Soteriology

Man, Sin, & Salvation
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Paidion
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Soteriology

Post by Paidion » Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:18 pm

I couldn't find "Soteriology" as a classification, and so I thought it best to enter this post under "Theology Proper."
An angel announced to Joseph that he was to call Mary's child "Jesus" (Saviour) for He would save His people from their sins. Notice that the angel didn't say that He would save His people from hell, but from their sins. It is necessary to be delivered from sin. My belief is that this is a life-long process (He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion in the day of Jesus Christ—Philippians 1:6)

Was the purpose of Jesus' death to allow Him to grant forgiveness of sins? How could that be? For if His death was necessary in order to grant forgiveness, how could He forgive people prior to His death. Here is one example:

And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, "Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven." And some of the scribes said to themselves, "This fellow blasphemes."

And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, "Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? "Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"—then He *said to the paralytic, "Get up, pick up your bed and go home." And he got up and went home. (Matt 9:2-7 NAS95)

The concept that Jesus' death was for the forgiveness of sins seems to be held in conjunction with the notion that salvation has no relation to our behaviour, whether good or bad, rather that it depends on faith in Christ, or results in the act of “accepting Christ as one's personal Saviour.” The implication is that such a person is then “saved from hell” and could spend the rest of his life being cruel to others—even raping and torturing to death women and girls, and still be acceptable to God because of his faith or acceptance of Christ. This implication, of course, is never actually stated by those who hold this belief. But they quote Ephesians 2:9

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Of course, salvation is not the result of self-effort, but it is significantly related to our life style.

What did Jesus teach about the result of good deeds and of evil deeds?

... an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28,28 ESV)


But didn't Paul teach concerning salvation, that works were of no avail? Not according to Romans 2:6-11 ESV
He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.

What Paul did teach in his letter to Titus, is that salvation results from the enabling grace of God to live righteously that Christ made available though His sacrifice on our behalf is appropriated by faith.

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sensible, righteous, and devout lives in the present age, expecting the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; encourage and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
(Titus 2:11-15
)

So salvation is the process of being saved from sin itself, and not merely being saved from hell.

Perhaps one of the reasons that many dismiss righteousness as unnecessary in order to be accepted by God, is the translation of “αφεσις΅ as “forgiveness” in relation to Christ's provision for man through His death on their behalf. The word occurs 16 times in the New Testament, and in 15 of those times virtually every translation renders the word as “forgiveness,” and 13 of those occur in the phrase “forgiveness of sins.” For example in Matthew where our Lord institutes the eucharist or communion, He said concerning the wine according to the ESV, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” And again in Ephesians 1:7 the ESV has Paul saying, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” But again, if it were necessary for Jesus to shed His blood in order to forgive, then how did He forgive people their sins prior to His death? Again, in Mark 2:5, it is recorded that Jesus said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." And in Luke 8:48, it is recorded that Jesus said to the woman who kissed His feet and wet them with her tears, "Your sins are forgiven."

Let's consider the one verse, Luke 4:18, that contains “αφεσις” in which it would be senseless to translate “αφεσις” as “forgiveness.” If we did it would read, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim forgiveness to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to send away in forgiveness those who are oppressed (broken in pieces, shattered)." Captives don't need forgiveness; they need deliverance from their bondage— release. Broken, oppressed people don't need forgiveness, they need deliverance from oppression.

I believe that the word “αφεσις” carries the meaning of “deliverance” in all 16 verses. Jesus didn't die in order to grant “forgiveness of sins” but to grant “deliverance from sins” or on our part “forsaking of sins.”

It is believed that the noun “αφεσις” is derived from the verb “αφιημι.” The latter word occurs 133 times in the New Testament. I checked out its meaning for the 40 times it is used in Matthew. I found that there seems to be three distinct meanings of the word:

“Allow” 9 times: 3:15, 5:40, 7:4, 8:22, 13:30, 15:14, 19:44, 22:25, 23:13

“Leave” or “forsake” 18 times: 4:4, 4:20, 4:22, 5:24, 8:15, 13:36, 15: 12, 19:27, 19:29, 19:14, 22:22, 23:23, 24:2, 24:40, 24:41, 26:44, 26:56, 27:50

“Forgive” 12 times: 6:12, 6:14, 6:15, 9:2, 9:5, 9:6, 12:31, 12:32, 18:21, 18:27, 18:32, 18:35

It seems be the case that since “αφιημι” sometimes means “forgive” that translators presumed that the derived word “αφεσις” sometimes or even usually means “forgiveness.”

