This is intended as a full study into unraveling the flawed doctrines of Penal Substitution and Moral Government as opposed to the biblical model of Ransom. Although there are redundancies in parts of the study each section uncovers another aspect of these flaws using the same scriptures and many of the before mentioned points. We begin with the basics of Atonement and Reconciliation, then explain what the Penal model has done to the Gospel. From there we move into the real Purpose of the shed blood and sacrifice of Christ, which is releasing man from the corruption and bondage of sin. And finally we discuss the flaws in the Moral Government theories and how it also negates repentance proven by deeds.
Atonement or Reconciliation
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we
were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall
be saved from wrath through Him.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the
death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His
And not only that, but
we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now
received the reconciliation. Rom5:8-11 NKJV
But the KJV
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement Rom5:8-11
The Word Atonement does not appear in the New Testament. In Romans 5:11 the KJV changes the word from Reconciliation to Atonement, due to their agreement with the Tyndall Bible’s translation that expressed Christ’s sacrifice as a ‘Provision’ at-one-moment that satisfied the wrath of God and Paid in full man’s sin debt past, present and future. This ONE single error radically Changes the Redemption Model revealed in Scripture from RANSOM to Substitution, removing all imperative to produce deeds worthy of repentance because the deeds were done by Christ in advance and in your place.
Atonement in the Old Testament fits seamlessly into the Reconciliation expressed in the New Testament. Translated it means: ‘To Purge, make reconciliation, cover over, pacify, pardon, cleanse’. Basically as the Greek Word ‘Katallage’ defined Reconciliation is a ‘Return to Favor’ and this is where it Part ways with the KJV meaning of Atonement that has no further bases in Scripture. Under the Present day interpretation of Rom5:11 Atonement has NOTHING to do with a ‘Return to favor’. It is rather a: Provision, Paid in advance and accepted by man as a legal (forensic) transaction that absolves him of sin. Whereas Atonement requires a mere ‘recognition’ of facts, Reconciliation requires ‘Repentance and Faith Proven by Deeds.’ (Acts26:18-20) The Bible says that Christ Purchased the Church by His own Blood, Acts20:28.
Since REDEMPTION is a ‘Release from Bondage by Payment of Ransom’, we Receive the Reconciliation (Rom5:11) thus Eph1:7 In whom we have redemption (release from bondage) through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, (previously committed Rom3:25) according to the riches of his grace. (Eph2:8-9 not of works!)
What is Purpose of the BLOOD? NOT to merely make Provision but to PURGE, PURIFY and CLEANSE man’s conscience from the dead works of his past life so he can Serve the Living God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Heb12:28) In the Bible its Repentance for Remission of sin Lk24:47, this is also the release from bondage (the captivity of sin) and pardon. Together Redemption and Remission set you FREE from the Corruption of sin wipe your slate clean of past sin and Purify your heart in present service.
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Lk24:47
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb9:14
Christ made Reconciliation on the Cross, BUT man has YET to be RECONCILED until he Repents. ‘For godly sorrow works Repentance unto Salvation not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world works death’ 2Cor7:10. The Provision is for man to ‘BE RECONCILED to GOD!’ 2Cor5:20, not by recognition of an event that took place 2000 years ago, BUT by REPENTANCE and faith PROVEN by DEEDS! When the Scripture says that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them 2Cor5:19, or while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, Rom5:8, it DOES NOT mean we have automatically received the Reconciliation. (or that we can be Justified in our sins) It means the He has Committed to us the WORD of Reconciliation! (read entire passage 2Cor5:18-21)
being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, Rom3:24-25
Propitiation is MERCY (appeasement) it is translated ‘Mercy Seat’ in Heb9:5. It is the place where the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies once a year to sprinkle the blood of the Sacrifice on the horns of the Golden altar to ‘atone’ for the sins of the people ‘committed in ignorance’ Heb9:7 (there was no sacrifice for willful sins, the penalty for those was death, Heb10:28) Since the blood of bulls and goats could not ‘take away’ Sin, Heb10:4, this ceremony would have to be repeated year after year. But Christ as our High Priest has offered ONE Sacrifice for sins forever and set down at the Right hand of God. Heb10:13. NOW we have the opportunity of Reconciliation and Redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of ALL our past sins, IF we will approach His Mercy Seat in a Self-cleansing humility of Repentance, with a ‘True’ heart’ (without guile, all wrong doing forsaken) and full assurance of Faith and have our hearts sprinkled (Purged and Purified) from an evil conscience and our bodies Washed with Pure water. (Heb10:19-22)
This ‘Baptism of Repentance’ is where the ‘body of sin’ Rom6:6, is done away with (destroyed) being Crucified with Christ that we will no longer be Slaves of Sin. That’s why the Scripture declares those in Christ ‘have Crucified the flesh with its passion and desires’ Gal5:24. Herein is the NEWNESS of life that comes through Repentance and the Washing of Regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Rom6:4-6
Therefore by Presenting your body as a ‘living sacrifice’ (by the Mercy of God, Christ’s mercy seat) through this Process of self-cleansing Repentance you can experience an ACTUAL Transformation that will Release you from the Bondage of Sin. (Rom12:1-2) Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Js1:21-22
The ‘implanted word’ is able to Save your soul because you have OBEYED from your heart that form of doctrine by which you were delivered, Rom6:17, exercised your Free Will Ability to Stop sinning and come Clean with God and approach Christ in broken humility in a plea for His Mercy.
In Substitutionary Atonement you ‘repeat after me’, ‘receive Jesus as your personal Savior, ‘Trust’ in a Provision. Nothing happens to the body of sin (the passions and desires of the flesh) it remains as the Wretched man full of filthy rags. The heart is NOT Purified by faith, Acts15:9, 1Pet1:22, nor is the Conscience purged of defilement. In reality you have ‘received’ nothing but a ‘Symbolic’ representation in which an imagined Reconciliation has taken place. At best it’s a sin confess sin confess condition in that you continue to sin willfully against the Spirit of Grace hardening the heart into further rebellion against God. The Biblical Model of the Blood, Ransom, Redemption and Remission is designed to ‘take away’ sin (Purge and purity the heart) If you have Received Genuine Reconciliation in Christ and ‘sin willfully’ (blatant, deliberate, presumptuous sin) against the Spirit of Grace, you are essentially trampling Christ underfoot and counting His blood as a common thing, as the blood of an animal that cannot take away sin. (Heb10:26-30) In such a case ‘no sacrifice remains for sin’, since you cannot re-crucify Christ, Heb6:6, and have rendered yourself into a State of ‘Second Repentance’, that may prove impossible. (Heb12:16-17)
However in Substitutionary Atonement no actual Salvation has taken place. So if
you have been sinning willfully under the wretched man myth, do not fret. This
only applies to those who have truly Stopped Sinning have been Purified by the
Blood of Christ. In the sin daily world you have YET to be Reconciled and
still have a chance to ESCAPE your Corruption and Come Clean with
God in Repentance. The Heb6:1-8, 10:26-31, passages are frightening to an
awakened person who has been sinning blatantly against God,
but understand that as such a person you have NEVER been Saved to begin
with. So you still have a chance to escape Judgment if you Repent.
