Meditation and Reflection

Good Friday: the death of the Messiah

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ‘ (Acts 2:36).

‘Jesus died the death of Israel’s messiah at the hands of the Romans’, writes the German theologian Jürgen Moltmann in his book The Way of Jesus Christ. Some were persuaded of his messiahship; others were not. The people were not. Or the majority was not. In a spontaneous referendum, they had voted for Barabbas. Better to be led by a hard freedom fighter than a soft messiah. They wanted signs and wonders and liberation from oppression; all they got was bread and fish and a sermon on a mount. You won’t drive out the Romans on the back of a donkey. That’s a big fail.

Or a paradox.

This dual title, ‘Lord and Christ’ or ‘Lord and Messiah’, gives a clue as to how the Hebrew scriptures were understood. In their Greek translation, the covenant name of God, Yahweh (Ex 3) is translated ‘Kyrios’. For example, in Psalm 110:1, the Hebrew text says ‘YHWH says to Adoni, sit at my right hand…‘. The two characters in the dialogue are distinguished by two different titles. The Greek translation, however, from which Peter quotes in Acts 2:34 reads: ‘The Lord says to my Lord...’. Our English versions reflect the fact that the same noun is used for both persons. The distinction that was clear in the Hebrew text became ambiguous in the Greek.

What distinguishes the Father and the Son is not a difference in divine essence, but a difference in their persons: it belongs to the person of the Son to become incarnate, but the incarnate Son is and remains consubstantial with the Father.

God the Son did not first appear in the history of redemption at the Incarnation, but had been mediating the knowledge of God and saving His people for millennia preceding. This is how St Paul read the history of salvation, and why he declared: ‘For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus‘ (1Tim 2:5). We see this way of thinking in his admonition to the Corinthians regarding their conduct at the Lord’s Table, where he reminded them that they were not the first to be baptised (1Cor 10:1f) and they were not the first to eat the Lord’s Supper (1Cor 10:3). Indeed, they ate the same food and drank the same drink we do: ‘And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.’ Paul did not see only occasional types of Christ in the Hebrew Scriptures. Rather, he saw God the Son actively operating throughout Scripture. In other words, the unity of the covenant of grace is not merely typological but substantial.

Christians today are partakers of the same justifying and saving grace by which God the Son justified and redeemed His people before the Incarnation. Paul said as much when he told the Corinthians:

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us (2Cor 1:19f).

The death of the Messiah was a tragedy for and in creation: ‘Jesus therefore dies the death of everything that lives in solidarity with the whole sighing creation’, Moltmann explains. The sufferings of Christ are the sufferings of that age, and the previous one, and also of this one (Rom: 8:18), but the world doesn’t feel it. It doesn’t really care.

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… (1Pt 1:19f).

..manifest in these last times for you. He was scourged for you. A bore a crown of thorns for you. Nails were hammered into his hands and feet for you. He died in agony for you. But these are just words. Far better to feel your salvation:

Jesus.

  • michaelkx

    My Lord My GOD, he did that for me. can you say that?

  • dannybhoy

    1 “When I survey the wondrous cross
    on which the Prince of glory died,
    my richest gain I count but loss,
    and pour contempt on all my pride.
    2 Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
    save in the death of Christ, my God!
    All the vain things that charm me most,
    I sacrifice them through his blood.
    3 See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
    sorrow and love flow mingled down.
    Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
    or thorns compose so rich a crown?
    4 Were the whole realm of nature mine,
    that were a present far too small.
    Love so amazing, so divine,
    demands my soul, my life, my all.”

    This morning my wife and I will be attending our Churches Together act of witness. There will be Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists and Catholics. Whatever our differences I will be pleased to see them, hug those I know -especially my Catholic friends, and worship our Lord with them.

    • betteroffoutofit

      One of my favorite hymns! Like your comment too – except for the huggie bit.

      • dannybhoy

        If you have worked closely with people of all ages you will know the value of appropriate physical contact. To touch a person’s arm or hold their hand is affirmative, an expression of love and acceptance.
        Especially hugs..
        Yesterday at our act of witness I kissed an elderly nun on her cheek, enquired after her health and told her how good it was to see her again…

        • betteroffoutofit

          No, no – that’s far too european and post-modern for me!! I believe in respecting both my personal space, and that of others – and so in keeping our hands to ourselves. That respect also signifies acceptance.
          The love bit? Well, that concept means so many different things to so many different people, doesn’t it? Forcing undefined, uninvited, ‘love’ on non-family, or on mere acquaintances, is a tad patronising, at best.

          • dannybhoy

            European?
            Actually I learnt it from American Christians I worked with. But you are right, some people shrink from physical contact or are embarrassed by it. If I sense that is the case I won’t do it. Most of the folk I know though, are reserved, stiff upper lip English people, and seem to loosen up with a bit of practice….. ;0)

          • betteroffoutofit

            Interesting. Yanks I knew as managers have a big thing about “sexual harrassment” — and they try to avoid lawsuits on the matter by insisting that all their minions (and students) attend and pass classes on that subject. The minute the invigilators turn their backs, however, the managers (esp. the females) set about touching and hugging all their inferiors (whom they would blame should questions arise). Aka the tip of the iceberg on hypocrisy* …

            In fine, I told them to ‘keep their hands to themselves’: because I’m cold, British, and proud of it. So I’m rather glad of your assurance that some of us still are so 🙂

            ______________
            Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” provides interesting insight on the ‘white horse’ aspect of their society, btw. Viewed in historical context, the book’s very informative. Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” similarly aids the understanding. Add tp that the general Franco-Italian-Hispanic ‘addatood’ . . .

        • Cressida de Nova

          This is not the English way. They shake hands with babies.

  • Intonsus

    1. O dearest Lord, thy sacred head

    with thorns was pierced for me:

    pour out thy blessing on my head

    that I may think for thee.

    2. O dearest Lord, thy sacred hands

    with nails were pierced for me:

    pour out thy blessing on my hands

    that they may work for thee.

    3. O dearest Lord, thy sacred feet

    with nails were pierced for me:

    pour out thy blessing on my feet

    that they may follow thee.

    4. O dearest Lord, thy sacred heart

    with spear was pierced for me:

    pour out thy spirit in my heart

    that I may live for thee.

  • len

    His death is our death .The death of a sinner.
    Man will not accept this until God reveals this to him.

  • Martin

    Hmm, I don’t think it in accordance with the prohibition on idolatry to have a video of the crucifixion.

    There is a level of propriety in this, it certainly excludes crucifixes as well, and I think it excludes the use of unsuitable hymn tunes such are the one foisted on us by the pianist this morning. Man of Sorrows has a perfectly good tune, created for it by the author. It does not require the creation of a new jolly tune by an Anglican Charismatic.

    • Sarky

      Really Martin?? Even though I’m an atheist, i felt moved whilst watching it!

      • Martin

        Sarky

        That was probably intestinal wind.

        • You know how the Holy Spirit works? Men can be converted by ways and means you may not acknowledge.

          • Anton

            Including by stinging words on occasion. I was frostily treated in a brief conversation in an airport chapel once in my atheist days, and my attitude thoroughly deserved it. I remember that occasion far more clearly than all the street preachers that buttonholed me.

          • There you go then.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Emotion has led many to a false conversion, as did bread and fish.

          • God has to be “experienced” – not just being revelation rationally “understood”. All great conversions are “emotional”. Have you ever cried at a Church service and felt overwhelmed by the sheer magnificence of God?

          • Cressida de Nova

            Protestants are culturally not emotional.Arrested development and remain in the cocoon stage. They never become butterflies:)

          • Anton

            Nothing like a generalisation for Easter. That’s as daft as any sentence beginning “Catholics are…”.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Read what I said.

    • Ivan M

      Don’t you have anything better to do today?

      • Martin

        Ivan

        I’d say that warning against idolatry was a good thing.

    • Anton

      Nobody has a video of the Crucifixion!

      • Martin

        Anton

        That is apparently what it purports to be.

        • Anton

          But everybody knows that it isn’t.

          • Martin

            Anton

            So what would you say it was?

          • Anton

            To purport to be a video of the Crucifixion, the sleeve would have to claim “recorded in Jerusalem 1984 years ago”. Instead, the sleeve even tells you who pretends to be Jesus of Nazareth. These things are re-enactments of the audio-visual aspects of the Crucifixion. There is no danger of anybody thinking it is the real thing, because everybody over the age of about six knows that videocameras weren’t invented for another 18 centuries.

          • Martin

            Anton

            I think the pretence means that it pretends to be a video of the crucifixion, hence idolatry.

          • Anton

            But it’s not pretending to be a video of the Crucifixion if it admits it is a re-enactment even to the point of telling us the actors’ names and saying what year it was made.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Surely a re-enactment is that which pretends to be what is re-enacted?

          • Anton

            Why?

          • Martin

            Anton

            Because that is what a re-enactment is, a representation of the event.

          • Anton

            To get further, we should ask ourselves what is the difference between this and a gospel reading, and then consider whether this difference makes the re-enactment idolatrous.

            I see two differences. First, it is visual as well as audible. Second, it inevitably adds material to the gospel story – there will be additional dialogue.

            I don’t see what the trouble is provided that the visual and spoken additions are *consistent* with scripture and are not granted matching authority. I think it obvious that nobody is claiming theological authority for the details of a drama written 2000 years later; the scriptwriter is not claiming prophetic giftings, after all.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Probably the critical part is that someone ‘plays’ God.

          • Anton

            Somebody plays the part of Jesus Christ. Please explain why that is critical.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Because Jesus is God.

          • Anton

            But it’s OK when someone reads the Bible out loud and speaks Jesus’ words in the first person.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Indeed, that is entirely different.

          • Anton

            If that is OK (as we agree), what *precisely* is it that you believe isn’t OK about the re-enactment, given that it is explicitly not claiming to be a video made 2000 years ago as the director, actors etc are totally open about it?

          • Martin

            Anton

            The acting.

          • Anton

            But reading out a Bible passage of Jesus speaking, we act it too. We do not say “You brood of vipers” in the same tone of voice as his one word “Mary” by which she recognised the risen Christ.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Not the same thing.

          • Anton

            Because?

          • Martin

            Anton

            Because acting is not the same as reading.

          • Anton

            Unless you read in a monotone then reading is a form of acting. Or are you talking about the difference between the spoken and the visual? I offered you that discussion above but you didn’t take it up.

    • Sacred art is used to inspire, evangelise and teach. To raise hearts and minds to God. These images are not created for the purpose of worship.

      • Holger

        Tell that to the dévotes kneeling at the foot of the statue of the Blessed Virgin next time you’re in church. Better remind them they’re supposed to be venerating and not worshipping. I’m not sure they really understand the difference…

      • Martin

        HJ

        But they cause people to worship them, whatever high minded ideas may be behind them. They cause people to perform idolatrous acts. The bronze serpents, made with Good intention by Moses in the desert, eventually had to destroyed because they were causing people to sin.

        • One doubts anybody worships the film, Passion of the Christ. And certainly, statues and relics are not worshipped, which would be pagan idolatry.

          In Numbers 21, the people of Israel were discouraged and in their unbelief murmured against Moses for bringing them into the wilderness. As a judgment against the people for this, God sent poisonous serpents into the camp and people began to die. This showed the people that they were the ones in sin and they came to Moses to confess that sin and ask for God’s mercy. When Moses prayed for the people, God instructed him to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole so the people could be healed.

          Moses held up the serpent before the people of Israel and they were healed. This lifting up of the serpent, as commanded by God, was a foreshadowing of the lifting up of the Son of Man to save us from the poison of sin which kills. God was teaching the people about faith. Looking at a bronze image couldn’t heal anyone from snakebite, but that is exactly what God told them to do. It took an act of faith in God’s plan for anyone to be healed. The serpent on the stick was a reminder of their sin which brought about their suffering. It’s the same with Divine art.

          Hezekiah acted against the many idols and places of false worship outside of Jerusalem itself. So great was his zeal that his iconoclasm included the image of the bronze serpent. It is typical of human nature to turn that which is good to evil and many centuries after God’s command to Moses the Israelites were worshipping the bronze serpent rather than recognizing that it was only an image and instrument the Lord had used in the past. Given the abuse of this ancient symbol of healing, Hezekiah destroyed it. People were hoping for magic from this piece of bronze, forgetting that it was God who had accomplished the miracle of the past.

          • Martin

            HJ

            So who is the person being represented on the cross? I’d say that it is pagan idolatry and the statues and relics are being worshipped.

            The church of Rome has turned what was good into idolatry, just as those bronze serpents were. Men have even worshipped stained glass windows, so there removal is justified.

          • Philistine.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You’d rather see men led to idolatrous worship? Of course you would.

          • Well, you would, wouldn’t you?

          • Martin

            HJ

            Yes.

