resurrection in view of the scriptures. Paul tells the Corinthians the following:
I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures… ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Paul certainly understood Christ’s death in view of the Old Testament scriptures and did not have to teach contrary to the Old Testament’s motif when he speaks of Christ dying for our sins. Paul spoke of Christ’s death in view of the precedent set forth within the sacrificial system because those sacrifices foreshadowed Christ.
Jesus is our Redeemer, and he died for our sins as one who was pure and holy. There is no precedent in scripture which would indicate that the offerings for sin were made sinful with the sins of the people, which is how 2 Corinthians has been interpreted by some. Instead they were to be offered as unblemished sacrifices which were holy to the Lord.
Leviticus 6:25 says, “Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, this is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the LORD: it is most holy.”
Leviticus 22:21 tells us that the sacrifices which foreshadowed Christ had to be perfect in order to be accepted.
Christ was perfect. He was without sin. He knew no sin;. There was no spot or blemish in him. He died for our sins as a perfect and holy sacrifice, accepted by God.
Jesus Christ died as an unblemished lamb whose blood is pure and holy. The scripture says we were not redeemed with corruptible things, instead we were redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus Christ as from a lamb without spot or blemish (See 1 Peter 1:18-19). The teaching of the Bible is that our redemption is by virtue of the blood of Jesus.
Jesus is, was, and always will be holy, pure, and just. The apostle Peter declared that he is the holy and just One which the people rejected (Acts 3:14). Peter also declared that he is the prince of life and that the grave could not hold him because God would not allow his holy one to see corruption. (See Acts 2:24, 27; 3:15)
The Bible tells us that we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:5-10). It was in his body that he bore our sins (1 Peter 2:24) and it was his flesh that he gave for the life of the world (John 6:51) so that he could redeem us by his precious blood. ~ Ephesians 1:7
25 thoughts on “JESUS OUR SIN OFFERING”
Thank you, Michael! I was reading Gal 3:13 just now ” Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” )” and was reminded of the immeasurable love God has for us – Jesus experienced the Father’s rejection, was forsaken on the Cross, so that we might be regarded as pure and holy in His sight…..what an unimaginable horror to endure – all because He loves us beyond measure!
Had God rejected Jesus on the cross, we would still be in our sins!
Throughout the Old Testament the offerings which foreshadowed Jesus were ACCEPTED to make atonement. Those offerings which were rejected did not make atonement.
And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be ACCEPTED for him to make atonement for him (Leviticus 1:4).
And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings be eaten at all on the third day, IT SHALL NOT BE ACCEPTED, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it: it shall be an abomination, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity (Leviticus 7:18).
Rejected sacrifices and offerings DID NOT make atonement. Those which were accepted as a sweet savor did!
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour (Ephesians 5:2).
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I understand and totally agree with the above. I think my reference to Jesus’ rejection was His view that He was forsaken – Mt 27:46 and Mark 15:34 when “…. Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Why would He have said that if that is a) what He felt, and/or b) what He wanted to ‘remind’ us of – Ps 22?
Thanks, Michael – will read, pray and view tomorrow!
Suzy you said:
“Jesus experienced the Father’s rejection, was forsaken on the Cross, so that we might be regarded as pure and holy in His sight…”
Yet the Bible says, Jesus reconciled us to God through the blood of His cross to make us HOLY and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight (Colossians 1:20-22).
Our redemption was not accomplished by Christ becoming “as a sinner.” On the contrary, our redemption was accomplished through the precious blood of Christ.
The fundamental problem with such views (those which claim that God dealt with Jesus as a sinner on the cross) is that it misses the mark as to what we as sinners actually needed.
We did not need a replacement, we needed cleansing from our sins and the only way that we could become clean from our sins is through the Precious Blood of Christ.
Hebrews 1:3 tells us “after He had purged our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the majesty on High.” The word purged means “to cleanse.” After Jesus had cleansed our sins by the shedding of His blood, by which He also entered into the Holy Presence of God for us as High Priest, He sat down on the right hand of God.
Without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin!
Christ shed His precious blood (1) to remit our sins, (2) to cleanse us from our sins, (3) to justify us from our sins, (4) to redeem us to God, (5) to give us peace with God, (6) to give us a new covenant, (7) to set us apart for God, (8) to bring near to God so that we might know Him and walk in fellowship with Him.
All that Christ accomplished for us in His death was by virtue of His shed blood.
While the substitutional view of atonement claims that “an exchange” was necessary and emphasizes substitution wherein Christ became “as a sinner,” the Bible says it was the blood of Christ that was necessary and places the emphasis on the body and blood of Christ.
