Dec 05, 2009
Who Killed Christ?
Answering The Critics Part 1
I am really touched by the number of people who have been inspired by The Misunderstood God. It amazes me how many people write me and say, “Thank you for putting into words what has always been on my heart.” It is being confirmed over and over in me that therevelation of The Misunderstood God is something that is already alive in the hearts of people everywhere.
There are several areas in the book that I knew would be a theological challenge for people who have been steeped in religion. I expected criticism in these areas and my critics haven’t let me down.
On page 97 and 98 under the heading “Love is Not Self Seeking” I talk about why Christ died. I basically make the statement that a “sin offering” is not made to God, but to sin. I go on to describe sin as a beast who wants to devour you. Imagine camping with your family and you come across a grizzly bear out in the wild. First off, let me tell you that if this happens; you had better come baring gifts! You had better have an offering for that bear, or it’s you he will devour. Christ basically threw himself in front of the beast of sin and allowed it to devour him instead of us. He saves us from sin.
Modern day Christianity has twisted the story around to mean something entirely different. Today we’re told that God was so enraged over our sin that He had to kill someone. That someone was gonna be us because we deserved it. We had it coming. Because God also loved us, He sent His only Son so God could kill Him in our place. Jesus supposedly “paid the price” to God for our sins.
With a theology like that it’s no wonder people cower away from intimacy with God. We’re told that He wants to be our loving Father, but that rings pretty hollow when you look at what He did to his first Son. I’m not sure I want a Father who killed His one and only Son so that He could forgive us. Couldn't He have just forgiven us on His own without having to kill someone? SURE He could. Jesus proved that He had the power and authority to forgive sins while on earth so surely God could do the same.
The critics have an issue with me giving sin an identity in the illustration of the beast. Speaking about sin as though it’s a living beast that could require an offering to appease it and keep it from killing us doesn’t seem to be biblical. They’ve said that sin is, “Missing the mark,” and nothing more. You can’t bring an offering to that.
In Genesis 4:7 God told Cain, “...... sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
In John 8:34 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”
In Romans 6:14 Paul says “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace."
In Romans 7:8-11 Paul says: “....For apart from law, sin is dead........... but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died............For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.”
Paul takes it a step further in Romans 7:14 and says that we’re actually, “Sold as a slave to sin.”
Each of these passages clearly gives sin an identity that far exceeds our simple definition of merely missing the mark. When you look at James 1:14-15 it gets even more descriptive.
“Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
The next point that the critics make is that I say that a “sin offering” is not made to God, but to sin.
Usually they’ll use a bible program and pull up a thousand verses in Leviticus where all the sacrifice procedures are given for the temple. They’ll see the words, “bring it unto the Lord” or something like that, and immediately take that to mean that the offering was to God so that He would overlook their sins and refrain from killing them one more day.
If you really think about that theology, it doesn’t follow through very nicely. What we’re saying is that God set up a system where people could pay Him off when they sinned. It’s like God was selling indulgences long before the Catholic church ever came up with it. This is silly on several levels. First off, it implies that there is a price in God’s mind that would make sin worth it for Him. If that price was paid to God, He would be satisfied and the sin wouldn’t matter anymore. Could you imagine there being ANY price where sin would be okay from a fathers standpoint??
Know this; to God there is nothing in this world that would ever make sin worth it. Sin takes from people. It depletes them and leaves them hollow and empty. It strips people of their identity and basically devours their bodies. God would NEVER put a price on that because there is no price that would make it okay for Him. It would be like me agreeing to allow a man to molest one of my children for the right price. There is NO price that I would accept for that.
Yes, it appears that the people in the Old Testament brought their “sin offerings” to God, but it wasn’t an offering that was “for” God. The sin offering was “for” sin. In other words, God didn’t accept the offering and overlook sin because the price was right. He took the “sin offering” and gave it to sin.
It's interesting to note the amount of times in the Old Testament where it says to take the sin offering outside the camp and burn it. It’s almost as though God were saying, “I don’t even want it mixed in with my stuff, take it away and burn it.”
The real answer as to whether a sin offering is for God or for sin, is answered when the truth is revealed in the New Testament. When we read that “when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death” we begin to see that it was sin itself that kills and therefore the slaying of the animal in the Old Testament was to the one who required your life; sin. If scripture said, “when sin is full grown, God will give the sinner the death penalty,” we would know for sure that the Old Testament “sin offering” was meant to appease God. It wasn’t that way though.
The issue wasn’t how to put God’s inevitable wrath on the sinner off another day. It was, how to keep sins inevitable devouring nature satisfied until the time of Christ in order to save the life of the person. This is almost the complete opposite of what most of us have been taught.
So who was it that killed Christ? Was it God or was it sin?
After reading that several people had labeled me a heretic for believing the way I do, I said to my wife, “Where were these people when The Chronicles of Narnia movie came out?” Surprisingly, I didn’t hear any Christians picketing or bashing, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe movie, and it literally depicted exactly what I stated in my book. If you saw the movie, you’ll recall that Edmund had screwed up with the witch and she reminded Aslan about her right to have the boy’s life because of his offense. Aslan met with the witch and agreed to take Edmund's place.
Who was it that killed Aslan? Was it God? NO! Aslan went to the dark side and the witch and all her evil creatures tortured and killed him. That was a perfect picture of what I’m stating in my book. The bible says, “The wages of sin is death,” not “The wages of God is death if you sin.” The wages are paid to SIN; not to God.
The rest of Scripture points this way as well. If we look at the James 1:14-15 verses it clearly shows the progression of it.
“Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then , after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
It is SIN that gives birth to death. It was SIN that killed Christ; NOT GOD.
Romans 6:10 puts it so simply and beautifully:
“The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.”
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