    • Inspector General

      Martin. Almost every morning, the Inspector has to put up with the national idolatry that is the Premier League on BBC Radio 5. Let’s get a sense of perspective, old chap.

      • John

        There’s always the cult of the interrupting, aggressive, condescending interviewer over on Radio 4 if you get fed up and need a change of shrine.

      • Martin

        IG

        You don’t have to turn your radio on and I cannot understand why you would want to listen to Radio 5 unless you wished to take part in that idolatry.

    • Lain

      That’s an interesting perspective. How would the video be idolatory? I’m not sure who’d be worshipping it.

      • Martin

        Lain

        Who is the person wearing the crown of thorns and fastened to the cross?

        • Lain

          An actor… Idolatry implies worship, nobody is worshipping the actor. I don’t understand how dramatising the crucifixion is idolatry.

          • Martin

            Lain

            Is not the one crucified God and therefore is not the actor playing God?

          • Lain Iwakura

            Reading between the whole answering-a-question-with-a-question thing, which comes across as slightly condescending by the way, I presume you are objecting to any image of the divine rather than an idol per se. Do you have the same problem with children’s nativity plays?

          • Martin

            Lain

            Yes, I do have the same problem with children’s nativity plays.

  • Jon Sorensen

    “Or a paradox.”
    or as early Jews explained to early Christians.. it was all made up.

    “gives a clue as to how the Hebrew scriptures were understood.”
    As the Jews who wrote the OT. Jesus did not fill the prophecies. Ask Jews how to understand OT…

    • Anton

      The early Christians WERE Jews.

      You suggest that Christians ask non-Christian Jews who believe in God how to understand the Old Testament. That’s an odd comment from an atheist, but if you are serious then you should sit in on a discussion of Isaiah 53 between a Christian and an Orthodox Jew.

      • Jon Sorensen

        “The early Christians WERE Jews.”
        James was, but later church father were not. Eventually James’ team have to move out of Jerusalem and your Christian heresy started. Much later trinity was invented.

        “Isaiah 53”
        Jew wrote it. Take their word for it. Or are you tanking Mormon advice now to read NT? Surely not??

        • Anton

          All of the disciples who knew Jesus in the flesh were Jews, and then hundreds more Jews became Christians in Acts 1, and thousands in Acts 2. The earliest Christians WERE Jews, as I said; they knew the Jewish scriptures and how to read them. So why not sit in on a discussion of Isaiah 53 between a Christian and an Orthodox Jew?

          • Jon Sorensen

            “All of the disciples who knew Jesus in the flesh were Jews”
            Jews don’t believe Jesus was God, so I guess your point is that Jesus’ followers did not believe he was God like you believe.

            “then hundreds more Jews became Christians in Acts 1, and thousands in Acts 2”
            So you believe in your own propaganda. Scientologists also point to their writings to show their view is the right one….

          • Anton

            Do you not know that you can find not only Orthodox Jews but also atheist Jews, buddhist Jews, Christian Jews and even a few Islamic Jews? Jews are a race and they choose religions as they please.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Never new that! You mean religious people have different views?

            And Jews are not a race. You can change your race by declaring it no matter what Anton thinks.

          • Anton

            I suggest you read the qualifications for citizenship in the State of Israel.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Nothing to do with race. I suggest you first read about what a race is.

          • Anton

            I’ve yet to hear of anybody changing the tone of their skin by declaration.

        • When do you suppose the Trinity was ‘invented’?

          • Dominic Stockford

            If anyone invented it, it was back when Genesis was written…

          • Jon Sorensen

            Trinity concept in some form was used in Egypt (Memphis, Elephantine and Re’s triad for example) and Hinduism long before Christianity. First Christian to mention of trinity was about 170CE, but NOT the one Christians now believe. First mention of the current concept of Trinity was about 177CE. So Christian trinity was invented in late second century and now modern Christians don’t believe in the same God concept as early Christians.

          • 177AD is hardly ‘much’ later. In fact the concept of a Trinity can be seen in Genesis 1:1-3. It is clearly taught in the NT (eg. John 1:1; 8:58; Acts 5:3-5; 15:8). The Deity of Christ was accepted by all the ECFs, especially Ignatius of Antioch who refers to it multiple times.
            The handy short-hand term ‘Trinity’ was coined by Tertullian, but the teaching was there from the beginning.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “177AD is hardly ‘much’ later.”
            LOL. Image Mormons introducing a new God concept today… It so late…

            Trinity is not in Genesis. Ask Jews who wrote it. Christians just try to reinterpret it. John 1:1; 8:58 does not mention Trinity nor that Holy Spirit being God. Acts 5:3-5 does not mention Trinity. Acts 15:8 does not mention Trinity.

            “The Deity of Christ was accepted by all the ECFs”
            My claim was about Trinity not “The Deity of Christ”. Ignatius of Antioch never wrote about Gospels or Trinity.

            “Teaching was there from the beginning”
            Apologist nonsense. Show me one place where Trinity is even discussed before 177 AD.

          • Anton

            Why is ELOHIM, a word for God in Genesis, a Hebrew plural?

          • Jon Sorensen

            Ask Jews and they’ll tell you. “God is one”

  • III. CHRIST OFFERED HIMSELF TO HIS FATHER FOR OUR SINS

    Christ’s whole life is an offering to the Father

    606 The Son of God, who came down “from heaven, not to do [his] own will, but the will of him who sent [him]”,413 said on coming into the world, “Lo, I have come to do your will, O God.” “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” From the first moment of his Incarnation the Son embraces the Father’s plan of divine salvation in his redemptive mission: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.” The sacrifice of Jesus “for the sins of the whole world” expresses his loving communion with the Father. “The Father loves me, because I lay down my life”, said the Lord, “[for] I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.”

    607 The desire to emrace his Father’s plan of redeeming love inspired Jesus’ whole life, for his redemptive passion was the very reason for his Incarnation. And so he asked, “And what shallI say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.” And again, “Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?”420 From the cross, just before “It is finished”, he said, “I thirst.”

    “The Lamb who takes away the sin of the world”

    60 After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover. Christ’s whole life expresses his mission: “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    Jesus freely embraced the Father’s redeeming love

    609 By embracing in his human heart the Father’s love for men, Jesus “loved them to the end”, for “greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” In suffering and death his humanity became the free and perfect instrument of his divine love which desires the salvation of men. Indeed, out of love for his Father and for men, whom the Father wants to save, Jesus freely accepted his Passion and death: “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” Hence the sovereign freedom of God’s Son as he went out to his death.

    At the Last Supper Jesus anticipated the free offering of his life

    610 Jesus gave the supreme expression of his free offering of himself at the meal shared with the twelve Apostles “on the night he was betrayed”. On the eve of his Passion, while still free, Jesus transformed this Last Supper with the apostles into the memorial of his voluntary offering to the Father for the salvation of men: “This is my body which is given for you.” “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    611 The Eucharist that Christ institutes at that moment will be the memorial of his sacrifice. Jesus includes the apostles in his own offering and bids them perpetuate it. By doing so, the Lord institutes his apostles as priests of the New Covenant: “For their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.”

    The agony at Gethsemani

    612 The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when he offered himself at the Last Supper, is afterwards accepted by him from his Father’s hands in his agony in the garden at Gethsemani, making himself “obedient unto death”. Jesus prays: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. . .” Thus he expresses the horror that death represented for his human nature. Like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death. Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine person of the “Author of life”, the “Living One”. By accepting in his human will that the Father’s will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for “he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.”

    Christ’s death is the unique and definitive sacrifice

    613 Christ’s death is both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”, and the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the “blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”.

    614 This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices. First, it is a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself. At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience.

    Jesus substitutes his obedience for our disobedience

    615 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” By his obedience unto death, Jesus accomplished the substitution of the suffering Servant, who “makes himself an offering for sin”, when “he bore the sin of many”, and who “shall make many to be accounted righteous”, for “he shall bear their iniquities”. Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father.

    Jesus consummates his sacrifice on the cross

    616 It is love “to the end” that confers on Christ’s sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life. Now “the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.” No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all.

    617 The Council of Trent emphasizes the unique character of Christ’s sacrifice as “the source of eternal salvation” and teaches that “his most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us.” And the Church venerates his cross as she sings: “Hail, O Cross, our only hope.”

    Our participation in Christ’s sacrifice

    618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”. But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him]”, for “Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps.” In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.

    Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p122a4p2.htm

  • O hail the cross our only hope
    in this Passiontide
    grant increase of grace to believers
    and remove the sins of the guilty

  • IanCad

    The ninth hour is fast coming on.
    His sacrifice, our hope. Such amazing love; how can it be?
    And there are wars and rumours of wars – as we were told.

    • Sarky

      When hasnt there been wars and rumours of wars?

      • Anton

        Which should profoundly disturb you given that we now have nuclear and biological weapons. Every weapon invented has been used fairly promptly and for the first time in human history two or three men can wipe out the human race by giving an order.

        • Sarky

          Never gonna happen. Even Trump isn’t that stupid.
          Also, i believe there’s a fair few prophesies that arent even close to being fulfilled!!
          Think you can relax Anton.

          • Anton

            Never gonna happen? Why not? It has damn near happened a few times already, and even many secular thinkers reckon that we are likely to wipe ourselves out.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Thing is … the ‘video-game’ generations are growing into a majority. Given their perception of what ‘nuking’ people is about —- surely it really can happen without their underdstanding what’s going on.

          • Anton

            And fewer people who remember being in a really big war around to remind people of its ghastliness.

            Although I do think that the West might die not with a bang but a whimper…

          • betteroffoutofit

            Yes, they’re very good at whimpering!

          • IanCad

            “Never gonna happen.”
            When I hear words like those, it may be time we should think about taking to the hills.

          • betteroffoutofit

            How about this for prophesy, then? Very bright boy, that satirical Tom Lehrer:

            ***************************************************
            Your Grace – I thought twice about posting this on Good Friday, but given the flaming imagery (and its implicit parallel with the Descent into Hell), as well as its send-up of hypocrisy, it doesn’t seem entirely off-topic …

  • carl jacobs

    Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    Adoremus Te Christe

  • chefofsinners

    And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering…
    And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah Jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.

  • Inspector General

    Christ didn’t ‘die for our sins’. If he had done that, then all sin would be abolished and that is clearly not the case. Neither did he die to secure our salvation. It’s clear that he offered us the opportunity to come to the Father through him while he was still alive, not after his death. He died on the cross for another reason. He had to prove to humanity and all the succeeding generations thereof that he was whom he said he was. From God. And he had to do it in a manner that was not only beyond reasonable doubt, but of all doubt, for all time. He had to show he was divine. An immortal.

    Now, whether or not Jesus realised he was truly immortal is a question we can’t answer. One suggests that Jesus was only ‘fed enough of the plot at any one time’ to keep him on course. His Crucifixion was arranged by angelic forces that be. Maybe these forces stirred anger in the Jews who condemned him. Maybe they didn’t need to.That would explain the passion in the garden. He’d just received bad news. Very bad news from this angelic source.

    Jesus would later cry out and question what he thought was his abandonment by the Almighty. Obviously, he was being fed painfully little. Of all his qualities, the finest must be his resolve to go on. An ordinary man could have gone insane nailed up there.

    From the Higher Understanding.

    • Lucius

      Interesting perspective. Although probably outside Church doctrine, I too have additional thoughts as to why Jesus was crucified. Maybe Jesus was fed “painfully little” and “thought [he] … was abandon[ed]” as you say, because it was necessary for the full realization of that “purely human” part of our Lord and Savior. At His dying moment on the Cross, perhaps, He had to truly feel as small, helpless, and, yes, even as abandoned by God as any mortal human may feel. Only then, by staying true to His Father’s will, notwithstanding these very overwhelming human emotions, could Christ serve as a bridge between humanity and Heaven thereby defeating death. I don’t know. A Divine Mystery as they say.

      • Don’t get sucked in by the Inspector’s apostasy (he denied Christ is God, claiming He was an angel) or his manifest heresy. He gets his “enlightenment” from the spirit of Jonnie Walker, mixed with bitterness.

        Jesus did not despair in his final moments. He was quoting the opening words from Psalm 22, which psalm has great significance as to the messianic identity of Jesus. He is should this to express the intense physical pain that He is feeling. This psalm
        describes a righteous man who is suffering various afflictions. The entire text of the psalm should be read, especially since Jesus would have identified not only with the opening lines, but the entire text and sentiment of the psalmist.

        Psalm 22 is a lament that is unusual in structure and in intensity of feeling. The psalmist’s present distress is contrasted with God’s past mercy in Ps 22:2–12. In Ps 22:13–22 enemies surround the psalmist. The last third is an invitation to praise God (Ps 22:23–27), becoming a universal chorus of praise (Ps 22:28–31).

        In its concluding verses, the righteous man, though he suffers so greatly, has his hope firmly rooted in the Lord. He praises the Lord and knows without a doubt that the Lord will deliver him:

        “I will tell your name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the Lord, praise him! all you sons of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you sons of Israel! For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.