Christ’s precious blood has cleansing power because His body was the Holy Offering which He offered to God on the altar of the cross. Hebrews 10:10 tells us that we were sanctified once and for all through the OFFERING of the BODY of Jesus Christ.
The crucified body of Jesus is the “offering for our sins.”
1 Peter 2: 24 tells us, “Jesus bare our sins IN HIS OWN BODY,” the same body which the author of Hebrews tells us was the offering for our sins.
Those who advocate a substitutional (a replacement/exchange) view tend to gravitate to the word “bare” in 1 Peter 2:24 and interpret it to mean that Jesus became “as a sinner” and was condemned by God “as a sinner.” Yet emphatically, this is NOT what scripture is teaching. The scriptural definition of what it means “to bare” something is quite different.
For instance, Matthew 8:16-17 says, “When the evening was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself TOOK our infirmities, and BARE our sicknesses.”
Matthew interprets Isaiah”s words concerning the Messiah “bearing” our sicknesses in view of the healing and deliverance which Jesus came to bring.
According to Matthew’s interpretation of Isaiah 53:4, Jesus did not take the peoples infirmities and bare their sicknesses by becoming afflicted and sick, i.e., by becoming a substitute. Instead, Jesus “took” and “bare” them by bringing healing.
Literally, the meaning of “bearing” is to lift the burden from the other. Jesus bore their infirmities and took their sickness by lifting the burdens from the people by healing them and casting out demons.
In the same way, Jesus bore our sins by giving Himself as an unblemished sacrifice so that we could be cleansed from our sins by His precious blood and made alive with Him through his resurrection from the dead.
In Hebrews 7:27 we read that Jesus “offered up” himself for our sins. The Greek word for “offered up” is the same one that is used in 1Peter 2:24 which tells us that Christ “bare” our sins in His body.
Christ gave Himself to God for us as a sacrifice and an offering for a sweet savor when He offered His body and shed His precious blood at the cross, and that is “how” Jesus bore our sins according to scripture.
Jesus shedding his precious blood and rising again was sufficient for our redemption from sin and death! By his death on the cross our sins have been removed and put away (borne by Jesus).
Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath *** LAID *** on him the iniquity of us all.
Again, this does not mean that Jesus became “as a sinner” when our sins were “laid” on Him. Instead, as the true shepherd of the sheep who were going astray, Jesus is the one who “bore” our sins by taking them away and providing cleansing.
Jesus laid down his life for the sheep because he knew the Father (John 10:11, 15, 17-18) and was taught so by the Father (John 10:17-18; 13:1-3; 14:29-31). He did only what he saw His Father do (John 5:19).
In his death for you, Jesus did what He had learned from the Father, He gave Himself in true sacrificial love!
Who his own self BORE OUR SINS IN HIS OWN BODY on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were AS SHEEP GOING ASTRAY; but are now returned unto THE SHEPHERD and Bishop of your souls (1 Peter 2;24-25).
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep (John 10:11).
I do appreciate the time and care you’ve put into this, Michael – I need to do likewise, and get back to you. A cursory glance gave me the impression you think I’ve said something I haven’t intended – so I need to study this more and ask our Father to show me His truth, by the Spirit of Christ! Back in due course! Suzy
Thanks again Michael – I have again understood your argument and agree absolutely and understand your point that our iniquities were borne by Christ.
My comment you quoted was written quickly and I may have expressed an unintended nuance.
I understand what you say about Col 1:20-22 – that His blood brought reconciliation in order to make us holy and blameless – I quote the ESV here for ease.
v19:- For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
I think, if I’ve understood you correctly, you are passionate about Christ not being described “as a sinner” – who could possibly do that – that’s tantamount to blasphemy. Is it the ‘exchange’ idea that you object to because that would seem to suggest He is being described as a sinful man – but we all know He is perfect, spotless, blameless.
Everything you say about cleansing and purging I wholeheartedly agree with
“We did not need a replacement, we needed cleansing from our sins” – absolutely
“and the only way that we could become clean from our sins is through the Precious Blood of Christ” Absolutely!
“Without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin!”
“Christ shed His precious blood (1) to remit our sins, (2) to cleanse us from our sins, (3) to justify us from our sins, (4) to redeem us to God, (5) to give us peace with God, (6) to give us a new covenant, (7) to set us apart for God, (8) to bring near to God so that we might know Him and walk in fellowship with Him.” Absolutely
I still need to get my head around these questions: Why / how does blood cleanse us?
How does one explain to a seeker what happened on the Cross?
How is the Father’s righteous anger satisfied?
I assume (hope that’s correct) you would agree that the Father is angry at sin.
How is this dealt with?