Today there seems to be mixed variations of the Substitution-Satisfaction Models in the churches and among the street preachers. The thing to understand as you proceed is it CANNOT be both ways, we can't mix any of these theories into our redemption message or we end up with a Trust form of Salvation inside of a convert purged and cleansed in repentance. There are no alternatives to obedience from the outset. The sinner only needs to come clean initially not worry about satisfactions or payments made. The main reason many supposed converts remain in bondage to sin is the preachers who brought them in (so to speak) believe they're not able to produce deeds worthy of repentance so they present Christ as the means by which they can be magically changed without first making the effort to come clean.
What Penal Substitution has done to the Gospel
The Redemption Model collectively accepted by the Orthodox Church for over 1000 years was based on Ransom in which Christ died on behalf of man to Redeem him from the Corrupting influence of sin, establishing a covenant whereby man could be reconciled to God through repentance and faith PROVEN by Deeds. (No magic transfer of sin or righteousness, Nothing paid in advance and no satisfaction required. Redemption depended on Obedience to the truth, ‘Faith & Deeds, in covenant relationship established in the Blood of Christ)
Around the 11th Century a Catholic Bishop named Anselm developed the Satisfaction theory, in which Christ suffered as a Substitute on behalf of mankind in order to appease God’s sense of Justice, balancing out the scales so to speak; so God’s Divine authority would not be defrauded. Christ did not have to suffer the Wrath of God or be blackened as a sinner, but He did have to ‘Satisfy’ Divine Justice to make restitution for the wrongs man had done to God. This theory was later expanded with a ‘gratitude angle by another Bishop named Abelard around 1100AD and much later severely altered into a Penal Model by Thomas Aquinas around 1200AD. In this was the Demise of Genuine Repentance Proven by Deeds, since Christ was man’s Substitute (under these theories) a person had but merely to TRUST in His Satisfaction and be pronounced Justified by the Church.
Special Note: all these theories were conceived under Catholic dogma, wherein penance had replaced a once for all repentance, Christ had to be re-sacrificed repeatedly in the celebration of Mass and the Priest could absolve you of sin in the confessional. Protestantism's great blunder in the reformation, was their failure to break away from these Atonement theories and return to the Ransom.
Which of course lead to the final and most devastating blow to the Gospel of Christ in the 1500’s when the Aquinas Model was systematized (or standardize) into a diabolical perversion called: ‘Penal Substitution’, by heretics Martin Luther, in Germany and John Calvin in Geneva. (I accuse them of heresy because historically they participated in murder, torture and other heinous acts not conducive to Christ’s teachings) Throughout the 1500-1800’s you will find a major division between hard-core Calvinism (Puritan based) theology and Wesleyan or what some call Arminian. Both teach Substitutionary atonement but are bitter rivals on matters of election, predestination and free will. Its all heresy based on their flawed understanding of the nature of man and the nature of sin.
Satisfaction is seen as an Alternative to Punishment so God’s honor and sense of Justice can be restored. In Penal Satisfaction the Punishment (Wrath) is what Satisfies the Demand for Justice In Satisfaction Christ suffered on our BEHALF (hyper: Gal3:13, Eph5:2, Tit2:14)
In the Penal Model Christ was Punished INSTEAD of us (anti:
Rom12:17, 1Thes5:15, 1Pet3:9)
The use of these Greek Prepositions: hyper & anti are distinctive in their use. Instead of is Never used in reference to Christ’s death, it is always expressed as ‘on behalf of. ‘Anti is expressed in Scripture as: ‘Do good instead of evil, over come evil with good’, So Christ didn’t die instead of us but on our behalf. Today the vast majority of the Professed Christian establishment is wholly ignorant from where their Doctrines originated and from whom. It is generally assumed that Substitution, Moral Transfer, Pre-forgiveness and eternal security are handed down from the Apostles and therefore taught in the pages of Scripture. Consequently almost everyone in the Church System believes (to one degree or another) that Christ died on the Cross in their place, suffered the Punishment (wrath) due them and has Provided a Covering over of their ‘sinfulness’, so they can be declared Righteous in God’s sight although they remain vile and corrupt to the core. (the filthy rags model they all love and cherish) The theory of Substitution necessitates an entire System of Doctrine to define and make it feasible in the minds of men so they can believe that Christ actually taught such a perversion of Truth and then recorded it in the Bible. In this the ‘Saved in Sin’ Message is proclaimed almost world-wide by evangelical pundits and untold millions of people believe themselves to be Saved and Secured for heaven while sinning daily in thought, word and deed.
What makes Penal Substitution anti-Bible?
First because it absolutely negates the necessity of Crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires in the process of Repentance proven by deeds. Therefore the vile sins of the flesh NEVER stop and the heart can never be Pure.
Second it turns the Precious Savior into a Blackened Sinner by some mystical transfer in God’s mind so man can be declared righteous while he remains un-righteous. (disgusting to even contemplate!)
And Third it subjects the Blameless and Pure Savior to the full force of God’s Wrath poured out on Him instead of deserving man to satisfy the demand for Justice. (turning God into the worst tyrant imaginable)
To Summarize what all this means in light of Salvation:
Man is Provided with a means to be ‘Saved in his sins’ because he is Born with a ‘sinful nature’ inherited from Adam of which he cannot forsake (you can’t forsake a nature) but MUST be Covered from God’s sight so he can be declared worthy of heaven even though he can never completely Stop sinning in this life. Thus the Substitution is his Salvation by receiving Christ into his heart and trusting it is finished, sin is pre-forgiven and Wrath fully satisfied. (diverted)
In this is the BEDROCK of every nonsensical fallacy on the lips of Professing Christians today:
‘No one can ever stop sinning’, ‘If they could stop they wouldn’t need Jesus and could save themselves’, ‘If I claim to do Righteous deeds I am trying to Self Justify and therefore Self-Righteous’, ‘If I add Works or Deeds to my faith I am rejecting Grace and destine for Perdition’, and IF I say I have no Sin I lie and the truth is NOT in me!’
Therefore in their mind the Bible teaches that ‘Christians’ are:
The Chief of sinners, Romans Wretch, with a Desperately Wicked heart full of filthy rags, who sins daily in thought, word and deed and anyone who claims otherwise is a self righteous liar with no truth in them.
So there you have it Penal Substitution:
Pre-forgives sin, past, present and future. It turns Christ into a Sinner who is punished in man’s place. It invents a Mystical Double Transfer of man’s sin to Christ and Christ’s Righteousness to man. It creates a FULL Provision for Continuing in sin without fear of penalty. And it Negates the Entire Purpose of the GOSPEL to Redeem man from the Corrupting influence of sin.
ALL OPPOSITE OF THE BIBLE!
In Reality Christ died on Behalf of man as a Ransom for sin to Release him from bondage of sin and destroy the works of the devil:
who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time
1Tim2:6. (see also
He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1Jh3:8
He Could NOT have become Sin, because there was NO Sin in Him, He
was a sin offering, not sin!