        The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord!

        Posterity shall serve him; men shall tell of the Lord to the coming generation, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, that he has wrought it.”

        In quoting Psalm 22, Jesus is reminding us that, even at the point in which He appears to be the most forsaken and forgotten, the Father is with Him and He will be saved. Even in the depths of His suffering, Jesus never ceases to praise and glorify the Father.

      • Inspector General

        Holy Jack has put you on report Lucius. He patrols this site to extinguish such independent thought as you have shown…

        If you don’t desist immediately, his shepherds crook will come down on your head, and then around your neck to be yanked away. Bless him.

        • No, no, Lucius is a good and faithful Orthodox Christian, Inspector Haw Haw. Jack was just cautioning him against taking too much heed of your unholy nonsense and false propaganda.

      • David

        Yes, I too am attracted to the idea of Christ as a bridge between God and us mortals. As you say it is outside the recognised Church doctrines. But then I sometimes see my role as a Lay Minister as a sort of bridge between ordained clergy and the laity.

        • chefofsinners

          “There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.”

          And:

          “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.”

          This is as far as scripture will take you with the bridge idea.
          The depths of truth revealed in scripture are sufficient for a lifetime of wonder. There is no need to add to them.

          • David

            Not in your cook book anyway.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Substitutionary Atonement may be unpopular with some, but it is exactly what the Bible teaches.

      • dannybhoy

        There are perhaps seven views on the Atonement, and each contains an element of truth..

        https://billmuehlenberg.com/2016/11/25/c-s-lewis-theories-atonement/

        • Here’s an excellent summary:
          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02055a.htm

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, that is very good. I shall print it off to read it more thoroughly* and add it to my burgeoning reference tray…
            * I find reading/digesting from a computer screen quite difficult. With a printout I can read it over and over until it sinks in. Presently I am studying the orthodox view of the fall, and finding myself agreeing with much of it. I.e. the consequence of Adam’s sin was that death and corruption entered the world, rather than Augustine’s idea that we all sinned in Adam..

          • In truth, there’s not a huge difference between the two views.

          • dannybhoy
          • Hmmm ….

            Even though some Orthodox attempt to distance themselves from a “Catholic” or “Western” description of Original Sin, Catholics see no material difference between the Eastern and Western descriptions. They are simply two different ways of expressing the same doctrine. Eastern Catholics therefore have the express permission of the Catholic Church to continue to utilize the Eastern approach to which they are accustomed without modification.

            “Original sin” and “ancestral sin” have the same theological definition; they are simply different modes of expression.

            There is a definite difference between the Catholic or Orthodox understanding of Original Sin and that of most Protestants. Luther and Calvin both described human nature as “wholly corrupt,” while Catholic and Orthodox both see it as damaged and subject to the consequences of Original Sin, but not corrupted.

            The Catholic view of Original Sin does not include the inheritance of guilt. What is inherited is a weakness and inclination toward sin, but personal guilt has strictly to do with actual (personal) sin. Therefore, in this regard, it is doctrinally the same as the Orthodox view.

            The consequences of Original Sin do include the loss of supernatural graces; Catholic and Orthodox theologies agree on this, even if they express it differently.

            The Orthodox can legitimately look to Augustine as a point of departure for a new (Western) theological approach to Original Sin. However, this does not make Catholic doctrine different, but merely its theological expression.

            The Catechism of the Catholic Church has numerous references to Original Sin. Following is a quick list of references: 37, 388–389, 396–409 (definition), 490–493, 508, 602–603, 966, 978, 1018, 1250, 1263–1264, 1521, 1707–1709, 2259, 2448.

          • chefofsinners

            “The Catholic view of Original Sin does not include the inheritance of guilt.”

            How then do you understand the scripture “as in Adam all die even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”?

            It is no wonder you object so roundly to sola scriptura. The scriptures contradict Catholic teaching at every turn. Without human additions, your doctrine is unsustainable. Does this not worry you?

          • Because we all die as a result of Adam’s sin. This is different to

          • chefofsinners

            We are punished for Adam’s sin but we are not guilty of it?

          • dannybhoy

            That’s what I believe, The consequence of Adam’s disobedience was death, not sin.
            Genesis 2>
            “15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
            Genesis 3>
            “17 And to Adam he said,“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife,
            and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you,
            ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
            18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.
            19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground,
            for out of it you were taken you are dust and to dust you shall return.”
            No mention of sin there either.
            “22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.”

            In chapter 4 we read about Cain’s slaying of Abel and God says beforehand o Cain,..
            ” 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

            All men sin, but I don’t see from the whole of Scripture that man can’t help but sin. Certainly throughout the history of Israel the lives of righteous men are recorded.

          • chefofsinners

            If all men sin then it is self-evident that man can’t help but sin.

            This is what the scriptures say:
            “as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. Romans 5.

          • That passage is entirely consistent with Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes. What is inconsistent with orthodoxy is Danny’s statement “but I don’t see from the whole of Scripture that man can’t help but sin.”

          • Apologies, Jack thought you were responding to his comment.

            Scripture informs us: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:2) and “We are all infected and impure with sin.” (Isaiah 64:6)

            The exceptions being Jesus Christ and, of course, His mother, Mary, by a special gift of God.

          • chefofsinners

            So why did Mary die?

          • If she did; it’s a moot point. Both she and Jesus died because, being human, although free of sin, they still inherited mortality due to the sin of Adam.

          • chefofsinners

            No. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Ghost and did not therefore inherit either a sinful nature or the penalty of death from the first Adam.
            Mary had an earthly father and a mother, unless your fairy tales are going to extend to her parents too. So she inherited a sinful nature and so she died. All have sinned.

          • Jesus, as a man, was to die, as all men inherited the penalty of Adam’s sin. Mary, by special favour of God, was granted the gift of a sinless life due to the sacrifice of Christ.

          • Anton

            Not according to Romans 3:23.

          • chefofsinners

            John 10:17 “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”

            Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

            Acts 2:24 “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”

          • Are you suggesting Jesus was immortal prior to His death and resurrection?

          • dannybhoy

            You raise a good point, but I base that on the passages of Scripture where God for example says in Deuteronomy 30>
            “11 “For this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

            15 “See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God[a] which I command you this day, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you this day, that you shall perish; ”
            Also those passages where this person or that person are described as being righteous and without sin…
            Difficult ain’t it?

          • dannybhoy

            Further to the above I remembered Ezekiel 18..

            5 “If a man is righteous and does what is lawful and right— 6 if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of impurity, 7 does not oppress any one, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 8 does not lend at interest or take any increase, withholds his hand from iniquity, executes true justice between man and man, 9 walks in my statutes, and is careful to observe my ordinances[a]—he is righteous, he shall surely live, says the Lord God.

            10 “If he begets a son who is a robber, a shedder of blood,[b] 11 who does none of these duties, but eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, 13 lends at interest, and takes increase; shall he then live?He shall not live. He has done all these abominable things; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.
            14 “But if this man begets a son who sees all the sins which his father has done, and fears, and does not do likewise, 15 who does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, 16 does not wrong any one, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 17 withholds his hand from iniquity,[c] takes no interest or increase, observes my ordinances, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. 18 As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.

          • chefofsinners

            This passage in Deuteronomy is spoken specifically to those under the law and enjoins obedience to the law. We know that “the law was added because of sin.” Gal 3:19.
            The NT informs us plainly that no-one is justified by observing the law. Romans 3:20: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
            Consider James 4:17: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

            There is none righteous.

          • Adam represented all of mankind – just as Christ did. The consequence was mortal death, deprivation of grace and, consequently, our sinful nature and inability not to sin.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, I agree with all of that. But what is guilt unless it is a liability for the penalty?

            Romans 5:19
            “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

            Now if I do not inherit guilt through Adam, how can I inherit righteousness through Christ?

          • Because when you belief in Christ you are adopted by His Father as His brother and so become a son of God and partake in His Divinity. You will be familiar with the Exultet. These two lines always cause Jack to pause:

            “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
            which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

            As Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote: “But there is no reason why human nature should not have been raised to something greater after sin. For God allows evils to happen in order to bring a greater good therefrom”. Saint Ambrose teaches the same thing: “O Lord Jesus, I am more a debtor to your outrages for my redemption than to your power in my creation. It would have been useless for us to have been born if we had gone without the benefit of being redeemed.”

            Through the redemption of Jesus Christ we have been restored to the supernatural state in a way far surpassing in glory what we could have known had there been no Fall.

          • chefofsinners

            All very true. But what is guilt if not a liability for the penalty?

          • We are born deprived of God’s supernatural grace in our due to Adam’s sin.

          • Anton

            “But what is guilt unless it is a liability for the penalty?”

            Perhaps also an inner attitude?

          • chefofsinners

            In that sense we clearly do not inherit guilt from Adam, nor do we even fully know our own sinfulness and ‘feel’ guilt as we should.
            The guilt under discussion here is primarily judicial. We inherit a sinful nature from Adam, but are justified by Christ. God declares us not guilty, i.e. No longer under sentence of eternal judgment.

          • Anton

            I’m not so sure that we don’t inherit a sense of guilt, which we cover over very assiduously. Please ponder the possibility before reaching a conclusion.

          • chefofsinners

            We certainly have a God-given conscience which can be seared, but it is a pale reflection of our actual guilt. There is also the innate sense of longing for God. However, by the time we reach an age where we can think on these questions we have accumulated plenty of guilt of our own, which naturally dominates our thinking.

          • dannybhoy

            We all die because of Adam’s disobedience. We are all sinners because we sin, even though we know the difference between good and evil, we are unable to live sinless lives. As St. Paul says,

            15 “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me.” Romans 7.

          • dannybhoy

            “while Catholic and Orthodox both see it as damaged and subject to the consequences of Original Sin, but not corrupted.”
            Agreed.
            The rest of what you’re saying I will have to chew over.
            I reject Augustine’s concept of our nature being wholly corrupt and that we are born wholly corrupt.
            I reject the idea that man’s nature is so corrupt that he cannot appreciate right and wrong, and he cannot make moral decisions. I believe that salvation is initiated by God but that our will has to acquiesce to the truth presented to it by the Holy Spirit. That we cannot then save ourselves but have to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the process of sanctification. That even though we are still flawed and sinful during the process of sanctification God can still use us for His purposes in sharing and preaching the Gospel.
            But thank you Jack. I shall mull over your comments.

          • chefofsinners

            What is corruption if not damage?
            The idea that man is incapable of doing good is an extreme position, but as Jesus said “none is good save God alone”.
            Every child born has a dead spirit. That is because Adam sinned. Without the continuous communion with God which our spirits give, we are sure to sin. Man is born to trouble as surely as the sparks fly upward.
            But if any man is in Christ he is a new creation.

          • dannybhoy

            May I refer you to another Orthodox article first mentioned by our Clive some months ago, entitled “Ancestral versus Original Sin.”
            http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/orthodoxy/articles/ancestral_versus_original_sin
            I particularly liked this..
            ” The Eastern Church, unlike its Western counterpart, never speaks of guilt being passed from Adam and Eve to their progeny, as did Augustine. Instead, it is posited that each person bears the guilt of his or her own sin. The question becomes, “What then is the inheritance of humanity from Adam and Eve if it is not guilt?” The Orthodox Fathers answer as one: death. (I Corinthians 15:21) “Man is born with the parasitic power of death within him,” writes Fr. Romanides (2002, p. 161). Our nature, teaches Cyril of Alexandria, became “diseased…through the sin of one” (Migne, 1857-1866a). It is not guilt that is passed on, for the Orthodox fathers; it is a condition, a disease.”

            20 “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.[f] 21 For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22 for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.”
            and verse 26,
            ” The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

            And a thought has just struck me.. (ouch). In Genesis 3 it says,
            verse 22
            ” Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—
            Death was God’s solution to man’s disobedience and subsequent condemnation.
            That then makes sense of something I never really understood in 1st Corinthians 15…
            verse 29 ” 29 Otherwise, what will those people do who receive baptism on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?”

            None of this speculation affects our salvation of course, but it does reinforce the concept of God’s wonderful love towards fallen and rebellious man, as opposed to the idea that man is born evil and can do no good, and therefore if an angry God chooses to save some and not others, that’s His prerogative..

            Ezekiel 33>
            “7 So you, mortal, I have made a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 8 If I say to the wicked, “O wicked ones, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand. 9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life.
            10 Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: “Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?” 11 Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?”

          • The wages of sin is death. For what sin do babies die?

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t believe sin has anything to do with babies dying.
            Most often they die because the human beings that created them don’t want them to live..

          • But the only reason anything dies is sin. By one man sin entered the world and death by sin so that death has passed upon all for all sinned. It is the soul that sins that dies. So we either die because of Adam’s sin or our own sin. In Christ’s case, for humanity’s sin.

