Refuting Reformed Theology on "2 Corinthians 5:21"


#1

I would like to gain some insight and advice from the community. Particularly if you are a convert from the Reformed tradition. My brother-in-law is a fallen-away Catholic who is currently in a reformed community. We both have a monthly bible study group and we both try to attend each others group. This month his group his study is on a sermon by Charles Spurgeon titled: THE HEART OF THE GOSPEL. It’s based on the reformed understanding of 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

I’ve included a section of the sermon here. If you want to read it in it’s entirety you can here: The Heart of The Gospel by C. H. SPURGEON (Interestingly enough, the version he gave us to read is only part of the sermon from this link. I will be reading the entire sermon from the link)

FIRST, THEN, WITH AS MUCH BREVITY AS POSSIBLE, I WILL SPEAK UPON THE GREAT DOCTRINE. The great doctrine, the greatest of all, is this: God, seeing men to be lost by reason of their sin, hath taken that sin of theirs and laid it upon His only begotten Son, making Him to be sin for us, even Him Who knew no sin. In consequence of this transference of sin, he that believeth in Christ Jesus is made just and righteous, yea, is made to be the righteousness of God in Christ.

Christ was made sin that sinners might be made righteousness. That is the doctrine of the substitution of our Lord Jesus Christ on the behalf of guilty men.

Now consider, first, who was made sin for us? The description of our great Surety* here given is upon one point only, and it may more than suffice us for our present meditation. Our substitute was spotless, innocent, and pure. “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” Christ Jesus, the Son of God, became incarnate—made flesh—and dwelt here among men; but though He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, He knew no sin. Though upon Him sin was laid, yet not so as to make Him guilty. He was not, He could not be a sinner: He had no personal knowledge of sin. Throughout the whole of His life, He never committed an offense against the great Law of truth and right. The Law was in His heart. It was His nature to be holy. He could say to all the world, “Which of you convinceth me2 of sin?” (Joh 8:46). Even His vacillating3 judge enquired, “Why, what evil hath he done?” (Mat 27:23). When all Jerusalem was challenged and bribed to bear witness against Him, no witnesses could be found. It was necessary to misquote and wrest His words before a charge could be trumped up against Him by His bitterest enemies. His life brought Him in contact with both the Tables of the Law, but no single command had He transgressed. As the Jews examined the Paschal lamb4 before they slew it, so did scribes and Pharisees, and doctors of the Law, and rulers and princes examine the Lord Jesus without finding offense in Him. He was the Lamb of God, without blemish and without spot.

  • Surety – one who assumes the responsibilities or debts of another.

I would like some advice on how to approach this. I have the understanding that Reformed theology on 2 Cor 5:21 is the following: Our sin was imputed to Christ, “making Him to be sin,” while on the other hand Christ’s perfect obedience was imputed to us, “making us the righteousness of God.” Given the option between Imputation and Infusion, we know that since Christ wasn’t literally made sin, we can certainly say sin wasn’t infused into Him, which thus makes imputation the only acceptable interpretation. Plus, in the immediate context Paul says God did not impute our sins to us (2 Cor. 5:19), indicating that God must have imputed our sins to somewhere else, namely to Christ’s account. Having established the framework of imputation in Paul’s lesson, we can say that just as Jesus “becomes sin” (by imputation), the parallel must also hold true, namely that we “become the righteousness of God” in the same way (by a second imputation, received by faith alone). Here, in one concise verse, Paul is clearly describing a “double-imputation” going on, or a “Great Exchange” as many Protestants fondly refer to it. This is the essence of the Reformation teaching on Justification by Faith Alone.

The problem is, this passage doesn’t really say that. First, the text does not suggest we become righteousness in the same way Jesus becomes sin, i.e. by a double imputation, because Paul uses two different Greek words here, “made [sin]” and “become [righteousness]”.

Also, the Bible never speaks of imputing sin from a sinner onto an innocent substitute, such that guilt is transferred from one person to another, so to say “made sin” refers to imputation has no Biblical basis whatsoever. Thus, Christ being “made sin” must be assumed to refer to something other than imputation.

(continued on next post)


#2

The term impute (logizomai in Greek) is used numerous times in Scripture but never is it used to refer to sins being imputed to an innocent substitute, even in the Levitical Sacrifices. This fact alone undermines the Protestant reading, since they’ve “gone beyond what is written”

The few references to “imputing sin” mentioned in Scripture are stated in the negative, each saying sin is “not imputed” to a person, e.g. 2 Corinthians 5:19 and Romans 4:7-8 (more on these texts later). Also, nothing about “not imputing sin” logically necessitates nor suggests the Protestant fallacy that ‘if sin is not imputed to us, then it must be imputed to someone else’, so this Protestant claim holds no water at all.

Additionally, the meaning of “made sin” need not only refer to Imputation or Infusion, for that’s a false dilemma fallacy. The Church Fathers shed valuable light on what “made sin” refers to. Many Catholics are aware that some Fathers claimed that “made sin” refers to being “made a sacrifice for sin,” since the Hebrew word for “sin” doubled in the Old Testament as a term referring to personal failings as well as Levitical Sacrifices. Scriptural support for this “sin offering” claim not only includes many texts of Leviticus, but even New Testament texts like Hebrews 10:5-8; 10:18; and 13:11, where the Greek term “sin” (hamartia) is used but is clearly referring to a “sacrifice for sin” and not personal failings. In Hebrews 10:6, it is directly quoting Psalm 40:6-8, an OT text speaking of sacrifices of various types, saying: “In burnt offerings and sin offerings [hamartia] you have taken no pleasure.”

