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August 29, 2000

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Q/A Topics:
Jesus became a 'sinner'?

QUESTION:
Recently I heard someone state that the Lord Jesus became a sinner. Scripture in 2Cor 5-21 does say He was made sin. This statement does not ring true and I would like your input

ANSWER:
Aaah! The importance of the 'exactitude' of -words- in God's Word. Notice that verse says that Jesus became "sin", not a "sinner". Big difference.

The word "sin" indicates a quantity, an act, a quality. Whereas a "sinner" is one who is characterized by, and -does- 'sin'. We often have considered the fact that man sins because he is a sinner. "In sin did my mother conceive me" (Ps51:5)

But recently we studied how Jesus was born sinless. That sinlessness resulted in "..although He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth" (Is53:9) But His bearing our sin occured as "the chastisement of our peace was -ON- Him...and Jehovah has laid -ON-HIM- the iniquity of us all." (Is53:5-6) Jesus was sinless, but the Father "laid" the world's sin upon him, as it says again, "..it pleased Jehovah TO CRUSH Him.." (vs10)

This was figuratively done every year in Israel when they selected two goats. This is in conjunction with the 'annual' atonement for Israel where the high priest would take blood into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle it. (Heb9:7,Lev16:34) Now, while we remember the blood sprinkled in the Holy of Holies, because the writer of Hebrews reminds us, that whole annual ritual also included the two goats. One of the goats was sacrificed. The other was a "scapegoat". (Lev16;8,10) [Or, "complete removal" -LITV] After all the ritual sacrifices and sprinklings were finished, the high priest would "..lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the sins of the sons of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send away by the hand of a chosen man into the wilderness." (vs21) And this person so-charged would take the goat and release him "far away" in the wilderness where there would be no chance of the goat returning...thus, signifying "As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Ps103:12)

So, when God "laid on Him the iniquity.." (Is53:6) it was fulfillment of what the high priest had ritualized all those years, laying his hands on the head of that 'scapegoat'. Putting Israel's sins on the goat...to take them away.

But Jesus, Himself, did not -BECOME- a "sinner". Much like a stainless steel container. Intrinsically it is, well... "stainless". Now, if things are left in such a container, and become rotten, the whole thing (container AND contents) become loathesome. A person does not typically smell the rottenness and think..."Oh, what a wonderful 'stainless' container". The whole thing is such as "NOR an appearance that we should desire Him". (Is53:2b)

Just as the "stainless" container remains -intrinsically- a "stainless" container, it -becomes- rotten by 'association' because of what has been 'placed' -into- it. But if the rotten things are removed, the container is cleaned back up again. And thus, too, with Jesus, "For You will not leave My soul in hell; You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption". (Ps16:10)

While it doesn't say so in ch16 of Leviticus, any such offerings in the O.T. had to be "without blemish". (Ex12:5, 29:1, Lev1:3,etc.) That 'scapegoat' we spoke of earlier had to be "without blemish". Which is why Peter refers to Jesus as "the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot". (1Pt1:19)

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Repentance: Wrong order? [Response to: "I AM - the Son:-Redeemer"]

Quote from the study in question: "All we can do is come to the foot of His cross in repentance and say "I am not worthy to be called your son" (Lk15:19) "I abhor myself and repent" (Job42:6) "God be merciful to me, the sinner" (Lk18:13). "

COMMENT:
However , this recognition of our abhorrence before God is the effect of having been regenerated , Ezekiel 36:31 , Romans 7:14-25 , it is not the means unto it.

ANSWER:
Ezek 36:31 is in the context of what God is going to do with Israel, as a -NATION-. A person should be careful about trying to apply Israel prophecies to the Church.

Rom7:14-25 is not even talking about "salvation", but of the struggle between the "mind" and the "flesh" as one who is -already- a Believer.

I notice you didn't substitute verses (for the ones I gave) that you think are the "means" to it. I can only guess at which set you might present, were you to do so. There's a lot of different ideas out there.

Since I see you are a relatively brand new subscriber I will recommend a visit to past studies at the website on this subject. Start at: "Only Believe?"

And then, follow the two links that chain-link from the bottom of it:

    -The Last Domino...what is Repentance?
    -What about the Reformers and 'Sola Fide'?
Just remember Jesus' words, "..if you do not repent, you will all perish in the same way." (Lk13:3,5) The message Jesus commanded to be preached is "..repentance and remission of sins.." (Lk24:47) While there are many people steeped in deception... "Truly, then, God overlooking the times of ignorance, now strictly commands all men everywhere to repent," (Ac 17:30) God does not 'purpose' any for destruction... BUT what? "...that all should come to repentance." (2Pet3:9b) When Paul reviewed/summarized to the pastorial delegation from Ephesus area the message he had been proclaiming, as he "kept back nothing", it was... "..repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts20:21)

EDITORIAL:
This person then sent a reply, with -many- verses to explain his point. All of them related to -Israel-... passages speaking of the "Israel of God", etc. I hope he won't mind if my reply to that note is tacked on here...

