Christ Became Sin


#1

Apologists,

I submitted this question on the “Ask an Apologist” forum, but received no reply.

What is meant by 2 Cor 5:21?

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NKJV)

This stems from a discussion with BibleReader where he asserted that the plain meaning of the words is the actual meaning. My assertion was that Christ:

  1. Could not have become sin, as an all powerful deity who was all sin would be disasterous, not salvific.
  2. Became, instead, a “sin offering” to take away the sins of the world, not become them. I derive this (among other places) from Isaiah 53 (the Messianic prophesy):

v4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…v6 the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all…v10…when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin

Thus, “became sin” in 2 Cor 5:21 is “biblical shorthand” for “became a sin offering”, which would seem to jibe with the sin offerings of Leviticus 4 and 6.

This, according to BibleReader, is in contrast with the plain language, as well as prophetic typology; specifically, the bronze serpent (sin) raised up so that people could be healed of the serpents’ bites (sin).

I tried the CCC, which yielded the following (footnotes omitted):

“For our sake God made him to be sin”

602 Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the divine plan of salvation in this way: “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers. . . with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.” Man’s sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death. By sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

603 Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned. But in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all”, so that we might be “reconciled to God by the death of his Son”.

I believe 603 agrees with what I have said, but I am still unclear. I’m afraid that if BibleReader is correct, imputed righteousness is what’s being taught at the terminal end of the theology; since I know “penal substitution” and “imputed righteousness” are false doctrines, I think BibleReader is wrong. I could be wrong, however, that this is what the end result comes out being, in which case BibleReader could be correct and it would still be an orthodox teaching.

Could someone point me in the right direction, hopefully with Magisterial documentation?

Thanks for the help,
RyanL


#2

Here is what JPII had to say about it…pretty reputable source huh? :slight_smile:

catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=2631&longdesc

"He made him who did not know sin to be sin" (2 Cor 5:21). A few moments ago, in the second reading, we heard this surprising assertion made by the Apostle. What do these words mean? They seem, and in effect are, a paradox. How could God, who is holiness itself, “make” his Only-begotten Son, sent into the world, “to be sin”? Yet this is exactly what we read in the passage from St Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. We are in the presence of a mystery: a mystery which at first sight is baffling, but is clearly written in divine Revelation.

Already in the Old Testament, the Book of Isaiah speaks of it with inspired foresight in the fourth song of the Servant of Yahweh: “We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all” (Is 53:6). Although Christ, the Holy One, was absolutely sinless, he agreed to take our sins upon himself. He agreed in order to redeem us; he agreed to bear our sins to fufil the mission he had received from the Father, who — as the Evangelist John writes — “so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him … may have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

[quote=RyanL]Apologists,

I submitted this question on the “Ask an Apologist” forum, but received no reply.

What is meant by 2 Cor 5:21?

This stems from a discussion with BibleReader where he asserted that the plain meaning of the words is the actual meaning. My assertion was that Christ:

  1. Could not have become sin, as an all powerful deity who was all sin would be disasterous, not salvific.
  2. Became, instead, a “sin offering” to take away the sins of the world, not become them. I derive this (among other places) from Isaiah 53 (the Messianic prophesy):

Thus, “became sin” in 2 Cor 5:21 is “biblical shorthand” for “became a sin offering”, which would seem to jibe with the sin offerings of Leviticus 4 and 6.

This, according to BibleReader, is in contrast with the plain language, as well as prophetic typology; specifically, the bronze serpent (sin) raised up so that people could be healed of the serpents’ bites (sin).

I tried the CCC, which yielded the following (footnotes omitted):

I believe 603 agrees with what I have said, but I am still unclear. I’m afraid that if BibleReader is correct, imputed righteousness is what’s being taught at the terminal end of the theology; since I know “penal substitution” and “imputed righteousness” are false doctrines, I think BibleReader is wrong. I could be wrong, however, that this is what the end result comes out being, in which case BibleReader could be correct and it would still be an orthodox teaching.

Could someone point me in the right direction, hopefully with Magisterial documentation?

Thanks for the help,
RyanL
[/quote]


#3

The Ignatius Bible Commentary on Corinthians says the following:

5:21: made him to be sin: Jesus was not made a sinner or personally counted guilty of sin on the Cross. Rather, he bore the curse of death that mankind incurred because of sin (Gal 3:13; 1 Pet 2:22-24), even though he himself knew no sin, i.e., commited no sin (Jn 8:46; 1 Jn 3:5) (CCC 602-3).