And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.1Jh3:5
how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb9:14
Yet it pleased the
to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering
for sin, Isa53:10
Righteous is What you DO by Faith Working by Love! (It cannot be transferred)
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does what is right is righteous, even as he is righteous. 1Jh3:8
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. Gal5:6
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out, Heb11:8, ‘Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,’ 1Pet1:22
It’s Not Provision but REPENTANCE Proven by Deeds to ……
to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance Acts26:18-21
Nothing is said in the Book of Acts about ‘trusting in the ‘finished work of Christ or that He took the sinners place on the Cross to absolve him of Obedience to the Truth. The Apostles proclaimed Repentance unto life to all men everywhere as they ONLY hope of Reconciliation with God.
The result of the Gospel preached under the flawed premise of Substitution
Sinner Never Stops sinning; he is Born in sin, saved in sin, remains in
Professed Christians are Carnal Sold under sin, boasting in filthy rags and thinking sin humbles them instead of hardens them against the Truth
The Self-indulgent passions and desire of their flesh is Never Crucified with Christ in Repentance, Put to death once and for all in Repentance
There is no fear of Judgment in them or urgency to break free from their addictions
They are lost in darkness, lead by Blind guides and preaching a Gospel of death.
Redeemed from every lawless deed!
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus2:11-14
Pure, right living in this present age, redeemed from every lawless deed
Such is the language of the Bible. Yet today any thinking person would have a difficult time believing that the real purpose of Christ’s Gospel is a radical moral transformation of mankind’s desires, opinions, and inclinations, given the sordid state of professed Christians concerning personal conduct. How did the ‘Church that represents Christ on earth get so far off focus of Purity and Righteousness, giving it lip service but NEVER practical application to their own life? Without going down the long and winding road of human theology from 4th Century Rome to now, suffice to say that when the focus of Christ’s mission became ‘Substitution instead of ‘Example and they preach for effectiveness instead of for Righteousness. Therefore Deeds worthy of repentance took a back seat to imputation and the moral conduct imperative of the Gospel has been lost in time. (everyone is waiting for the Lord to do what they should be doing themselves)
However the Lord who ‘Knew what was in man’ Jh. 2:25, and said from the start: “But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” This truth taken from Hosea 6:6 that states fully: ‘For I desire mercy and not sacrifice and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings’, reveals the Fundamental Principle of God’s Word that to OBEY is better than sacrifice; so STRIVE to enter the Narrow Gate and “go and sin no more!”
Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you 1Sam. 15:22-23
Herein is the crux of ‘religious man’s attitude toward God; rebellion, stubbornness and outright disobedience to God’s word …. And then the arrogance to expect ‘forgiveness to cover his transgression and heart full of guile while casting the blame on some external source and having NO intention of purifying himself of all unrighteousness. (1Sam. 15:22-26) This is the full expression of the SUBSTITUTIONARY theory invented in the twisted mind of man. The perfect excuse to pass off personal responsibility in favor of man’s supposed inability to do what is right to begin with. Thus you have doctrines of men making the Word of God of no effect. (Matt. 15:6)
never required a Substitution for man’s sins or a Penal remuneration.
Rather, He calls all sinners to Repentance and Faith PROVEN by deeds.
(The scriptural evidence of this truth is overwhelming) From the very
beginning the ONLY reprieve from willful and deliberate sin was
Repentance in which the broken and contrite sinner purified himself of all
filthiness of the flesh and spirit and laid aside his overflow of wickedness in
genuine godly sorrow with a heart free from guile and cried out for Mercy.
There was no Sacrifice sufficient to atone for deliberate moral sins in the Old
or New Testaments. The penalty for such infractions is death, both
spiritual and physical. The following shows there was no prescribed sacrifice
for the following sins under the Old Covenant, only the death penalty:
· Murder - Gen. 9:6; Ex. 21:12-14, 20,23; Lev. 24:17,21; Num. 35:16-34; Deut 19.
· Smiting Parents- Ex. 21:15.
Sacrifices in the Old Testament could not cleanse these sins. The only solution throughout Scripture is the necessity of repentance, to turn from their evil ways. A classic example is in the case of David.
He had murdered and committed adultery. These sins were punishable by death, but David was King and could avoid the prescribed penalty. But his conscience would give him no rest and over a year he suffered under severe conviction and finally when confronted by Nathan the Prophet he came clean and began pleading with God for Mercy. (Ps32:1-5) Fortunately he found it and never again repeated such a sin, but the consequences of his actions took a major toll on his Kingdom and his life. Mercy is a free gift of ‘Remission’ (gracious kindness) of willful sin given at God’s discretion in sorrowful repentance where He ‘passed over sins deserving of death. (not demands payment for them!)
Purification rituals took place in the form of sacrifices and offerings to remove the consciousness of sin committed in ignorance, the blood of animals was main emolument because it represented life. But it was never sufficient to once and for all crucify the flesh with its passions and desires. That requires a complete moral transformation from within through obedience to the truth, in which YOU become the LIVING Sacrifice presented to God holy and acceptable for His Service. Rom12:1-2
Substitution in any form negates all of this and does everything by proxy. Even the gratitude angle under the Moral Government theory is not enough to enforce the Moral imperative of clearing oneself of wrong doing in the process of repentance. The reason why is because it’s from a flawed understanding of the sinners ability to do as commanded by Christ from the start. If the real issue is that Public Justice must be appeased (upheld) in order that God’s Divine authority be not defrauded, that makes repentance a ‘Trusting event instead of a ‘clearing one. Even though under the moral government angle Christ didn’t have to become sin and suffer the full wrath of God, He still had to act as man’s Substitute as an alternative to divine punishment and make a satisfaction for the sin. Which creates the dilemma of what happens if the person under this arrangement offends again, logically another Satisfaction has to be made and of course that's impossible, just as re-crucifying Him is impossible under the Penal model. So we're back to granting another license to sin even in satisfaction because the Blood (trusted in) has to be reapplied via 1Jh1:9 every time the person re-offends; to 'satisfy God. Thus they either outright Trample the blood in Penal, applying it as their magic cover or recycle it again and again as the person repeatedly messes up. Neither model is tenable in scripture because they make the focus of Christ's death a satisfaction of Justice as opposed to establishing a covenant of Redemption from iniquity. Trusting in a satisfaction (the blood) makes the Purging of sin secondary, or not at all in most cases, and creates a permissive attitude toward ongoing sin (in the supposed believer) because the satisfaction, Penal or Public, has them covered, since they can't in right conscience teach that you can re-crucify Christ or Trample His blood under foot. (even though that's what they are doing in essence anyway!)
The fact also remains that the entire theological concept of Satisfaction was invented merely because of flawed notion of moral depravity or original sin (as the Catholics called it) All on the also flawed premise of man being incapable of producing the deeds worthy of repentance in his ‘unregenerate state and entering into a covenant relationship with Christ based on his continual faithfulness to the end. The Shed blood did not have to pay for or satisfy any divine sense of Justice before God could forgive man of his sins. The blood alone Justifies the mercy poured out on the repentant sinner in the reconciliation covenant Christ established on the Cross. That's why its Conditional on our faithfulness and not sealed for all eternity because Wrath was satisfied. The free gift is remission of Past sins, not a revolving door Justification whereby we can sin and not die, being Covered by the blood. The Purpose is to Purge the Sin and Purify the heart, NOT satisfy God that Public Justice was upheld. He can reckon or weigh in the balance and count as our faith as Righteous because genuine faith works by love and purifies the heart by Obedience to the truth--- which is the first act of such faith when we come to Him to be reconciled.
