The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Justified/sanctified/ransomed by the cross, or...?

Part of this post contains things I wrote to paidion in my other recent thread.

Heb 10:10
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Can an unsanctified person go to heaven? I’m pretty sure most Christians including you would say no. Here the Hebraist says he and his audience had been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus. In other words, they were sanctified through Jesus’ voluntary death. If (a) people need to be sanctified to go to heaven, and (b) people are sanctified through “the offering of the body of Jesus” (i.e. Jesus’ death), then © the offering of Jesus’ body was necessary for people to go to heaven.

Rom 5:9
Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

The logic here is basically the same as Heb 10:10. Can a person who is not justified go to heaven? Once again, I’m pretty sure most Christians including you would say no. (a) If people need to be justified to go to heaven, and (b) people are justified by Jesus’ blood (i.e. Jesus’ death), then © Jesus’ death was necessary for people to go to heaven.

Heb 9:22
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Paidion challenged my belief that this taught Jesus had to die for people to go to to heaven by saying the word translated “forgiveness” also means “leaving”/“forsaking”. But even with paidion’s novel translation Jesus would have had to die for people to go to heaven! According to most Christians, a person who doesn’t “leave” his sins can’t go to heaven. (a) If people need to leave their sins to go to heaven, and (b) without the shedding of blood people can’t leave their sins, then © Jesus’ blood needed to be shed (i.e. Jesus had to die) for people to go to heaven.

1 Peter 1:18-19
Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

This seems to be teaching basically the same thing as the other three texts: if Jesus didn’t die, people couldn’t go to heaven.

Bob asked me why I even think people go to heaven. Respectfully, I’d rather not get sidetracked debating whether the immortal bodies of saved people spend eternity in heaven or on a renewed earth. I’m a preterist, I think the former; many on this forum are futurists who think the latter.

Most people on this forum are purgatorial universalists (PUs). They think people will be punished (or as Paidion says, “corrected”) postmortem in hell unless or until they’re perfect. What exactly takes place during this punishment takes place, I have no idea. My questions are:

If Jesus’ death justifies/sanctifies/ransoms/purifies the Christian, why does the imperfect Christian get punished? It doesn’t make sense to speak of a justified/ransomed person who needed to be punished. Perhaps “imperfect Christian” is an oxymoron?

If a person needs to have perfect works (i.e. not do any of the things prohibited in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10?) to go to heaven, then why did Jesus have to die? Couldn’t God have just punished people until all desire to do any of the things listed in 1 Cor 6:9-10 was permanently removed from their soul without Jesus dying on a cross?

8/28/19 I’m tagging @JasonPratt. Maybe he can satisfactorily answer these questions that have been bothering me.

No, wait. To be saved, I only read:

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31), and “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13).

Of course, the Scriptures warn about us “forgetting” and “stumbling”:

2 Peter 1:7-11
7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, FORGETTING that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never STUMBLE,
11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We Christians have already had a bath; we may stumble in the world; when we do, we need to just wash our feet (John 13:10, 1 Cor. 6:9-13).

Qaz, don’t forget your true identity is that you are now in Jesus (Col. 3:3).

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Paul has a couple quotes, like in 1 Cor 6:9-10 that say liars, fornicators, homosexuals, etc will not inherit the kingdom. Now, as a universalist myself, I realize this doesn’t necessarily mean eternal punishment; all it means is such a person is excluded from heaven until they repent. What I don’t understand is why in addition to abandoning these sins, Jesus had to die for people to be saved. Is it because God has to punish sin, as people like Anselm contended? But that explanation doesn’t work if people are punished until they repent; God is punishing sin by punishing the sinner. The need to punish sin through Jesus dying on a cross then seems superfluous.

There are a half a dozen atonement theories but for me it’s “the penalty of sin is death” so Jesus accepted this outcome in our place and God raised him from the dead and in so doing raised us from the dead. Punishment beyond that is complicated as it is not precisely laid out but salvation may be one thing and inheriting the kingdom may be a subsequent process.

Revelation lists unbelievers as just one type of people in the LOF. That clearly implies Christians will be there too.

What is your basis for saying salvation requires ‘perfect works’? I see Paidion agreeing Jesus had to die, but to experience the inner transformation that changes our life and works, rather than that it makes us perfectly acceptable despite our wretched works.

And your third text seems to more clearly spell out that what we need to be rescued from is precisely the “futile ways” we tend to practice. This may open the door to seeing the first two texts on being purified and justified, as also correlating with having the righteousness in our life that will pronounce us justified (as N.T. Wright argues), rather than making just making us appear perfect in God’s in God’s sight.

Berean Study Bible 1Cor. 6:11
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

There is a difference between standing and state. We live in the day of grace, in the shadow of the Cross, but still this side of the grave. Through the exercise of faith in what Jesus accomplished, we can be assured that our standing before God is that we are washed, sanctified and justified. We are also very aware that how we live out our lives (our state) does not reflect our standing. We sin daily and need to repent and cry out for forgiveness on a daily basis. Only a relatively small number do so, yet scripture teaches that one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess.

What must take place for that to happen? It has to happen post-mortem, presumably by the refining process of the LOF?

The past two years has been a learning experience for me and I would welcome the insight of wiser, more insightful members on the matters I have raised.