I haven’t quite understood why one dislikes the concept of an exchange (I am exploring this – I haven’t ever heard a Biblical argument before refuting this idea – so please help! Jesus was and is perfect; the idea of an exchange, I think, was explained to help me, the sinner, see that I have been given His robe of righteousness if you like. All my sin was cast on Him; He took the punishment I deserve, so when I stand before the Father and He looks on me, He sees a woman cleansed by the blood of Christ.
Thanks again for your time.
The words ‘‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me,” come from the first verse of Psalm 22. The Jews who were acquainted with the Torah would have recognized these words and would have immediately thought of Psalm 22 in its entirety.
If God had abandoned Jesus, this would have only reinforced what the Jews already thought. it would have proved He was not the Messiah. Yet if His death on the cross did indeed prove that He is the Son of God as Jesus said it would (John 8:28-29), then the words He recited from Psalm 22 must have been a part of this undeniable evidence that Jesus is God’s Son.
Matthew 27 and Mark 15 are the two places in the New Testament where Psalm 22:1 is recorded. In both instances the scriptures record the response of the Centurion Soldier who heard Jesus cry out these words. His conclusion was “truly this man was the Son of God.”
GOD WAS WITH JESUS DURING HIS SUFFERINGS
GOD DID NOT HIDE HIS FACE FROM HIM – For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard (Psalm 22:24).
HE WAS HEARD – Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him (Hebrews 5:7-9).
I AM NOT ALONE BECAUSE THE FATHER IS WITH ME – I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me (John 16:28-32).
THE FATHER HAS NOT LEFT ME ALONE – Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him (John 8:28-29).
HE IS NEAR WHO JUSTIFIES ME – The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up (Isaiah 50:5-9).
BY THE GRACE OF GOD HE TASTED DEATH – But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man (Hebrews 2:9).
GOD WAS IN CHRIST RECONCILING THE WORLD – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).
THROUGH THE ETERNAL SPIRIT JESUS OFFERED HIMSELF TO GOD – How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14).
JESUS SHED HIS BLOOD AS AN UNBLEMISHED LAMB – Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you (1 Peter 1:18-20),
THE DEATH OF JESUS WAS A SWEET FRAGRANCE TO GOD – Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor (Ephesians 5:2).
“MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?” IS ONLY ONE OF SEVERAL STATEMENTS MADE BY JESUS FROM THE CROSS.
JESUS SPOKE WORDS OF FORGIVENESS – Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots (Luke 23:34).
JESUS SPOKE WORDS OF PROVISION – Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home (John 19:27).
JESUS SPOKE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE – And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:39-43).
JESUS SPOKE WORDS FROM THE SCRIPTURES – After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost (John 19:28-30). And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 15:46).
JESUS SPOKE WORDS OF TRUST IN GOD – And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost (Luke 23:46).
Consider the following:
1. Jesus was delivered to the cross, not from the cross.
2. It was the will of God for Jesus to lay down His life and to take it up again.
3. God did not intervene to rescue Jesus from the agony of the Cross.
4. Jesus was protected from those who wanted to destroy Him until the time came that He should lay down His life (John 7:30).
5. Jesus endured the full weight of grief of the soul who feels abandoned for He is a High Priest touched with the feeling of our infirmities.
6. The sense of abandonment experienced by Christ was provisional not relational. God withdraw his protective hand when the time came for Jesus to lay down his life; in this sense he was delivered over to death by God as our sacrifice. Jesus was not relationally separated from God.
The Bible never says that Jesus shed Jesus’s blood.
When the Bible refers to someone shedding blood that someone is always the killer and not the one who is slain.
Those who crucified Jesus are the ones who shed His blood.
The phrase “which is shed for many” does not say “which I shed for many.”
If you can show me a passage in which it is stated that the blood of Jesus was shed by Jesus and not by His murderers, I would be eager to see that passage.
Good point. Thank you.
PSALM 22:1-5, THE PERCEPTION: FORSAKEN BY GOD
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
PSALM 22:6-8, THE REALITY: DESPISED BY THE PEOPLE
But I am a worm (scarlet, red), and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
PSALM 22:9-11, THE MESSIAH’S HOPE IN GOD
But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
PSALM 22:12-21, MESSIAH’S PRAYER
Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
PSALM 22:22-31, MESSIAH’S TRIUMPH AND PRAISE
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD’s: and he is the governor among the nations. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
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The Bible refers to the death of Jesus as a sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7; Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 7:26-27; 8:3; 9:8-9, 23-28; 10:12 and 26).
The Bible also refers to the death of Jesus as an offering (Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 7:26-27; 9:11-14, 28; 10:9-14).
The Bible never uses the word “substitution” or any word which is synonymous with substitution to describe the death of Jesus.