Note: The Moral Government model is only about 400 years old and came about through Pundits like Finney. Although it is similar to Satisfaction in many aspects, it’s a very subtle deception that twists many scriptural passages to draw many erroneous conclusions.
If we preach Repentance from the premise that Christ’s death on the Cross had to balance the scales of Justice, so to speak, BEFORE God could extend His mercy and forgiveness of past sins, we allow the sinner to escape divine punishment by ‘trusting in this arrangement instead of making proper amends in repentance as shown time and again in Scripture. Certainly Christ upheld God’s ‘moral government (if you wish to call it that) BUT where is this mentioned in Scripture as it applies to His Call to Repentance? He said it is ‘Repentance for Remission’ Lk24:47, not ‘trusting in His ‘finished work on the Cross. He lived a morally perfect life and died a sacrificial death as an EXAMPLE (1Pet2:21) for us to follow not so we could invent a doctrine to assure us that God’s public Justice was upheld. Again, this entire concept came into being because of the flawed understanding of human ability. Repentance preachers today have adopted this teaching, not to help clarify the purpose of Christ’s death on the Cross, but for the VERY same reason it was invented to begin with… because they’re still ‘uncertain that man possesses the ability within his will to bring forth deeds worthy of repentance without some kind of divine intervention beyond that which God is providing 24/7 by drawing all men through His Spirit convicting them of sin, righteousness and judgment. Even though there are many incidents of forgiveness shown in the Gospels where Christ granted mercy on virtue of repentance alone and said nothing about it causing any ill effect to Public Justice or giving other sinners a means to escape their own responsibility to come clean. Christ granted Mercy to the scarlet woman in Simon’s house, Zacchaeus the tax collector, the woman taken in adultery, the unforgiving servant and many others with no mention of it undermining God’s universal authority to rule or that public Justice had to be upheld.
major flaw under this theory; (or any theory other than Ransom) is the ‘alternative
angle, derived from the premise of inability. In the Bible REPENTANCE
is the alternative to divert Divine punishment, NOT trusting in Christ’s
work on the cross as some kind of satisfaction. In the Book of Acts the Apostles
never mentioned Christ’s death as means to escape divine judgment. It was always
‘repentance proven by deeds and then a life of faithful endurance to the end. If
the Preacher sees the sinner coming to Christ as his Substitution
to divine punishment no purging or clearing of wrong doing is going to take
place. The sinner merely ‘receives Jesus and ‘trusts
in His sufficiency to take care of everything (such as coming clean, changing
his desires, making him wiling) therefore nothing more is likely to take
place. Returning to obedience is merely secondary under this arrangement, not a
necessity. So the imperative to ‘Wash yourself, make yourself clean. Put
away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil and learn to
DO good!’ Isa 1:16-17 will never take place. It also evokes the
sin-confess life style we see so prevalent in many supposed converts today,
especially those coming under the hell-fire style street preaching that creates
excitement and emotional responses wherein they are 'saved by Trusting instead
of coming clean. The hope of these type of converts rests in the 1Jh1:9 fallacy
in which they end up on the repent side of sin at the judgment, covered for
their ongoing mess-ups.
The argument goes that Repentance alone is not enough to restore man’s confidence in Public Justice and God would sort of ‘lose face and have to suspend the sanctions of His law in order to pass over the sin committed which would result in the public’s lack of confidence in His authority to rule. As though freely forgiving one sinner his debt will cause the others to cry foul and demand like compensation. But this never happened in any instance of God granting free forgiveness on virtue of repentance alone. Therefore why make it an issue in the preaching of repentance? The Apostles and their disciples never included it in their message of repentance and its not mentioned among early Christian writings. So how providing man with a Substitution makes all the difference in salvation is unclear, man must obey from his heart to repent, all Substitution does is give him another excuse to Trust instead of Obey. You can't Trust you way to a Pure heart, but you can purity it by obedience to the truth. 1Pet1:22
Therefore creating additional theories of the Atonement in order to satisfy
divine wrath or uphold public justice is not necessary in the preaching of
repentance. One model is not a reasonable alternative to the other and the more
moderate reformers still erred in their understanding of repentance proven by
deeds because both sides were based on the flaw of moral depravity. God has
shown time and again He is willing to forgive man’s sin on virtue of pure
mercy and loving kindness without demanding any form of Satisfaction
or Payment. (in fact payment and pardon are exact opposites, there is no
payment for sin in the Bible) There is only Repentance Proven by deeds!
(Matt3:8-9, Lk3:8-9, Jonah 3:5-10) When the ‘Church adopted these
theories into their doctrine, it abandoned the fundamental principles of
repentance and faith proven by deeds and has brought about a moral decay
unprecedented in history.
God’s Mercy has been misrepresented to world for centuries. His is the language of MERCY not sacrifice. As Jesus said, “But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice, for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance He demands nothing more from man than a moral reformation of character and conduct in order to receive remission of past sins. Christ provided him with the example and the imperative to deny self and live for God; which serves both the greater good of mankind and upholds the universal Justice of God, thereby fulfilling all the law and Prophets. (Matt22:37-40, Rom13:10) This can only happen by releasing man from the bondage and corruption of sin so he will return to obedience from his own free will to do so. And this is NOT going to happen by him accepting the notion of a Substitution and then repenting (later) out of gratitude that Jesus satisfied the Justice of God to divert divine punishment. But since Repentance is already a satisfactory diversion to punishment it’s the slavery to sin man must escape from as well as its condemnation. And that’s the true Purpose for which Jesus was manifest: ‘To Destroy the works of the devil’ so by obeying Him and following His example man could have Victory over sin the flesh and the devil and have his past sins remitted by the Blood.
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 1Jh3:6:8
the early Christians Morality replaced Sacrifice.
Purification occurred not by a multitude of offerings but by Obedience to the
truth. (1Pet1:22) The Purpose of the Commandment is Purity, sincerity and love,
1Tim1:5. They were cleansed of all unrighteousness by presenting their bodies as
a LIVING Sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, no longer
conformed to the world but Transformed by the renewing of the mind. (Rom12:1-2)
Actually living a life of sacrificial service to God was the means by which they
were Pure as He is Pure. (1John3:3) If they continued Walking in the light then
the Blood of Jesus Christ cleansed them of all sin. (1Jh1:7-9) Not by a ritual
of blood (as under the old covenant) but by a reminder of the Awesome price
Jesus paid to Ransom them from the futile ways of the past. Christ’s shed blood
gives the new convert full confidence that his past sins have been washed away
and forgiven! Heb10:18-23
And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed (ransomed) with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.1Pet1:17-19
The fatal error post modern Bible Pundits have made is applying an erroneous application of the Jewish sacrificial system in the Old Testament to the theological tenet of Substitution invented in 10th Century Rome. Herein you have the massive System of Error stretching its tentacles over mankind.
