It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


NTS For he shall save his people from their sins

page: 1

log in


posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 05:02 PM
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew ch1 v21).

That is the whole point, of course.
Otherwise this birth would have been no more special than any other birth.

The message of the New Testament centres upon what God achieved in Christ, through his death on the Cross and his Resurrection..
All this was happening “on account of our sins”, for the sake of doing something about them.
And the promised result is the forgiveness of sin.

A few years back, one of my Index threads was considering the question Does the Old Testament have a remedy for sin?.
Of course this was an example of what my Latin teacher used to call “questions expecting the answer No”.
The gospel claims to succeed where the Old Testament failed, which calls for the question to be re-examined.

We must begin with some view on the nature of sin, because that determines how the matter can be remedied.
My theory of sin, as presented on previous occasions, defines it as a relationship problem.
Humanity has taken itself out of alignment with God’s will, a misalignment which undermines our relation with the God who made us.
The only kind of offering he ever wanted from us was a self-offering, but we hold ourselves back in disobedience.
I have also suggested that the roots of our disobedience and self-will lie in our distrust, constraining us, and disposing us to keep something back.

The Old Testament offers a code of law which (rather imperfectly) represents God’s will for our conduct. Since even God’s people were failing to live up to that standard, the problem was not resolved.
The ritual procedures described in the Old Testament respond to the problem of sin by offering dramatized metaphors. Sin is a stain which needs to be washed away, a burden which need to be carried away, something which needs to be covered up.
Their value lies in reminding the people that the state of sin needs to be remedied, and in acting out the assurance that it can be remedied.
But they are not, in themselves, tackling the reality of sin.

The ideal remedy would be a complete change of life, renewing obedience through repentance, and offering ourselves to God in trust.
However, the history of repeated failure seems to show that we cannot make that commitment in our own strength.
It would be impossible to make progress without further intervention from God.
His possible options appear to be ignoring the fact that the work has not been done, or finding a way to do it for us.
In other words, forgiveness or transformation. “Turn your face away from our sins” or “Heal us from them”, as the Psalmist used to plead.

The message of the New Testament is about the way these needs have been fulfilled.

Christ has done what God wants

I’ve argued that the most basic requirement is the self-offering in obedience, the only kind of offering that God ever wanted.
The teaching is that Christ met this requirement in his own person. He made the whole of his life, up to and including the point of death, an offering of himself to the Father.
Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God
So far, so good.
The next task is to bring the rest of us into that achievement.

We are in Christ

Another version of this requirement is the self-offering in faith, committing ourselves to God in trust.
That is exactly what the teaching of the gospel demands from us.
Our contribution to the outcome is our faith; that is, our willingness to rest, in trust, upon what Christ has done.
Our trust combines with his obedience to add up to the required “obedience in trust”.
Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved

This faith needs to be expressed in repentance, in turning ourselves back to God.
Repent and be baptised.

In our faith and repentance, we have received the Holy Spirit.
If the Spirit of God dwells in you.

In our faith we have received the Holy Spirit, and the receiving of the Holy Spirit brings us into union with Christ.
If anyone is in Christ

And once we are “in Christ”, we become part of what Christ has done.
Thus Christ was crucified. Therefore, as Paul says, we have been “crucified with Christ”. Because we are “in Christ”, he carries us along with him into his crucifixion.
Again, Christ was raised from the dead. Therefore, as Paul says, we have been “raised with Christ”. Because we are “in Christ”, he carries us along with him into his resurrection.
You were baptised into the death of Christ

We have done what God wants

This heading follows logically from the combination of the previous two headings.

Just to recap;
1 ) Christ made a complete self-offering which fulfilled all that God required.
2 ) But if we are “in Christ”, we have done everything that Christ has done. He carries us along with him into his act of self-offering.
3 ) Therefore we have, in Christ, made a complete self-offering which fulfils all that God requires.
Thus we have reversed the ”original” human fault, and the problem of sin has been resolved.

Putting it another way;
1 ) Christ is in full and unbroken union with the Father, not alienated by sin.
2 ) But if we are in full and unbroken union with Christ…
3 ) Then we too are in full and unbroken union with the Father, not alienated
by sin.
We are aligned with God’s will, because we are aligned with Christ, who is aligned with God’s will.
Thus the problem of the broken relationship has been resolved.

We are told that “God was in Christ” doing these things.
Since Christ has done the work, and we are in Christ, God “turns his face away from” the fact that we have not done it ourselves. That is the promised forgiveness.
Being “healed from our sins” is part of the transformation of life which the New Testament is expecting from believers (and which will need to be considered on other occasions).
There is a promise that this transformation will be completed in the resurrection.

