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Love and Good Works Save Sinners,

Not the Sacrifice of Jesus

by Dan Allen..............................................................

The Gospels in the New Testament tout "Jesus crucifixion" as the "ultimate sacrifice" to "wash away" the sins of the believer.

Yet, then as now, as was already pointed out in, "Jesus' Sacrifice Does Not Save Sinners-NT Evidence and Daily Practice", neither believer nor nonbeliever are truly convinced of the atoning power of Jesusí sacrifice.

A simple reason for this is the idea of Jesus' "saving grace" in the Gospels and Paulís ideas flouts the ethics of God, Jesus, and the secular person.

Why canít sinners, as Paul declares get "redemption through Jesusí blood, even the forgiveness of sins?"1

Why is Jesus not what John the Baptist calls him, "the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world?"2

The reason is the New Testament fails to grapple with the inherent value of life in Jesusí unethical sacrifice in the Christian Bible:
  • A just God of love cannot allow the murder of his son.

It is impossible for God to "bloody his hands" by silently watching the murder of any of his earthly sons, or his own son as the NT puts it. Thus, "when I freed your fathers from the land of Egypt, I did not speak with them nor command them concerning burnt offering or sacrifice." 3 Hence "Let justice roll down like water and righteousness like a perennial stream." 4

Quite obviously, Jesus himself was referring to all the ethical commandments, including, his sacrifice/murder when he declares:

"Not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the Kingdom of heaven." 5

 

Jesusí ethics, consequently, are themselves based on good works.
The Sacrifice of Isaac c. 1607 Oil on canvas, 175,5 x 132,2 cm Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence
The Sacrifice of Isaac

Cigoli, c. 1607

The Lord tests Abraham's faith in the Jewish Bible. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Just as Abraham is about to slit Isaac's throat, an angel of God miraculously appears to stop him from this sacrificial act of murder.

In like fashion, God, blocks, the sacrifice of Jesus, a sacrifice alien to the idea of a compassionate, ever-loving, and merciful God.

Both the laws of ethical humanism and the God of the Jewish Bible are quiet explicit about any murder, worst of all, a sacrificial murder.

Anybody, under, the laws of the civilized world who commits such an act will be summarily declared insane or sentenced to death.

A just God of love simply cannot allow, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, & Paulís misguided sacrifice of Jesus. It is impossible for God to "bloody his hands" by silently watching or participating in a human sacrifice or as the New Testament preaches the murder of his son

Examples against this are plentiful in the Jewish Bible: "When I freed your fathers from the land of Egypt , I did not speak with them nor command them concerning burnt offering or sacrifice." (Jeremiah 7:22) .See also 1 Samuel 15:22-23; Isaiah 1:11-13; Hosea 6:6. Hence "Let Justice roll down like water and righteousness like a perennial stream." (Amos 5:22-25)

ďIn whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sinsĒ Paulís declaration in (Colossians 1, 14) is  thus, a gross moral wrong. God does not have to murder anyone in order to save us from our sins. This is a direct contradiction of Godís Ten Commandments.

Every man is responsible for his own sins. Payment for sins is best performed with good deeds rather than sacrifice. One becomes one with God and reconciles with his fellows, only after correcting what’s wrong, and seeking the good will of the injured party.  This is the only proper education for one who loves God and wants, according to Christian values, to be truly born again.


-2-

  • Second, all ethics are a substitution of morals for rituals.

The moral precondition of "washing away" sins is to pay for sins committed against one’s fellows.

"If anyone sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord, and deal falsely with his neighbor in a matter of deposit, or of pledge, or of robbery, or have oppressed his neighbour, or have found that which was lost, and deal falsely therein, and swear to a lie; in, any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein; then it shall be if he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took by robbery, or the thing which he hath gotten by oppression, or the deposit which was deposited with him, or the lost thing which he hath found, or anything about which he hath sworn falsely, he shall restore it in full, and shall add to the fifth part more thereto; unto him to whom it appertained shall he give it, in the day of his being guilty." 6

This pay back for sins with love and  good works runs in direct conflict with Paul’s:

"For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourself: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast..."
7

God’s "saving grace" for sinners is best summarized and spiritually attained in the Jewish fast day of Yom Kippur, in this passage in the Jewish Bible:

"...The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and upon the childrenís children unto the third and fourth generation." 8



The Return of the Prodigal Son, ©1667/1670
Bartolomť Esteban Murillo

A son wastes his inheritance with sinful living. After a famine, the son finally comes to his senses. He sees no one will give him anything. Rather than starve, the son confesses his sins to his father and asks to work as a hired hand.

"Fetch quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet . . . and let us eat and make merry because this my son was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost and now is found,Ē the father declares compassionately.