Under the Sacrificial System of Moses there was no atonement for willful sins. (as listed above) These were the Sins unto death (1Jh5:16) that meant instant Disqualification from the Kingdom. (Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Heb10:28, Num15:22-31) Only God’s Merciful Kindness could spare an individual from eternal loss for these sins IF they sincerely turned from their sins Repented and came clean of their rebellion. This eternal concept has NOT changed; God still requires full and clean Repentance to receive Remission of sins, so the blood can remit and purge his past transgressions and give him a fresh start in Christ. (Isa1:16-18)
Redemption literally means: ‘Release from bondage by payment of Ransom. Thus you have means by which God has set forth his Plan of Salvation to rescue man from the corrupting influence of sin. And it begins in Repentance. Lk24:47
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 1Tim2:5-6
The Sacrificial system was but a Shadow of the good things to come in Christ (Heb10:1) HIS once and for all Sacrifice (Heb10:12) offered FULL Remission of Past willful sin (plus deliverance from bondage & Pardon) to all who would answer the call of Repentance Proven by deeds. (Acts17:30-31, 26:18-21, ‘Repent and PROVE your repentance by your Deeds!’) Under Moses Blood was a means of Purification, all things were dedicated by blood, purified and without the shedding of blood there is no remission. (Heb9:16-22) Thus Christ in similar likeness, OFFERED Himself as the Perfect Sacrifice on the altar of Mercy to end the futile sacrificial system and instate a New Covenant through His Blood that can remit our past sins once and for all and provide us with a LIVING testimony of His Victorious Life that we can now Share by following in His Steps and escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust. (1Pet2:21-24, 2Pet1:3-4) So we have Redemption through His Blood the Remission of Sin! Eph1:7, Col1:14.
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1Pet2:21-25. (Isa53:4-6)
YES, He bore our Sins, meaning on the altar of sacrifice, not by becoming sin, but by offering Himself on behalf of men for remission so God could grant the repenting soul Mercy and the chance to amend his ways by also dying to sin and living for righteousness. ‘knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin’ Rom6:4. In this the Blood Purges his conscience from dead works and Purifies his heart to serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Heb12:28)
how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb9:14
The early Christians saw Christ’s sacrifice done on their behalf (Not in their place) as a Ransom to Purchase them from bondage of sin which they had willingly sold themselves under. His Blood provides remission and Redeems (released from bondage) men from their futile (sinful) ways of the past. If Christ’s death were merely a Substitution or some kind of Satisfaction of Public Justice, sin could indeed be remitted, BUT man could NEVER escape the corrupting influence of sin. He would be forever in bondage to his ‘sinfulness trusting in an imagined Justification (or magic covering) that never happened. (waiting for God to change him while confessing 1Jh1:9)
In REDEMPTION there is also TRANSFORMATION
(the washing and regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit Titus3:5) Without
both there is no Salvation. The Redeemed Soul MUST set forth on the Path
of Righteousness as a worker together with God doing what is Right
and Just or he will never enter the Kingdom of God. (Js2:24, 2Cor6:1, 1Jh3:7-8)
(There is redemption in his blood the remission of sin, but NO MAGIC Cover to continue sinning or gradually stop sinning)
The fundamental denial under Reformed Doctrine is that man is incapable of personal Righteousness even as a ‘Christian filled with the Holy Spirit. So he must be ‘imputed or have it transferred to him from Christ to be fit for heaven. Although some insisted that if Righteousness was imputed then it was also ‘imparted as a genuine virtue revealed in the heart of the convert in good works. But their central focus was never on deeds worthy of repentance because they seen the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice (either penal or moral) as enough in itself to complete the redemptive process. Producing deeds worthy of repentance (as the Prophets demanded) was always secondary to the declaration of Justification by faith alone. Therefore the Substitutionary arrangement between God and man served as the means by which the convert could be redeemed, ‘trusting in Christ’s finished work on the Cross as enough to complete what is lacking in human ability.
(so today these flawed theological concepts are still weaved into the doctrines and preaching across the globe and severely hinder the message of repentance proven by deeds)
The early Christians were not hindered by systems of theology, they simply obeyed Jesus and went out into the world telling people to turn from their sins to God and prove it by their deeds, as seen in the Book of Acts narrative. The concepts of Substitution, Public Justice and moral government were not a part of their message. To them there was no alternative to Deeds Worthy of Repentance, you either Obeyed the Gospel or rejected it, your CHOICE and solely within the capacity of your Will to do so. Can they be justly impugned by future generations for not recognizing the Sufficiency of Christ’s death on the Cross to ‘Cover the sins of mankind and satisfy the Wrath of God or appease Public Justice? Their testimony sealed in blood is a Witness against all the fallacies invented by the so-called Church since ancient Rome. WHO can honestly look back and say they erred by following the example of Christ in Obedience and even death and claim they didn’t understand that Grace had them covered? They saw the Gospel calling them to Repentance Proven by Deeds for Remission of their Past Sins, NOT as Provisionary transaction God arranged so man could be Justified in a mere acknowledgment of belief.
The grave danger of any form of Substitution, whether Penal or Moral, is removing the necessity of man producing deeds worthy of repentance. Each of these alternative Systems were contrived on the Premise of man lacking the natural ability within to turn from his sins and obey God; based on: ‘original sin, moral depravity, inbred sin, sin nature adamic nature’. Since these concepts are entirely flawed from the beginning any suggestion that God requires something additional to this kind of Repentance to remit past sins is also inconsistent with the Gospel Message of Redemption. All it does is give man another reason to avoid putting forth any effort in repentance to stop sinning when he ‘receives Jesus and then makes subsequent obedience optional instead of mandatory. It’s easy to see how this renders true redemption impossible under the Penal Substitution model, since the convert has no incentive to obey or come clean with God because everything has been done in advance for him and he just ‘receives it as a package deal. BUT under the Public Justice (moral government) theme it much more difficult to understand how elevating Christ’s death on the Cross as efficient to satisfy God’s sense of Public Justice is a necessary element of preaching repentance. (unless the preacher doubts that man is able to produce the deeds necessary before God will grant him mercy) It’s a reasonable assumption that God would desire to maintain order in His universe and not allow His authority over it to be undermined, but He has granted Mercy on mankind since the Garden without requiring anything more than a repentant heart and it hasn’t brought about any cataclysmic event thus far. So why people today who have rejected the pagan notions of original sin and moral depravity still feel its necessary to promote these theories as an essential part of their theology is beyond me. If a person comes to a genuine redemption in Christ through a cleansing season of repentance they will indeed recognize the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice on their behalf and the preciousness of His blood shed to release them the bondage of sin. They don’t need to complicate matters with theological assumptions derived from flawed principles of inability to muddle their understanding of the Gospel from its simplest form of repentance and faith proven by deeds. Let the fundamentals stand and discard the rest.
Substitution and Moral Transfer
The fundamental error in the doctrine of Justification by faith among professed Christians today is what I call: 'Replacement theology. Meaning a system of teaching that says Christ died in your place instead of on your behalf. When the Pastors invites you to receive Jesus because 'He died for your sins they mean that by His death on the Cross He took your Punishment, Paid off your sin debt (past, present and future) and fulfilled all the righteous requirements of the law ... in your place. By you 'trusting in what He has done (His finished work) you are 'Justified freely and given the 'gift of righteousness as a Cover for your sins.