Some quotes by the ECF:
[LIST]
*]Augustine: “on account of the likeness of sinful flesh in which He came, He was called sin” (Enchiridion, Ch41)
*]Augustine: “For God made Christ Himself to be sin for us, on account of the likeness of sinful flesh, that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (Commentary on Psalm 119, Ain, Section 122)
*]Gregory Nyssa: “He made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin,” giving once more the name of “sin” to the flesh.” (Against Eunomius, Book 6, Section 1)
*]Gregory of Nazianzen: “And so the passage, The Word was made Flesh, seems to me to be equivalent to that in which it is said that He was made sin.” (Letter To Cledonius [Epistle CI])
*]Hilary: “To condemn sin through sin in the flesh, He Who knew no sin was Himself made sin; that is, by means of the flesh to condemn sin in the flesh, He became flesh on our behalf but knew not flesh” (On the Trinity, Book 10, Section 47)
[/LIST]

The ‘consensus’ among the Fathers on the meaning of “made sin” in 2 Corinthians 5:21 is that it refers to “the Word was made flesh,” the Son becoming Incarnate, which is also why they also linked 2 Corinthians 5:21 directly to Romans 8:3, “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” Using the principle of Scripture-interprets-Scripture, that’s what “made sin” means, and it’s not hard to see.

The context clearly explains the goal of God the Father sending His Son was to bring about our reconciliation, thus undermining the whole presumed forensic-imputation theme Protestants project onto verse 21. Verse 5:20 explains that Paul is an ambassador of Christ, calling us to be “reconciled to God.” So the focus here is on “reconciliation,” which is the restoring of a broken friendship. (Cf 1 Cor 7:10-11) This isn’t really a forensic category, for the defendant doesn’t reconcile with the Judge in a courtroom. This also strongly goes against an “imputation of Christ’s Righteousness” theme, because reconciling is about restoring what was lost, not supplying something new that was never possessed. The implication is that we are restored to communion with God as Adam was originally in communion, otherwise there’s no reference point of a relationship break requiring reconciliation. And verse 5:19 is just as helpful, for it tells us that this reconciliation was done by “not imputing their sins,” which refers to forgiving sin since Romans 4:7-8 use ‘not impute sin’ in that very manner. Using context as a guide, it’s reasonable to conclude that “becoming the righteousness of God” must refer to being reconciled to God and having sins forgiven. Otherwise, “becoming the righteousness of God” refers to something not spoken of within the immediate context, which is unlikely. And this is confirmed when we examine a parallel text, Romans 5:9-10, where the phrase “justified by his blood” is paralleled to “reconciled by his death”.

So, how can I break this all down into discussion points and bring it into a form that can be talked about without getting to wordy? :shrug:


#3

Gregory Nazianzen interpreted it as follows:

“But, in the character of the Form of a Servant, He condescends to His fellow servants, nay, to His servants, and takes upon Him a strange form, bearing all me and mine in Himself, that in Himself He may exhaust the bad, as fire does wax, or as the sun does the mists of earth; and that I may partake of His nature by the blending.”

clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/egf.htm#by

This is how the Church Fathers always understood salvation - we are saved by being mystically (sacramentally) incorporated into the body of Christ - not only through faith, but through Baptism, the Eucharist, Reconciliation, fellowship with the Church, and through suffering.

Also, I strongly recommend the website clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/index.htm - it allows you to look up commentary from the Church Fathers on every passage of Scripture.


#4

Hi!

…I’m quite pedestrian… so you may not find much in my contribution… still…

The problem with sola Scriptura/Fide is that it ignores all of the passages that are meant to shed light to those from which the belief is exhumed…

What makes man, through Christ, a child of God?

Clearly, Jesus did not come to nail to the Cross all of man sin (as in those who refuse Salvation):

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]19 And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil.

(St. John 3:19)

12 But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. 13 Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (St. John 1:12-13)
Clearly, man has to actively seek to be in Christ Jesus!

…it is so clear from Scriptures that having knowledge of God is not enough:

19 Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well: the devils also believe and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

(St. James 2:19-20)
Faith is accompany by works–acts of humble obedience to God’s Commandment: Obedience, Love, Faith, Service, Sacrifice, Unity…

Maran atha!

Angel

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#5

I think you have learned quite a bit about the incarnation that not many are teaching anymore, but is the only way that the Fathers taught and that makes any sense. I like to make the comparison to how it is never acceptable by a judge to let someone innocent come and take the sentence of a criminal, allowing the criminal to go free. And we have an account of David where he refused to take the pleasures of someone else’s sacrifice in 2 Samuel 23:

“And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate! 16And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD. 17And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.”

In contrast, I see the Incarnation as a means to lift us up out of something we could not do on our own, namely destroying death. And destroying death, for each of us requires a lot from us personally, because we must destroy everything that brings death, namely sin. And Christ requires us to do what we are able, and He will do that which we are unable to do, namely take us to sit at the right hand of God and firmly establish us.


