Redemption


#1

Let’s talk about redemption.

I believe the redemption of mankind was accomplished at the cross and is complete, as in finished. I don’t believe there’s a more important topic to understand than Christ’s redemption of mankind - it guides my thinking.

(The reason for this thread is that I find in many of the writings here the idea of a continuing redemption, as though Christ’s redemption were not finished but needs some ‘value added’ somethings.)

Your thoughts!


#2

There is a pretty strong and continual Biblical theme (OT in some regards but especially NT–I think ultimately it goes back to the first mention of the Seventh Day in Genesis), of a combination of already-but-not-yet.

I think both elements have to be included in exegetical theology on the related topics. And I think both elements find their reconciliation in the actions of the Everlasting One in and across temporal history.

That’s an initial brief summary of my thoughts on the matter. I think you’re going to find that the reason people keep talking about redemption not being completed yet, is because there is strong scriptural grounds for it; though I’ll let other contributors begin bringing up those references.

There is also experiential evidence to consider, though. Yes, the kingdom of God already exists; and in principle (at least) God has effected my redemption. But I am very obviously not ‘raised-up’ yet (which is the literal term being translated) in several Biblical senses of that term.

I could go into much more detail theologically, but I have a bunch of things to be doing today and I’d rather not plop a macro-post on it yet. {g}


#3

What, in terms of redemption, was not accomplished at the cross? Christ cannot die again for those sins.

The resurrection is not redemption but a product of it - the fact that the resurrection is universal is the strongest proof that Christ’s redemption of world was universal as well. The dead would remain captive to death if their sins were not forgiven. What do men add to their redemption beyond finally having a representative Man to bear their sins? Nothing that I can see.

I have to agree with Paul: all mankind is in Christ because of His redemption, just as all mankind WAS in Adam because of his sin. There is no middle ground. So, it’s not as though mankind is caught some sort of limbo waiting for the drama to play out - it played out already. ‘It is finished.’

Christ’s redemption of the world is a matter of faith. Just as it should be.


#4

Ran,
No one here that I know of would argue that more needs to be added to the cross. I would agree with you that he completes it all however each in his own time. The redepmtion of man is authored and completed in Jesus, but that does not mean all mankind came to faith on that same day.

It seems that the view that all men will be saved regardless of faith is pushing Imputed rightouessness to the umph degree. I believe Faith is required and is authored by God himself. However I do not hold that each man has to come to faith all at the same time.

Faithfullness is all about love and love is of God and those who obey God love God and that is the basis of the Holy Spirit working in us.

However, this does not require that I think post mortem salvation (from hell) SUDDENLY needs to be by the works or merits of the man. God humbling the arrogant is as applicable in the next age as it is this age. I see no reason why any one in hell needs to save themselves.

Can you logically draw out why post mortem salvation would require personal works for salvation? Also why is it people in this age can die (spiritually)(seperated from God) and yet God can save them w/o it being by the merit of man?

Auggy


#5

What does faith have to do with fact? If one doesn’t believe they have been redeemed by Christ, are they less redeemed?

Or put another way: If it is the Truth that sets men free, do men determine that truth by what they believe?


#6

As if faith has nothing to do with reconciliation? What do you make of a saving faith vs. a non saving faith (james 2)?

Aug


#7

Ran,
Perhaps a good point to make that you might understand our position is that we believe God does not punish out of retribution. We believe it’s not that God pays back evil for evil but since his Character is always love, then it is understood that he ALWAY pours his wrath upon man for correction (to turn him from sin).

This argument goes deep into the atonement and what is mechanically involved in the salvation of the world. It reaches into justification (imputed righteoussness) and many other facets.

We hold that just as God is always just and therfore always acts just so it is that God is Love and always acts in love.

Some argue that there is no punishment for sin left since Jesus paid it all, yet Annanias and Saphira didn’t exactly get pats on the back for lying to the Holy Spirit. God using them to demonstrate something does not mean he has to torture them forever. However, Jesus reconciling the world to God upon the cross does not require that God has to overlook our evil deeds either.