In theological terms this is called: 'Penal Substitution or to a lesser degree Moral Government, both based on the same premise that Christ somehow took our place in order to fill-in what was lacking in our ability to produce Deeds Worthy of Repentance and approach God for Reconciliation through the Blood. In some mysterious 'exchange Christ's 'vicarious death is able to Justify us to God apart from any effort put forth on our part. This concept was foreign to the early Christians who understood Christ's death as an example they were to follow, not merely accept as a fact. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 1Pet2:21
that 'He suffered and died for us', meant 'ON OUR BEHALF', Not in our
Place. The Greek Preposition: ‘For' is ‘hyper, meaning: On
Behalf of, NOT in Place of.
who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.1Thess5:10
who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus2:14
who gave Himself
a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 1Tim2:6
In each of these passages the Greek Preposition 'hyper is used, Not 'anti' translated, INSTEAD of, Cleary used in Scripture as one thing Replacing another:
no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. 1Thess5:15
not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 1Pet3:9
In other words: 'Replace evil with good' But there argument is: 'Isn't that exactly what Christ did. Replace the evil of sin with good? However WHY would Scripture make this important distinction of Word use if that is so. And HOW could He Defeat Sin by becoming Sin! Is it Good to be Punished? Sin is a rotting stench whereas His offering is said to be a 'sweet smelling aroma:
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given
Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling
Retributive Justice of God has NOTHING to do with what Christ did on the Cross. Substitution theology was not introduced into Christian teaching until around the 10-11 Century, by a couple of Roman Bishops named Anselm and Abelard, in the form of a Public Justice theory. Since Repentance had become an on-going Penance in the Confessionals instead of a 'once and for all cleansing season of godly sorrow, the Atonement took on the likeness of a Judicial transaction in order to Satisfy the Father and uphold Public Justice so He could 'forgive sinners without loosing face as being too lenient on sin. So Christ's death served that purpose by revealing God's eternal dissatisfaction with sin and gave Him Just means whereby He could offer remission on Virtue of His Son's death, because it satisfied public Justice. Later in the 12 Century another Bishop named Thomas Aquinas began teaching that merely 'Satisfying' Public Justice was NOT enough, someone had to be also be PUNISHED in order to appease God's Wrath otherwise the wages of sin would be left un-paid. And of course Jesus was the Perfect candidate since He met the description of a sacrificial lamb in the Law of Moses. God the Vengeful Judge had to extinguish His fearsome Wrath on His Son, made into a blacken sinner, in order to establish His advocacy as a go-between wherein He could 'Plead the sinners case on virtue of His payment. It fit well into the 'warped Medieval view of God and no one dare contest it anyway. Sadly though it became the Prevailing view into the Reformation. By the mid 1500's Penal Substitution was Codified into Orthodox Creeds, Protestant and Catholic alike, as the accepted Atonement model and finally added definitively to the Westminster Confession of 1646, and has been taught almost without exception since then.
The early Christian understanding of Ransom is all but forgotten in the Church today. Any teaching that doesn't include Christ Paying for man's sins is considered heretical. As a result repentance proven by deeds is an enigma in present day preaching. They do not understand the Purpose of the Cross in Redeeming man from the corrupting influence of sin. The birth, death and resurrection of Christ is preached as a Provision God man accepts, not as an example he must emulate. Repentance, if mentioned at all, is secondary to 'receiving and a real 'Clearing of wrong doing' never takes place. This is what makes Substitution (or replacement) theology so destructive, it removes the dynamic of Producing deeds worthy of repentance entirely from the equation. So Reconciliation takes place by Proxy instead of participation by the potential convert. Thus they will produce 'seemingly supportive passages to 'imply that its NOT what you DO but what has Already been Done! Here are the usual snippets:
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom5:8
that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them 2Cor5:19
These passages mean, under Substitution teaching, that reconciliation has been accomplished in Christ's finished work, thereby Justifying sinners because their sin debt has been transferred to Jesus and His Righteousness to them. Again, repentance is a mere after thought under this arrangement, if even included, you 'admit your sinner (all have sinned) 'receive Jesus (or what you have been lead to imagine He did for you) and prestro-changeo you're Saved! Although nothing has really changed (within) your Status with God has, instead of just a poor helpless 'sinner, you're now a 'sinner saved by grace. Good deeds should spring from your faith, but as a work in progress they are often delayed by continual failure and they have no bearing on your Salvation which is secured in Christ.
The danger in this
line of theology is that it breeds indifference toward the Warnings contained in
Scripture. If there’s no possibility of further condemnation why be concerned
about anything God has said? You can sin with impunity and enjoy your pardon. In
God’s sight you’re Righteous and the Commands you are not able to obey, Christ
obeyed for you. He even became Sin in your place on the Cross! Now His Provision
is your Security. A Double Transfer (or imputation) has taken place,
finished, for all eternity, and men need only to Trust in this arrangement for
eternal Salvation. It’s the Greatest Hoax the world has ever known, a
Doctrine of demons and License for immorality. But the question remains,
HOW do you escape its grasp when you have been ensnared under it for so
long? Few ever do because when you remove the retributive angle of Jesus
taking your punishment and paying off your sin debt, you make His death of no
purpose in the minds of people supposedly 'saved under this mess. What little
'faith they may have had in God is severely shaken when you challenge their
security blanket. So let's begin with some simple logic, how did Jesus Defeat
Sin by becoming sin? (Satan cast out Satan!) He said Himself that a Kingdom
divided against itself cannot stand, (Mk3:24) so how did He 'Destroy the
Works of the Devil' 1Jh3:8, by becoming the devil? Ask your pastors that
Let's examine their chief proof passage: KJV
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
First of all its
not possible that He could be 'made to be' Sin, because the Scripture
proclaims there was NO sin in Him: And
you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no
how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb9:14
contradict itself, although the theologies of men often force it to do so and
then gloss over the illogic with more rhetoric. Scripture says that Christ
Suffered at the hand of Sinners, Heb12:3, Lk24:7 not God. Isaiah said: 'We
esteemed (considered) Him stricken, Smitten by God'
Isa53:4, not that God Punished Him in our Place. 'I
will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.
You have sold yourselves for nothing, And
you shall be redeemed without money! Isa52:3 Hosea13:14
Nothing resembling a transaction took place on the Cross, Christ's sacrifice was a 'Sin offering' not a payment, Isa53:10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin The Greek Word for sin in 2Cor5:21 is hamartia, it appears in the Text as a Single word, but the translators turned it into a Phrase: 'made 'him to be sin', in other words they ADDED it to the text, that's why in many English versions 'to be' is rendered in 'italics, indicating it was something added to the text for emphasis. The reason behind this is Doctrinal bias. As I pointed out the Prevailing view of the Atonement from 1200 on was the retributive model of Penal Substitution. Christ had to be 'made sin' in order to suffer the Punishment of it. Most Creeds also having Him descending into Hell (a misunderstood use of the Word Hades in Acts2:31) as though He 'tricked the Devil, who couldn't hold him, and as a result He was able to smash the Gates of hell and escape. They did the same thing with the latter portion of this passage by adding the words 'might be made' the Righteousness of God in him, to indicate a magic imputation takes place in being 'made righteous' rather than as the Greek reads might become righteous.
