atonement/justice and forgiveness

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Helen, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. Helen

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    I just finished reading this story
    http://www.cnn.com/2007/LAW/02/25/forgive.ap/index.html

    I think it makes exceptionally clear the difference between justice and forgiveness.

    Which helps us to understand that while all sins have been atoned for by Christ, and all justice served, not all are or will be forgiven.
     
  2. dwmoeller1

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    If justice is served, why then do people still go to hell?

    And if one is going to answer "Because they choose to.", please explain how this answer fits the people described in Matt 7 who were clearly unwilling to go to hell and wanted to enter heaven.
     
    #2 dwmoeller1, Feb 25, 2007
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  3. Helen

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    John 3:16 + answers you. They go for refusing to believe on Christ. He paid for their sins. If they refuse that gift, then they do indeed die IN their sins, but they don't go to hell because of them; they go because they refused God's salvation through Christ. The only destination if one refuses heaven is hell.
     
  4. Jarthur001

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    Yes…good point. I enjoy your post DW. Keep up the good work

    What I do not understand, why are we are now going to CNN for theology definitions?
     
    #4 Jarthur001, Feb 25, 2007
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  5. Helen

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    Not definitions. I have done those already here, straight from the Bible on these two things. But I thought that the story provided a very good EXAMPLE.

    Jesus used examples from real life, too, right?
     
  6. Jarthur001

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    Is rejecting Christ is Lord and God, a sin?
     
  7. Helen

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    Absolutely. And it was atoned for, but it will never be forgiven if it remains that person's choice.

    Atonement is justice. Christ satisfied all justice eternally. No insult/sin is left before God for eternity.

    However, there are sinners who will not be there. Some of us have accepted Christ's gift of salvation and truth.

    Others have rejected. So while God's justice is satisfied nevertheless, their refusal to believe condemns them eternally.
     
  8. russell55

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    It is impossible for both halves of this statement to be true because they are contradictory. If their refusal to believe condemns them, then their unbelief is grounds for condemnation. Yet, if God's justice is satisfied, there is no longer any grounds for condemnation. You can't have it both ways.
     
  9. dwmoeller1

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    Why would they need salvation if their sins are paid for? What do they have to be saved from if justice is already served?

    Why? Why not simply some place that is not heaven but not hell? After all, hell was created for Satan and his demons.

    It seems you are saying hell is a place of vengence, not justice.
     
  10. dwmoeller1

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    If justice is paid then why would it really matter if forgiveness takes place? After all, a person who's crime has been paid for doesn't go to jail simply because of their not being forgiven. And vice versa, a person doesn't avoid paying for their crime even if the victim forgives them.

    Then what prevents them from entering heaven? God's justice has been satisfied but they can't come to heaven simply because He won't forgive them?

    Why do we need salvation if our sins are paid for?

    What are they condemned for if their sins have been paid? Unbelief? Nope it can't be that, because that sin has been paid for as well.
     
  11. Helen

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    russell55, in Hebrews 2 we read that Christ tasted death for all men. Later in Hebrews we read that He was the one sacrifice for all. However in John 3, we read that men are condemned for their unbelief. All I did was put those two together. Justice was served, but men are still allowed to refuse it and harden their hearts against the truth. Romans 1 tells us this is why God's wrath is poured out on them, and then the RESULT of that is their lives of sin and degradation. If Christ DID taste death for ALL men, which Hebrews says He did, and if He was the one sacrifice for ALL, which Hebrews also says, then ALL men CAN go to heaven. But obviously all don't. Christ cleared the way where justice is concerned, but the fact is that many choose the wider gate, and that one does not go to heaven. It is the choice people make to depend on themselves or on anything other than Christ which is what condemns them; their sins are simply the working out result of that choice once they have chosen. Of course there are sins which all people commit because they are sinners, but the lives of horror and degradation which is referred to at the end of Romans 1 and other places in the Bible are the result of that choice.

    dwmoeller1, responding to your responses one at a time:

    1. Payment for sins is not the same as the personal relationship involved in forgiveness. Payment for sins paved the way for those who choose the truth to be led to Christ and thus saved, but paving the way does not guarantee the person will make the trip, only that he can if that is what he wants. Without Christ that trip would have been impossible regardless of anyone's desire.

