Saturday, December 03, 2022

God Desired a Sacrifice for Sins

There are some who say that God didn't need or desire Christ's sacrifice for sins. Even though there aren't too many who believe that, it's still worth addressing. They say that it was men, not God, who desired some form of a sacrifice for sins, and so Jesus obliged by going to the Cross - just to "show" us God's love. They say God didn't call for the sacrifice Himself, and in fact did not desire it at all. They say the Cross was not necessary, but God did it to satisfy man's thirst for blood.

Ridiculous, right? This line of thinking, just like most universalist and inclusionist thinking, comes from a handful of Bible verses that are each taken completely out of context.

One of these verses is Romans 5:8, which says that "God demonstrates (shows) His love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." See, Christ's death was just a matter of God "showing" or "demonstrating" His love, that's all. But read on to the next verse, and we see, "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (vs 9). "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 life" (vs 10).

Much more happened through Christ's sacrifice than a mere showing of God's love. We were justified, and saved from wrath.

Another passage that is used to build this line of thinking is found in Hebrews 10:5-10. Here are the words that are blatantly ripped out of context: Verse 5 says, "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire." Verse 6 goes on to say, "In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure." And Verse 8 says, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, not had pleasure in them."

Makes a solid case that God didn't want Jesus' sacrifice for sins, right? Not so fast. The last verse above, Verse 8, goes on to say, "WHICH ARE OFFERED ACCORDING TO THE LAW." The sacrifices and offerings for sin that God did not desire were the ANIMAL sacrifices that were offered according to the LAW. They conveniently leave that part out, and to top it off, they leave out some other very important parts of that passage:

Verse 7: "Then I [Jesus] said, 'Behold, I have come - In the volume of the book it is written of Me - To do YOUR WILL, O God.'" The beginning of the chapter shows how the animal sacrifices could never make anyone pure, or remove their consciousness of sin, but only provided a reminder of sins. They could not take away sins. So those were not God's will or desire.

But CHRIST came to do His will, as we see if we complete Verse 5 (rather than taking it out of context) - "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME." Jesus offered His own body as the sacrifice for sins, which was God's will. Verse 10: "By that will we have been sanctified through the OFFERING of the BODY OF JESUS once for all." Verse 14: "For by ONE OFFERING He has perfected forever those who are sanctified."

There are some slick talkers out there who will try to convince you that everyone has always been OK, and there was never a need for the Cross or the shed blood of Jesus. There are a handful of scriptures that might seem to make that case --- if not for the MYRIADS of other scriptures that show us what was accomplished through His blood!

One more verse to look at, for now. Colossians 1:21 says, "You, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh..."

They highlight the phrase "IN YOUR MIND," as if to say that it was all in our minds. We weren't actual enemies of God. "We just thought so." Several things to point out here. For one, if it was only in our minds, then why would we need to be reconciled!? We wouldn't need reconciliation. We would just need a mind adjustment. And then, just keep on reading: "...He has now reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight - IF indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard..."

They had heard this message, which Paul goes on to say "was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister," and they had a choice of whether or not to "continue" (remain, abide, stay) with the truth of the message, or to reject it. The point is that there is a big "IF" regarding being holy, blameless and above reproach," and that it wasn't already true, and merely needed a shift in the mind to "realize" it or "awaken" to it.

I'll also point out that in versions such as the ESV, it's worded like this: "And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled..." I think this brings out what Paul is really saying. He's not saying that they were enemies only in their minds, but rather than in their minds they were hostile (toward God) and did evil things.

A bit long here, not for everyone. 😃 But if you've made it this far then hopefully that means this interests you as it does me.

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