The word substitution has the following definition:
(a) The act, process, or result of substituting one thing for another.
(b) Replacement of one mathematical entity by another of equal value.
God gave His Son Jesus as “the ransom price’ for our sins, not as a REPLACEMENT OF EQUAL VALUE.
1 Peter 1: tells us that we were redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus.
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, as of A LAMB WITHOUT BLEMISH AND WITHOUT SPOT: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you…(1 Peter 1:18-20).
The word “precious” means costly, valuable, honorable, dear, and rare.
In 2 Samuel 24:18-25 King David was instructed by God through the prophet Gad “to rear an altar to the Lord” in the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. This was to make atonement for his sin, and for the plague that his sin had caused. When Araunah freely offered him the threshing floor, the oxen for the sacrifice, and the materials of wood for the altar, David declined and said, “Nay, but I will surely buy it of thee at A PRICE: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that WHICH COST ME NOTHING.”
God paid a steep price – a ransom price – for our redemption. He did not send “a replacement” so as to make an “exchange.” He sent His only begotten Son to purchase our redemption (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 7:23; Revelation 5:9).
Jesus is the gift of God (John 3:16-17; 4:10; Romans 5:6-8, 15-18; 6:23; 8:32; Ephesians 2;4-8; Titus 3:4-7; 1 John 4:9-10).
A substitute is neither a “steep price” nor is it a gift, A substitute is a mere REPLACEMENT.
The testimony of scripture is that Christ suffered unjustly. According to the New Testament record, Jesus described His death to his disciples as condemnation from sinful men ( Matthew 16:21; 17:9, 22-23; 20:17-19; 26:1-2, 45, 51-56: Mark 8:31; 9:9-11, 31-32; 10:32-34; 15:27-28; Luke 9:21-22, 44-45; 17:24-25; 18:31-34; 22:37; 24:1-8, 13-27, 44- 48; John 18:31-32; 19:24, 28).
There is no record in all of scripture that Jesus ever referred to his suffering as a substitute or anything remotely like a substitute.
The apostles, also, who were personally ordained by the Lord Jesus himself, preached the cross in the same way Jesus had described his death in the Gospels. We never see once instance throughout the book of Acts where they or Paul ever described the cross as a substitution.
Throughout the book of Acts, the apostles laid the blame for the death of Jesus to their own countrymen, and for the most part, it was aimed at leaders of the people. The Apostle Paul says the same thing in Acts 13:27-29 and 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16.
The Son of God was wrongly condemned by those who hated him. Yet, he gave himself willingly to redeem us with his precious blood. Jesus did not die as a guilty substitute; he died as an innocent Lamb without spot or blemish.
Jesus is the stone which the builders rejected but the one whom god has chosen. He died an unjust death.
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1 Peter 2 says Jesus is our example of suffering wrongfully. (this is reference to His death on the cross). We know from other scriptures that Jesus died being unjustly condemned by the hands of sinful men.
Acts 8:33 says, “In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth.”
The words, “In his humiliation his judgment was taken away …”(KJV) is rendered as follows in the following translation:
(1) He was humiliated and received no justice…(NLT)
(2) In His humiliation He was taken away by distressing and oppressive judgment and justice was denied Him …(Amplified Bible)
(3). In His humiliation justice was denied Him …(Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Acts 8:33 is a quote from Isaiah 53:8 which says, “ He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
Other translations say:
(1) Unjustly condemned, he was led away…(New Living Translation)
(2) By oppression and judgment He was taken away…(Amplified Bible)
(3) He was condemned to death without a fair trial… (Contemporary English Version).
Those who killed Jesus hated Him without a cause because they hated both He and the Father (John 15:24-25). Jesus died an unjust death at their hands because they were gathered against God and against His Christ (Acts 4:26-27).
Christ was vindicated in His resurrection when God raised Him from the dead and exalted Him at His own right hand. This is why the apostles (throughout the book of Acts) lay blame for the death of Jesus on the people, and the resurrection they attribute to God in opposition to what they had done in crucifying him.
In 1 Peter 2, the apostle Peter (who learned firsthand from Jesus what had happened at the cross) says that Jesus “suffering wrongfully.”The apostle Peter goes on to tell us that Jesus committed Himself to the ONE who judges righteously ( a reference to God the righteous Judge). Peter makes these statements in view of the cross saying “Jesus bore our sins in His body.”
For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God ENDURE GRIEF, SUFFERING WRONGFULLY. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is ACCEPTABLE with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because CHRIST SUFFERED FOR US, leaving us AN EXAMPLE, that ye should FOLLOW IN HIS STEPS: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but COMMITTED HIMSLEF TO HIM THAT JUDGETH RIGHTEOUSLY: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed (1 Peter 2:19-24).