Paul adopts the idiom of the Greek OT, where “sin” is a shorthand expression for a Levitical “sin offering” (Lev 4:21; 5:12; 6:25), Isaiah uses the same language for the suffering Messiah, who was expected to make an “offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10).


#4

A dose of my usual off-the-wall making stuff up here.

Maybe he became sin so the His being put to death would result in sin itself being put to death in this world.

He did everything He wasn’t supposed to. He defended sinners, he defied Church authorities, he associated with sinners, he blashphemed, and pretty much became the very image of sin, while being sinless.

It was clear to some – even the criminals on the crosses next to him – that he was an innocent man. Therefore, it was not possible that when he was condemned to death it was the condemnation of a human being, because this human being was being being condemned to death as His resurrection proved.

His very innocence, recognized even by Pilate, meant He was not a mixture of sinfulness and goodness like the rest of us. All the hatred of men were focused on Him, as if it meant anything.

If they had killed a sinful man, then they would have condemned a man to death. They never had any experience at killing a truly innocent man before, so maybe theologically they were carrying out The Law in their imperfect way, and that law condemned him, a sinless man. So therefore his killing must have been a condemnation of sin itself, which gave Christ the go-ahead to accept it willingly because they were so confused many of them thought they were actually doing it out of faith.

So he allowed His body to be mistreated, so that everybody could take out their own sinful frustration and anger at Him, because their own attempts at following the Law just weren’t able to bring them to salvation, much less happiness. The Law which brought sin and death was completed in Christ, who put the “finishing touches” on the Law by showing that it is all subject to higher measures of love and service toward each other. Then the law was put to death by those who thought they were actually obeying the law! Quite a sneaky trick on them, it would seem, that Christ pulled. A sneaky trick that could redeem their immortal souls when they were unable to do it themselves under any sort of worldly law.

That’s just stuff that rolled off my fingers just now. I’ve thought of it before, but never tried to put it into words. If you think it’s crazy, then I’m OK with that. If you have a crazier story I’d love to hear it. :thumbsup:

As far as the theology of it, I’ll let others more informed than I am opine.

Alan


#5

Oy Gevalt!

I’m still confused. The Ignatius Bible Commentary seems to agree exactly with what I asserted, but the JPII link confused me again…

From the link:

What do these words mean? They seem, and in effect are, a paradox. How could God, who is holiness itself, “make” his Only-begotten Son, sent into the world, “to be sin”? Yet this is exactly what we read in the passage from St Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. We are in the presence of a mystery: a mystery which at first sight is baffling, but is clearly written in divine Revelation. [This seems to support BibleReader’s assertion!]

Although Christ, the Holy One, was absolutely sinless, he agreed to take our sins upon himself. He agreed in order to redeem us; he agreed to bear our sins to fufil the mission he had received from the Father **[This seems to agree with me!]
**…
Christ who, out of love, took our guilt upon himself [Me again!]

Christ took upon himself the burden of the sins of all people, the burden of our own sins, so that through his saving sacrifice we might be reconciled to God.
[Me again!]

Numbers-wise, I’m doing ok, but I can’t ignore the plain words. What could it mean?

  1. Christ took upon Himself our sins on the cross (or at Gethsem, take your pick) and did just as a Lev 6 says, and became a sin offering:

‘This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed, the sin offering shall be killed before the LORD. It is most holy. 26 The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. In a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of meeting. 27 Everyone who touches its flesh must be holy.

-Note heavy Eucharistic foreshadowing, with baptism / reconcilliation typologically implied…

OR

  1. Christ became sin. All sin. Our sin. Through and through. And it is for this reason that He was able to cry, “Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?”. He *became *our sins, He paid our debt in full, He nailed our sins to the cross and left them there, and there is nothing left for us to do but accept the price He paid. (See: Faith Alone.)