#6

Hi, HR. You cannot refute Calvinism in specific verses; you have to overturn the entire doctrine by all the verses they use. All at once. It can be formidable.

The basis of Reformed Theology is the perception that God changes hearts before a person turns to Him — “regeneration before belief”. Towards this, they use Ezk36:26-27, Jer31:33, 2Cor4:3-4, and others.

The only verse they really have that (they think) plainly states “an unregenerated man cannot believe and become saved”, is 1Cor2:14. But the refutation of that idea is in verse 12 — one has to receive the Spirit before he receives the “things” of verse 14 (“things” in verses 14, 13, and 12. “Things” in verse 9, “them” in verse 10, and “thoughts-of-God” in verse 11. Same subject in all six verses.)

To receive the Spirit, one has to believe and receive Jesus and be saved, only then does one receive the Spirit (Acts11:15-17), and then the received Spirit teaches the things. Clearly, “things” cannot include “saving-belief”. The things in 1Cor2 are the deeper things of the Spirit.

Try to get your friend to confront the problem of putting “heart-change” (regeneration), before belief. It cannot be done. In John20:31, John states he wrote the testament to persuade the reader that Jesus is the Messiah; and believing, he may THEN have life. There is no such thing as “made-alive” without “regeneration”, nor can one be “regenerated” without also being “made alive”.

And in John’s words in 20:31, having-life (made alive!) is squarely after belief.

Also ask your friend who Jesus came for, Matt9:12-13. Per RT, unregenerated men cannot believe and receive Jesus (so He could not have come for them!), but if men are generated then they are righteous already and do not NEED Jesus to come for them. But clearly Jesus said “He came not for the righteous, but for sinners”. The only possibility is that unregenerated sinners can believe, and therefore can receive Jesus and the Spirit and regeneration.

It’s all “sequence”; nowhere in Scripture is “heart-change”, before “believing/turning-to-God”.

:slight_smile:

(PS: Equally, if we are free to turn to God, then why are we not free to turn AWAY from God? See if your friend can explain why we are at the same risk of deception away from Jesus, as Eve was away from God in the Garden, 2Cor11:3. Is there some way to change Paul’s words?)


#7

All has to fit together; no one is allowed to “throw things out” that are not liked. This is the Achilles Heel of RT — if we know how all the verses fit together, we can gently correct those who misunderstand (not denying that WE do not have all of the answers, we not only teach but also learn).

What makes man, through Christ, a child of God?

Clearly, Jesus did not come to nail to the Cross all of man’s sin (as in those who refuse Salvation):

Clearly, man has to actively seek to be in Christ Jesus!

VERY nicely said. :slight_smile:

…it is so clear from Scriptures that having knowledge of God is not enough:

Faith is accompanied by works–acts of humble obedience to God’s Commandment: Obedience, Love, Faith, Service, Sacrifice, Unity…

This reflects James, chapter 2 — see especially verse 14, mistranslated in every copy I’ve seen. The “me-dunamai” construct is properly translated,

“That faith (which tries to exist without good works), can NOT save you, CAN it!”

It’s a negative question expecting only an answer of “no”.

It also reflects what Jesus said in places like Matt7:16-18; no good tree produces bad fruit, no bad tree produces good fruit. We can KNOW them by their fruit.

Good deeds are unavoidable for those who truly know Jesus. See Philip2:12-13, we work out our salvation (practice diligence), knowing it is GOD who does our good deeds through us. (Paraphrased, but basically Paul’s thoughts…)

Maran atha!

Angel

And to you!


#8

Good points! Did you write all this?

If I were going to trim it down, here’s what I was able to fit on a single page in Word. If your friend cannot find the time to read one page, then there isn’t much discussion you can really have with him.
The standard Protestant interpretation of 2 Cor 5:21 is as follows: Our sin was imputed to Christ, “making Him to be sin,” while on the other hand Christ’s perfect obedience was imputed to us, “making us the righteousness of God.” And since Christ wasn’t literally made sin, this means imputation the only acceptable interpretation. Thus, in one concise verse, Paul is clearly describing a “double-imputation” going on.

The problem is, this passage doesn’t really say that. First, the text does not suggest we become righteousness in the same way Jesus becomes sin, i.e. by a double imputation, because Paul uses two different Greek words here, “made [sin]” and “become [righteousness]”. Second, the Bible never speaks of imputing sin from a sinner onto an innocent substitute, so to say “made sin” refers to imputation, has no Biblical basis whatsoever. The few references to “imputing sin” mentioned in Scripture are stated in the negative, each saying sin is “not imputed” to a person, e.g. 2 Corinthians 5:19 and Romans 4:7-8 (more on these texts later). Thus, Christ being “made sin” must refer to something other than imputation.