Forgiveness is immediate and superficial, in this story of the prodigal son;  a story Luke puts in the mouth of a very unJewish Jesus  not steeped in the values of his culture ( Luke 15:11-32 )

The father does not wait for any normal decent requisite period for the sinful son to show a sincere change of behavior, required in any act of repentance. Nor does anything in the story indicate the ďsinful sonĒ engaged in any acts of recompense to any injured party, acts of charity, or any voluntary self-imposed act of contrition, Jesus was clearly used to in the society he grew up in.

ďAll these years Iíve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders, Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends,Ē the dutiful son, declares in righteous indignation, in a refusal to enter the house. ďBut when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him.Ē

A murder/sacrifice of Jesus in like fashion cannot buy any sinnerís way into heaven or in civil society with a magic wand. All acts of repentance must be preceded with righteous works.


-3-

A secular ethical version of this kind of saving grace is also attainable in manís relations to his fellows.

The non-religious humanist subscribes to the attributes of God in the above passage in the Bible as a lofty but poetic example for man to follow.

This kind of ethical precept does not absolve one of all sins, regardless of their gravity. The object of the moral ruling is to metaphorically be a thousand times more merciful than just.

  • A "repentant sinner" attains grace when God or man balances the scales of justice on the side of mercy.

This does not mean, as Paul thinks, everyone should escape justice with a mere belief in Jesus. James, the brother of Jesus, probably best understood what Jesus meant, as he interpreted in the way of the Jewish Bible. Realistically, this means: be just with mercy in your heart! Understand how it feels to walk in other peopleís shoes! Then, execute judgment!   Good works, in other words, are balanced on the scales of justice to the side of mercy.

True, we are all sinners!

"Enter not into judgment with your servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified." 9 Also," If they sin against Thee-for there is no man that sinneth not." 10 


- 4 -

But there are many different levels of sins. These range from light, easily pardonable sins to unforgivable sins. "We are all sinners" does not mean all sins are the same.

A non-intentional "innocent sin," made in "error," for example, can be easily forgiven.

Others, like murder and robbery need an entirely different set of laws. A belief in Jesus or a "mass" cannot "wash away" such sins.


Sins like murder, in particular are just beyond the pale of forgiveness. Because " the victim is irreplaceable and the damage to the victimís family incalculable, " the murderer must be put to death.

Mercy may demand a suspension of the death penalty in certain very special cases. Such cases arise when the murderer is a victim of a broken home, improper socialization, and a history of parental and societal abuse.

It is improper to damage the murdererís mind and body in such a case. If chances for rehabilitation are exceptional, conflicting social priorities, and the high cost for "cure" of the murderer are not too heavy, effort must be made to cure this kind of murderer. If the murderer proves over a long period of time to be a loving and caring individual, punishment may cease, and the murderer moved to a socially productive institution and better living quarters.

Otherwise, the release of even a model, seriously reformed murderer constitutes "faulty morals." People may not want to take the chance of en ex-murderer living amongst them. No "saving grace," can ever replace the victim, the harm done to the victimís family, or the possibility the murderer "may snap" and go on a rampage again.


-5-

A murderer must not be granted safe harbor to a church to escape justice.  If the church does so, it is a violation of good works, love for the society we live in, or any innocent victim.

A superficial "instant forgiveness" through a belief in the "saving grace of Jesus" cannot, realistically, change a sinner, and worst of all a murderer. It takes a long time to change the bad habits of a bad character, and a murderer, in particular.

As for crimes like robbery, a robber can be forgiven after just compensation to the victim and society. Just compensation consists in returning the stolen goods, feeling very sorry, and the payment of a penalty. The robber must, in addition, turn away from robbery and concentrate on positive acts of "good works" like charity.

It is highly unlikely Jesus who himself vigorously believed in the Commandments ever took the Gospels or Paulís views of Jesusí "saving grace." A precondition of grace is good works and compensation to oneís fellows. A just and merciful God of love, in other words, simply cannot use an unethical act like murder/sacrifice to free sinners from evil deeds. There is simply, no precedent in ethics to use an evil act to "wash away" peopleís sins.  Good works are the standard to build a safe and secure society.

Nor can one scapegoat Jesus or anyone to escape sin.

Atonement is best performed with good deeds rather than sacrifice. 11 " I desire mercy, not sacrifice." One becomes one with God and reconciles with his fellows, after correcting the wrong, and seeking the good will of an injured party, a foundation of a sound moral education for us to be born again. Moreover, one who sins with the intention of repenting afterward and gaining pardon will not be forgiven.


Just Rebel, Inc. | copyright © 2006 | by Dan Allen



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