OR

Something I haven’t thought of yet…

Please assist,
RyanL


#6

Christ became the movie Mulholland Drive, and many people say that that movie is sin. In fact, many may eventually come to the default belief that that particular movie’s existence is the only thing wrong with the world. Either that, or they come to believe that it was the only way possible for Christ to have made his entry into the modern world. :slight_smile:


#7

Ryan,

I think it’s all in the translation and the idiomatic use of the original languages. I looked at a number of English translations and the one that seems to address this is the New Jerusalem Bible. It translates the verse as follows:

“For our sake he made the sinless one a victim for sin, so that in him we might become the uprightness of God.”

Jesus is the reconciliation, the atonement, expiation, and propitiation for our sins. If Jesus, himself, were “literally” made sin then he would not be “the perfect offering.” Moreover, the person of Jesus is both human and divine. The person, Jesus, could not be sin and could not sin. The translation of this verse does not come across to us in the English in the subtle idiomatic way that it comes across in the original languages. Sometimes, a dynamic translation is more helpful than a more exact literal one.

I hope this helps.


#8

[quote=RyanL]Apologists,

I submitted this question on the “Ask an Apologist” forum, but received no reply.

What is meant by 2 Cor 5:21?
[/quote]

God did not make Him sin, literally. Rather, the picture is God “treating” Christ as sin. When He poured out His wrath upon Him, He treated Him as sin.


#9

[quote=sandusky]God did not make Him sin, literally. Rather, the picture is God “treating” Christ as sin. When He poured out His wrath upon Him, He treated Him as sin.
[/quote]

Sandusky,
Thanks, but (and don’t take this personally) how do I know you’re right? How do I know this is a correct interpretation?

God Bless,
RyanL


#10

[quote=RyanL]Sandusky,
Thanks, but (and don’t take this personally) how do I know you’re right? How do I know this is a correct interpretation?

God Bless,
RyanL
[/quote]

The reason I think the Bible has so many levels of intimacy, literal meaning being the most surface one, is that it is designed to strike different people in slightly different ways, according to their needs at the time(s) they hear that word.

If you were to practice, for example, Lectio Divina, you will find that many people derive many different ideas (not necessarily “interpretations” as much as the “impression” the reading made on them) from the same scripture verses. When contemplative prayer groups I’ve been in practice Lectio, we get a lot of great ideas to share about our faith, that may actually be somewhat tangential to the reading for one person while it jumped right in there for another. We don’t claim to interpret the Word, but only to allow ourselves to react to it.

I look at the Bible as a transformation tool more than a rule book, so that is how I can allow myself to remain uncertain on certain issues like this, that from a theological standpoint are important. Until such time as I know the fully revealed Truth, I am still personally affected by hearing it. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the Word of God. I pray for increase in my ability to hear that Word from wherever it comes, at all times of the day or night. I believe the Word, having created everything, is in everything so I consider everything I perceive in this world to be a clue to that Truth, in addition to the sacred scriptures.

Alan


#11

Ryan,

Go Irish!!

You might want to check this wep page out: web.archive.org/web/20031204105511/http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ499.HTM

It has the following quotes from the Church Fathers (which I have NOT verified). (Also, I have not gone over this page with a fine tooth comb, so please do not think that I hold it out as the definitive answer to this excellent question that you brought up, nor do I make any claims for its orthodoxy. END DISCLAIMER. Sound like a lawyer don’t I? :slight_smile: )

Here are the salient quotes:

[font=Comic Sans MS][size=]Ambrosiaster:

In view of the fact that he was made an offering for sins, it is not wrong for him to be said to have been made ‘sin,’ because in the law the sacrifice which was offered for sins used to be called a ‘sin.’

Commentary on Paul’s Epistles]

St. John Chrysostom:

God allowed his Son to suffer as if a condemned sinner, so that we might be delivered from the penalty of our sins.

Homilies on the Epistles of Corinthians]

St. Cyril of Alexandria:

We do not say that Christ became a sinner, far from it, but being righteous (or rather, righteousness, because he did not know sin at all), the Father made him a victim for the sins of the world.

*Letter *41.10]

St. Ambrose:

So, was the Lord turned into sin? Not so, but, since he assumed our sins, he is called sin. For the Lord is also called an accursed thing [Gal 3:13], not because the Lord was turned into an accursed thing but because he himself took on our curse . . . It is written that he was made sin, that is, not by the nature and operation of sin . . .; but that he might crucify our sin in his flesh, he assumed for us the burden of the infirmities of a body already guilty of carnal sin.