Aug


#8

Yes, His justice does require that if Christ redeemed humanity by bearing their sins on the cross. That’s the whole point. Redemption is not some process - it was a unilateral act by God and the God/Man. It’s done. “You have already been ransomed.”…to quote one of the early fathers. It has nothing to do with faith, the accomplishment precedes faith. “He first loved us…”


#9

Then you must hold that man was not reconciled to God but that God was reconciled to man. After all it’s God who needed to change (his ability to look upon sin)? For the cross changed this ability of God’s.

Aug


#10

It’s not a question about ability - it’s a question of justice. Was He just in accepting the last sacrifice by Christ - and through which mankind was forgiven? When people insist that men should pay for their own sins (redeem themselves), they are actually rejecting Christ and His redemption of them. If Christ’s depiction of the last judgment is any clue - men are not punished for their sins - they are punished for hindering Christ’s kingdom even without knowing they were doing that - unbelievers are blind to their own actions - they don’t know what they are doing.

Paul put it succinctly: ‘Have faith in His blood.’ As a believer, I know that all things are possible for me, but not my redemption.


#11

Sorry for the delay, Ran. Medical emergencies back here had to be dealt with. (And/or ‘work’ work.)

Well, to be bluntly practical:

1.) I’m still a sinner. I still need healing and forgiveness; and I still need to be repenting, until my salvation from sin is completed. There’s a cooperative personal element involved in being freed from sin. Sure, some aspects of my sinning can be healed in various ways, including by my resurrection. The spiritual aspects, though, can only be healed by my willing cooperation with God. I cannot make God save me (either by my own power or by appeal to some higher standard that God is obliged to obey); and God does not wait for me to be repentant before acting to begin saving me. But repentance is still an important part of salvation. And it isn’t like the NT authors stop talking about repentance at any time, including after Jesus’ resurrection, so far as I can tell.

2.) I haven’t been resurrected yet, either. Jesus, yes. Me, no. Whether it happens after death, or I’m transformed at the return of Christ (or, heck, whether I’m transformed after the return of Christ and my judgment in the lake of fire!–where repentance on my part will still be required of me), I’m not raised up yet in that regard obviously.

3.) Nor have I really yet “attained to the enjoyment of the allotment of life eonian”, which is a big topic in the NT (both for Jews and Christians), and which is very closely connected with another meaning of ‘redemption’: as synonymous with ‘son-placement’, i.e. the Greek word used by St. Paul (typically Englished as “adoption”) for an extremely common Mediterranean social-family custom. The concept here is that natural children, even though they are natural children of the father (or otherwise the leader of the family), are not formally recognized to have inherited until the father declares that they are now worthy to be representing the family. That’s a judgment call that ultimately rests with the father; the child cannot force it. But the child’s own behavior isn’t worth nothing either: the responsible father doesn’t allow children who are clearly still behaving in an irresponsible manner to become inheritors.

Now, in one sense, all God’s children are inheritors by God’s intention. (Even a Calvinist would agree with that in principle; she would just restrict the scope far more than an Arm or Kath theologian would, to ‘the elect’ and absolutely not to the non-elect.) But many of God’s children are still being irresponsible. (Like me, who is still a sinner.) God, being a responsible Father, won’t grant the abilities of the inheritance to those children who are still being irresponsible; but, being a loving Father, He will try to lead His children to repenting of their irresponsibility and becoming mature children worthy to represent the family’s name. (Arminians would agree with this, analogically, but then say that sooner or later, for whatever reason, God gives up trying to lead some/many/most/nearly-all children out of irresponsibility. The Calvs would say God never gives up on this; but insist that some/many/most/nearly-all aren’t children at all.)

There is an intermediate state as well, though, where the child is cooperating with the father, and is under tutors; but isn’t mature enough or ethically responsible enough yet to inherit.