Third, the Early Church Fathers shed valuable light on what “made sin” refers to. Some Church Fathers claimed that “made sin” refers to being “made a sacrifice for sin,” since the Hebrew word for “sin” [hamartia] in the Old Testament could refer to “making a sin offering” as well as to personal failings. For example, in Hebrews 10:6, it is directly quoting Psalm 40:6-8, an OT text speaking of sacrifices of various types, saying: “In burnt offerings and sin offerings [hamartia] you have taken no pleasure.” But the Church Fathers go even further than this:

[LIST]
*]Augustine: “For God made Christ Himself to be sin for us, on account of the likeness of sinful flesh, that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (Commentary on Psalm 119, Ain, Section 122)
*]Gregory Nyssa: “He made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, giving once more the name of “sin” to the flesh.” (Against Eunomius, Book 6, Section 1)
*]Gregory of Nazianzen: “And so the passage, The Word was made Flesh, seems to me to be equivalent to that in which it is said that He was made sin.” (Letter To Cledonius [Epistle CI])
*]Hilary: “To condemn sin through sin in the flesh, He Who knew no sin was Himself made sin; that is, by means of the flesh to condemn sin in the flesh, He became flesh on our behalf but knew not flesh” (On the Trinity, Book 10, Section 47)
[/LIST]
How these Church Fathers interpret “made sin” in 2 Corinthians 5:21 say that it refers to “the Word was made flesh,” the Son becoming Incarnate, which is also why they also linked 2 Corinthians 5:21 directly to Romans 8:3, “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” Using the principle of Scripture-interprets-Scripture, that’s what “made sin” means in 2 Cor 5:21, and it’s not hard to see.

Finally, the context clearly explains the goal of God the Father sending His Son was to bring about our “reconciliation” (5:20), which is the restoring of a broken friendship. (Cf 1 Cor 7:10-11) This isn’t about imputation at all, because reconciling is about restoring what was lost. So we are restored to communion with God as Adam was originally in communion. Verse 5:19 tells us that this reconciliation was done by “not imputing their sins,” which refers to forgiving sin, since Romans 4:7-8 use ‘not impute sin’ in this very manner. Using context as a guide, it’s reasonable to conclude that “becoming the righteousness of God” must refer to being reconciled to God and having sins forgiven.


#9

Hi!

Exactly! God’s Revelation is not left up to chance… we cannot connect the dots that we deem “correct” and ignore those that we think superfluous… that’s why St. James touches on this very issue (2:11)… we must adhere to the Fullness of Revelation.

…and I concur with you… it is not about being “know it alls” but about seeking to Know and share God.

This reflects James, chapter 2 — see especially verse 14, mistranslated in every copy I’ve seen. The “me-dunamai” construct is properly translated,

"That faith (which tries to exist without

good works), can NOT save you, CAN it!"

It’s a negative question expecting only an answer of “no”.

It also reflects what Jesus said in places like Matt7:16-18; no good tree produces bad fruit, no bad tree produces good fruit. We can KNOW them by their fruit.

Good deeds are unavoidable for those who truly know Jesus. See Philip2:12-13, we work out our salvation (practice diligence), knowing it is GOD who does our good deeds through us. (Paraphrased, but basically Paul’s thoughts…)

And to you!
I concur. We can also understand from this particular passage (and 1 Corinthians 13:1-3) that this very issue had surface right at the early development of the Church… people thinking themselves so pious or restricting God’s Salvific Plan to their imaginings… creating an alternative Gospel where man dictates who and how God Saves.

I love St. John 15:1-10 because it so blows all presumptions out of the waters… “abide in Me so that I may Abide in you, for without Me you are nothing!” (paraphrased)

Maran atha!

Angel


#10

:wave:

Exactly! God’s Revelation is not left up to chance… we cannot connect the dots that we deem “correct” and ignore those that we think superfluous…

Sometimes it’s more subtle; if we read 2Cor4:3-4 (for instance), shall we perceive that the devil has the power to blind men from Jesus (therefore, so Calvinists reason, God must unblind their hearts FIRST)?

Simply read the context — and we will find 2Cor3:16, we turn to God by faith and THEN our hearts are unblinded. “Oops” for Reformed Theology.

Spiritually dead people can believe, and can turn to God. That’s how it works.

that’s why St. James touches on this very issue (2:11)… we must adhere to the Fullness of Revelation.

James2:11
For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

Yes. That is why we are now not under Law, but under grace. However, Jesus did not come to destroy Law but to fulfill it; as Paul says in Rom6, “shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Never! How shall we who have DIED to sin, still live in it?” He continues to teach that “died-to-sin” is a daily walk, we abide EITHER in sin (and are dead to Jesus), or we are alive to Jesus and dead to sin.

It continues into chapter 7 “the war between the new Godly nature and the old sinful one”, and chapter 8 is “the solution to the war”. 8:12-13 tells that we exploit the SPIRIT’S power to overcome our flesh.

Our faith, His strength; He’s alot stronger than we are. :wink:

…and I concur with you… it is not about being “know it alls” but about seeking to Know and share God.

Amen. To position oneself as teacher is a great responsibility, but also a great privilege. (We are held more accountable BECAUSE we teach; but to succeed in promoting Jesus is a blessing.)

And while alive “we see in a mirror darkly, we know in part and prophesy in part”. We who teach others must be open to also teaching OURSELVES (open to learning). There is a saying “he who has nothing left to learn, is truly ignorant”…

To know and share God – we all will have differences, but do we not have the same GOAL? To be true brothers and sisters together with Jesus, forever. So we embody Titus1:9, and balance that against Gal5:19-21 (disputes/dissensions) always taking care that our words BUILD and not destroy, that we lead each other closer to Him in the spirit of 1Jn4:20.