The Sacrament of the Incarnation of Our Lord 6.60]

Eusebius:

He embraced death for us with all willingness and ‘became a curse for us,’ holy and all-blessed though he was.

*The Proof of the Gospel *4.17]

St. Gregory Nazianzen:

. . . it is said that he was made sin or a curse for us; not that the Lord was transformed into either of these - how could he be? But because by taking them upon him he took away our sins and bore our iniquities.

Letters on the Apollinarian Controversy 101]

[/size][/font]Hope that is useful. I am really curious what your research shows on this tiopic, so please keep us updated!
VC


#12

#13

Hmmph. Not much help. I found this, which is Calvin’s commentary on the passage:

As we have said, we are all under this curse, which means it was necessary for our Lord to take our burden of sin upon himself. In the law of Moses, it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree’ (*Deut. *21:23). Our Lord commanded that the bodies of the dead should be removed from sight, because it was a disgrace to see a human body thus defiled and therefore he desired it to be taken away. Yet, when God pronounced this curse upon all who hung upon a tree, he knew only too well what was going to happen to his only Son.

He took our burden upon himself, as our substitute, and made himself, as it were, the chief of sinners on our behalf. Jesus Christ became a curse in order to deliver us from the curse of the law. It may seem harsh and strange at first sight that the Lord of Glory, he who has all sovereign authority, and before whom all the angels of heaven tremble and prostrate themselves, should be subject to a curse.

For this reason, we can have full confidence that God will forgive us and be favourable and kind to us if we cleave to what Paul shows us here: namely, that our Lord Jesus Christ spared nothing for us, even to the point of bearing our curse.

Or, put more simply:

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us.” (Galatians 3:13.) What does it mean that Christ became a curse for us? It means that he fully bore the just consequences of our actions, the curse and judgment of a holy God. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21.) Jesus did not become a sinner, but he became sin. He became the guilty one, the one who accepts the responsibility for the consequences of our sins. The spotless, unblemished Lamb of God became hideously defiled and morally reprehensible. God punished the Lord Jesus, because the Lord Jesus voluntarily took our sins on himself and thereby became liable to the just wrath of God. While we may not be able fully to comprehend everything about how God acted for us in Christ, Scripture does, nevertheless, paint a clear picture that our Lord was punished in our place, the guilt of our sins having been put to his account.

I cannot help but see a “penal substitution” outcome from “Christ became sin”.
[left] Having been confronted with the distorted views of Luther and Calvin, quite appropriately does the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia state:
[/left]

[left]
[/left]
[left]
[/left]
…The second mistake is the tendency to treat the Passion of Christ as being literally a case of vicarious punishment. This is at best a distorted view of the truth that His atoning Sacrifice took the place of our punishment, and that He took upon Himself the sufferings and death that were due to our sins.

I am still confused, however, as I read things like the Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Paul VI:

God in fact has not simply pardoned us, nor has he made use of a mere man as an intermediary between us and himself: he has established his "only begotten Son an intercessor of peace " (6) “For our sake God made the sinless one into sin so that in him we might become the goodness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). In reality, Christ, by dying for us, has cancelled out “every record of the debt that we had to pay; he has done away with it by nailing it to the Cross” (Col 2:14). And by means of the Cross he has reconciled us with God: “In his own person he has killed the hostility” (Eph 2:16).

…which would seem to indicate that “penal substitution” is not an absolute end-result of the “Christ became sin” conundrum.


#14

More from the Holy Father, John Paul the Great, in [/font]NOVO MILLENNIO INEUNTE

In contemplating Christ’s face, we confront* the most paradoxical aspect of his mystery*, as it emerges in his last hour, on the Cross. The mystery within the mystery, before which we cannot but prostrate ourselves in adoration. [left]The intensity of the episode of the agony in the Garden of Olives passes before our eyes. Oppressed by foreknowledge of the trials that await him, and alone before the Father, Jesus cries out to him in his habitual and affectionate expression of trust: “Abba, Father”. He asks him to take away, if possible, the cup of suffering (cf. Mk 14:36). But the Father seems not to want to heed the Son’s cry. In order to bring man back to the Father’s face, Jesus not only had to take on the face of man, but he had to burden himself with the “face” of sin. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).
[/left]
…At the very moment when he identifies with our sin, “abandoned” by the Father, he “abandons” himself into the hands of the Father. His eyes remain fixed on the Father. Precisely because of the knowledge and experience of the Father which he alone has, even at this moment of darkness he sees clearly the gravity of sin and suffers because of it. He alone, who sees the Father and rejoices fully in him, can understand completely what it means to resist the Father’s love by sin. More than an experience of physical pain, his Passion is an agonizing suffering of the soul. Theological tradition has not failed to ask how Jesus could possibly experience at one and the same time his profound unity with the Father, by its very nature a source of joy and happiness, and an agony that goes all the way to his final cry of abandonment. The simultaneous presence of these two seemingly irreconcilable aspects is rooted in the fathomless depths of the hypostatic union.