One key point here is that, in the culture of the time, some kind of payment was made to the head of state to free the child from the status of slavery (or to free a slave for that matter), raising him or her to the status of son or daughter. (A ‘redemptive’ payment could be made for someone being held hostage, too; and Christian analogists have sometimes tried making use of that parallel. But I don’t think it’s nearly as good an analogy to the theology involved here, and it doesn’t seem to be the analogy that scriptural authors or anyone else in the texts usually had in mind.) The head-of-state could of course “pay himself”, in the case of his own children; and especially in that case the proper result was that a sacrificial feast was provided out of the generosity of the father for the sake of the inheriting child being raised. Moreover, in principle this price could be paid at any time, even before the child has started trying to cooperate with the father. But of course it all depends on the grace of the father! Without that, there is no hope for the child to ever inherit.

Typologically, that sacrifice, and that feast (for that matter), is Christ. Which, incidentally, is one reason why Christian theologians have sometimes speculated (and I suspect rightly) that even if none of God’s children had fallen, there still would have been an Incarnation and probably some kind of vicarious sacrifice for the sake of the derivative children.

Also, the Lamb is sacrificed from the foundation of the world: it is in Christ, not only YHWH (corporately) or the Son (specifically) that all things exist and hold together. Without the submission of the Son to the Father, which is a kind of death, even God Himself would not exist (as this is intrinsically an aspect of God’s eternally active self-existence.) Nor would anything else ever exist. The Son eternally sacrifices Himself in yet another way so that we derivative not-God creatures can positively exist. In natural history, though, Incarnate as Christ, God does this once and for all. (i.e. it doesn’t have to keep being done again and again to meet a recurring requirement, like the Temple sacrifices were once believed to be necessary for, or like pagan religions sometimes thought the god-or-goddess had to constantly be redying in history.) But Christ in His sacrifice is showing us what God (especially the Person of the Son, in accord with the will of the Father) is eternally doing for all of us.

(This, by the way, is why I have a lot of respect for transsubtantiation doctrines, though I think the RCCs and others have gone too far with it in some regards.)

I don’t exactly disagree, but I do note that Christ hardly needed ‘redemption’ in the sense that we as sinners need it! And again, Christ’s own resurrection is, in several ways, the ‘raising-up’ (which is the word being translated ‘redeem’) of Christ by God. Not only a product of the redemption. But insofar as the redemption-cost was paid (in several ways) at the cross, our resurrection still to come is a product of that redemption event.

I think you meant that the general resurrection will be universal. It hasn’t happened yet. :wink:

But insofar as its promise and occurrence reflects the intentions of God, yes I agree that it is very strong evidence that God’s redemption at the cross was universal as well. Just as God’s eternal sacrifice for us (in the Person of the Son, in accord with the Father), is absolutely universal. (The “universe” itself couldn’t exist without it. :smiley: )

That being said, it must be stressed again that the evil are not being raised at the resurrection to zoe eonian (yet) but to eonian crisising and brisk-cleaning. Their names are not (yet) recorded in the Book of Life. And so long as they insist on loving and practice their sinning, they won’t be allowed into the New Jerusalem. Resurrection doubtlessly fixes many problems, but it apparently doesn’t always succeed in fixing that kind of problem.

True; but we also remain “captive to death” if we insist on loving and fondling our sins, whatever they are.

Well, there’s that whole finally-cooperating-with-God-instead-of-insisting-on-being-a-rebel-sinner thing… :exclamation: Call it accepting redemption rather than adding to it; nevertheless, it’s an important component, as an action by us as responsible persons. Otherwise we’d only be puppets, not real boys and girls learning to be sons and daughters.

(Granted, it cannot be done without the help of God. But that isn’t the same as saying that I have no need to repent of my sins, as a person myself choosing responsibility instead of irresponsibility.)


#12

I DO!! I DO!!! :open_mouth: :astonished: :exclamation: :mrgreen:

To be more accurate: I believe that re-tribution is about, y’know, re-tribution, and not about never-re-tributing. i.e., the real problem is that most people who talk about retribution as a goal of punishment mean something opposite to restoring true tribute. (They mean annihilation, or God being satisfied with wringing out the kind of acknowledgment that rebels can still grudgingly or even in their own way gladly give while remaining rebels at heart, doers of inequity and injustice.)