[quote=“Bob_Wilson, post:6, topic:14450”]
What is your basis for saying salvation requires ‘perfect works’? I see Paidion agreeing Jesus had to die, but to experience the inner transformation that changes our life and works, rather than that it makes us perfectly acceptable despite our wretched works.[/quote]

1 Cor 6:9-10 and the other texts in the Pauline epistles enumerating all the people excluded from the kingdom. These lists are exhaustive enough to cover virtually every type of sin.

You seem to think being rescued from our “futile ways” = not lying, not fornicating, not having envy, etc. I.e. having good works. If that’s what being rescued from our “futile ways” means, why do we need in addition to that Jesus’ blood to be justified?

I was trained in this view that our lives aren’t expected to reflect our relationship and standing with God. But I’m skeptical that Jesus & Paul don’t see a crucial correlation, especially on the pivotal day of judgment (my posted comparison of their views argues this). What texts most clearly delineate this supposed difference in our standing and state?

I think that our state IS our standing. It would take a lot of writing and wrangling to go through all the texts however. None of which uses the word ‘state’ btw, afaik.

On arguing Paul required perfection for salvation because his texts rule out every type of sin, I’m lost. Are you saying such texts mean Christians actually had to be sinless? Such lists can say that believers used to do such things, but are not characterized by those sins now (and so maybe you’re arguing they were all perfect in performance). But I see no indication that this means all their works were perfect.

On our need for Jesus, I think Paidion’s view is not that we need Jesus’ blood in addition to being rescued and producing good works. His view is that Jesus’ life and death enables us to produce such works, and that we couldn’t be rescued in that way without what Jesus provided.

I’ll try and explain what I think the two words mean. Our standing is one of perfection before God. We are all too well aware that we do not live perfectly, obeying God’s law. But, a huge “but”, we are “in Christ”. And, according to 2 Cor. 5:17, “When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!”. When God looks at us, He sees us as being in His Son. That’s the glory of our standing. Hallelujah?

Our state, however, is far from reflecting the perfection of Christ. We remain prone to sinning, just as Paul describes in Romans 7. And we do sin, constantly, despite our best efforts. Hopefully, we improve with age! That makes sense because as Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” The problem is, some of us (all of us?) never grow up!

Thanks Norm, that’s what I thought you meant, wanted to make sure.
I don’t believe that God is fooled, or that He pretends we are something we are not. I think he treats us as we are - both a sinner and a believer - and is more concerned with the direction we are going than any sort of fiction.
That’s just me, and I do understand what you are saying, and perhaps you’re right.

Have I ever been wrong since you’ve known me? Don’t answer that!

[quote=“Bob_Wilson, post:11, topic:14450”]
On arguing Paul required perfection for salvation because his texts rule out every type of sin, I’m lost.[/quote]

Why are you lost?

Are you saying such texts mean Christians actually had to be sinless?

Yes, based on the plain reading of Paul’s statements.

Such lists can say that believers used to do such things, but are not characterized by those sins now (and so maybe you’re arguing they were all perfect in performance). But I see no indication that this means all their works were perfect.

Are you suggesting a person can be sinless but not have perfect works? That sounds contradictory.

And in response to paidion I’ve said that if people had free will pre-cross, they were capable of abstaining from all the things on Paul’s laundry list of sins.

Perhaps IF you didn’t believe this you might have less confusion… certainly that text does NOT say this at all.

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Norm, we are perfection. Each of us. If we agree and abide by the creators rules or not. His creation was ultimately fulfilled through Christ. And no, nobody needed to understand it for it to happen. We can be pissed at the rouge that has burglarized my house, and want to open a can of wip ass on him, but we realize that people are people and we are here to open dialog, though I have to be honest my day to day interaction is quite interesting.

I honestly don’t see any texts where Paul plainly asserts that Christians must be sinless. I don’t see his statements that being characterized by specific flagrancies is an obstacle proves that he saw them all as entirely sinless, or suffices to overturn all the evidence in his letters that he knew full well that believers were quite capable of sin. including his recipients who he says were not characterized by the things in his lists.

FWIW my doctoral dissertation was an analysis of Wesley’s Doctrine of Perfection, so a small group agrees that some Christians are sinless. But even very few Wesleyans argue this anymore, and along with most Bible scholars, I don’t see that even Paul insisted that he had achieved sinless perfection.

And certainly even most Arminians don’t read it that we have a kind of freedom that enables us to achieve such perfection. And my experience is contrary to that reasoning.

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This text says being in Christ involves a “new creation.” Even if I agreed that could be interpreted to means something about state and/or standing, I’m not seeing how it shows our standing doesn’t correlate with our state, or specifies that God looks at us and sees Jesus and his perfection, or even that it’s necessarily focusing on our standing.

Indeed, even your own paraphrase of this as becoming a different “person inside,” with the beginning of a different “life,” sounds a lot like what I mean about a change in a person’s “state,” than merely about being seen in a better standing or position.

I’m astounded. Let me ask you, if enumerating an exhaustive list of types of sinners and saying that such people will not inherit the the kingdom of heaven is not a plain assertion that people need to be sinless to be saved, what would you consider a plain assertion of such?

I have never heard/read an “evangelical” Arminian say a person can be saved without repenting of a sin. The message that a person needs to repent of any sin he commits to be saved is ubiquitous among Arminians.