In the Dialogue of Divine Providence, God the Father shows *Catherine of Siena *how joy and suffering can be present together in holy souls: “Thus the soul is blissful and afflicted: afflicted on account of the sins of its neighbour, blissful on account of the union and the affection of charity which it has inwardly received. These souls imitate the spotless Lamb, my Only-begotten Son, who on the Cross was both blissful and afflicted”

And what would be complete without Thomas Aquinas?

God “made Christ sin”–not, indeed, in such
sort that He had sin, but that He made Him a sacrifice for sin:
even as it is written (Osee 4:8): “They shall eat the sins of My
people”–they, i.e. the priests, who by the law ate the
sacrifices offered for sin. And in that way it is written (Is.
53:6) that “the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all”
(i.e. He gave Him up to be a victim for the sins of all men); or
"He made Him sin" (i.e. made Him to have “the likeness of sinful
flesh”), as is written (Rm. 8:3), and this on account of the
passible and mortal body He assumed.

Can anyone help me unravel this? I still cannot make sense of it - did Christ become sin, or a sin offering? If Christ became sin, did he become our sin (as he had none)? If Christ became our sin, how is “penal substitution” not a logical followthrough? If simply a “sin offering”, why the “curse” and “became sin” terminology?

God Bless,
RyanL


#15

still seeking assistance…


#16

…still seeking assistance.

Is this sin, or is it Christ? Or is it both?

mulhollanddrive.com/

The problem isn’t one of the past but of the present.


#17

[quote=RyanL]still seeking assistance…
[/quote]

First, I suggest you decide whether this is something you need to solve. If it is not, then the worse thing that can happen is it will remain a mystery, and that’s not such a bad thing.

Frankly, I’m curious as to whether this issue is merely academic for you, or if there is something seemingly at stake based on the correct answer to this question.

The reason I ask is that it might help me assist. With all the theological mumbo-jumbo it sounds to me like the answer to the question could be “yes” or “no” depending on how you define certain words and what assumptions you make. In essence, the answer to your question depends on what rules we are playing word games by.

If there is no particular reason for you to know the “answer” to that question, then perhaps more of a discovery approach rather than a debate approach may reveal more of the nature of what’s going on, without our having to “take sides.”

Summary: If you really need to know the answer, then I think it may pay first to set aside the yes/no question itself, look into the nature of the truth, then see if your interpretation of the English Language phrase “became sin” applies to your understanding of the truth. This way we know what we are basing our assumptions on, and any word games we still need will have clearer rules.

Alan


#18

RyanL,

I think the problem may be that you are trying to prove:
"'penal substitution" and “imputed righteousness” to be “false doctrines.” I don’t think they are, if understood in the sense the Catholic Church understand them.

Christ’s atonement is vicarious (substitutionary). It cannot be false. And righteousness is imputed even though we are not worthy of it. I don’t see that these doctrines are false, if properly understood.

The dichotomy that Protestantism attempts to build is that righteousness is ONLY imputed and not ALSO infused. Catholicism rejects this dichotomy as false. We believe it is imputed AND infused. We believe that Christ’s atonement was vicarious, but we also believe in the need to co-operate with the Holy Spirit such that Christ’s atonement becomes subjective in our lives.