Again: there is a difference between God's workings with Israel, and His workings with Gentiles...the "Church". God "elected" Israel. (Is45:4, Rom9:11) Even though God brought Israel out of Egypt, most of them were in unbelief, and rejected. (1Cor10:5, Heb3:19) He wished for them to love Him with their -hearts-. (Deut5:29, Rom2:29) But He did not -force- them to believe.

Also notice that there is a difference between God's "election" of Israel as a -nation-, and the condition of -individual- hearts within Israel. "..not all those of Israel are Israel." (Rom9:6b) God elected the -nation- of Israel, Abraham's "seed". But that did not mean that all Israelites are Believers. Just like the "Church". Not everyone who calls himself a "Christian" is one. So, while God has been seeing to His -national- plan for Israel according to "election", in the O.T. He still pled with individuals. "Turn, turn (repent)..for why will you die..?" (Ezek33:11)

Now, please notice that the references we gave above about repentance: Acts17:30 is spoken to Gentiles, and is for "all men everywhere". 2Pet3:9 is written to those of "like precious faith with [Jews].." (1:1) In other words, Gentiles. Acts20:21 Paul was speaking to predominantly Gentiles.

You don't see in any of these where God 'forces' His salvation upon the unregenerate. He is always -pleading- with sinful man. He does not 'force' His Holy Spirit upon people. Remember that the "spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets". (1Cor14:32) This notion that God saves people first, and then they repent and believe is contrary to -any- examples we read of in the Scriptures.

However, there is yet a future 'mystery' that would seem to contradict this. And I would guess it is a misunderstanding of these 'prophecies' which cause confusion for some, as though these prophecies are for -us-, 'now'.

God is going to enact a "new covenant". It will be in "the days" that "come". They are yet future. God promises "I -will- cut a new covenant". With whom? "..with the house of Israel" (Jer31:31) This covenant is not like the old covenant, upon which the O.T. is based, and upon which all of God's pleas to Israel to "repent" are based. It says, "After those days..." (vs33) What days are those? That's an expression used throughout the O.T. to indicate the time at the end, when God's wrath is poured upon the world, in conjunction with His "purifying the sons of Levi" (Mal3:3) The time of "Jacob's trouble". (Jer30:7) This New Covenant God will "put..in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.." (Jer31:33)

The first covenant God wrote on tablets of stone, and then commanded, "Keep My commandments" (Lev22:31) as Israel had to be 'taught' the Law. Throughout the O.T. is recorded instances where Scribes would "teach" the Law to the people. But under the New Covenant this teaching will no longer be necessary, "for they shall all know Me". (vs34) And notice that it says that their iniquities and sins will be forgiven. In that context it does not say they they will "repent" in order to receive this forgiveness. For certain, they will "mourn". (Zech12:10-14) But even the getting rid of idolatry is something God is going to do. (Zech13:2)

This is yet -future-. In "that Day". But right now, according to the present covenant, we are called upon to "repent" and receive "remission of sins". (Lk24:47) This is at Jesus' command. As Paul proclaimed it in Acts20:21, the writer of Hebrews calls it the "foundation". "..repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God". (Heb6:1) Those who are condemned in the book of Revelation for not repenting are not those whom God first "saved", and now they are refusing to repent. (Rev9:20-21, 16:9,11, etc) Not hardly!

Of the first verse given, the following passage describes the picture -after- Israel's enemies have all been destroyed, and Israel is fully restored. "..in the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities.." (Ezek36:33) "And the nations that are left all around you shall know that I Jehovah build the ruined places...I Jehovah have spoken it, and I will do it. ...and they shall know that I am Jehovah." (vs36,38)

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'spiritual' death...not physical? [response to: "I AM -Resurrection & Life"]

COMMENT:
When Christ says that those who believe into him shall never die John 11:26, He is referring to spiritual death for He is speaking universally of all those who believe into him never dying , not just those who happen to be physically alive on Judgment Day.

ANSWER:
Sigh...! It never ceases to amaze me...!

If what you say is true, then Jesus contradicted Himself. If in vs26 Jesus is speaking of "spiritual" death, what was He talking about in vs25 when He says, "though he die"? Did Jesus switch horses in mid-stream? The -context- of the chapter is about Lazarus' -PHYSICAL- death. Lazarus has died, -physically-. Jesus now talks about -physical- resurrection, just like Job spoke of -physical- resurrection, after his physical body had become "corrupt" he knew that "in my -flesh- I shall see God" (Job19:26) And after He discusses with Martha, and a few more things happen, Jesus -PHYSICALLY- raises Lazarus from -physical- death.

Even logically speaking, why would Jesus suddenly take a verse to speak out-of-context? Does "die" mean two different things from vs25 to vs26? They both come from the same Greek word, "of the natural death of man".

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