…and Eph4:15…

I concur. We can also understand from this particular passage (and 1 Corinthians 13:1-3) that this very issue had surface right at the early development of the Church… people thinking themselves so pious or restricting God’s Salvific Plan to their imaginings… creating an alternative Gospel where man dictates who and how God Saves.

That’s good! It is my perception that Corinth thought themselves “superior”, because of gifts — notably, “tongues”. The same “me” construct is in 12; properly translated, “All do NOT speak in tongues, DO they!”

Corinth seemed to be focusing more on the gifts, than the giver. In context, chapters 12-14 present as a rebuke — especially 14:20.

“Guys, GROW UP!”

I love St. John 15:1-10 because it so blows all presumptions out of the waters… “abide in Me so that I may Abide in you, for without Me you are nothing!” (paraphrased)

Nicely done. Verse 2, “any branch IN ME” – in no sense can that fit RT’s claim “they were never really saved”.

Verse 6, “if anyone DOES NOT abide in Me he is …thrown away …and burned.”

In no sense can a “cast-out-branch”, be considered “still saved”.

Maran atha!

Angel

:thumbsup:


#11

I believe that Calvinist (Reformed) theology holds to the doctrine of “penal substitution” in which Christ was made to suffer for our sake. However, this also indicates that God is unjust, imposing the ultimate penalty upon the Innocent for the sake of the guilty. This would render God’s nature and action not only unjust, but irrational in that He would be punishing His eternal Self for the sake of mere creations - and guilty creations at that. How can He love us (sin) while hating Himself?

However, a single verse does not define Christian doctrine. The entire letter of 2 Corinthians is absorbed with Paul’s “ministry of reconciliation” and his admonition for the Christians at Corinth to be “reconciled to God.” How can this be if righteousness had already been “imputed” to them? Again, irrational. If righteousness is imputed, and our natures have not been irrevocably altered, the guilt remains - God simply overlooks it. That is also unjust, if not irrational, considering that His Son died for the guilt of those individual sins.

Look at Chapter 2, verse 10 of 2 Corinthians. In it, Paul speaks of forgiving sins. In particular, he clearly wrote that he forgave sins “in the person of Christ” - in persona Christi as the Church teaches regarding the authority of her ministers - the full authority of Christ. The essence of the atonement has been twisted post-reformation into a compartmentalization of sacrifice, atonement, guilt and sin to the past; to a single point in time - freeing us in the present (even at judgment!) from responsibility or culpability for our sins.

A simply excellent source for combating this doctrinal error is one Dr. David Anders, the host of EWTN’s radio show “Called to Communion.” He is an excellent theologian and convert from the Reformed tradition.


#12

There may be something to the argument that “in the spiritual world, sins have a physical presence”. What if when we get to the Judgment, we can actually see other people stained with their sins?

Peter says, “He bore our sins in His body” (1:2:24). It is a reality that He died for us, as truly the “appeasement of our sins”.

“He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” 1Jn2:2

“Hilasmos”, propitiation, appeasement. Since Adam, a blood-sacrifice was required as propitiation for sins; Jesus became the perfect sacrifice for all sins for all time:

"He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time…

…For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified." Heb10:12-14We are sanctified by His blood (which one can later reject, Heb10:29). Verse 12 is footnoted “sacrifice for sins, forever sat down”.

That He died for ALL SINS does not mean that all sins are covered; “all” denotes provision, if one does not receive Jesus’ gracious gift (Rom5:17) he will die in his sins (Jn8:24). So He is the Savior of all men (provision), malista/chiefly/above-all (specially) believers (fulfillment). 1Tim4:10. He bore our sins, ALL sins for all mankind for all time (provisionally), but unless one receives Jesus’ grace such a person retains his sins.

“Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow” Isaiah 1:18

This would render God’s nature and action not only unjust, but irrational in that He would be punishing His eternal Self for the sake of mere creations - and guilty creations at that. How can He love us (sin) while hating Himself?

I don’t perceive He “hated Himself”. But did He really bear our sins on the Cross? Peter said He did. If sins have a tangible presence in the spiritual realm, then that might explain Jesus’ words on the Cross, “WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” Did God (Father) turn His back on the presence of those sins? Isn’t that possible?

However, a single verse does not define Christian doctrine. The entire letter of 2 Corinthians is absorbed with Paul’s “ministry of reconciliation” and his admonition for the Christians at Corinth to be “reconciled to God.” How can this be if righteousness had already been “imputed” to them?

Nicely said. Look at Col1 which fits exactly what you just said:

And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,
yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—
if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel" Col1:21-23

We are reconciled to Jesus, if we are diligent to remain steadfast and not be moved away from the HOPE – see 1Tim1:1, Jesus is our hope. “Don’t be moved away from JESUS”.

Yet another verse which opposes Reformed Theology.

Again, irrational. If righteousness is imputed, and our natures have not been irrevocably altered, the guilt remains - God simply overlooks it. That is also unjust, if not irrational, considering that His Son died for the guilt of those individual sins.

Righteousness is not merely imputed (whitewashing over our sins) – we truly change to become righteous. Matt5:48 says we are to be perfect, even as He is perfect — doesn’t “teleios” perfect, reflect “righteous”?