Scott Hahn explains nicely the distinction between his former Calvinist views in contrast with the Catholic view:

You will see that Protestant theologians in interpreting the Bible will actually say that adoption is only a legal act for instance, John Murray. Again, many consider him the greatest Protestant bible-believing, spirit-filled Bible theologian of the twentieth century. As a typical and representative Protestant, he argues in his book Redemption Accomplished and Applied, page 167, “Adoption is only a judicial act.” We’re not really made children of God, we’re simply declared children legally. That’s not the Catholic view…

The Protestant view is built upon God understood primarily in terms of His holiness, as a judge. We are understood primarily in terms of guilty criminals. Christ is an innocent but willing victim substitute. Hang the penalty. Justification then is just simply a legal exchange. We get his legal righteousness; he gets our punishment. The Catholic Church agrees with all of these but regards them as partial truths. The Church tries to put them in the broader context, in this case the notion of the divine family, the notion of divine sonship. God is a holy judge, but even more, He’s a loving Father. His holiness and His judgment are that of father’s heart. God is a loving father; we are the ones He makes His children. Jesus is the one who dies and rises to give us his own divine sonship and nothing less than his own divine sonship. Justification is therefore his declaration of that sonship and, as I’ve mentioned, he does what he declares by declaring it [Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my Word go forth from my mouth. It shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose.”]. God’s word does not return to Him void. It accomplishes the purpose that He set out to accomplish. So salvation and justification in the Catholic tradition is regarded, then, as growing up to be a mature, loving hard working son of God or daughter of God in His family, the Church of Christ. [emphasis added]

[Scott Hahn, “The Justification Debate,” [url=“http://www.mindspring.com/~jdarcy/files/justify.htm”]http://www.mindspring.com/~jdarcy/files/justify.htm

)


#19

Dave,

That helps soooooo much! Do you have anything else? I think I’m about 90% on this now… I still don’t quite understand, however, if / in what manner Christ became sin (or sin offering?)…

God Bless,
RyanL


#20

[quote=RyanL]Oy Gevalt!

I’m still confused. The Ignatius Bible Commentary seems to agree exactly with what I asserted, but the JPII link confused me again…

From the link:
Numbers-wise, I’m doing ok, but I can’t ignore the plain words. What could it mean?

  1. Christ took upon Himself our sins on the cross (or at Gethsem, take your pick) and did just as a Lev 6 says, and became a sin offering:
    -Note heavy Eucharistic foreshadowing, with baptism / reconcilliation typologically implied…

OR

  1. Christ became sin. All sin. Our sin. Through and through. And it is for this reason that He was able to cry, “Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?”. He *became *our sins, He paid our debt in full, He nailed our sins to the cross and left them there,
    [/quote]

Stop right there, and continue:

…so that He descended into death. Since “He could not be held by it”, His Resurrection means, as St. Paul says, that He “has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel”. By being baptised into His Death, we are made sharers in the glory of the coming Resurrection - of which His, is the cause and the pattern.

Since, even now, we share in His risen life through the Life-giving Spirit by which we are conformed to His likeness, and since we must bear the Cross if we are to be His disciples in truth, and not in word only, the reality of His Passion and Death does not end with His Death, which is unique, final, unrepeatable, & infinite in its saving power: far from it - for as St. Paul says, “the dying of the Lord Jesus” happens continuously in the Church: this once-for-all Death is worked out in the lives of His disciples, so that it may be effective in their lives.

Because He paid our debt in full, because it is impossible that anything could be added to it, it is now free to have its full effects in & on those for whom it took place. Which is why Christian discipleship involves doing the good works which the Father has prepared for us to walk in - for Christ worked “until now” because His Father worked; & Christians are “chosen in Christ”, never set free from Him; so that “[they] may live no longer for [them]selves but for Him…”. To belong to Him & to be in Him, is to live out His Life, His working, obedience, & Death; for there cannot be resurrection, without the Death on the Cross. To be Christ’s, is to be remade according to His likeness - not left alone to do our own thing. “Faith alone” is shorthand for the whole of Christian life - it’s alone, because it includes everything.

That second paragraph is all true - it’s just in need of having the proper conclusions drawn :slight_smile: ##

and there is nothing left for us to do but accept the price He paid. (See: Faith Alone.)

Provided that acceptance is not a lying back at ease and a failure to obey the Father Who Wills us to obey His Son in Whom He is well-pleased. Christians are to be “obedient children” - not sluggards who think that the Cross abolishes the need for exertion by them; for it doesn’t - it makes holy & obedient and Christ-like exertion possible & necessary.

Hope that helps ##

OR

Something I haven’t thought of yet…

Please assist,
RyanL


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