I received several comments on my post “7 Reasons Why Jesus Was NOT Sacrificed For Your Sins” but this one below was so specific and direct I really felt the need to respond.
Ironically, the rebuttal included 7 scriptures that appear to disprove my thesis that Jesus was NOT sacrificed for your sins.
So, here’s the comment:
Keith says: “Jesus Was NOT Sacrificed For Your Sins”
The New Testament says:
- “Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood” (Romans 3:25)
- “For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)
- “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2)
- “But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26)
- “Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:12)
- “Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:2)
- “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
Seems like a slam-dunk doesn’t it?
Let’s take these one at a time, shall we?
“Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood” (Romans 3:25)
First of all, this is a bad translation of the text. Romans 3:25 is more accurately translated as:
“Whom God set forth as a place of atonement [ilasterion] through faith in his blood, as a demonstration of his justice through the dismissal of past sins.” [DBH, New Testament Translation]
Note: “Technically the term translated ‘atonement’ here [ilasterion] is a word that can mean “expiation” or “expiatory” but in the standard Greek rendering of the Hebrew scriptures it had the special meaning of “mercy seat” which referred to the Ark of the Covenant.” [See DBH New Testament translation; commentary on Romans 3:25]
In other words: Christ was the “mercy seat” of God which is not about sacrifice but about simply “…a demonstration of His justice through the dismissal of our sins.”
“For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)
Frankly, this verse does nothing to alter the arguments I’ve presented in my previous articles.
Does Paul use the metaphor of Christ as Passover lamb? Yes. But, as we’ve seen numerous times, God did not require a sacrifice to forgive. God did not want a sacrifice.
Christ came to do God’s will and that will did NOT include a sacrifice.[See Hebrews 8-10 and this article “7 Examples Where God Forgives Sins Without Bloodshed”]
“Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2)
Yes, and once more let me emphasize that the offering Jesus made was of his life – his living self – in the incarnation. The “sacrifice” Jesus made was to step down from Heaven to humble himself and become a man like one of us. [See Phil. 2]
By the way, this mirrors the same sort of “living sacrifice” we are also called to emulate. [See Romans 12].
Our sacrifice – like the sacrifice of Jesus – is about our life, here and now. It’s not about laying down on an altar so a priest can cut us open or bleed us out so God can be appeased. That’s paganism. God does not require a virgin sacrifice. He loves us already. He forgives automatically. Why? Because God is love. This is what love does. It loves. It forgives. Always.[For more on this, please read “How Christians Embraced Virgin Sacrifice”]
“But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26)
I honestly don’t know how to make this any more clear or plain.
Just please go and read Hebrews chapter 8 through chapter 10. Make a list on a piece of paper that says “Old Covenant” on the left side and “New Covenant” on the right side. As you read, stop and make note of what the author of Hebrews has to say about the Old Covenant and the New Covenant on your list. This should help you to see and understand in what way this book intends to teach us the differences between the old, fading and obsolete Old Covenant and the new, perfect, everlasting and Christ-infused New Covenant.
If you do this, you’ll read that verse just above and see without any trouble exactly how and in what ways Christ “appeared…to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
Again, Hebrews is clear that God’s will was not for sacrifices. God did not desire them or require them. [See Hebrews 10]. What Jesus did was to offer a pleasing sacrifice of living obedience to God which extended all the way to the point of death on a cross which we [human kind] fashioned for him in our sinfulness. How did Jesus respond to that? With forgiveness.
The living sacrifice of obedience was the sacrifice God required. Not the shedding of innocent blood on an altar or a cross. [Please read Hebrews to see for yourself].[For more on the Old Covenant/New Covenant Compare and Contrast see this article HERE]
“Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:12)
I could just say [ditto] here since this is also from Hebrews. First, understand what the author of Hebrews is saying. Then, you’ll understand what verses like this really mean.
“Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:2)
My friend failed to quote this entire verse, so let’s do that first:
“And he is an atonement for our sins, and not only for ours, but for those of the whole cosmos.” [DBH New Testament Translation]
Wow. That’s a bit different. Notice, no actual use of the term “sacrifice” here. Also notice, an affirmation that Christ’s atonement [i.e. “mercy seat” forgiveness] is not only for us, but for the sins of the entire world.
Do I need to say more?
“In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
Once again, the accuracy of the Greek is helpful here. This text is better and more accurately translated as:
“Herein is love: not that we loved God, but rather that God loved us and sent his Son as an atonement [mercy seat forgiveness] for our sins.” [DBH, New Testament Translation]
Again, the word “sacrifice” is not used here. Simply the word for “atonement” which is about the Mercy Seat of God where all our sins are dismissed.
I realize that there are many who will never accept my answers no matter what I say or how many scriptures I reference.
So be it.
I am not interested in changing the minds of those who are already convinced that God is one who demands blood sacrifice in order to love and forgive His children.
That God is closer to Molech or Baal than to the “Abba” Father revealed to us by Christ and in the person of Jesus.
As for me and my house, we will serve the God who doesn’t require a virgin sacrifice to extend love, mercy and grace to us.
Your mileage may vary.
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Keith Giles and his wife, Wendy, work with Peace Catalyst International to help build relationships between Christians and Muslims in El Paso, TX. Keith was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church over a decade ago to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today he is the author of several best-selling books, including “Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment” which is available now on Amazon.