Notice that the apostle Peter actually says that Jesus our example of how we are to endure when we suffer wrongfully. According to Peter, Jesus bore our sins as one who suffered wrongly and Jesus commuted himself to the ONE who JUDGES RIGHTEOUSLY.
To say that Jesus suffered under God’s righteous wrath would be contrary to the words of the apostle Peter here.
It is not uncommon to hear someone describe the cross as the place of appeasement. This is a very pervasive concept that is held by some ministers and it is taught in seminaries as sound biblical theology. This ideology sets forth the belief that Jesus was sent to the cross to satisfy God’s wrath by dying as a substitute.
Yet the Bible teaches that the cross was the place where God demonstrated his love towards sinners and not his displeasure. At the cross it was God’s mercy and not his wrath that was on display.
Furthermore, God did not send his Son to change himself. God sent his son to change us. The Bible never says that God was reconciled to sinners but that sinners were reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5: 19 says “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them…”
The substitutional view of the cross which presents the death of our Savior from an appeasement perspective holds to the belief that God could not forgive sinners until he first satisfied his own wrath because his holiness demanded that it be so. Yet this view of God pits his love, mercy, and grace against his holiness and righteousness and such theology is very disturbing.
Those who advocate this kind of theology often present the cross in a manner that sounds something like this:
Man is a sinner and sinful man has offended a holy God. God’s holiness demands punishment for man’s sin. Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for sinners and took the punishment we deserved by dying in our place. God imputed man’s sinfulness and guilt to Christ and treated his own Son as a sinner. Christ died under divine justice and satisfied the righteous wrath of God and now God can show mercy and freely forgive all who trust in him because he satisfied his wrath when he punished Christ in our place.
Is this the Biblical view of the cross? If it is, it will be consistent with the message which Jesus preached throughout the gospels. Does this substitutionary view of the cross fit with the gospel of the Kingdom which Jesus preached and what exactly was the message which Jesus preached about God?
When God sent Jesus to the lost sheep of the House of Israel Jesus taught them that God was their Father. We know this because we have many examples of Christ teaching the people to trust their Father in Heaven.
Christ was sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel to whom God saw as his children. He was their Father via covenant because they were the children of Abraham. Amazingly, Jesus never presented the gospel to the common people by stating that they were sinners and that their sins had offended God or that God was too holy to be approached by them. Jesus was God manifested in the flesh. He was God with and among the people. In the person of Jesus Christ, God himself had come to man – sinful man!
Now please don’t misunderstand this, the common people certainly were sinners and in were need of forgiveness and reconciliation. They were as sheep that had gone astray and they needed God’s mercy. The gospel message which Jesus brought to them was not the message of an offended God who needed to satisfy his wrath. It was the message of a Fathering God who desired their forgiveness, healing, and redemption. God sent Jesus to save and deliver all who would trust in Him. This is why Peter says that the word which God sent to the children of Israel came through Jesus Christ as he preached peace to them (See Acts 10:36). Jesus’ message was full of the hope of salvation. It was the message of peace with God and was full of the mercy, compassion, and forgiveness that the people needed.
On the contrary however, it was the religious leaders who were oppressing the people with the Law rather than liberating them who were the ones with whom God was dissatisfied.
The spiritual leadership in Israel had gone so far away from the heart of God and instead of ministering compassionately to relieve the oppress and doing justly they used the Law of Moses to their own advantage to burden God’s heritage and this was certainly not pleasing to God.
When Jesus arrived on the scene, he did not come burdening the people. Instead, He brought the Kingdom message of redemption and set many free from oppression. This of course infuriated the hard hearted Jewish leaders. Christ was everything they were not and they hated him because they hated the true God who had sent him.
Jesus had come to do the will of His Father and to finish His work. Jesus did exactly those things which He saw His Father do. Those who believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God were made partakers of his kingdom. Those who rejected him and refused to repent were eventually condemned.
It is very important to understand that reconciliation and forgiveness is never the result of God satisfying his wrath. Reconciliation and forgiveness is the result of God’s mercy and when God demonstrates his mercy He turns away from his wrath. Psalms 85:1-4 says the following:
Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger. Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.
One of the many problems with the substitutional-appeasement view of the cross is that it is sets forth a very unbiblical view of the wrath of God. The wrath of God is a Bible truth and one that we should take very seriously but one we must also understand correctly.
The Bible reveals that there are specific things which cause the wrath of God to come and the Bible reveals that there are specific things which cause the wrath of God to be turned away.
