Bible Quiz: T or F
Bible Study Questions
Pardon Me, Christianity,
…but you’ve got it all wrong!
Atonement. (The short version; the wrong version).
For most Christians, the death of Christ on the Cross provided the necessary work of atonement that satisfied the Father’s need for an apology from sinners. Man had sinned; the Father was offended; a penalty had to be paid; Jesus paid the price with his blood; mankind then received forgiveness and became eligible for eternal life. Since the Father’s wrath and anger was reversed and cancelled when Jesus died on the Cross, God no longer holds a grudge against anyone, but that doesn’t mean he won’t burn and torture people later and for all eternity! Hopefully, though, in due time God will actually become someone not to be afraid of.
Does the above paragraph make sense with the thoughts about God the Father? Do you picture God as some kind of tyrant who needs to be bribed to love and forgive those he created? Has God held everyone at arm’s length ever since the Garden of Eden, and then somehow begins to love people after Jesus died? Can anyone think of anything worse than to live and suffer for all eternity in the place of fire and brimstone, never to end? And yet, Christianity portrays God as casting those who are lost into those flames! If God actually does that, can he be rightly called an executioner? Do you see him as one taunting those who are lost? How has the devil’s picture of God been so completely accepted by those who claim to be followers of God?
For most people, it is assumed that God the Father is the ultimate judge who will receive people into the courts of Heaven, and at the same time will toss others into the depths of hell. In fact, it is his duty and responsibility to make sure no undeserved person walks the streets of gold and contaminates Heaven’s atmosphere. “Fear God, and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come,” (Rev. 14:7) is an ominous and terrifying statement for those who fail to see God as he truly is, and there are many who believe that Jesus will be everyone’s companion in Heaven to protect them from the Father and will deflect all criticism away from every individual whenever necessary. This is a problem since Jesus clearly stated that he and his Father are identical in nature: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9),and they never work independent of each other. Whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. If God is accused of torturing people and throwing them to the flames, Jesus would do the same thing.
The Problem of Sin: Wrong Assumptions.
It is wrong to assume that God has imposed some sort of penalty for sin, and that he needs to receive some sort of apology before sinners can be forgiven and reinstated with him.
It is wrong to assume that God demands a death, even a substitutionary death, before he can forgive sin.
It is wrong to assume that God expects everyone to be “washed and cleansed” by some sort of ‘cleansing agent’ before pardon can be granted.
Sin is the broken relationship with God.
The reason Jesus came was not to simply die on the Cross and make atonement for our sins so God the Father would forgive us. Neither was Jesus’s death on the Cross some sort of ‘payment-in-kind’ on our behalf that would make things right with God. The primary reason Jesus came was to reveal truth about his Heavenly Father (see John 18:37), but he also pointed out the fatal mindset that prevailed with those he spoke to. Jesus claimed to be God, but was soundly rejected by the religious community. It was this mindset that caused the death of Jesus.
The Bible says: “God is love.” 1 John 4:8, 16. The Bible quotes God saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Jeremiah 31:3. The writer of Hebrews states: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8. Jesus told Thomas and Philip: “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well,” and “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” John 14:7, 9. Since God’s unchanging love is eternal in nature, he has always been and will always be the essence of love. That is the way he is, and he does not need to be appeased by any sort of means to make him love us because he always has loved us and he always will - it’s his nature through and through. God did not need to have Jesus die in order that God might love his Son; likewise God did not need to have Jesus die in order that he might love us too. No, God is love and God’s love is unchanging, no matter what. God is on our side! He’s not mad at us; he only wants us to be willing to listen to him as he tells us what he is like. Above all and most importantly, God wants to be At-One with everyone.
At-One-Ment has several synonyms, such as: Unity, Harmony, Agreement, Oneness. This is the main focus of Jesus and his Father, God. In Jesus’ closing prayer to his Father, the goal of being at-one is heard: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23. Jesus’ prayer to his Father says it all.
The answer to sin and a broken relationship is a restored relationship. This can only be accomplished by reconciliation between God and man. The simple truth is:
“God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.”
2 Cor. 5:19
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