I have seen no evidence that the word “αφεσις” ever means “forgiveness.” The word occurs twice in the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament—Number 36:4 and Deuteronomy 15:2. Clearly, it cannot be construed to mean “forgiveness” in either of those verses.

My general conclusion: Jesus lovingly died on our behalf to deliver us from our sins—not merely to forgive our sins. If the latter were the case, the implication is that righteous living is unnecessary in order to be acceptable to God.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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darinhouston
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Re: Soteriology

Post by darinhouston » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:06 pm

Moved to Soteriology


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Homer
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Re: Soteriology

Post by Homer » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:15 am

Hi Paidion,

You wrote:
Of course, salvation is not the result of self-effort, but it is significantly related to our life style.
You appear to make a distinction without a difference.

I think there are three general categories:

1. We are saved by grace, works are irrelevant.

2. We are saved by grace, works are evidentiary.

3. We are saved by grace combined with works.

Where do you place yourself? One of the three or some other?

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Paidion
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Re: Soteriology

Post by Paidion » Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:39 pm

I will answer that, Homer, if you first tell me what you believe it is from which we are saved. In other words, we are saved from what?
Paidion

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Homer
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Re: Soteriology

Post by Homer » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:28 am

Hi Paidion,

Quick answer: saved from sin and its consequence, the second death. Another question. How do you see justification and regeneration as regards to the atonement?

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Paidion
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Re: Soteriology

Post by Paidion » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:38 pm

1. We are saved by grace, works are irrelevant.

2. We are saved by grace, works are evidentiary.

3. We are saved by grace combined with works.
Hi Homer,
The angel announced to Joseph, "You shall call His name "Jesus" (Saviour) for He will save His people from their sins. The angel said nothing about saving them from the consequences of sin.

I disagree with all three views listed above. I believe we that through Christ's sacrifice on the cross, we are enabled by God's grace to live righteously and to overcome wrongdoing.

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sensible, righteous, and devout lives in the present age, expecting the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; encourage and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11-15)


How do we appropriate this enabling grace? We appropriate it through faith. Jesus died to provide this enabling grace, and by trusting Him to do so, it becomes a reality in our lives.

Many think “δικαιοσυνη,” The Greek word translated as “justification” to mean “being counted as righteous,” whether we are righteous or not. But the word often means “being made righteous.”

Working together [with Him], we entreat you not to accept the grace of God to no purpose. (2 Cor 6:1)

If we try to accept God's grace in our lives without allowing it to purify us, to render us righteous, then we are accepting it to no purpose.

We must coöperate with God's enabling grace. We alone cannot achieve consistent righteousness. And God alone will not cause us to be righteous. He respects our ability to choose too much for that. We must coöperate with God's enabling grace.

This coöperation with God is known as “synergy.” This English word comes from the Greek word “working together.” (συνεργουντες)

I will answer you other question a little later.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Re: Soteriology

Post by Paidion » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:26 pm

Rejoice, Homer! (That is the word the early Christians used to greet one another)
You wrote:How do you see justification and regeneration as regards to the atonement?
In this post, I'll address "justification."

The adjective "δικαιος" means "righteous." The NAS95 so translates it 65 times, and so the noun "δικαιοσυνη" means "righteousness." The NAS95 so translates it 88 times. I am not sure about the noun "δικαιωσις." It occurs in only 2 verses of the New Testament and is translated as "justification."

He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. (Romans 4:25 NAS95)

So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. (Romans 5:18 NAS95)


Lexicons say that the word means "acquittal" or "being declared free from guilt and acceptable to God."
However, I don't understand how Jesus could have been raised because of our acquittal. Nor do I understand how Jesus' one act of righteousness resulted in acquittal or being freed from guilt for all people. Also why is it called "acquittal of life"? Acquittal of life sounds like death.

Then there is one other Greek word (δικαιωμα) which is also translated as "justification." But it must mean something else or a different word would not have been used. The verse is:

The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. (Romans 5:16 NAS95)

I wonder whether the word "δικαιωμα" means "righteousification" (a newly coined word meaning "being made righteous").
For didn't the free gift of salvation result in the life-long process of overcoming sin and becoming righteous? And in that process are we not being made righteous? Not by force certainly, but as a result of God's enabling grace (Titus 2) by which we can grow in eschewing evil and becoming righteous throughout life.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Homer
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Re: Soteriology

Post by Homer » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:21 pm

Hi Paidion,

It seems logical that if your belief concerning Christ's atonement is correct (i.e. His death was for the purpose of enabling us to live righteously) then His sacrifice would be of no help, or benefit, to those who lived and died prior to his death. On the other hand, if His death was a substitutionary sacrifice for all who ever lived or will live, then a retroactive benefit would be easy to comprehend.