Interestingly, those things which cause the wrath of God to come can be attributed to those who opposed Christ and put him to death. Yet those things which turn away the wrath of God can be seen in the person of Jesus Christ and belief in Him.
The wrath of God, throughout scripture, comes because of such things as unbelief, rebellion, loving sin, rejecting the truth, worshiping false gods, and forgetting God. On the other hand, the wrath of God is turned away by things such as obedience, intercession, atonement, zeal for righteousness, the fear of the Lord, and repentance.
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God is by his very nature a loving, kind, and merciful God. He is very gracious and full of compassion. He is not by nature a God of wrath but when he does get angry he is just and righteous in doing so.
The love that God has for us: his kindness, his grace, his mercy, and his patience are by no means a revelation of how special we are but a revelation instead of how wonderful he is.
He is not appeased by the death of His son as if there was some need in him that had to be addressed. He is the one who has freely given his Son for our salvation because he is good and rich in mercy towards all who call on him.
The work of redemption that God accomplished for us through His Son Jesus Christ was the outworking of the divine goodness in his heart. In 2 Corinthians 5 the Bible tells us that it was God himself who was at work in His Son reconciling the world to him. Immediately following these words the scripture goes on to says: “not imputing their trespasses to them.”
When Jesus died on the cross for us he did so out of the goodness that was in the heart of God to freely forgive us of all things.
In Colossians 2 we read something very similar in verses 10-15. In short, these verses describe the death and resurrection of Jesus as the operation of God. Through this operation, God has forgiven us of all our trespasses. He has canceled the handwriting of the ordinances that were against us. He has nailed it all to the cross and through this operation He has completely disarmed all the powers of darkness on our behalf.
As we read the scriptures there is so much to learn about the love and mercy and grace of God. In Ephesians 2:4-6 we read of the riches of his mercy, the greatness of His love, and the saving power of His grace all intertwined in the death, resurrection, and exaltation of His Son. That alone should be enough but the scripture doesn’t stop there. It goes on to say: “that in the ages to come He is going to show the exceeding riches of grace, in his kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus.”
God’s attitude toward us in Christ is love for us, mercy for our sins, and grace for our need.
The foundation of our redemption in Christ is indeed the love, mercy, and grace of God. It is not appeasement! To appease literally means to satisfy wrath, anger, or displeasure by a reconciliatory act or gift which brings about peace within the one who has been offended.
Jesus Christ came for our benefit, to save us from our sins and to deliver us from the condemnation that came upon us which is death. Becuase of our union with Adam we were all under the condemnation or sentence of death. Jesus came to overturn the sentence of death by cleansing us from our sins and giving us new life.
God wasn’t the one in need. Instead, we were the ones in need and God met that need in his son Jesus Christ when he sent him to be the Savior of the world. In the person of His Son God has accomplished what he ordained according to the good pleasure of His will before any of us ever sinned!
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. (Ephesians 1:3-11)
Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone. (Titus 3:3-8)
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Christ gave Himself to God for us as a sweet fragrance and that is why we have forgiveness of our sins through Him alone. God accepted the sacrifice of Christ for the remission of our sins because Jesus is holy and pure and just. He died as an UNBLEMISHED lamb and it is through His blood that we have redemption.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. (Ephesians 4:32-5:2).
Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice and an offering and was accepted by God for us. He did not give himself as a substitute to be rejected by God in our place.
He became a curse for us by “hanging on a tree.” Not by becoming “as a guilty sinner.” It was “the humiliation” of the cross – “in His humiliation, He was deprived of justice (Isaiah 53:8/Acts 8:33) which Paul is alluding to when he says Christ was made a curse for us.
Christ died as a holy and unblemished lamb as foreshadowed by the detailed instructions given in the Law for the atonement sacrifices.
Those sacrifices had to be perfect (unblemished and without spot) to be accepted for the people (Leviticus 22:17-21). They were offered as a “sweet fragrance” which was well pleasing to God.
Had God condemned Jesus as substitute or replacement, Jesus would not have been a sweet fragrant sacrifice and offering to God. Instead He would have been rejected “AS SINNERS ARE REJECTED” if indeed God has treated Him as a sinner.
Jesus is, was, and always will be holy, pure, and just. The Apostle Peter declared that He was the holy and just one which the people rejected (Acts 3:14). Peter also declared that he was the prince of life and that the grave could not hold him because God would not allow HIS HOLY ONE to see corruption (See Acts 2:24, 27; 3:15).
It was as a holy and pure offering that Jesus died for our sins because he loved us: “All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us” (Revelation 1:5b).
Jesus’ blood has power to cleanse us because he gave himself for us without spot to God through the eternal Spirit (Hebrews 9:14). It was through God’s Spirit that Jesus sacrificed himself as a spotless lamb for us!