          • dannybhoy

            “So we either die because of Adam’s sin or our own sin. In Christ’s case, for humanity’s sin.”
            So please understand this is about trying to improve (my) understanding the consequences of Adam’s disobedience and aspects of the Atonement.
            I refer you to that article I mentioned to Happy Jack..
            http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/orthodoxy/articles/ancestral_versus_original_sin
            I personally found it very thought provoking and (to my mind) more in line with what the Scriptures say than Augustine’s position.

          • I’ll read it Danny. I’m simply pointing out that death is always the consequence of sin in biblical theology. Which then begs the questions for whose sin do babies die. It seems that they die for Adam’s one act of sin just as we live by Jesus’ one act of righteousness. Roms 5.

            We certainly inherit corruption and it seems we inherit guilt.

          • dannybhoy

            You mean guilt as in ‘I committed a sin and I feel guilty about it’,
            or,
            ‘I am a sinner, and I feel guilty all the time?’
            My brother and I met a man in Israel who suffered from the second proposition. Lovely bloke, ex US marine, and he couldn’t get over the sense of guilt, that he had done something for which God could not forgive him..
            The first proposition of course is how we should feel before God until we confess and put it right.
            I don’t understand your thing about babies. Babies are innocents, full stop.

          • Danny

            I’m not talking about subjective guilt feelings. These may be true or false. I’m referring to objective guilt whether we feel it or not. Sin is objective guilt. It is disobedience and it is this disobedience that leads to death just as obedience leads to life. My point about babies is they die because of sin for sin is the only cause of death. If they are innocent then they do not die because of their own sin and so must die because of Adam’s sin.

            Scripture seems to teach that the act of one man has consequences for all who belong to him. Adam’s sin has constituted all who are ‘in Adam’ as sinners or as guilty. We inherit not only Adam’s nature (and so new born babies are not really innocent but have a corrupt nature… if they were innocent God could not call for whole nations to be wiped out as he does) and also Adam’s guilt.

            We inherit from Adam a state (sinful nature) and a status or standing (we are sinners born guilty and condemned). Regarding our state, David says he was born in sin and sharpen in iniquity, that is, he inherited a sinful nature. Children don’t become sinners by sinning they sin because they are sinners, that is, they are born rebels against God with a nature that naturally rebels. This is the human condition.

            However, we also inherit from Adam a position. We are born guilty. We are born condemned. Adam’s act of disobedience is held as ours. He is the head of our race and as head his actions are ours. If Theresa May should declare us at war with Spain then the whole country is at war with Spain. We are all at war for she is head of state and her action is deemed our action. Or another way of looking at it is that of the writer to the Hebrews. He says that the levitical priests offered tithes to Melchesidek (showing the superiority of the Melchesidek priesthood). Of course these levitical priests did not literally offer tithes to Melchesidek. None of them were alive at that point. It was Abraham who offered tithes. However, since these priests are the offspring of Abraham and were ‘in Abraham’ when he offered tithes then the levitical priests also offered tithes. Abraham’s action is considered by the Hebrew writer the action of all his offspring. In the same way Adam’s sin in the garden is our sin. We were all ‘in Adam’.

            God could justly wipe out the whole of humanity because of Adam’s sin. The whole of humanity is diseased and delinquent, corrupt and culpable, morally loathsome and liable because of Adam’s one sin. His sin was our sin. Thus we die.

          • dannybhoy

            That John Thomas, is a very extreme position to take.
            If you read that article you will see that the eastern orthodox church believe that -well, here it is for you..
            “The piety and devotion of Augustine is largely unquestioned by Orthodox theologians, but his conclusions on the Atonement are (Romanides, 2002). Augustine, by his own admission, did not properly learn to read Greek and this was a liability for him. He seems to have relied mostly on Latin translations of Greek texts (Augustine, 1956a,
            . p. 9). His misinterpretation of a key scriptural reference, Romans 5:12, is a case in point (Meyendorff, 1979). In Latin the Greek idiom eph ho which means because of was translated as in whom. Saying that all have sinned in Adam is quite different than saying that all sinned because of him. Augustine believed and taught that all humanity has sinned in Adam (Meyendorff, 1979, p. 144). The result is that guilt replaces death as the ancestral inheritance (Augustine, 1956b) Therefore the term original sin conveys the belief that Adam and Eve’s sin is the first and universal transgression in which all humanity participates.

            Augustine famously debated Pelagius (c. 354-418) over the place the human will could play in salvation. Augustine took the position against him that only grace is able to save, sola gratis (Augustine, On the Predestination of the Saints, 7)[4]. From this a doctrine of predestination developed (God gives grace to whom He will) which hardened in the 16th and 17th centuries into the doctrine of two-fold predestination (God in His sovereignty saves some and condemns others). The position of the Church of the first two centuries concerning the image and human freedom was abandoned.

            Babies die of natural causes, not sin.

          • I did read the article Danny. It accepts inherited nature but not inherited liability. We must remember there was much about which the early church fathers disagreed and much we would consider wrong. After all before the end of the First century much of the church had turned away from the gospel Paul tells us in 2 Timothy. Antiquity is no guarantee of apostolic orthodoxy.

            Romans 5:12 could be interpreted as you say but need not necessarily be so. A couple of things point more in the direction I have suggested.

            1. Paul unpacks v12 later in the chapter when he writes, ‘The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification….(Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.’

            Notice that the trespass brought not simply death but also condemnation. That is Adam’s sin had not only universal physical consequences (death) but also penal consequences (condemnation). In fact the physical (death) is the concrete manifestation of the penal. Babies do not die because of natural causes. There is no such thing as natural causes theologically; only sin causes death.

            2. The corollary with Christ seems to demand imputed guilt. Christ is the source of justification and life. Not simply life but also justification. Are we saying that justification is not imputed? Are we saying that Christ’s one act of obedience at the cross has not constituted us righteous? If our theology is Protestantand biblical we agree that Christ has not only given us life but has constituted us righteous. The parallel to imputed righteousness in Christ’s one act of obedience is imputed guilt in Adam’s one act of obedience.

            Roms 5: 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made (constituted) sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made (constituted) righteous.

            The act of the one has legal (condemnation) as well as anthropological (death) effects for the many.

          • chefofsinners

            John’s position is not extreme. It is orthodox, scriptural, coherent and consistent.

          • Anton

            You are correct about the Greek/Latin issue in Romans 5:12, but the question is whether Augustine correctly grasped Paul’s *meaning*. Paul’s phrase “As in Adam all die, so in Christ are all made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22) suggests that he did.

          • dannybhoy

            I’m not correct about it Anton, I didn’t read Latin or Greek so can’t argue either way.
            What I can do is weigh up the various arguments and implications and compare them to what I understand of the (revealed)nature of God, and whether therefore the argument agrees or disagrees with that revelation.
            Surely what we look for is a theology that fits in with that revelation?
            So I immediately reject an argument which says God created us but because our father Adam disobeyed God’s injunction all his offspring are cursed with a totally corrupt nature, and we can do no good and are bound for eternal damnation.
            I would point out immediately that God’s Covenant people the Jews do not, and never have had cause from their Scriptures to believe this.

          • Anton

            But what do you think 1 Corinthians 15:22 means? You have said, correctly, that Romans 5:12 about Adam is not synonymous with 1 Cor 15:22 about Adam, but you haven’t said what the latter verse means.

          • dannybhoy

            20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24
            Anton just to be even clearer, I am looking to build a coherent theological case for what I understand of the way God works as regards our sinfulness expressed through our free will and God’s righteous (and He is) judgement on us.
            So the idea that we are all born with an irresistible evil and sinful nature and are automatically bound for hell/eternal damnation as soon as we exit the womb, not only makes no sense; not least because it flies in the face of God’s insistence that we can live up to His moral code the ten commandments, but if we fail there is forgiveness for the penitent through the sacrificial system. Deuteronomy 30

            Now I accept that we all sin, but equally we read throughout the Old and New Covenants that there were men reckoned by God to be ‘righteous’.
            King David for example knew the laws of Moses and tried to obey them, but he too was aware of sin in his own life on a far deeper level. So he asked God to forgive him and God said of him that ‘He was a man after God’s own heart”.
            1 Samuel 13:14
            So it seems to me that to say we are all born evil contradicts the Biblical record.
            As regards 1 Corinthians 15:22, it means that the immediate consequence of Adam’s disobedience was death…
            “22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever”— ”
            Genesis doesn’t support the idea that Adam’s nature immediately became one of irresistible sinfulness, but that ‘ he would till the ground from whence he was taken’ Genesis 3:23.
            Neither does it support the idea that all Adam’s offspring would be born with evil natures. The consequence of death was corruption, and corruption included corruption of the will and the growing influence of evil..

            So at this stage of my thinking it seems to me that As Adam’s disobedience led to all eventually physically dying, so through Christ’s resurrection all may be made alive through trusting in Christ Jesus, as in verse 23,
            23 “But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. ”
            The next step (if we accept this interpretation) is the question of predestination. Are some (without merit) chosen for everlasting Hell, whilst others (without merit) are chosen for eternal life?

            Some very good points made here..
            https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/6868/how-does-this-fit-in-with-we-are-incapable-of-following-the-law

          • dannybhoy

            Anton I see you haven’t answered my post, and I would like to know why?

          • Anton

            Because I’m in the middle of a long think on the subject. Thank you for your comment, which is important to me, but don’t hold your breath!

          • dannybhoy

            Good, thinking is good and we need to bounce our thoughts off each other so as to keep us reasonably balanced..
            So just to keep the pot stirring may I refer you to something I posted on another website> It was written by Arthur Katz a Jewish believer whom I had the pleasure of listening to during my YWAM days.. He wrote a famous book entitled “Ben Israel: Odyssey of a Modern Jew.”
            Well worth a read if you haven’t already.
            Anyway I was looking for more views of righteousness as recorded in the Old Testament, and found this article written by Arthur…

            “Righteousness in the Old Testament”.
            http://artkatzministries.org/articles/righteousness-in-the-old-testament/
            Really interesting..

          • Anton

            Indeed. If you are born to a heroin addict then you are a heroin addict from birth. If you are born to a sin addict then you too are a sin addict from birth.

          • You’re heading in the right direction and we’ll make a good Catholic of you yet. We are born deprived of the necessary graces to avoid sin.

          • Anton

            When you speak of guilt for original sin not being inherited – by ‘guilt’ do you mean the just reception of divine punishment, or do you mean a hidden inner attitude of feeling guilty?

          • Jack means we inherit mortality and a damaged soul with a tendency to sin, rather than personal guilt for Adam’s sin.

          • Anton

            Thank you. Does that damaged soul include, in your opinion, a hidden inner attitude of guilt? I’m looking for information, not jousting.

        • David

          Well said. That is a well balanced article. The act of Christ on the Cross is so rich in meaning and mystery that different approaches all help to shed light on the atonement, the mechanism by which Christ made us acceptable to God the Father. The only vital fact to cling to, the essential understanding, is that it is our personal faith in Christ’s work as our own Saviour that is the indispensable core of our Way, our life as Christian people of God.

          • dannybhoy

            This Easter week has been very meaningful and our spirits soar in contemplation of our Lord and His sufferings for us. He tasted death – the result of the Fall, and overcame it.
            Alleluia!

          • David

            Same here !
            Alleluia indeed !

      • Substitutionary atonement may be conceived in more than one way. In the broadest sense, Christ atoned for us and, in some capacity, substituted for us due to our inability to make our own atonement. The question is: In what sense did he substitute for us?

        A theory that is common in some parts of Protestantism is known as penal substitution. According to this theory – which only appeared in Church history with the rise of Protestantism – God poured out his wrath on Jesus Christ instead of on us.

        The is not taught in the Bible and is manifestly contrary to the nature of God, who is all goodness and who cannot punish the innocent, all-holy Son of God. An understanding of substitutionary atonement is known as vicarious satisfaction. According to this view, Christ allowed himself to be killed by men (not by God) and by allowing himself to be killed He offered his life to God as a sacrifice of love. Because of the infinite merit of the sacrifice (due to his divinity), the Father accepted the sacrifice as making satisfaction for the sins of the world. Christ thus made satisfaction for us vicariously but was not “punished by God,” who due to his omniscience cannot regard an infinitely holy Son as anything other than infinitely holy.

        • chefofsinners

          You think the idea that God poured out His wrath on Jesus Christ instead of on us only appeared with the rise of Protestantism?
          Try Isaiah 53:6 “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
          Like many good doctrines, it re-emerged at the reformation after many years of the church suppressing sound doctrine for evil purposes.

          • You subscribe to a profound distortion of the nature of God.

          • chefofsinners

            I subscribe to scripture. Nothing more.

          • Scripture describes a God who is loving, merciful and just. The notion that He would inflict His wrath on an innocent man is not compatible with this. That He would Incarnate Himself and voluntarily offer Himself to the Father in propitiation for the sin of man, is not.