Look at Chapter 2, verse 10 of 2 Corinthians. In it, Paul speaks of forgiving sins. In particular, he clearly wrote that he forgave sins “in the person of Christ” - in persona Christi as the Church teaches regarding the authority of her ministers - the full authority of Christ. The essence of the atonement has been twisted post-reformation into a compartmentalization of sacrifice, atonement, guilt and sin to the past; to a single point in time - freeing us in the present (even at judgment!) from responsibility or culpability for our sins.

“Sins” are real to us. John says in 1:1:8-9 that if we think we are sinless we deceive ourselves; but if we CONFESS our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is absolutely conveying “repentance” – and it is not a single event, it is a continuous walk.

See 1Cor10:1-13, where we can crave evil things and be impure. God provides an escape for sins but we have the choice to TAKE His escape, or to sin. In what Universe can “lest-he-fall”, not mean “fall from salvation”? Being evil is presented as a real possibility if we do not take care; can an evil walking-in-sin-person prance through the gates of Heaven? Absolutely not!

Hence what we just read from Jn8, we can “die in our sins” if we do not abide in Him and His righteousness.

A simply excellent source for combating this doctrinal error is one Dr. David Anders, the host of EWTN’s radio show “Called to Communion.” He is an excellent theologian and convert from the Reformed tradition.

It would be interesting to know what turned him from “Reformed” — in my experience it is common for Reformers to say, “I used to believe as you do, until I _____” (matured, was led by the Spirit, grew in understanding, whatever). It is a superior position that invests “saving-face” (reputation) making admission of errors difficult. Not meaning to offend anyone, that is my experience…


#13

Hi!

…that’s why the entirety of Revelation is necessary!

…individual and segmented passages of Scriptures can lend themselves to obfuscating the Revelation (which is what is being stated about Satan’s ability to manipulate the understanding of man) which God Means to make… so it takes the fullness of Revelation… and the deposit of Truth which is found in the Church, the Body of Christ–as we move away from the Truth we begin to engage in multitudes of “truths;” all engineered through our own devices (personal understanding, conviction, and preferences).

Amen. To position oneself as teacher is a great responsibility, but also a great privilege. (We are held more accountable BECAUSE we teach; but to succeed in promoting Jesus is a blessing.)

And while alive “we see in a mirror darkly, we know in part and prophesy in part”. We who teach others must be open to also teaching OURSELVES

(open to learning). There is a saying “he who has nothing left to learn, is truly ignorant”…

To know and share God – we all will have differences, but do we not have the same GOAL? To be true brothers and sisters together with Jesus, forever. So we embody Titus1:9, and balance that against Gal5:19-21 (disputes/dissensions) always taking care that our words BUILD and not destroy, that we lead each other closer to Him in the spirit of 1Jn4:20.

…and Eph4:15…
Correct!

…the fulfillment of Scriptures must include Christ’s Command that we: become one in Him as He is One with the Father and that we exist in Love so that we can give Witness to the World that He in deed was sent by God to Reconcile man to Himself through Himself: the Incarnate Word!

That’s good! It is my perception that Corinth thought themselves “superior”, because of gifts — notably, “tongues”. The same “me” construct is in 12; properly translated, “All do NOT speak in tongues, DO they!”

Corinth seemed to be focusing more on the gifts, than the giver. In context, chapters 12-14 present as a rebuke — especially 14:20.

“Guys, GROW UP!”

Exactly!

Part or doing exegesis is to view Scriptures not just through the text but also through the context… St. Paul opens, as you’ve rightly pointed out, defining Love… he expounds on it… he forces the Believers to review their practices… and he breaks it down to them… the whole purpose of the Christian experiment is that we abide in One Body and that we contribute in the Building of the Body, in Love (which by default necessitates: self-control, sacrifice and service).

Nicely done. Verse 2, “any branch IN ME” – in no sense can that fit RT’s claim “they were never really saved”.

Verse 6, “if anyone DOES NOT abide in Me he is …thrown away …and burned.”

In no sense can a “cast-out-branch”, be considered “still saved”.

I specially like the compelling argument against man’s self-assuredness (ASOS) as Jesus clearly tells His Disciples that: 'yeah, your are Saved, but you must remain in Me because I AM the Vine (Resurrection and Life): (St. John 15:3-6); our Salvation does not depend upon how well we can recite Scriptures but in that we abide in Christ!

Maran atha!

Angel


#14

Thanks for all your replies. There is some great info here.

I have made my notes and will attend the meeting tonight.

Please keep me in prayer that I can though humility, say the words that God wants me to say and be the man he wants me to be. That ears will hear, minds will understand and that hearts will change.

Thanks and God Bless,
Ken


#15

Hi!

…this is my understanding…

I know that it has been said that Jesus is somehow following some practice of reciting Scriptures…

…yet, nothing that He does is out of simple practice… the refusal of the concoction right before the nailing on the cross… when we read through it we find that well-intended ladies would pay for this wine mixture so that the convicts could be spared some of the pain that the crucifixion would provoke–Jesus, of course, could not allow the numbing effect of myrrh to rob Him of the Pain He was to endure for humanity’s sake…

…His garments are divided and one particular piece is gambled upon so as to remain with the prophecies…

…and a final act: “I thirst.” (St. John 19:28) This compels one of the guards to moisten a sponge and offer it to Him… the final prophecy of the Suffering Servant’s odyssey is fulfilled!