The most important questions which need to be asked when considering what happened at the cross, are often never asked; What did Jesus think about His death? What did he say about his death? How did He describe His sufferings?
The Bible tells us that there was an exact time when Jesus began to teach His disciples about His crucifixion and resurrection (Matthew 16:21). From that time forward, Jesus repeatedly affirmed that He would suffer unjustly at the hands of sinners and that He would rise again on the third day.
In Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Jesus never once refers to His death on the cross as a substitution. He never states that He would be rejected or condemned by God. He always declared what the scriptures had already prophesied: The Messiah would be rejected of men and condemned by them
Again and again, Jesus stated that God would raise Him from the dead contrary to what sinful men would do to Him. The words of Jesus concerning His death are the foundation for correctly interpreting the scriptures which reveal what happened at the cross.
The apostles who walked with Jesus did not comprehend the things which Jesus told them about His sufferings before He was crucified. However, after His resurrection, Jesus opened their understanding so that they could comprehend the scriptures.
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day. (Luke 24:44-46).
Their eyewitness accounts, along with the scriptural insight given to them by Jesus, were empowered on the Day of Pentecost by the Holy Spirit. As a result, they preached the death and resurrection of Christ as they had learned it from Jesus.
Here is a blog post that covers this in more detail:
The apostles who walked with Jesus never attributed the sufferings of Christ on the cross to the justice or wrath of God, nor did they ever use the term substitution (or any word that could be interpreted similarly) that we have become accustomed to hearing. When they mentioned Jesus’ death in their preaching, they repeatedly spoke of Christ’s death as an injustice by the hands of sinful men in fulfillment of the scriptures.
If Christ had indeed suffered under the justice and wrath of God as it is so often portrayed, that would certainly be significant and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that Jesus and his apostles would have made it a priority to communicate. They did not.
According to the Gospels and the Book of Acts, Jesus died an unjust death because He was rejected and despised by those who condemned him to death.
There is no language in the Gospels or Acts which sets forth the scenario which portrays the Father from heaven pouring out judgment on His Son in order to satisfy His wrath. The only way one could come to such a conclusion is to take a few random verses out of context and to ignore the narrative given to us by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. When we do this, we inadvertently undermine the Gospels and Acts by painting a picture that is contrary to what the scriptures actually say.
If we develop some sort of “behind the scenes” theology which is not in union with what scripture reveals actually happened we are then open to any interpretation that we want to give.
According to the narrative, the crucifixion of Jesus was the expression of opposition against God by sinful men:
Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD, AND HIS CHRIST. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were GATHERED TOGETHER, For TO DO whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done (Acts 4:25-28).
God predetermined that Jesus would suffer and die – it pleased the Lord to bruise Him – but it was the enemies of God and Christ who did it. This was the hidden wisdom of God to destroy the power of sin through the “sacrifice of Jesus” and to overthrow the wisdom of men, who oppose God, by raising Him from the dead.
The prophet Isaiah said, “We esteemed Him smitten of God.” which contextually is a reference to “we thought it was God condemning Him” but He was wounded for our transgression.
It was sinful men who unjustly condemned Jesus and who wounded Him. The stripes on His back were from the beating from men. The nails in his hands and feet came from the condemnation of men. The crown of thorns was placed there by men. It was men who hanged Him on the tree.
For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, THEY HAVE FULFILLED THEM IN CONDEMNING HIM. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And WHEN THEY HAD FULFILLED ALL THAT WAS WRITTEN OF HIM, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. BUT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD… (Acts 13:27-30).
The predetermined counsel of God was that Jesus die for our sins and this was fulfilled by what actually happened at the cross when Jesus died at the hands of sinful men. The substitutional view has two narratives. (1) That which the Bible reveals and (3) that which supposedly happened behind the scenes. Yet, that which happened out in the open is what scripture had prophesied would happened. As Paul says, “this thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26) and “WHEN THEY HAD FULFILLED ALL THAT WAS WRITTEN OF HIM, they took him down from the tree.”
Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: THIS IS THE LORD’S DOING, and it is marvellous in our eyes? (Matthew 21:33-42).
The Lord’s doing was “carried out ” in how Jesus was unjustly treated by sinful men.Everything that “they did” in condemning Him was “the Lord’s doing!”
Acts 4 is about the cross and is consistent with Matthew 21 the stone the builders rejected.
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, WHOM YE CRUCIFIED, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:8-12).
1 Peter 2 is also talking about the same thing.
To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he :that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed (1 Peter 2:4-8).