          • chefofsinners

            Ah yes, if it doesn’t make sense in your mind then it can’t be true.

            And yet:

            “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted… And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:4-6

            And “He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the cross”. 1 Peter 2:24

          • All consistent with the views Jack has expressed.

          • chefofsinners

            How are these verses compatible with the view that God would not inflict His wrath on an innocent man?

          • Because the Son offered Himself to the Father, as a sacrifice in atonement for sin. He volunteered to have man’s sin laid on Him, as opposed to having to fulfil the demands of a vengeful and wrathful God. The Incarnation alone would have achieved this atonement. So we are still left with the question: Why did Jesus die such an agonising death on the Cross?

          • chefofsinners

            We are not left with any questions, except perhaps how you can have so monumentally missed the point.
            Jesus died such an agonising death on the cross because it was on the cross that He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. Clearly Isaiah 53 has the cross in view because it says “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter.”
            Why did Jesus die on the cross? Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.”

          • The Old Testament was written to reveal God’s plan for our redemption which He had already ordained before time, so, of course, it speaks of blood sacrifices. The point you are missing is the full meaning

          • chefofsinners

            We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus. That is plain scripture and you are contradicting it.

          • chefofsinners

            “God could have found another way to save us.”
            How can you possibly know that? You presume to know the mind of God in ways the scriptures do not reveal.
            If there was another way, would Christ have died? He prayed “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” You think it was possible? You know better than Christ?

          • You’re not thinking out of time.

            There’s a difference between being absolutely necessary and being necessary given certain conditions. In the case of Jesus’ Passion, by the time Christ had come into the world, certain crucial conditions were already in place: God the Father had already ordained that this was the way our salvation would be accomplished. And His foreknowledge of these events had already been manifested in divine revelation to the prophets and recorded in Scripture.

            Given these conditions, it was correct for Christ to say that He must suffer, that it was necessary, because the matter was already settled: What the Father ordained could not be avoided, and what He foreknew could not be mistaken. As our Lord put it at the Last Supper, “The hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined” (Luke 22:21–22). Christ’s statement on the Emmaus road, with reference to Old Testament prophecies, confirms this. God had chosen the way – He had revealed it to the prophets – so this was how it had to be.

            Christ was not forced into such a terrible fate. From before all time, God the Son had lived in perfect union with God the Father: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Together they had willed our redemption and determined that, in order to accomplish it, He would come to earth and suffer for us.

            In Gethsemane we hear Christ crying out as his human nature recoils in horror at the prospect of such awful suffering. But even then, our Lord wanted above all what the Father wanted: “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, Jesus “endured the cross” not because he was forced to do so, but rather “for the joy that was set before him” (Heb. 12:2) – winning the victory He had come to achieve.

            God could have found another way to save us. Christ’s Incarnation alone could have done so. One drop of His blood could have done so. But Christ’s making satisfaction for the penalty of our sins through betrayal, human injustice and suffering on the Cross, was in fact the way God chose to make possible our salvation. Given this, we should discern the reasons that this manner of death would be in accordance with the Father’s perfect wisdom and love.

      • Anton

        Starting with the life and blood of animals in the Temple sacrifices, yes.

    • len

      What religion do you follow Inspector?

    • dannybhoy

      “An ordinary man could have gone insane nailed up there.”
      An ordinary man could definitely lose his sanity from basing his faith on your “Higher Understanding….”
      ;0)

    • Apostate and heretic.

    • Anton

      A collection of this Higher Understanding would be a hoot. Dedicated to the chief distiller at the Glenlivet, perhaps?

      • There’s no humour in mocking Christ.

        • Anton

          I agree but I see no mockery.

          • Then you’re blind.

          • Anton

            How kind of you, Jack. I see only inadvertently hilarious exegesis.

          • Hilarious because of stupidly and ignorance in denying Christ’s divinity, God’s incarnation and His self sacrifice for our sin? It’s irreverent, insulting and blasphemous.

          • Anton

            It reminds me simply of a collection of howlers in school RE essays (of which I have seen quite a few, courtesy of teacher friends).

          • Then correct him – he’s a grown man in his 50’s and not an innocent child.

          • Anton

            Which is why there is little point in correcting him – something we have both tried regarding his Arianism, as I recall.

          • chefofsinners

            Can we agree on ‘risible’?

          • Not strong enough in view of the subject matter. Ludicrous, certainly, but it doesn’t make Jack laugh.

          • carl jacobs

            The Inspector does not exegete. He speculates based upon his own imaginings. He is only tangentially aware that the Scriptures exist. I stand with Jack on this. There is nothing funny in what he has written. It is in fact terribly sad.

          • True, it is sad. The Inspector cannot accept: “For God so loved the world” (and that includes him) “that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

      • chefofsinners

        Higher than that. A high which is only available through class A substances, I fear.

        • Inspector General

          The quick resource of scoundrels. Personal abuse…

          • chefofsinners

            The source of your higher understanding… substance abuse.

          • Inspector General

            One finds you a lesser man for that….

          • chefofsinners

            I strive to be a lesser man, that Christ may be formed in me.

    • John

      What is this nonsense Inspector? Sounds like the kind of sub-Christian garbage they dream up in 19th Century American cults.

  • ‘Tis finished! The Messiah dies,
    Cut off for sins, but not His own;
    Accomplished is the sacrifice,
    The great redeeming work is done.
    ‘Tis finished! All the debt is paid;
    Justice divine is satisfied;
    The grand and full atonement made;
    Christ for a guilty world has died.
    .
    The veil is rent in Christ alone;
    The living way to heaven is seen.
    The middle wall is broken down,
    And all mankind may enter in.
    The types and figures are fulfilled;
    Exacted is the legal pain;
    The precious promises are sealed;
    The spotless Lamb of God is slain.
    .
    The reign of sin and death is o’er,
    And all may live from sin set free.
    Satan has lost his mortal power;
    ‘Tis swallowed up in victory.
    saved from the legal curse I am,
    My saviour hangs on yonder tree;
    See the ere the meek, expiring Lamb!
    ‘Tis finished! He expires for me.
    Accepted in the well-beloved,
    And clothed in righteousness divine,
    I see the bar to heaven removed,
    And all Your merits, Lord, are mine.
    Death, hell and sin are now subdued;
    All grace is now to sinners given,
    And lo, I plead the atoning blood,
    And in Your right I claim Your heaven.

  • Inspector General

    Would all those who be around this site remember this. The Western version of Christianity is that fashioned by man through church councils over the centuries especially the earlier ones. Christ came and went, and arrogant man kindly filled in the gaps. Stick with it, those who do if you are content, but remember this – you not only worship Christ, but the concepts men have brought in.

    • dannybhoy

      I think your God is too small dear Inspector..
      https://allacin.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/illustrated-summary-of-your-god-is-too.html
      From where I stand I would say people here like you, even though your theology is totally weird..

      • Inspector General

        Weird, Danny. According to types on here, God ‘sacrificed himself’ for mankind. How’s that for sheer arrogance on man’s part. You won’t find a finer example of arrogance anywhere…

        • dannybhoy

          But surely not weird on the part of the Creator of the man?
          After all in Christianity it is God who brought everything into being and gave us little “mini me’s” free will and self determination.
          The heart of our problem can be seen in the parable of the prodigal son. We desperately and arrogantly want self determination. We want to be king and ruler of our own domain without any help from anybody.
          Especially not God, because all He wants to do is cramp our style and spoil our fun..
          Salvation as in John 3:16 involves the personal revelation that what we thought we wanted turned out to be ashes and bondage, and that our heavenly Father really does want something so much better for us.
          That’s why He sent the second person of the Trinity, the Son to come and rescue us..
          Even you. ;0)

          • Inspector General

            We behave as God intended us to behave, Danny. The alternative is the unthinkable. That we are a ghastly error. And the way mankind conducts itself in the more savage areas of the world, you could warm to that alternative.

            No. We need to embrace the Higher Understanding at this stage of human development. In terms of such development, you could say we are at the teenage stage. Wanting to truly understand and not reliant on past memories of our ignorance, albeit comforting that they may seem.

            Throw you old dummy out, sir. It is no longer of use to you.

          • chefofsinners

            If only someone would throw the old dummy out..,

          • Inspector General

            Coming up to 2,000 years after the event. Time for an evaluation don’t you think.
            What is true will survive, but what is weak and unfounded will not…

          • chefofsinners

            It has survived for 2000 years. Cleverer heretics than you have come and gone, but God’s truth is, like Him, immutable.

          • Inspector General

            One finds you a lesser man for that…

          • chefofsinners

            I strive to be a lesser man. Christ’s strength is made perfect in weakness.

          • dannybhoy

            “We behave as God intended us to behave, Danny. ”
            Nope, the Bible makes it very clear that we don’t. We misbehave, and that’s why we face the wrath of God.

          • len

            The only higher understanding comes from God Himself.His ways are much above our ways.

        • betteroffoutofit

          Please don’t include me among the ‘types’, IG!!!!

          I’d like to take a step back from there and suggest: He sacrificed His Son to help inly and wilfully blind, child-sacrificing ‘homo not-so-sapiens’ see some things! Namely: given a proviso or two, He will “forgive [us], for [we] know not what we do.” By the bye, He’s letting us know that killing (and then eating and drinking the remains) will not make us the Be-all and End-all, as it were.

        • chefofsinners

          It’s not arrogance. It’s a concept no human would imagine. It is the hallmark of the divine.

        • William Lewis

          God is love, Inspector. There is no greater love than this …

          • Inspector General

            God ‘sacrificed himself’ !!!

          • Why do you think Jesus was crucified, Inspector? Does Christ’s Passion suggest we serve a God who must be either a bumbling wimp or a repulsive sadist. Yet we know our God is indeed all-powerful, all-wise, and all-good.

            Consider an all powerful and merciful God. Surely He could have redeemed by another method? If the Crucifixion was the only means God could find to redeem us, then he must be limited in his power and wisdom. Surely an almighty, all-wise deity could have found a better way!

            On the other hand, if God preferred choosing a horrible death for his own Son over other options, then he must be wicked. How could he possibly will such a thing if he could have fulfilled his purposes otherwise?

            We all asked this question in religious education, didn’t we? Did you pay attention to the answers provided by Augustine and Aquinas – or have you forgotten them?

          • William Lewis

            Exactly!

          • len

            No one else could redeem humanity.No one other than God Himself could pay the price He damanded.
            God judged us then paid the price of His Judgement with His own life.
            What greater love could there be?.

        • Ivan M

          God made the blunder of creating of man, which Christians say was out of His infinite love for mankind . Therefore only He could correct the mistake. Nobody else in the created order could do it. If Jesus were some kind of Titan or King Kong or Optimus Prime or Prometheus he would still not make the grade, It had to be God Himself, nothing else would cut it.

    • “The Western version of Christianity” on the Incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Christ, is also held by the Orthodox Churches in the East.

      • Inspector General

        From before the ‘Great Schism’ in the 11th century…

        • So what? Truth doesn’t change with the passing of time.

          • len

            Truth doesn`t change but can become distorted by our interpretation of it.

          • … or clearer.

          • Ivan M

            or inconvenient for those who in the European context wanted
            a) the church’s massive landholdings and gold,
            b) wondered what was with all those damned church holidays, Feast of St This
            and St That. The bloody peasants are supposed to work not goof off half the
            year in the name of religion. As you know boss, old Karl Marx got that part of
            primitive accumulation right.

          • len

            Certainly.

    • len

      True up to a point Inspector.Pure water comes from God but once it has flowed through contaminated filters(us) a level of contamination is possible.The Word of God must be our yardstick to measure truth.

  • David

    Our three hour service today, noon until 3pm, working our way through Friday’s events, as told by Matt 26v57 to Matt 27v56, using six short sermons, mine included, gave me much time for quiet contemplation, and worship. Many visitors to this site have inquiring minds, and that is a good thing. But ultimately there is much about the cross, and the work that Jesus performed there for us all, that remains a mystery.

    So do study the different variants of how Christians could, and perhaps should, understand the cross; the Orthodox and the Catholic understandings, and the various ideas developed by Protestantism. Do look at and ponder the three days of separation from The Father, the struggle in Hell, the victory and the resurrection, when Christ killed death itself. But ultimately we cannot know all that there is to know; we cannot be sure, and so mystery remains.

    But fear not, as it is our faith in Christ that God most prizes, not our intellectual abilities. If we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, then we are Christians, of that we can be sure. But human wisdom, even when searching for the Truth revealed in Scripture will only take us so far. For it is right that we remain an element of humility, awed at the foot of the Cross, trusting that all will be well, in Christ.