Throughout His Ministry He has Taught His Disciples (and others) the intricacies of Heaven and earth… how His Father is not only His Father but also our Father (Abba), and how He is never Alone–even when the Twelve will desert Him, the Father will Remain!

…prior to this episode we have Christ’s wrestling with His impending crucifixion… sweating drops as if of blood from the grievance that He felt… yes, torture; yes, rejection of His own; yes, mocking and derision; yes, crucifixion after more torture and taunting–yet, He clearly states that it is for that Hour that He has Come…

…so what’s the mystery… what seems to embark Him into such turmoil? …there’s one thing… He must take on the sin of the world… would this be an actual possession (sins flooding His Body) or simply allegory (where He receives the punishment of the sins but not actually have the sins impaling His Body)… the reality does not matter… what matters is that there will be one significant moment in time where the physical human body of Christ must experience surrender of the temporal life in order to experience Death for man… at that moment… God and man must depart… it is, in my estimation, when the Son will be without the Father for the very first and last time in the human experience that causes the Son to exclaim:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani?

(St. Matthew 27:46b)
Maran atha!

Angel

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#16

Hi, Ken!

May the Holy Spirit Guide your thoughts and your words!

Maran atha!

Angel


#17

Hi again! :slight_smile:

I understand convictions like “subsequent apostolic revelations”, and “infallibility of certain institutions”; in a discussion venue such as this, I hope we have agreement that even if what we call Scripture is not thought to be final, what is there is true and believable.

Psalm 119:11 says “I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” This is the benefit of knowing enough Scripture to see how it all fits together. If I may give another example – Jeremiah13:23 is thought by Calvinists to teach “we can no more turn our hearts to God than can a leopard change his spots or an Ethiopian change his skin”.

The Hebrew “gam” seems to be mistranslated; looks like it should be “neither (can you do good)”, which increases Calvinists’ conviction on this passage.

However — verse 27 ends the whole passage, with: “How long will you remain unclean?”

That is not a question that can be asked of someone who cannot turn himself! It just isn’t!

So – whatever perceptions that may asserted by “subsequent revelations”, or “institutions”, or as you validly said “our own devices” (prejudices), I’ve been encouraging believers to study Scripture and learn the context, so that we accurately “get inside the Apostles’ heads” and validly perceive what they intended.

If all the verses we read say the same things, that has to be credibility!

Correct!

…the fulfillment of Scriptures must include Christ’s Command that we: become one in Him as He is One with the Father and that we exist in Love so that we can give Witness to the World that He in deed was sent by God to Reconcile man to Himself through Himself: the Incarnate Word!

Exactly!

The stark reality of life, is that there is only one person that we can change; ourself. And there is only one Savior, and WE AIN’T HIM.

We are not to save anyone, nor to manipulate what others believe. We can only share what we have learned, teach from Scripture as we have studied, share Jesus with the world, and love each other. What every person chooses to believe is between each, and the Lord and Savior.

Part or doing exegesis is to view Scriptures not just through the text but also through the context… St. Paul opens, as you’ve rightly pointed out, defining Love… he expounds on it… he forces the Believers to review their practices… and he breaks it down to them… the whole purpose of the Christian experiment is that we abide in One Body and that we contribute in the Building of the Body, in Love (which by default necessitates: self-control, sacrifice and service).

Yes. This reminds me of the idea of “JUDGING” – evil seeks to muzzle us, to silence our promotion of righteousness.

But Scripture does NOT tell us “never judge” – it condemns hypocrisy. “Do not judge lest you be judged; for how can you judge others when you are DOING the very things you condemn?”

Jesus tells us in Jn7:24, “do not judge on appearance only, but judge with righteous judgment”. And 1Cor2:15, “the righteous man judges all things and is he himself judged by no one”. Judging is our power to call evil, “evil”; it is how we separate right from wrong. While only God has the right to judge, we are commanded to be vessels for His righteous judgement; never to condemn or injure, but always to convict and move towards Him. For this is love, and our mutual encouragement. (See Heb3:12-14!)

I specially like the compelling argument against man’s self-assuredness (ASOS) as Jesus clearly tells His Disciples that: 'yeah, you are Saved, but you must remain in Me because I AM the Vine (Resurrection and Life): (St. John 15:3-6); our Salvation does not depend upon how well we can recite Scriptures but in that we abide in Christ!

You’re right — and we have complete assurance. Salvation is not by anything we do, but what Jesus did, received by our conscious decision. I love how Paul puts it in 2Tim1:12-14:

“I know who I have believed, and am assured that He is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him. Retain the standard of sound words (abide in the teaching!) …guard, by the Holy Spirit who indwells us, the treasure entrusted to you.”

Complete assurance, and full responsibility. He guards what we entrust (and continue to entrust), we abide in His teaching (and save ourselves, 1Tim4:16), and we exploit the Spirit’s power to guard the eternal life that He has entrusted to us. Peter says in his first letter (chapter 1) that we are protected by God’s power, through faith; receiving as the outcome of OUR faith, salvation.

:slight_smile:

(Edit to add – “complete assurance, not SELF-assurance, but believing HIS promise of assurance because of His faithfulness and our awareness of our responsibility for faith”…)


#18

He knew what He was to go through; that was His turmoil in Gethsemane, His Human side asking to “take this cup from Me” — and even sweating blood. (I just saw you said the same thing below!)

