Can death of a person or God change the condition of sin?

(Sujan) #1

Hello friends,

I have a question which I find it hard to answer myself before I could answer others.

How can a God’s death forgive the sins of humans. I do understand that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and also sin is more a condition than an act itself. But how can that be changed by death of one person.

If so what about those who lived before Jesus christ and how are they redeemed as there was no sacrifice by Jesus Christ himself?

Thanks you

(SeanO) #2

@valli.sujankumar Sujan, very good question. If I am correct, I am hearing 2 questions - how were OT saints saved before Jesus? And how does Christ’s sacrifice change the condition of sin? Is that accurate?

I think a short answer to the question of the death of one person changed things is that Isaiah says our sins put a wall between us and God (Isaiah 59:1-2). When Jesus died the veil in the temple that separated the priests from the holy of holies was torn - men could once again enter into God’s presence! Christ’s death made way for men, who were under God’s wrath as a result of their sin, to once again be filled with and transformed by God’s presence. It is God’s Spirit who transforms us - it is Christ’s death that made it possible for the Spirit to indwell us by paying the price for our sins and setting us apart as clean before God.

How were OT Saints Saved

In Romans 4, Paul points out that Abraham was saved before the law existed, but how? Abraham had neither Jesus nor the law. Abraham was saved by his faith in God.

Romans 4:13 - It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

In addition, if we examine Scripture, we see that God’s judgment will in the end be based upon the secrets of men’s hearts. Romans points out that Gentiles are a law to themselves and many passages point out that God will judge men based upon their inner thoughts - their hearts.

Romans 2:14-16 - (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 - For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Hebrews 4:13 - Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Luke 8:17 - For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

So we see that people are saved by faith in God and a heart that is humble before God. Someone may make the objection at this point that there is no need for Jesus, but that is simply false! Jesus made it clear that if you know God the Father you know Him, because He and the Father are one. To reject Jesus is to reject God and to accept God is to accept Jesus.

If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him. -John 14:7

So ultimately people are held responsible for the revelation of God they possess (as Romans 1:20 points out, all know something of God’s nature). At least that is my opinion. But as regards the OT saints, they were saved by faith.

How did Jesus’ death change the condition of sin?

I think the first step in answering this question is to remember the Biblical story of atonement and sacrifice. To that end, here is a video by the Bible Project on the topic of sacrifice and atonement.

And then to understand that, even as a Christian, our body is still plagued by sin, but by the power of God’s Spirit we can still live a holy life.

Galatians 5:17 - For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.

Romans 8:13 - For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

My Grandfather was a preacher and put it this way:

  • Christ’s death saved you from the penalty of sin
  • The Spirit gives you power over sin
  • The resurrection will set you free from the presence of sin

So we as Christians live in an ‘already, not yet’ state - we are already saved from the penalty and power of sin, but we wait for Christ’s return or our going home to Him to be fully set free from the presence of sin.

Romans 8:10-11 - “But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

I Cor 15:53-54 - "For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

You may still be asking - what did Jesus’ death actually do? Without getting into theories of atonement, I think Paul gives us the answer here in I Cor 15.

I Cor 15:56 - The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we violate God’s law it results in corruption of the body and ultimately in death - spiritual and physical. Christ’s death redeems us - both body and soul - from the power of death and slavery to sin.

Colossians 2:13-14 - When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

Is that helpful? Any follow up questions? May the Spirit of Christ grant you wisdom!

(Warner Joseph Miller) #3

Great answer, @SeanO and great question @valli.sujankumar!!! If I could, I would offer a bit of Old Testament contextual background to hopefully present even more clarity.

Typology is about symbolic representation. It is a key part of our understanding of the Old Testament as Christians. Some of the great New Testament truths are anticipated in the Old Testament history of salvation. For example, Adam is described as a type of Christ (Romans 5:14, NASB). The Old Testament animal sacrifices were a typology - a foretaste of what was to come via the last and perfect atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

In Old Testament days, God required animal sacrifices because there needed to be a way to demonstrate the severity of sin, the cost of rebellion against God, the death that sin brings, and the literal cost that must be paid to be redeemed. The bloodshed was necessary because God made clear:

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.” ~ Leviticus 17:11

Atonement is a cleansing or a removal of sin. So, animal sacrifices were a TEMPORARY means by which atonements could occur that would “cleanse” people of their sins.

Again, those sacrifices were sort of a “prequel”, if you will, for what was to come by & through the perfect sacrifice: Jesus Messiah. He would be the real, truly permanent sacrifice for the complete cleansing of sin rather than the temporary “cleansing” done by having animal sacrifices. Hebrews 10:4 says that the blood of animals cannot cleanse from sin. So, the Old Testament animal sacrifices were a REPRESENTATION of the death of Christ on the cross that would later occur and which was recorded in the Gospels.

“For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.” ~ Hebrews 10:1-3

Ultimately, the animal sacrifices were FULFILLED IN JESUS CHRIST, ALONE and with Him, no further animal sacrifices were/are necessary.

“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” ~ Hebrews 9:11-14

Hope that all made sense and added even a bit more clarity. Peace and love, bro!:v:t6:

(Sujan) #4

Thank u for the detailed explanation which clears all my questions on this topic.

(SeanO) #5

@valli.sujankumar Glad it was helpful :slight_smile: The Lord be with you!