  • len

    Why was the Cross of Jesus Christ necessary at all?
    Why couldn`t Jesus have just reminded us what Gods requirements were from us, and just told us to’ do better’ and all would be OK? .After all we are basically ‘good people’ aren`t we?.
    Man today is nothing like the blueprint God had in mind when He created us.God invisaged us to be entirely Christlike in our nature.Christ is Gods standard for mankind.
    Mankind had the choice of either being filled with the Spirit of God or deriving his essential being from ‘other sources.’
    Man chose ‘other sources’ and the pandoras box of evil which led to sin was opened.There was no closing it once it had been opened.
    The first Adam had failed in Gods Plan for humanity.
    Nothing daunted God waited until the right time to put his rescue plan for humanity into affect’which was a second Adam’ who was to come to gain back all the first Adam had lost.
    The Cross of Jesus Christ was Gods way of reversing all that was lost due to the fall of man.
    God cannot condone sin, sin is transgression of Gods law and demands punishment.
    As imperfect man cannot offer the price God demands ,Jesus the perfect man offered Himself as atonement for the sins of Humanity.
    The Cross stands between the Old Fallen Creation and the New Creation God is bringing out of the ruins of the old creation.
    It is when we are totally identified on the Cross of Jesus Christ, with Christ in his death that the transformation can begin when we can pass from death into Life with Christ.
    But there is no life in Christ without the death on the Cross first.
    The Cross of Jesus Christ is the doorway into another world.The only doorway.

    • Sarky

      “Man today is nothing like the blueprint God had in mind when He created us.”

      If god is all knowing, then that sentence makes no sense.

      • len

        Free will sarky, free will.You can choose God , or not.At the moment you have rejected God our Creator.

        Suppose you buy a car and get a manual with it. But you decide not to use the car as directed in the manual but do ‘your own thing’ with it.You use your ‘free will’.

        You don`t believe in being told what to do as regard oil changes so you don`t bother.

        You don`t check tyre pressure as you don`t believe in ‘tyre pressure checking’ so the tires run flat eventually or blow out.

        Eventually your car comes to a grinding halt.

        You say”This car is crap it doesn`t run right!”

        Who is right you, or the designer of the car?..

        • Sarky

          My problem is normally when you dont follow a manual, you don’t end up in eternal torment. (Excluding putting together ikea furniture)

          • dannybhoy

            But there’s rather a lot more at stake Sarky. An inanimate object can (wilfully) do no harm or good.
            A sentient being on the other hand…

          • Christianity isn’t about following a manual. It’s about accepting the gift of faith and God’s grace. The IKEA furniture is then more easily assembled by cooperating with God, rather than ignoring Him.

          • The Bible is God’s manual, when we follow the Bible we are accepting the gift of faith and God’s grace and don’t end up in eternal torment. Unlike with the IKEA furniture whether you follow the manual or not eternal torment is guaranteed.

          • len

            If we are filled with the spirit of God then we don`t need’ a manual’.But when man decided that he could do as well without Gods Spirit God gave them His Law.(His ‘manual’ for life)

            But now we can choose to live by the Spirit or by the law.But not both simultaneously.

          • IanCad

            The penalty for sin is death, not eternal torment.
            “The soul that sinneth, it shall die”

          • Sarky

            Think theres a few on here who would disagree with you!!!
            Read an interesting article the other day, that those least afraid of death are atheists!!! Its not something i particularly think about and its not something that scares me. All it does is make sure i try and make the most of everyday I’m here! (Funfair rides with the kids today….awesome)

          • IanCad

            I don’t think very many disagree Sarky; That is, unless they hold that medieval superstitions trump the word and sacrifice of God.

      • It’s a paradox – that does make sense. God wanted us to be with Him, yet He also wanted us to freely choose Him. He knew we would rebel and because of our rebellion would need to be redeemed by His incarnation. And this redemption would in fact raise our position beyond that of

  • Jesus died as an obedient man bringing infinite satisfaction to God AND he died as a sin-bearing wrath consuming sacrifice AND he died as a warrior overthrowing the forces of darkness AND he died as an example that we might follow…

    The major ‘theories’ of the atonement are all rooted in Scripture; they become heresy when they insist on exclusivity and deny the others.

    • ” … he died as a sin-bearing wrath consuming sacrifice.”
      Where is that written in scripture?

      • chefofsinners

        Isaiah 53

      • Rhoda

        Since when has that bothered you?

    • Dominic Stockford

      AND it was a once-for-all sacrifice, unrepeatable and all-conquering.

      You’re right about dropping one bit or another. The issue arises when someone like Mr Chalke denies substitutionary atonement, or the RC’s deny salvation through the finished work of Christ alone.

      • Anton

        Dominic, what would you reply to a critic of substitutionary atonement who wrote that the Law of Moses specifically says punish the one who committed the sin (whatever the sin was)? Or, separately, to a critic who wrote that substitutionary atonement is like saying God is so angry that he just wants to take it out on anybody, and his son volunteered? I do read substitutionary atonement in the Bible, but I also feel the force of these criticisms.

        • dannybhoy

          What do you think of this article, Anton?
          http://creation.com/why-did-god-impose-the-death-penalty-for-sin

          • Dominic Stockford

            That’s a very good article. And very much along the line of what I would reply – in a simpler manner. “God is God, and He has a right to make the rules, and to punish those who disobey them”. & “Christ Jesus willingly takes our place, allowing which is a sign of the infinite love of God for those who constantly reject Him”.

          • Why did Jesus die such an agonising death on the Cross?

            Does Christ’s Passion suggest we serve a God who must be either powerless or a sadist? Yet we know our God is all-powerful, all-wise, and all-good.

            Consider an all powerful and merciful God. Surely He could have redeemed us by another way? If the Crucifixion was the only means God could find to redeem us, then He must be limited in his power and wisdom. Surely an almighty, all-wise deity could have found a better way!

            On the other hand, if God preferred choosing a horrible death for His own Son over other options, an innocent man-God, then He must be wicked. How could He possibly will such a thing if He could have fulfilled His purposes otherwise?

            Augustine and Aquinas provide such of the answers – and there not because God just has the right to do as He chooses. Our God does not act arbitrarily.

          • dannybhoy

            He gave us freedom, our first father messed up and God stepped in with His backup plan, preserving both Man’s free will and His righteousness.
            The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that firstly God grieves over our rebellion and sinfulness, and then because He loved His creation so much He was willing to experience life as a human being and deliberately sacrifice Himself so that penitent man could be reconciled to a holy God.
            That man Jesus is our great High Priest..

          • grutchyngfysch

            That’s a way of understanding it from within Creation – but God doesn’t just come along for the ride with history, He stands at the end of it as well as before the beginning. This is why Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (Jn 8:58).

            There is no backup plan, no disrupted schedule, no changes for events unforeseen by an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful God. In Christ, He was indeed within His own Creation: in Christ, He is with His Church even now – so that when we reflect on God’s unlimited sovereignty we know that He is both imperially untouched by all that happens and immediately present in all that occurs. He is the God who reigns in highest glory never leaving the side of the suffering saint.

            The sheer enormity of that paradox ought to tell us something about God: He never does things by half measures, never settles for a compromise solution, and is never frustrated. He will have justice; He will have mercy; He will have all honour and glory; He will have victory; He will have vengeance; He will have compassion; He will have praise from those whom He has redeemed with His own blood for ever and ever, amen.

          • There’s a difference between being absolutely necessary and being necessary given certain conditions. In the case of Jesus’ Passion, by the time Christ had come into the world, certain crucial conditions were already in place: God the Father had already ordained that this was the way our salvation would be accomplished. And His foreknowledge of these events had already been manifested in divine revelation to the prophets and recorded in Scripture.

            Given these conditions, it was correct for Christ to say that He must suffer, that it was necessary, because the matter was already settled: What the Father ordained could not be avoided, and what He foreknew could not be mistaken. As our Lord put it at the Last Supper, “The hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined” (Luke 22:21–22). Christ’s statement on the Emmaus road, with reference to Old Testament prophecies, confirms this. God had chosen the way – He had revealed it to the prophets – so this was how it had to be.

            Christ was not forced into such a terrible fate. From before all time, God the Son had lived in perfect union with God the Father: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Together they had willed our redemption and determined that, in order to accomplish it, He would come to earth and suffer for us.

            In Gethsemane we hear Christ crying out as his human nature recoils in horror at the prospect of such awful suffering. But even then, our Lord wanted above all what the Father wanted: “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, Jesus “endured the cross” not because he was forced to do so, but rather “for the joy that was set before him” (Heb. 12:2) – winning the victory He had come to achieve.

            God could have found another way to save us. Christ’s Incarnation alone could have done so. But Christ’s making satisfaction for the penalty of our sins through betrayal, human injustice and suffering on the Cross, was in fact the way God chose to make possible our salvation. Given this, we should discern the reasons that this manner of death would be in accordance with the Father’s perfect wisdom and love.

            As Augustine wrote: “We assert that the way in which God deigned to deliver us by the man Jesus Christ, who is mediator between God and man, is both good and befitting the divine dignity. . . . There neither was nor need have been any other means more suitable for healing our misery.”

            It’s so much more than “penal substitutionary atonement”.

          • grutchyngfysch

            I’ll keep this as short as possible.

            (a) The implication of paras 3-4 in your reply is that substitutionary atonement is somehow about setting the Father against the Son in the sense of divine antagonism between the Persons of the Trinity. If you genuinely think that, I’d suggest you’re misinformed about it. I don’t actually think you are misinformed, so I forgive the misrepresentation.

            (b) With regards to Augustine, you can’t hide Aquinas from me: I’d recognise that tortured logic anywhere. Dear old Doctor Tom does make one critical error in his logic when discussing this: he talks about how God could choose unilaterally to forgive sin which is an offence against Himself (“if He forgive sin, which has the formality of fault in that it is committed against Himself, He wrongs no one: just as anyone else, overlooking a personal trespass, without satisfaction, acts mercifully and not unjustly“). All sounds dandy: except that in doing so, God would be inconsistent with His own holiness, which is an utter and eternal rejection of anything which falls short – sins – from His standards (hence Hell, hence the need for salvation in the first place).

            God’s wrath towards sin is fatally and eternally serious: the wages of sin are not the fruit of the causal logic of an eternal universe, but divine punishment arising out of the character of God. God hates sin, and has never loved it. He also makes it clear throughout the Old Testament that sin must (not circumstantially “must”, but “must” as a divine mandate) be atoned for. Essentially, Tom gets wrapped up in his analogies to such an extent that he treats God like a person. He forgets that God is not like us, and subjects God to his own logic. Which is quite ironic given his neurotic fixation on the nature of necessity. (Incidentally: note the way in which Aquinas treats “necessity” – and all the logic and grammar that sits behind that word – as an almost separate universal truth apart from God. This is the peril of taking too many lessons from pagan antiquity.)

          • No, Jack has not suggested the Son and Father were antagonism at all. This would be impossible. Hence:

            From before all time, God the Son had lived in perfect union with God the Father: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Together they had willed our redemption and determined that, in order to accomplish it, He would come to earth and suffer for us.

            He’s saying the theory of “penal substitutionary atonement” is unbiblical and misses critical points about the Crucifixion and why our Triune God decreed this method of redemption for mankind.

            Ps – It was Augustine, as quoted by Aquinas.

            https://www.ccel.org/ccel/aquinas/summa.TP_Q46_A2.html

          • grutchyngfysch

            Yes, I know it would be impossible: I read paras 3-4 as implying this was a fault behind substitutionary atonement, since you were critiquing *it* and also writing “Christ was not forced into such a terrible fate.” I took this to mean you associated the two. Apologies if I have misread you.

          • As for your critique of Aquinas, he’s not doubting that sin has to be atoned for – just exploring why Jesus had to offer Himself in such a brutal fashion. He’s arguing that redemption did not require Christ’s Crucifixion as an absolute necessity (Christ humbling Himself by becoming man could have achieved our redemption) and so, therefore, the Passion of Christ points to other reasons.

          • grutchyngfysch

            And what does Scripture say is required for sin to be atoned for?

            The trouble with Aquinas on this particular subject is that he gets so caught up with the logic behind necessity/absolute necessity, that he elevates the rules of logic as the arbiter of exegesis. So to take the question I’ve just asked: instead of going first to Scripture, Tom would home in on the word “required”, and after an eight paragraph discussion of the nature of “required”, would have already concluded the answer lay in what “required” means as a philosophical and logical concept. And since God cannot be “required” to do anything, so it goes, blood is not required for forgiveness.

            Except it is.

            Both Old and New make clear, the shedding of blood is required for forgiveness. Christ’s death on a cross is not in any sense incidental to salvation: His death itself was a “necessity” – and please, let’s be clear that by that term I mean that God ordained and revealed that the shedding of blood was required for forgiveness.