(for a full study on the flawed doctrine of imputation see my study on Biblical Righteousness)
In the Greek version of the Old Testament the same word 'hamartia is used hundreds of times in the Book of Leviticus, describing Offerings for Sin (the types and shadows of Christ, the theologians tell us) These offerings are made on behalf of a participant for minor infractions, sins done in ignorance and in each case harmaria is translated: 'Sin Offering', NEVER 'made to be sin', ONLY in 2Cor5:21 is it rendered as a Phrase. So if indeed these things spoken of are 'Copies and Shadows' Heb9:24, 10:1, of the Better things to come, how did the Sin Offering suddenly become 'made to be sin'. Why wasn't the dove, lamb, flower or grain 'made to be sin … foolishness.
Another part of this deception is the idea itself of Atonement. In the Bible Atonement means Reconciliation or simply: 'A Return to Favor', but by changing the word reconciliation in Rom5:11, to atonement: And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. we have an entirely 'different meaning. Although atonement used in the OT means reconciliation, in the Romans 5 passage it was added to imply a theological tenet expressing: ‘At-One-ment', (your pastors probably doesn't know this) but its the very core of their Gospel preaching. The Atonement is Christ's finished Work on the Cross, done at one moment in time, for all time, to Satisfy the sin debt and freely Justify mankind through the blood. Where as Reconciliation (return to favor) requires Repentance and faith proven by deeds, the Atonement merely requires an 'acceptance of what's been done.
The Biblical view
of atonement is Ransom:
who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 1Tim2:6, Matt20:28, Mk10:45
'lytron, means: Release from bondage, the Price of redeeming a
Redemption is a Root of Ransom, meaning simply: Release from bondage.
Reconciliation (atonement) is a Return to Favor, Old and New Testament translation
Understood through Scripture as:
Christ fought against all the different 'powers that hold humanity in hostage (Satan, death, sin, disease, poverty etc), and 'defeated them. He defeated sickness by healing people, He defeated poverty by helping the poor, He defeated the devil by casting out spirits, He defeated death by being resurrected etc. In this the way He waged war against these things, both defeating them Himself and inspiring us to do the same and not fear them. This is confirmed in the following passages:
He Destroyed the works of the Devil, 1John3:8
He Rescued us from our fear of Death, Heb2:14-15, 1Cor15:26
He Defeated the Powers of Darkness, put them to open shame, Col2:15
He Ransomed Man from the Corrupting influence of sin, 2Pet1:3-4, 1Tim2:6
The additions of
Moral influence and Satisfaction models (minus the retribution) only serve
as another alternative to Producing deeds worthy of repentance or Obedience to
the Truth. It’s a blood covenant we enter into with Christ through repentance
and faith proven by deeds, not a Satisfaction we Trust in to cover our inability
The Substitution Model is anti-biblical for various reasons:
There is No Release from Bondage, only a mythical Payment that Covers sin
It scandalizes Christ by Pre-forgiving Sins yet to be committed and makes Him a minister of sin
It Tramples the Blood treating it as a common thing that cannot take away sin
And it Blasphemes Christ by turning Him into a blackened sinner, defeating sin with sin
One of the deceptive ways they sell this view in the Churches is by using theological terms few people have the knowledge to question. For example they take the term: Propitiation, used in Rom3:25, 1Jh2:1, 4:10, and define it as: Expiatory or Vicarious, meaning Substitutionary.
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1Jh2:2
whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, Rom3:25
But Propitiation simply means: Appeasement, translated Mercy Seat in Heb9:5, HOW can the Mercy Seat function Vicariously? It is the place where the Sacrifice was sprinkled with the Blood to be Purged and Sanctified of the offense and Returned to favor. Which is EXACTLY how the Scripture describes our Redemption: ' how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb9:14
We approach the
Mercy Seat (Propitiation) in Repentance as a Living Sacrifice, Rom12:1-2,
seeking Reconciliation and Purging by the Blood, again fully shown in Scripture:
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Heb10:19-23
In this manner we
receive Grace with Purpose and Serve God acceptably with reverence and
godly fear, Heb12:28. Under Substitution, with the Wrath poured out on Jesus,
there is Nothing to secure your Obedience to God or motivate you to follow His
example. (mere gratitude alone will never suffice because it has no moral
imperative behind it) Everything has been done ‘in advance, Your sins, Past,
Present and Future are ‘Done away, nailed to the Cross with Jesus and your free
and clear. (even though the passage itself, Rom3:25, says Sin 'Previously
Let's examine more so-called Proof passages for Substitution:
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a
curse for us (for it is written,
everyone who hangs on
a tree” Gal3:13
having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed (stripped of advantage) principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. Col2:14-15
The Cruse of the Law is the 'wages of sin' which you cannot escape through the 'works (ritual & sacrifices) of the law. Only through the shed Blood of Christ can Past sins be Remitted and you Returned to favor. But that occurs through Repentance and faith, as the context of the passage in Galatians is saying, NOT by any Magic transfers. The Cruse of death is removed by Christ's Sacrifice accessed through repentance (the blessing and promises handed down through Abraham to all who would believe) Again, as the passage states, 'Done on our Behalf, hyper, NOT in our place, we still have to DO something for it to effect our status with God.
The Colossians passage is much the same. The 'handwriting of
requirements that was against us' is the wages of our sin--death, 'wiped out and
nailed to the Cross', is the Sacrifice He made to 'Destroy the works of the
devil and Redeem us from the mundane ordnances and rituals that have no
advantage against the indulgence of the flesh, as the passage goes on to say.
None of it has anything to be with 'Becoming Sin, swapping places with sinners
or transferring His Virtue. Its all part of the Ransom paid to Redeem us from
the Corrupting influence of sin. But what was PAID, you ask and to WHO?
Unfortunately the Bible NEVER tells us, so we're left with speculation.
We know that He 'Gave Himself for us', Gal2:20, 1Pet2:21-24
Isaiah says: 53:4-6 (This passage is used as Proof of Ransom and Substitution)
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
There's no denial in Ransom that He Bore our Sins in His body on the tree. Peter affirms that in 1Pet2:24, what is under dispute is the PURPOSE for which it was done. "Bore our sin' in 1Pet2 means: 'As on the altar of Sacrifice', not that He was 'made to be sin. Peter says that it was for the Purpose of us 'dying to Sin and Living for Righteousness and by His Stripes we are healed'. Healed from our 'inner corruptions through the Shed Blood that Purged and Purified us for present Service. God didn't torture His Son so man could escape the punishment of eternal damnation by Proxy. He received His sacrifice as a Ransom by blood, once and for all time, Heb10:14, to Justify Mercy and to Strip Satan of his advantage in holding mankind Captive to the sin they sold themselves into, so they could escape their bondage and Serve Christ. This is why the early Christians understood they must FOLLOW His example, not merely Trust in His accomplishments.
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 1Pet2:21
In the Churches there is no imperative to Follow His example because He swapped places and is Carrying you! Instead of you tracing His footsteps (which is the literal translation of the passage) you're Vicariously admiring Him as your Replacement Savior. His true Disciples said 'We are able' to drink the CUP you drink from and share in your sufferings and shame, Matt20:22-23. The phonies today say; 'NO WAY!' Our debt is Paid in full, we'll drink at the fountains of comfort and pleasure and enjoy the ride.