…all that makes me all the more grateful for Him sacrificing Himself!

…His garments are divided and one particular piece is gambled upon so as to remain with the prophecies…

…and a final act: “I thirst.” (St. John 19:28) This compels one of the guards to moisten a sponge and offer it to Him… the final prophecy of the Suffering Servant’s odyssey is fulfilled!

Throughout His Ministry He has Taught His Disciples (and others) the intricacies of Heaven and earth… how His Father is not only His Father but also our Father (Abba), and how He is never Alone–even when the Twelve will desert Him, the Father will Remain!

…prior to this episode we have Christ’s wrestling with His impending crucifixion… sweating drops as if of blood from the grievance that He felt… yes, torture; yes, rejection of His own; yes, mocking and derision; yes, crucifixion after more torture and taunting–yet, He clearly states that it is for that Hour that He has Come…

…so what’s the mystery… what seems to embark Him into such turmoil? …there’s one thing… He must take on the sin of the world… would this be an actual possession (sins flooding His Body) or simply allegory (where He receives the punishment of the sins but not actually have the sins impaling His Body)… the reality does not matter… what matters is that there will be one significant moment in time where the physical human body of Christ must experience surrender of the temporal life in order to experience Death for man… at that moment… God and man must depart… it is, in my estimation, when the Son will be without the Father for the very first and last time in the human experience that causes the Son to exclaim:

[quote]Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? (St. Matthew 27:46b)

[/quote]

Aramaic – Jesus spoke in Aramaic, the Apostles wrote in Greek. Here is an instance where they recorded His actual Aramaic words.

Why did Jesus do that? Why did He choose to suffer?

There’s only one answer. “Greater love has NO one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

That’s why He went through all that; because He loved us, and it was the only way to rescue us from perishing.

:frowning:


#19

Hi!

…because man is prone to commit errors and to commit himself to error Christ Founded the Church…

…please understand that when I reference such topic I am neither seeking to claim importance nor to convert others to the Faith… my efforts are to center my Belief so as not to lead others into error.

Calvinism (as with other theologies) fail because they base their theology on what is being interpreted from certain passages of Scriptures… they fail to understand that one passage cannot void other passages… Ezekiel 18 is in stark contrast to the above claim since Yahweh God explicitly Calls on Israel to change her heart, to Repent and Convert back to Him… ‘why should you die, oh Israel… repent and Live!’ (paraphrased)

So – whatever perceptions that may asserted by “subsequent revelations”, or “institutions”, or as you validly said “our own devices” (prejudices), I’ve been encouraging believers to study Scripture and learn the context, so that we accurately “get inside the Apostles’ heads” and validly perceive what they intended.

If all the verses we read say the same things, that has to be credibility!

This would seem very genuine… but there’s a glitch… even when man claims to allow the Holy Spirit to guide him… personal conviction (rooted on upbringing and the various influences from both secular and religious sources) can cause a flawed understanding… Calvin, must have been quite learned… but he still allowed personal influences to cloud his understanding of Scriptures… worst, still, he actively sought to teach his error to others who (even though warned by Scriptures) gleefully supped it up.

The stark reality of life, is that there is only one person that we can change; ourself.

And there is only one Savior, and WE AIN’T HIM.

We are not to save anyone, nor to manipulate what others believe. We can only share what we have learned, teach from Scripture as we have studied, share Jesus with the world, and love each other. What every person chooses to believe is between each, and the Lord and Savior.
Exactly!

I will be Called for accountability only on my job function: sentinel: Give the Warning!

Personal conviction is personal conviction… and only the Holy Spirit can Convict man!

Yes. This reminds me of the idea of “JUDGING” – evil seeks to muzzle us, to silence our promotion of righteousness.

But Scripture does NOT tell us “never judge” – it condemns hypocrisy

. “Do not judge lest you be judged; for how can you judge others when you are DOING the very things you condemn?”

Jesus tells us in Jn7:24, “do not judge on appearance only, but judge with righteous judgment”. And 1Cor2:15, “the righteous man judges all things and is he himself judged by no one”. Judging is our power to call evil, “evil”; it is how we separate right from wrong. While only God has the right to judge, we are commanded to be vessels for His righteous judgement; never to condemn or injure, but always to convict and move towards Him. For this is love, and our mutual encouragement. (See Heb3:12-14!)
…yeah, hollowood is a great machinery for dispensing faux-spiritualism ('don’t judge me" or “believe” or “trust”); everything revolves around man and his own abilities and determination–anything devoid of God!

I fully concur with you that God does not call us to imitate the ostrich or the three monkeys; how can a Believer be a good sentinel if he/she is not able to judge:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]21 But prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

(1 Thessalonians 5:21)
…we must distinguish that which is pleasing to God from that which is not pleasing to God…

Maran atha!

Angel

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#20

Part II

…yes, Jesus did everything… but we still must “abide” in Him… St. Paul references it as:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]14 Keep the good thing committed to thy trust by the Holy Ghost, who dwelleth in us.

(2 Timothy 1:14)

…which goes back to giving up the old man (flesh) and putting on the new man (spirit).

Yes, Salvation is Free. Yes, Salvation is Complete. Yes, Salvation will never be revoked.

NO, man cannot remain in his unrighteousness and through some “clause” claim retain eternal Salvation.

Maran atha!

Angel

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