            Frankly, I don’t think anyone – you, me or Doctor Tom – has ever vaulted higher than heaven to see whether God might have willed other than He has in fact willed. That God is not constrained by anyone or anything is an article of faith: to proceed beyond that to speculate that we can comprehend the (I suppose infinitely) myriad ways God might choose to do something is presumption bordering on the preposterous. God said blood was required; blood is required. God has revealed it to be necessary. And so, I do not see that I can at all agree that the Incarnation without the Cross is sufficient for salvation, any more than I can agree with the next logical step which is that the Incarnation is logically superfluous to salvation. Not because I doubt God’s omnipotence, but because I doubt man’s ability to so reason with the perception necessary to make that judgement.

            I have often thought the best analogy for this kind of argument is that it is rather like someone who starts with a simple house on a rock surrounded by quicksand, and proceeds to build an extension out over the plain. The stairs to the tower still connect up with the house, but the stilts on which it perches are most precariously situated.

          • “Both Old and New make clear, the shedding of blood is required for forgiveness. “,/i>
            The Old Testament was written to reveal God’s ordained plan which He has

          • grutchyngfysch

            Re-read your Aquinas: I simply extend the argument he makes; if God can unilaterally forgive, the crucifixion is not absolutely necessary. The same can be applied to the Incarnation by that logic. I think this is a back alley that has more to do with Aquinas twisting himself in knots for the sake of his own intellectual coherency than it does illuminating anything in Scripture.

            The blood sacrifice required in the OT never covered wilful or “high-handed” sin even in the first place: the penalty for such sin was always death – perpetrators were to be “cut off” in the same sense that Daniel prophesied that the Messiah would be “cut off”, though not for His own sake (same root word in both, same meaning of death). Sin brought a curse, the penalty for which was death: a curse which cries out to God if it remains unavenged. The blood of animals in itself was not what God desired: but conversely, the truly contrite soul would not seek to obviate the blood requirement mandated in the OT Law. Thus the two have always been inseparable.

            The New is not a type of the Old so much as it is the fulfilment and validation of the Old (I think we agree on this). Another way of expressing this is that the Old prefigures the New. The problem is the same across both; God’s wrath towards sin is the same across both as is His mercy and love for an undeserving world. The curse of sin continues to bear the punishment of death; and the propitiating blood of Christ is its only remedy.

            Death is the effect of the curse; and all sin is cursed. Christ, though guiltless, took our punishment, that He might cancel our guilt, and do away with our punishment. Had God not hated sin and our death, He would not have sent His Son to bear and to abolish it.

          • ” … if God can unilaterally forgive, the crucifixion is not absolutely necessary.”

            It was never this question – God is Just as well as Love and Mercy – but rather why the method of atonement was so brutal and what it points to in the nature of God and what it teaches us. God, by Incarnating and humbling Himself, living a sinless life and dying, would have been a sufficient sacrifice, if God had decreed it so. God didn’t; so theologians ask why. It’s more than propitiating blood to quell God’s wrath.

            The Old Testament, as Jack has said, foretells what is to come and preordained, that which God decreed before time.

          • ‘ He’s arguing that redemption did not require Christ’s Crucifixion as an absolute necessity (Christ humbling Himself by becoming man could have achieved our redemption)

            Hebrews 9:23, 28. ‘Without the shedding of blood there is no remission [of sins]……..So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.’

            Jack, you’re way out of your depth here, and you’re making a fool of yourself. I would go to bed if I were you.

          • You’re missing the points being made by Augustine and Aquinas.

          • grutchyngfysch

            The quote, yes: the argument is pure Aquinas.

          • Augustine and Aquinas provide such of [sic] the answers
            The Bible provides the answers.

          • Scripture offers a variety of answers that can be combined into in a number of understandings.

          • grutchyngfysch

            even if you died 1000 times

            Now hang on: Prods didn’t invent purgatory. You can’t pin that on us.

          • No man invented Purgatory – it’s divine revelation.

          • Anton

            If you believe that then you are in for a nice surprise when you die.

          • Well one of us is for sure.

          • Anton

            We agree!

          • len

            Its’ cobblers’ and you know it is.

          • As Mrs Proudie would say, I think you’ll find it is; just not in the ridiculous way you have described it.

          • There’s no other way to describe it.

            The Catholic Church explains the Cross: “It is love to the end that confers on Christ’s sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction” (CCC#616). Jesus freely offered his life as an expiatory sacrifice, that is, he made reparation for our sins with the full obedience of his love unto death. It’s not receiving our punishment in which atonement is made, but rather the good work of Christ’s commitment to loving sinful man even in the midst of persecution, hence why Christ’s sacrifice is called a “pleasing aroma” in Ephesians 5:2.

            The view of “atonement” that the guilt and punishment due to one person
            is transferred over to another is foreign to the Bible. Christ offers up a sacrifice; God’s wrath is not poured down on the sacrifice.

            A mere single drop of Christ’s blood would have been sufficient for the
            redemption of the world. But in God’s great wisdom, it wasn’t just a little drop
            of blood was shed, but rather rivers of blood, to more magnificently show forth
            God’s love. Jesus suffered a punishment far worse than what our sins deserved to be punished for. This is incompatible with Penal Substitution.

          • grutchyngfysch

            The undercurrent of that way of approaching the Cross makes God the victim of circumstances to satisfy the demands of human logic. It essentially says: God is forced to act because things predispose only a single outcome (because man experiences such). It makes God subject to His own Creation. He is not subject to it and no constraint can be levied on Him by the work of His own hands against His Will.

            The Scriptures attest that the Messiah would be stricken, and they powerfully allude to the suffering and the agony of the Passion across the ages and genres of the Old Testament. Everything that happened on Good Friday happened according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God. Our God is not responding to events, He has ordained events from before Creation.

            If you can taste the stink of death and hell on the winds blowing down from Calvary it is because they were there; the just wrath of Holy God laid upon His Anointed. The court of judgement is His, not ours, and finer minds than ours have made the fatal error of mistaking the dock they sit in for the judge’s seat.

          • ” … just wrath of Holy God laid upon His Anointed.”
            Not mentioned in scripture.

          • grutchyngfysch

            I lost my voluminous (but witty, with footnotes) reply to this, but as it’s Easter, permit me a raising of the eyebrow and to ask: how far shall we apply that line of argument to weighing doctrine?

          • Just playing the “sola scripture” game ;0)

          • len

            Have you partaken of the Inspectors ‘higher understanding …or’ bollocks’ as us mere mortals call it?.

          • chefofsinners

            Isaiah 53:
            Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
            But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
            All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
            He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
            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.
            And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
            Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
            He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

            Acts 8:
            The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

          • Isaiah simply states what occurred at the Passion – the perfect life and voluntary self sacrifice of Jesus, our Incarnate God and saviour. It does not advance or support a theory of forensic “penal substitutionary atonement” to satisfy the wrath of God.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, clearly it does, because that it what the words say.

          • len

            When Jesus took on the weight of sin he then had to die.’The soul that sins will die’.
            As this was for every sin, then the death He had to die was for the lowest order of common criminal.Which was to be whipped , stripped naked, hung upon a Cross , ridiculed ,until suffocation final ended ones suffering (sometimes days unless the legs were broken and one could no longer bear ones weight to prolong the agony.)

          • Jesus did not “have to die … (as) … the lowest order of criminal”. He and His Father determined before time this would be the means of our salvation. God humbling Himself by His incarnation and living a sinless life would have been a suitable sacrifice and offering and thus achieved this.

          • len

            The Cross was the method of execution for the lowest order of criminals.Fact.

          • grutchyngfysch

            Jack, we simply don’t have the capacity to know that. Aquinas overreaches with that conclusion. Jesus himself talks plainly about how He had to die and suffer on the road to Emmaus. All the stuff about whether “had to” really means “had to” is pure scholasticism gone on a bender. There’s nothing in Scripture, in the language or in the context, to indicate we should take Jesus at anything other than His word, and only the neuroticism of the Doctor over whether this constitutes a breach of his conception of divine freedom (itself a construction of his own hands) to make us think otherwise.

            Aquinas is not all bad and as an exercise in rigorous thinking he’s well worth a read. I mock him here only because I have a fondness for him through my own exposure. But he isn’t infallible.

          • Anton

            Very well said. It has always been obvious to me that the supposedly assured results of philosophical reasoning depend on axioms that are smuggled in, probably without the author realising it. Thank you for doing the hard work to expose this in one aspect of Aquinas. Got any more?

          • Anton

            God indeed has a right to make the rules. But to break them? The law says that those who transgress it should be punished for it, not somebody else. I am profoundly grateful that it was possible for Jesus to take my place but I still don’t get the argument. This is a very specific question I’m asking, and that article was interesting but not tailored to it.

          • len

            Jesus became’ us ‘on the Cross.Wholly man and wholly God.
            That is how Jesus can be the ONLY mediator between man and God.
            Jesus totally understands us in our humanity.He felt our failings, but never failed He felt our weakness’s but never succombed to them. He felt every pain anyone had ever felt.He was rejected, betrayed, abandoned and by that can identify totally with us.
            But He was God and had to face death on a Cross like a common criminal ,for us so that justice could be done.

            But this was done to open up the path for redemption for Humanity for all who would accept Jesus Christ as their mediator.

      • Er … neither the Roman Catholic Church nor the Eastern Orthodox Church deny salvation through the finished work of Christ alone. Without His life and death there could be no salvation. It’s the slipping in of the unscriptural understanding of alone that’s the issue. Christ’s death alone will not secure anyone’s salvation. Unless they cooperate with God in accepting His offered gifts of grace and persist in the process of sanctification, they will not be united with Him in this life or the next.

    • dannybhoy

      The atonement in all its aspects made possible our reconciliation to our Creator God, and not only that it gave us the grace we needed to be changed from within by the power of the Holy Spirit and fitted for eternal life.

    • Anton

      Here are some thoughts on the Atonement. I welcome critiques.

      “Dear God: I have broken your laws. Is there anything that you will accept in apology / as compensation / to let me off the penalty / to restore fellowship between us?”

      God’s reply, paraphrased: Yes. I can’t just let you off, i.e. forgive you without further ado, because that would bring my holy law into disrepute. But there is a currency I will accept. That currency is not gold and silver, but blood; life. You now owe me yours, but in ancient Israel I accepted instead the life/blood of animals, and nowadays I accept the life/blood of Jesus Christ. I will accept it on your behalf if you are in Him, by having faith in Him.

      Notice that in existence there is only God and His creation. Now, whatever we offer to God cannot be part of His creation, because he already owns that. This is one reason why animal sacrifices are provisional (Hebrews 10:4). So it would have to be the life/blood of God himself. In that case it would be a free gift to man – sheer mercy -accepted back by God to cover the sins of those who claim it.

      But how can God die and give his blood for us? Enter Jesus Christ. He is our Passover lamb, preserving us from God’s wrath; our sin offering; and our scapegoat, carrying away our sins as he dies. His death was, due to his complete obedience, a triumph over the the forces of darkness, and the ransom that sets us free from slavery to sin.

      Christ is risen!

  • vsscoles

    The finest expression of the Christian theology of the Atonement is to be found in Thomas Cranmer’s sublime Prayer of Consecration, in the service of Holy Communion in the Book of Common Prayer.

    • David

      Agreed. The language is clear, but also beautifully lyrical, whilst the theology is sound. At one time this was the prayer every English speaker would hear.
      It is of course still used for the BCP services beloved by traditionalists of all types.
      For myself I realise that to evangelise to a predominately unchurched nation we must use contemporary language, but nevertheless do hope that the BCP can be continued and kept alive. When I am seeking comfort and continuity it is to the BCP and the King James translation that I turn.

    • The Book of Common Prayer makes use of the idea of satisfaction:

      “All glory be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that thou, of thy tender mercy, didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world…”

      But note that ‘satisfaction’ is a mediaeval idea, originating with Anselm, and is not found in the New Testament in relation to Jesus’ death. In any case, the BCP does not talk of ‘satisfying God’s wrath’, (the emphasis comes from its root in the Middle English satisfien, from Anglo-French satisfier, modification of Latin satisfacere, from satis ‘enough’ and facere ‘to do or make’, and thus means paid or discharged in full). It is the “ransom theory”.

      • vsscoles

        Satisfaction precisely captures the teaching of Saint Paul in his letter to the Hebrews, of a High Priest capable of offering a sacrifice which alone can atone for the sins of the world – bearing his own Blood into the heavenly sanctuary. I believe you will find that this is one of the books of the New Testament, and that its teaching is the fulfilment of the blood offerings of the former Covenant offered day by day in the Temple, which could never atone for sin.

        • Yes …. a voluntary offering of His life, not one demanded or, indeed, necessary, to a “satisfy” a “wrathful” God. It’s a limited understanding of Christ’s death – legalistic and forensic, based on Anselm’s ransom theory and not Saint Paul. It misses too much.