    2. Why hell? There are two possibilities after our life on earth: with God or not with God; knowing Him or not (ref. John 17:3). God is the source of life, love, joy, fellowship, and all the things we long for. Not being with God is therefore to be ignored, to be totally lacking in joy, to have no fellowship, etc. And yet, still to long for them, I suppose. However it works out, being apart from God is hell. It's not a matter of vengeance. It's a matter of choosing to reject God and getting the consequences.

    3. Why forgiveness if justice has been served? Justice is a balancing of the scales. Justice makes sure no insult is left against God. It has nothing to do with our personal relationship with Him. Forgiveness, however, is deeply personal and part of the relationship of the believer with God Himself. It is a false comparison to think of jail like hell. Jail is part of our justice system and Christ did that part for us. He accepted the wages of death -- or so the Bible says...

    But Jesus tells us in John 17 that eternal life is knowing the Father and the Son. This would not be intellectual acknowledgement, but knowing in the much deeper sense which is represented here on earth by the marriage/sexual relationship.

    4. What prevents anyone from entering heaven? The fact that he chose to reject Christ. The Bible is extremely clear about that.

    5. Why do we need salvation if our sins are paid for? Because we are still sinners! We need to be holy, set aside for God Himself. It is not our deeds we are saved from in the long run, but we are saved from ourselves, dying with Christ as Paul says in Romans 6 -- baptized/immersed into His death. That is why it is called born again. We receive a new life within us and the Holy Spirit then begins the process of transforming each of us who are believers into the image of Christ Himself, so that we might reflect Him truly. The payment for sins simply paves the way for this. It does not accomplish it. The new birth is essential because of our own sin natures which we need to be rescued from.

    6. Yes, the Bible is clear that people are condemned for their unbelief. It has nothing to do with the fact that the sin itself has been paid for and the insult of that sin is not left hanging with justice lacking for all eternity! Justice serves God; it only paves the way for us. Mercy serves us, for those who will accept it...and Him. Thus, while God is satisfied according to justice, there is still the necessity of a person's response to this and that response is what will determine heaven or hell for that person.

    At least that is what the Bible says.
     
    #11 Helen, Feb 25, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2007
  12. russell55

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    Helen,

    Let me make my point another way, because your response to me makes me think I didn't express the point I was making well enough. Can I ask you this?

    What is the grounds for the condemnation of those who don't believe?
     
  13. Helen

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    John 3:18 -- "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."

    John 10:24 -- "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."

    There are a lot of other verses in the Bible that answer your question. Unbelief is its own condemnation. No other grounds are needed. Refusing the gift of life means you are choosing death. Refusing salvation means you are choosing condemnation.
     
  14. russell55

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    So would I be understanding you correctly to say that unbelief is the grounds for the condemnation of the unbeliever?

    And one more question: What do you mean when you say "justice is satisfied"?
     
  15. Helen

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    It doesn't matter what I say. That's what the Bible says.

    Paul tells us in Romans that the wages of sin is death. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that Christ Jesus tasted death for every man. That satisfies those wages. The scale is cleared. Justice was served.
     
  16. russell55

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    Okay, I just wanted to make sure I understood correctly. So it's not misrepresenting your argument to say the unbelievers are condemned on the grounds of their unbelief. In other words, they merit death on the grounds of their unbelief.

    So if the scale is cleared, and their wages are satisfied, does that mean that they no longer merit death? That there is no longer grounds for their death?
     
  17. Helen

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    If you owed a man a million dollars, and I paid it for you, the debt is paid. However if you refused that gift and chose to try to repay that money, that's up to you.

    That's not a terrific example, but it should serve. It's not a matter of MERITING death. It's a matter of choosing it.
     
  18. Helen

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    Maybe this will help:

    if you choose against the truth, you choose to lie
    if you choose against life, you choose death
    if you choose against Christ, you choose hell

    Some things are, simply logically, A/non-A propositions. There is no meriting or non-meriting in choices. There are consequences, however.
     
  19. Rippon

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    An atonement for all , but it doesn't atone for all . Christ paid for everyone's sins , but He didn't really pay for everyone's sins . I would say that is nonsense .
     
  20. Helen

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    Rippon, what part of Christ tasting death for all and being the one sacrifice for all don't you understand?
     

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