Consider:

Hebrews 9:15-26 (NASB)
15. For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.


This text plainly states that by the death of Christ a redemption was made for the transgressions of people under the first covenant; the Old Testament time or law age.

Also:

Hebrews 8:4-5 (NASB)
4. Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; 5. who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “See,” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.”


The gifts and sacrifices which the priests offered according to the law were examples and shadows of heavenly things. When God saw the blood of an animal sacrifice being offered for sin He considered this to be an example and shadow of heavenly things to come, a kind of installment payment, a kind of credit memorandum which will all be paid off when my Son goes to earth on His redemptive mission to make an atonement for all sin by the sacrifice of Himself and the pouring out of His blood.

The wages of sin is the second death. That God considered this death not actually taken care of by the ritual sacrifices of the old covenant, but only postponed until the cross, is affirmed by Paul:

Romans 3:25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
25. whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;


Do you see Christ's sacrifice to be of any benefit to those who died prior to the cross? If so please explain.

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Re: Soteriology

Post by Paidion » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:21 pm

Thank you, Homer, for your polite and thoughtful response. I think I understand what you are saying—the concept that Christ's death covers the sins that people committed while living under the Old Covenant.

However, it may be referring to the people to whom the writer was addressing, who lived under both the Old Covenant and the New. Consider the ESV translation:

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

Who is the "them" to which the writer refers. It may be all in that day who lived under both covenants. I think the writer may be saying that through Jesus sacrificial death, they could be delivered, under the New Covenant, from those very same kinds of transgressions which they committed under the first covenant—the very ones from which they could not be delivered by sacrificing of animals according to the Old Covenant.

You asked, "Do you see Christ's sacrifice to be of any benefit to those who died prior to the cross? If so please explain."

No, I don't see Christ's sacrifice as somehow acting retroactively.

The very reason Jesus died on behalf of people alive in His day, and all who lived thereafter, was to deliver them from their sins, so that they wouldn't continue in the same old ways. (I understand the committing of sins to refer to committing acts that harm other people or oneself). Under the first covenant, God's people sometimes committed very evil acts. For example David, who was said to be a man after God's own heart, saw Bathsheba (the wife of Uriah) bathing, desired her, and copulated with her. As a result of her pregnancy from this act, he tried to arrange things so that it would appear that Uriah was the father, but failing to do so, he arranged for Uriah to be put in the forefront of the army so that he would be killed. Thus David not only committed adultery but even worse—murder. If David had lived under the New Covenant, he might have received by faith the enabling grace of God (made available by Christ's sacrifice—Titus 2) and thus been enabled to overcome these temptations.

Of course, if one's concept of salvation from sins is just being forgiven, with no necessity for repentance (a change of heart and mind) then I suppose that under that thinking, it could be held logically, that they could be forgiven retroactively. Jesus forgave sins before He died. It is recorded that He said to several different people, "Your sins are forgiven." If His death were necessary for forgiveness, how could this be? I guess it could be the case, only if His death could somehow be applied to them prior to that death.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Homer
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Re: Soteriology

Post by Homer » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:36 pm

Hi Paidion,

Referring to my contention that Chist's sacrifice was efficacious you wrote:
However, it may be referring to the people to whom the writer was addressing, who lived under both the Old Covenant and the New. Consider the ESV translation:

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

Who is the "them" to which the writer refers. It may be all in that day who lived under both covenants. I think the writer may be saying that through Jesus sacrificial death, they could be delivered, under the New Covenant, from those very same kinds of transgressions which they committed under the first covenant—the very ones from which they could not be delivered by sacrificing of animals according to the Old Covenant.
It appears to be very unlikely the author of Hebrews (I suspect Paul was behind it, with Luke writing it) had in mind only those living "under both covenants". The context of Hebrews 9 goes back to Moses. And how could anyone have been under two covenants. I'm thinking the cross marked the end of the first and beginning of the second.

Also you wrote:
You asked, "Do you see Christ's sacrifice to be of any benefit to those who died prior to the cross? If so please explain."

No, I don't see Christ's sacrifice as somehow acting retroactively.
This is contradicted by a verse you quoted in your previous post regarding justification:
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. (Romans 5:18 NAS95)
The wider context:

Romans 5:6-15 (NASB)
6. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10. For if while 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 life. 11. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

12. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13. for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
15. But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.


So Adam was a type of Christ in that his sin affected all mankind, so Christ's sacrifice made salvation available to all mankind, from Adam until this day.

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