          • chefofsinners

            “The Law is only a shadow of the good things to come, not the realities themselves. It can never, by the same sacrifices offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship…
            because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and of goats to take away sins…
            And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God…” Hebrews 10:1-11

          • The key clause: “It can never, by the same sacrifices offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship…” Clearly, more than being made righteous forensically is required for entry to Heaven – i.e. sanctification and perfection through Christ.

          • chefofsinners

            The point is, you are wrong to say that the Mosaic sacrifices atoned for sin.

          • Not according to Jews.

            God is just and merciful to all His creatures, for He maintains all through His infinite kindness, and has, as we have seen, given them a law, which, if obeyed, must lead a man to happiness. To obey, therefore, the will of God, is nothing more than to show our gratitude to Him by following the rules which He has marked out for our happiness, and, in consequence, we shall be made happy, if we are, in every sense of the word, religious. — To disobey the word of God is ingratitude, and we therefore, by our own actions, discard happiness and choose misery and punishment. If a man sins willfully he can blame only himself for misery he may draw upon himself by his acts; and if these offenses be committed against the peace of society, he will be punished by those entrusted with the management of public affairs, and who are, therefore, guardians for the time being, of the public welfare — that is, the happiness and peace of society. — But if he should transgress, not the laws of men, but the statutes of God, should he not in this case also deserve punishment? Shall the laws of God be transgressed with impunity, when those of men must be obeyed to the letter? Certainly not, and whatever may be said about the cruelty it would appear in the Deity to punish man hereafter for sins committed in this life; yet will every thinking man see, upon a moment’s reflection, that God cannot be blamed for that, which man by his own wickedness and willful folly draws upon himself, when he had the power to avoid the evil. — But for wrong actions done unknowingly or in ignorance man cannot, with any degree of justice, be punishable to an equal extent with sins committed willfully. Yet a wrong action, a sin, has been committed, and the harmony of right has been disturbed; and then man should always be watchful, always consider himself acquainted with his duty; he ought, therefore, to make atonement for his sins, he ought to show that he is sorry for having offended his God, who maintains him and watches over him. He was for this reason obliged to bring a sin-offering to the temple door, lay his hands upon its head, and kill it, or have it killed, as a sin-offering. (Lev. chap. 4:33.) The meaning of this is: that the offerer, who wished to be forgiven, was to ask of God the forgiveness of his transgression, whilst imposing his hands upon the head of the victim, and then have this animal killed, with a view that it was intended for this particular occasion. No foreign thoughts were to obtrude during the sacrifice; but the sinner’s attention was to be riveted to the ceremony; and he was to consider, that as he himself had laid his hands upon the head of the beast, thus had he himself deserved the imposition of hands by the witnesses of his crime, previous to execution, (Ibid. chap. 24:14.); as the blood of the beast was flowing, thus had he deserved to be dealt with, and so on at every stage and ceremony during the sacrifice. If a man truly penitent, thus prepared and so doing, came before the altar of God, can it be doubted that the sacrifice was obliged to work a reformation in him? And again, can any man gainsay that he ought to have been forgiven, if he was sincerely sorry for what had past, and acted for the future as he had determined during the moment of holy enthusiasm?

            As has been said above, if a man has sinned it is absolutely necessary that he should make an atonement of some sort or other. If he commits theft or otherwise wrongs another person, it is but just that he should make restitution to the full extent of the injury he has done. But though he thus satisfy his neighbor, yet he has also offended his God, for every breach of duty against the peace of society is an offense against the law of our God, whose object, in promulgating it, was the happiness of mankind, as has been already sufficiently established in the foregoing. — Any man, therefore, who had been guilty of such a sin, as just mentioned, was to bring a trespass-offering in expiation, and its treatment was in almost every respect similar to that of the sin-offering.

            http://www.jewish-history.com/mosaic/chaptr18.htm

          • ‘Yes …. a voluntary offering of His life, not one demanded or, indeed, necessary, to “satisfy” a “wrathful” God.

            It was certainly a voluntary act (John 10:17-18), but the idea that it was not necessary makes the Lord Jesus into some sort of unrequited lover who says, “I love you so much I’m going to jump off Clifton Suspension Bridge for you!” To which one might reply, “That’s very impressive, but why would it show how much you love me?”
            .
            The truth is that ‘God set [Him] forth as a propitiation….,’ a sacrifice that turns away wrath. We read in Psalm 7:11, ‘God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.’ So not only is God’s wrath against sinners a real and settled thing, it is also a just and righteous thing. But sin has now been punished in the person of Christ and God’s anger is turned away (Isaiah 12:1-3). ‘All we, like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all’ (Isaiah 53:6).

          • vsscoles

            The OT atonement sacrifices required endless repetition. The Temple could resemble an abattoir at times of heavy use. They could not satisfy the wrath of God. Only the Lamb of God could accomplish “a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world” as TC put it so elegantly – it is a biblical transaction, fulfilling the forensic requirements of the Law, many centuries before Anselm. (You really need to get over Anselm). The events of Holy Week transcend the journey of Abraham and Isaac to the holy mountain. Isaac is spared in Genesis by the substitution of a ram caught in a thicket. In Jerusalem the Son of God is himself the final offering for sin, when both the Law and the Temple have failed to reconcile fallen Adam to God.

          • God requires a contrite heart and a humble spirit.

          • vsscoles

            The Gospel requires a Messiah’s intervention.

      • It is certainly not Anselm’s ransom theory which falls far short of the glorious truth.
        The truth, which is found in both Old and New Testaments, is that God gave Himself in the person of His Son to suffer instead of us the death, punishment and curse due to fallen humanity as the penalty of sin so that God, ‘to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who believes in Jesus’ (Romans 3:26).
        This truth is the most wonderful thing imaginable, and is witnessed to not only by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures, but also by the Church fathers, including Augustine (citations on request).

        • Aquinas noted that our reconciliation with God and becoming like him requires more than forgiveness. He wrote that, in the Passion, ,i>”many other things besides deliverance from sin came together for man’s salvation.”

          Christ’s Passion moves us not only to have faith and hope in God. It also motivates us to a grateful love for God. As Aquinas states: “By this, man knows how much God loves him, and is thus stirred to love him in return. In this loving response lies the perfection of human salvation. That is why the apostle says, ‘God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’ (Rom. 5:8).” Our salvation isn’t complete without our learning to love as God loves. So in Christ’s Passion we aren’t simply pardoned. We are given a convincing reason to devote our whole hearts to God.

          Yet there is more. Christ’s suffering doesn’t just move us to respond in love. It shows us how to love in a world that is broken. The means God used to redeem us, Aquinas continued, tells us what we ourselves must do to love as God loves in the face of natural and moral evil. Christ “set us an example of obedience, humility, constancy, justice, and the other virtues displayed in his Passion, which are also necessary for man’s salvation. Thus it is written: ‘Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps’ (1 Pet. 2:21).”

          If we are to grow up into “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13), then we must imitate him. The Passion shows us most clearly what attitudes and actions we are to imitate. “Have this mind among yourselves,” wrote Paul, “which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God . . . humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:5–6, 8). The Passion demonstrates that love is costly to God, and it will be costly to us as well.

          A third reason God ordained that the Passion would take place is that, through it, Christ merited a great reward. Since Christ humbled himself so extravagantly, Paul added, “therefore God has highly exalted him” (Phil. 2:9). Aquinas quoted Augustine’s comment on these words of the apostle, adding his own remarks: “Augustine says, ‘The humility of the Passion merited glory, and glory was the reward of humility’. But he was glorified, not merely in himself, but also in his faithful ones, as he himself says: ‘I am glorified in them.’ (John 17:10) Because Christ is the head of the Church, his merit overflows to the members of his body. So Christ shares his reward with us as justifying grace and the glory of blessedness in heaven.

          Aquinas insisted that a fourth reason God sent his Son to suffer is that it created what can be seen as a debt to Christ’s holiness. When we recognize the debt, we see ourselves obligated to pay it by avoiding evil – and that avoidance contributes to our salvation. Because of the Passion, then, “man is all the more bound to refrain from sin, according to 1 Corinthians 6:20: ‘You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body’”

          Finally, Aquinas concluded that God ordained the Passion of Christ “because it redounded to humanity’s greater dignity.” Of course, to simply have God become man in the Incarnation was an honour beyond all telling. But in Christ’s suffering, our race was granted more honour still. “Just as man was overcome and deceived by the devil, so also it should be a man who should overthrow the devil. And since man deserved death, so it should be a man who, by dying, vanquishes death. That is why it is written: ‘Thanks be to God, who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ “(1 Cor. 15:57)

          The human race had been left in bondage to sin, death, and the devil by the Fall. So it was a fitting irony – a kind of poetic justice on God’s part – to use a member of that race to conquer sin, death, and the devil. The tables were turned; the roles were reversed; the victor was vanquished. Satan, who had fallen away from God through pride, was humiliated. Augustine offered: “The devil was to be conquered not by the power of God but by his righteousness. . . . For the devil, through the fault of his own perversity, had become a lover of power and a forsaker and assailant of righteousness. . . . So it pleased God that, in rescuing man from the grasp of the devil, the devil should be vanquished not by power but by righteousness. In the same way men, imitating Christ, should seek to conquer the devil by righteousness, not by power”

          • The thing about the Church fathers is that one can extract virtually any doctrine one wants from them.
            Here is Augustine describing Penal Substitution:

            Christ, though guiltless, took our punishment, that He might cancel our guilt, and do away with our punishment………………..But as Christ endured death as man, and for man; so also, Son of God as He was, ever living in His own righteousness, but dying for our offences, He submitted as man, and for man, to bear the curse which accompanies death. And as He died in the flesh which He took in bearing our punishment, so also, while ever blessed in His own righteousness, He was cursed for our offences, in the death He suffered in bearing our punishment.

            [‘Against Faustus,’ bk 14, sects. 4 & 6]

          • Nothing in there about satisfying the wrath of God. It’s about satisfying God’s justice and overcoming the consequences of sin, not His anger.

            In the NT, there is discussion about God’s wrath. However, God is never described as being ‘angry’. Wrath is always a noun, and never a verb. In Romans 5.9, is the only verse in the NT which links Jesus’ death with deliverance from wrath explicitly and Paul has the final judgement in mind, not a transaction which takes place on the Cross at the time of Jesus’ death. It is from our sin and its consequences that Jesus saves us, not from a vengeful God.

            There is no place in the Old Testament for the idea that in the sacrificial ritual God is punishing the animal – or for the inference that something parallel to that is happening in the sacrificial death of Christ. Christ bore the retribution for our sin, but the meaning of the Cross is not that God punished His Son in order to avoid punishing humanity. In Christ, God Himself bore responsibility for the world’s evil and absorbed its consequences into Himself.

          • dannybhoy

            ” It is from our sin and its consequences that Jesus saves us, not from a vengeful God.”
            Amen.

  • Inspector General

    After yesterdays fist fight, it takes an Irishman to come back for more.

    Anymore nonsense from you holy of holies, and the Inspector may well keep quiet about the Higher Understanding in future.

    But now, let’s analyse. Almighty God, the creator of the universe has allowed himself to be nailed up on a cross, of all things, just to satisfy the immense egocentricity of man. Has there EVER been a greater misinterpretation in the history of the world. That our creator would do that for our worthless hides, the souls within said hides may well be binned anyway on our deaths, by said creator. Millions deserve that, you know!

    We crucified God’s ambassador to mankind, don’t you know.

    [SNORT!}

    • chefofsinners

      It takes a man of unparalleled egocentricity to return here peddling lies about the cross to Christians on Easter weekend.

      • Inspector General

        You must apply logic chief. The logic we have amassed in two thousand years. God is pure logic. But he will understand if you are not up to it.

        • chefofsinners

          Now I recognise you.

          • Inspector General

            Nothing of Christ’s teaching is taken away. Nothing at all. He had plenipotentiary powers from the Almighty, and we know that by his immortality.

          • …. except in His humanity, He died.

          • chefofsinners

            Given that you can appear as an angel of light, why the thick Irishman facade?

          • Anton

            The Inspector is simply a good example of what happens when you read the New Testament with no real anchoring in the Old, and don’t subject your thoughts to critical discussion. You’d be surprised what a good dose of reading Leviticus could do for him.

          • One doubts he’s read either the Old or the New Testament.

    • “Anymore nonsense from you holy of holies, and the Inspector may well keep quiet about the Higher Understanding in future.”

      That would be a blessing, indeed.

      • IrishNeanderthal

        That would be a blessing, indeed.

        And so say all of us. (Waited until Easter Monday before even thinking to comment on that.)

        Nice to see you back on the comments board, Jack.

    • len

      It takes an idiot to keep repeating the same mistake.

    • dannybhoy

      ” Almighty God, the creator of the universe has allowed himself to be nailed up on a cross, of all things, just to satisfy the immense egocentricity of man.”
      Why do you keep saying that when the Bible makes it clear that God loves man even fallen men such as us. He chose to rescue us from ourselves.
      Egocentricity doesn’t enter into it.