There’s some other word commonly used in talking about the punishment of God that is just as ironically misused by non-univeralists, too. I was hoping that by typing that sentence I’d remember what it was, but… :confused: Oh well. I’m sure I’ll have a chance to snipe at it, too, again someday… :smiley: Oh, yeah!! Re-probation! :laughing: To say that someone is re-probate basically guarantees that the judge intends to restore them to freedom and fellowship! But what do most Christians (typically Calvinists in this case) mean by ‘the reprobate’? :unamused:

Yet another word that non-universalists commonly either have no real meaning for or some kind of ironically antithetical meaning. In the English of the day when that word was originally coined for Bible translations, it meant at-one-ment. (And was applied to the Greek and maybe Hebrew words also translated as ‘reconcile’ and cognates thereof. Though, ironically, the translators, or most of them, probably weren’t really thinking out the correct implications of what it meant to give it that translation…)


#13

I think we’re discussing the sheep and goat judgment in some other thread (that I haven’t gotten to yet); but I thought I would point out here that it is horribly unjust to punish someone who simply doesn’t know what it is they are doing. When judgment is pronounced by Christ against the goats, they retort against His judgment challenging to know when they weren’t serving Him–a challenge that implies first of all that they thought they were serving Him. (Unlike the sheep who had no idea when it was that they were serving Him.) And that implies (unlike the sheep) some kind of familiarity with Jesus beforehand; like the ones who were even doing miraculous works of good in His name, acknowledging Him as Lord, but were still doers of inequity.

Those people had the advantages and refused to learn what Jesus really wanted. They are like the Pharisees of whom Jesus said that their sin against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven them, in this age or in the age to come.

Now, I can reckon with that proclamation about the unforgiveable sin, as an orthodox universalist; but I think it would be problematic, to say the least, to reckon with it by denying that the sin against the Holy Spirit is a sin. :wink: Those who do things in mere ignorance get excused: God “winks at” the paganry of the good pagans, as Paul says in his speech to the philosophers at the Aeropagus; Jesus expects the Father to forgive the ones who are crucifying Him because “they do not know what they are doing”; the slave in the parable receives a mitigation of lashes insofar as he does not know his Master’s will.

If those goats were really operating in honest ignorance, God would be excusing them and letting them in with the sheep. God is justly punishing them instead, for an ethical lapse that they knew better about–even if they blinded themselves so that they wouldn’t have to see it. The logic of the parable-judgment only works if the goats knew that Jesus had expected them to be charitable to the downtrodden and lost but they had insisted on giving God some other kind of ‘service’ instead that they thought was appropriate. Those who insist on refusing to give charity, though, don’t really know Jesus, and haven’t been cooperating with Him, whatever they may protest to the contrary.


#14

Is there any other kind? I think you have missed the point of Mat 26. It’s not about being a ‘rational’ ‘honest’ human being - it’s about advancing His Kingdom unknowingly for both the sheep and the goats. So who knew? His ‘little ones’ - the only group who knew.


#15

Yes, there certainly is such a thing as dishonest ignorance. God, in the Old Testament, and Jesus in the Gospels, both warn about dishonest ignorance; it’s a key Synoptic theme (and shows up occasionally in GosJohn, too). It’s connected directly to the sin against the Holy Spirit; and it’s connected directly to that oft-quoted piece from Isaiah where God’s stubborn-hearted people squint up their eyes and stop up their ears and harden their hearts so that they won’t repent and be saved by Him.

It looks like you just said that the sheep were just as unknowing as the goats about advancing His Kingdom, and also that they were the only group who knew.

Whereas, and maybe I’m confusing you with someone else (and admittedly it’s been a while since I was catching up on posts), I thought I recalled you emphatically affirming (and agreeing with me) that the sheep were clueless–our disagreement being about to what extent the goats were clueless, too.

My position has always consistently been that the sheep were surprised to discover that Christ was judging them (and judging them acceptably!); whereas the goats were only surprised that Christ was rejecting them, but were otherwise expecting Christ to be judging them.