The Preachers understanding of the Atonement will define the manner in which he presents the Gospel to sinners. We can properly say that 'Jesus Died for our sins', but to what Purpose is the point of departure between truth and error. If the preacher believes that He died so we don't have to, then he is NOT going to press the imperative of deeds worthy of repentance because they're not necessary in his mind. The person 'recieves what's been done for him, not tries to make himself 'worthy. His understanding of the Gospel is flawed by a fallacy supported by more fallacy; Faith alone removes man from the process altogether and Substitution fills in his lack of participation. Its a Double-barreled Whammy against true Redemption! The Captive remains a 'slave to sin but the fear of condemnation is removed with superficial 'Trust, all built on the 'first (flaw) of human inability. Each fallacy necessitating the next and so on. However if the Preacher understands that the Purpose of the Cross is to Redeem man from the Corruption and bondage of sin, he will begin with 'Repentance for Remission' (Lk24:47) and proceeds to 'open their eyes and TURN them from Darkness to Light from the Power of Satan to God! Acts26:18, 3:26, 2:40 They then receive the 'refreshing of the spirit in true conversion, Acts3:19, and set out on the Path of Obedience to the truth, Acts14:22, 11:23, Purified by faith, Acts15:9. Instead of Christ Standing in as their Replacement, they are actively involved in the Race with endurance. (Heb12:1-2) A preacher that sympathizes with the sinner's (supposed) inability to take up their Cross will NEVER escape the Snare of Substitution and the magic cover it provides in the minds of those who swallow it. Additional explanation:
They see the Atonement as: the Wrath diverted, God Satisfied that punishment was meted out and the sin debt paid in full. Now He can forgive sinners who trust/believe in Christ without overturning His law. So they desire to see a person receive/trust in Atonement (finished work) the purging, purity is an afterthought that 'should occur, although it seldom does because the imperative was not coming clean to begin with. Thus the Cycle of Sin continues and the person is taught to claim Christ as their advocate, 1Jh1:9, 2:1, each time they mess-up and trample the Blood.
We see the Purpose of Christ's life, death and resurrection as a means whereby the convert is; cleansed, Purged and Release from Bondage. No payment necessary, no need for another to be punished. Reconciliation (return to favor) is granted on Virtue of repentance and faith proven by deeds. The person comes out of Repentance Clean and Pure a Vessel Fit for the Master's use, continuing in faithfulness to the end.
'We have Redemption through His blood the Remission of Sins' Eph1:7, Col1:14, Acts20:28 (purchased)
Blood is Not Payment,
its Release from bondage: Redemption-Release, Remission-Pardon-Release,
The result Purity and Purging, Heb9:14, What is Purchased is our Release from the bondage of Sin, so we can Partake of the Divine Nature and escape the Corruption that is the world through Lust, 2Pet1:3-4,
'You Sold yourself for nothing, you shall be Redeemed without money' Isa52:3, 50:1, Christ didn't PAY anything because He didn't OWE anything! God received His sacrifice as a Sweet Smelling Aroma, Eph5:2, Not as the stinking rags of sin. If Sin or Wrath was involved how could God consider it Sweet Smelling? Rather Scripture says He 'Bore our Sins in His Body (on the altar of sacrifice, 1Pet2:24) so we could Die to Sin and Live for Righteousness, not to merely Pay off our debt, but that the Blood Sprinkled on us, at the Mercy Seat, (Propitiation, Heb9:5) when we present ourselves as a living Sacrifice, Rom12:1-2) could PURGE our conscience from guilt and shame so a 'Washing, Renewing and Regeneration can take place, Titus3:5, and the bondage to Sin is broken once for all, Crucified with Christ, Put to death in Repentance, Done away, so no longer a Slave to Sin, Rom6:4-6.
The Blood is super abundantly sufficient to Remit (pardon) past Sin, Purge the heart and Release the repentant convert from the bondage of Sin and justify the Mercy of God. In this manner Obedience is Secured and the convert understands the imperative to Add to their Faith, Work out their Salvation, Run the race with endurance and Endure to the end, as a worker together with God. He is therefore still fully accountable for his on-going actions and responsible to Obey the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul and strength.
Under Payment made and Wrath diverted there is no Purging and no
motivation to secure obedience.
If Atonement means 'He did it all' (as they teach) they Cannot demand the Sinner Produce DEEDS Worthy of Repentance because a 'Return to Favor' (reconciliation) occurs by 'Trusting in Christ's sacrifice, NOT by coming clean in repentance. Nor can they logically hold anyone accountable for on-going sins since the payment was made in advance. How can they in right conscience make Salvation Conditional on sanctification and growth when they've already told the person Christ Paid in full for their sins on the Cross? In essence they can 'Sin on Credit' until their next confession, 1Jh1;9, because the 'cleansing blood is always there to make up the difference. The afterthought is therefore an anticipation of the 'supposed convert being Grateful enough for Christ's paying off his sin debt that he will 'try to sin less and obey more and always 'confess when he messes up. Although even the 'confession is moot because the sin account is paid in full and the Grace deposited will never run out. It all turns on what they believe man is capable (able) of doing in Response to God's Commands. If they believe he has a 'Fallen Nature or anything inbred into him that prevents him of performing virtuous acts, they MUST invent some sort of Scheme to 'off-set his malady so he can be 'Saved in spite of the inability to Stop sinning and obey God. And that's WHY they Preach Christ as Payment instead of Purging, received on condition of Trusting in His finished work, not producing deeds worthy of repentance.
The early Saints did not theorize about payments, substitutions and satisfactions because they saw Christ as their Example to follow in His foot-steps in Sincerity, purity and love. And they did not see God as a vengeful Judge who's Wrath had to be satisfied by Punishing His own Son, but as 'Not willing any perish but all come to repentance', as 'Mercy triumphs over Judgment', and His hand out stretched all day long. The retributive angle was invented by Roman Catholics after the year 1000AD in a time when on-going penance had replaced a once for all Repentance. God had to be 'appeased, so by re-crucifying Christ in the Mass, body, blood communion, wafer, eucharis (Transubstantiation) His Wrath is transferred to Jesus instead of you. Sadly the Protestants adopted this model to varying degrees and the rest is history. MOST people today who 'receive Jesus THINK He took their place on the Cross, Paid for their Sins and was Punished by God as their Substitute. The types and shadows application of OT Sacrifices never contained any aspect of Payment for sin and they were offered for Unintentional sins done in ignorance, NEVER Willful Sins. Only the Mercy of God can remit willful sin on condition of Repentance and faith proven by deeds. Christ's blood shed from the foundation of the world, Rev13:8 Justifies this Mercy.
Another huge Consideration is 'If one is paid for a debt then it cannot be freely forgiven under any circumstances. That is why there is no payment for sin. If someone Pays off your debt, why would there also be need of telling them they are forgiven of anything; the Debt is Paid in full, what remains to be remitted? The false sin payment error is based on the perceived assumption of appeasing God's wrath. However, rather than appeasing Gods wrath, the atoning blood of Christ justified the mercy and forgiveness that the Father always wanted to extend to those who should repent. Exodus 34:6-7 Gods name is mercy, forgiveness, longsuffering, gracious, and abundant in goodness and truth, to those who should repent, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, no Payments necessary! But Reconciliation cannot take place apart from Repentance, the Atoning blood of Christ allowed for the Father to justify His mercy, because the Blood Purges away the sin, guilt, shame of the past and gives us New life. Thereby Setting us FREE from bondage!
By Mike D