This, then, is the purpose of the New Testament.
To demonstrate that Christ is offering, decisively, the remedy for sin.

edit on 21-12-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 05:03 PM
Obviously this is not the standard explanation of what is called “substitutionary atonement”, though I believe it is a valid (and perhaps more comprehensible) understanding of New Testament teaching. I think of it as “inclusive atonement”.

I was a little concerned about this difference, because complete novelty is usually a bad sign in Biblical theology. It implies that somebody is wandering off on the wrong track.
On further study, though, it seems likely that I’ve simply rediscovered the approach of Irenaeus.
I was also encouraged by finding this quotation in William Law;

“To have a true idea of Christianity, we must not consider our blessed Lord as suffering in our stead, but as our representative, acting in our name, and with such particular merit, as to make our joining with him acceptable to God.
He suffered and was a sacrifice, to make our sufferings and sacrifice of our selves to be received by God. And we are to suffer, to be crucified, to die, and to rise with Christ, or else his crucifixion, death and resurrection will profit us nothing”. [“Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life”, chapter XVII]

posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 05:04 PM
A few decades back, I passed through a graduation ceremony, having gained a qualification in Theology.
After the event, the various new graduates and their families adjourned to the nearest open space and began taking photographs.
A few uniformed schoolgirls swirled round among them, asking questions about their lives and courses. My mother, being a teacher herself, guessed that they had been told to do this.
Some of them were swirling around me. My mother’s camera was still clicking, so I’ve got the pictures to prove it.
Once I’d explained about the course, I overheard one girl saying to another; “Go on, let’s ask him.” So they asked me.
Would I agree that the Christians got their God from the Jews?
I did agree with that proposition. I suggested, though, that the Jewish understanding of their God might be incomplete, if they did not appreciate what he had been doing in Christ.
(There may somewhere be a Jewish lady who still recalls that scene.)

Their question is one aspect of an old debate about the relation between the Christian faith and the Jewish and Muslim systems, and I think I would still give the same answer.

I believe the relation may be summarised like this;
Moses offered a code of law.
Mohammed offered a code of law.
In both cases, the code was representing God’s will imperfectly, getting entangled with human customs and traditions.
But the judgement of the New Testament is that codes of law, as such, do not do the job.
They do not succeed in dealing with sin.
That judgement applies equally to both systems.

The essence of the New Testament is that the work of Christ, the obedience to the point of death, does provide an effective remedy for sin.
That is why the Christian faith, as I observed at the beginning of the series, must be founded upon what Jesus did.
Whereas Jews and Muslims are not prepared to recognise him as anything more than teacher or prophet, focussing entirely on what he said.

So the difference mark of the Christian faith is the final and sufficient accomplishment of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Christ.

edit on 21-12-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 21 2018 @ 10:40 PM
I think of it this way:

Mohammad and Moses are about the letter of the law, the tangible reality of it. Christ is more about the spirit of the law and the intuitive understanding of it.

You can live both versions of the law, but only with one is it a holistic part of you.

posted on Dec, 22 2018 @ 01:02 AM
the moral of the christian god is...

DO NOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your crimes, place them on the head of an innocent person.

if your kid makes a mistake, but another kid is willing to take the fall, would you let your kid do it? is it right for an innocent to take the punishment for a crime they didnt commit to let your kid off scot free?

or do you want you kid to be responsible for their actions and take the punishment?

are you responsible for you crimes, or do you scape goat?

once path has honor, the other is being a coward.

posted on Dec, 22 2018 @ 03:18 AM
a reply to: stormson
We don't "place them" on him. The point is that he volunteered, and took them.

posted on Dec, 22 2018 @ 08:48 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Right on. Its nice to hear the truth on this site. Keep it up.

posted on Dec, 22 2018 @ 08:51 AM
a reply to: Toolman18
Thank you. The series isn't over yet, because there are threads to come on Christian life.

posted on Dec, 22 2018 @ 09:51 AM
a reply to: stormson

Part of repentance and forgiveness is knowing acutely that you did things wrong and are at fault, responsible.

To me, it's the lesson of the thieves hanging with Jesus during the Crucifixion. The one acknowledges that they have done horrible things and deserve what they are getting, but that Christ is blameless before he asks that Jesus remember him in Heaven. That thief is saved.

posted on Jan, 6 2019 @ 02:40 PM
Moving on to the Christian lfe, the immediate sequel to this thread is Live a life worthy of the calling
edit on 6-1-2019 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 13 2019 @ 11:12 AM
The most recent thread in this series is Called to be saints

posted on Jan, 20 2019 @ 01:53 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI
The most recent thread in this series is now All one in Christ Jesus

new topics

top topics


log in