Jesus is the rejected stone who was rejected by being crucified. Yet he is the foundation stone that God has chosen.God chose the crucified Christ (the one men rejected) as the foundation stone for His true House.
Jesus was rejected and condemned by men but accepted by God who raised him from the dead.
ACTS 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, WHOM YE HAVE CRUCIFIED, both Lord and Christ.
ACTS 3:13-18 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; WHOM YE DELIVERED UP , and DENIED him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But YE DENIED THE HOLY ONE AND THE JUST, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and KILLED THE PRINCE OF LIFE, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that THROUGH IGNORANCE YE DID IT, as did also your rulers. BUT THOSE THINGS, WHICH GOD BEFORE SHEWED BY THE MOUTH OF ALL HIS PROPHETS, THAT CHRIST SHOULD SUFFER, HE HATH FULFILLED.
ACTS 5:30-32 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, WHOM YE SLEW AND HANGED ON A TREE. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
ACTS 10:36-43 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; WHOM THEY SLEW AND HANGED ON A TREE: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Many years ago I was introduced to the teachings of E.W. Kenyon. Kenyon’s teachings are held in high honor by many within the Word of Faith Movement, and that is how I became familiar with his teachings.
E.W. Kenyon taught that Jesus died spiritually, a doctrine that has permeated the WOF Movement. This in the kind of ideology which the results from substitutional theology rather than staying true to the Bibical narrative.
During the early years of my study on the cross I embraced this teaching, but thankfully through prayer and study of God’s Word I saw the error in it.
Though Kenyon did teach some good things in other areas, his theology about the nature of Christ’s death is not one of them.
Kenyon taught that original apostles did not understand the true meaning of the cross because they only understood it it on a physical level. According to Kenyon, it was Paul who was given the “spiritual revelation” of the cross.
Here is a brief excerpt from Kenyon’s teachings taken from his book, The Bible in the Light of Our Redemption:
“The disciples knew the meaning of the Crucifixion of Christ, his burial, and his resurrection, only through their physical senses. They saw the beating of Christ; they saw the nails driven into his hands and feet. They heard his words, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.” They saw and handled his body in the process of embalming it, as it was laid away for burial. They saw the stone rolled away from the tomb and the empty grave clothes. They saw and heard and handled the resurrected body of Christ. They saw him ascend into heaven.
This physical knowledge, however, gave them no insight into the meaning of the spiritual significance of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. In the crucifixion of Christ, they saw only his physical suffering. They knew nothing of the spiritual suffering of Christ as his spirit was made sin. They knew not where Christ’s spirit was or what he was doing during the time his physical body lay in the tomb. They knew nothing of the conquering of Satan by Christ in his resurrection. They knew nothing of the ascension of Christ with his own blood into the Holy of Holies. They knew nothing of the ministry of Christ at the Father’s right hand after he left them.”
Kenyon’s theology now grieves me to the core because the Bible doesn’t teach that Jesus died spiritually. The Bible teaches that Jesus’ body is the offering for our sins. Jesus said that it is his body that was broken and his blood that was shed for the remission of our sins.
According to Kenyon the disciples who walked with Jesus did not understand the spiritual meaning, of the cross. Yet, when I read the Bible, I find an entirely different view of the disciples and what they understood about the sufferings of Christ.
According to the scriptures they actually understood the spiritual meaning of the cross quite well because it was Jesus himself who taught it to them.
Isaiah 53:12 tells us, “He *** BARE *** the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Exodus 34:6-7 says, And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, *** FORGIVING *** iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
The Hebrew word for bare in Isaiah 53:12 is the same Hebrew word that is used for forgiveness in Exodus 34:6-7.
It is also used in Psalm 25:16-18 and Psalm 32:1 &5.
Psalm 25:16-18 says, Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and *** FORGIVE *** all my sins.
Psalm 32:1, 2, & 5 says, Blessed is he whose transgression is *** FORGIVEN, *** whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile…I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou *** FORGAVEST *** the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
In Romans 4 Paul quotes Psalm 32:1-2 as he expounds on how we are made righteous through faith in Jesus.
The Hebrew word for “naw-saw” translated as bare in Isaiah 53:12 has to to with lifting the burden, removing, taking away, carrying.
In Isaiah 53:4 it is rendered as “borne.”
Surely he hath *** BORNE *** our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
In Matthew 8:16-17 Matthew interprets Isaiah 53:4 as healing and deliverance.
Jesus bore our sins, not by becoming “as a sinner” or “guilty” in our place as a substitute. Instead Jesus bore our sins by shedding His blood to cleanse us and forgive us of our sins.
That specifically is “how” Jesus bore our sins.
Reblogged this on Rooted and Grounded In Christ.