Why the Sacrifice?

  • Christian Chat is a moderated online Christian community allowing Christians around the world to fellowship with each other in real time chat via webcam, voice, and text, with the Christian Chat app. You can also start or participate in a Bible-based discussion here in the Christian Chat Forums, where members can also share with each other their own videos, pictures, or favorite Christian music.

    If you are a Christian and need encouragement and fellowship, we're here for you! If you are not a Christian but interested in knowing more about Jesus our Lord, you're also welcome! Want to know what the Bible says, and how you can apply it to your life? Join us!

    To make new Christian friends now around the world, click here to join Christian Chat.
D

dustyzafu

Guest
#1
The general theory of salvation is pretty clear - Jesus' death on the cross in one way or another prevented some of us from suffering the eventual punishment for our sins. My question is, what is the "one way or another?"

The usual answer seems to be that the only way we could be saved was through a sacrifice. Usually, this is phrased with an imperative - justice must be satisfied if we are to be saved. We have offended a law and deserve punishment. Without Jesus' sacrifice, we would feel the full force of God's necessary wrath. The immediate objection is that this makes God a servant to justice; it seems that he has no other method by which to save us except through sacrifice of his son.

The best response, as far as I can tell, is that it isn't necessary for God to sacrifice his son to save us. This situation is his choice. Is this the usual understanding of it? God designed the law in such a way that only the death of a perfect being - and there are relatively few of those - would satisfy the law and allow our salvation?

This is the part I struggle with. If I were to engineer a situation in which, say, I had to donate all of my blood to my daughter to save her life, this would be considered a little weird, not virtuous. If a situation naturally arose in which I had to do it, however, it would probably be considered virtuous. Christ's self-sacrifice on the cross is consistently portrayed as a virtuous act, so I don't imagine I'm understanding it correctly. If the world was built so that it was the only possibility, it seems weird, not praiseworthy.

(Please note that I'm of course not questioning the idea that God had to do anything to save us. He could have left us in our sins.)
 
D

Definition_Christ

Guest
#2
Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in that the Messiah died on our behalf while we were still sinners.


My question is, what is the "one way or another?"
God's mercy and justice both met at the Cross when Jesus died. You are absolutely right, justice must be served in order for us to be saved. It is like a legal transaction, Jesus took our place - He took our punishment for our sin.

Isaiah 53
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

2 Corinthians 5
18 And it is all from God, who through the Messiah has reconciled us to himself and has given us the work of that reconciliation,
19 which is that God in the Messiah was reconciling mankind to himself, not counting their sins against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
20 Therefore we are ambassadors of the Messiah; in effect, God is making his appeal through us. What we do is appeal on behalf of the Messiah, "Be reconciled to God!
21 God made this sinless man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with him we might fully share in God's righteousness."

John 14:6
Yeshua said,"I AM the Way -- and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me.

This is the part I struggle with. If I were to engineer a situation in which, say, I had to donate all of my blood to my daughter to save her life, this would be considered a little weird, not virtuous. If a situation naturally arose in which I had to do it, however, it would probably be considered virtuous. Christ's self-sacrifice on the cross is consistently portrayed as a virtuous act, so I don't imagine I'm understanding it correctly. If the world was built so that it was the only possibility, it seems weird, not praiseworthy.
You are looking at it the wrong way. (Thinks of how they present this on the way of the Mater)

Okay, you are in a courtroom right, and the judge tells you, "dustyzafu you are guilty of this crime, this crime etc etc, only way possible out is $500,000".

Now right as you are being sentenced to prison being escorted out, this random guy comes in the room and gives the judge a check for $500,000, and says, "This is for dustyzafu because he is my friend and I love him"..

Now you don't even know this guy and he is paying your fine for you. I don't think you would find this act "weird", when you realize you are being sent to prison and this man literally saved your life.

Symbolism: Judge - God, random guy who paid your fine - Jesus, the check for $500,000 - Jesus' sacrifice, prison - hell, $500,00 - penalty for your sin, crime(s) - your sin.

All you have to do is, repent of your sin (turn from your lifestyle right now and turn to God), and place your faith in Jesus alone.

John 6:37 Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will certainly not turn away.

So, look at it as an act of love, a legal transaction. That is exactly what happened like I was saying God's justice (the legal transaction) and God's love/mercy/grace (For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life).

The only way God could forgive mankind is if someone was to die and shed their blood in our place.

Hebrews 10
1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:
“ Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.

6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.

7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’”

8 Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them ” (which are offered according to the law),

9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,
13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,”
17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
 
Last edited:
G

greatkraw

Guest
#3
Dusty, I went and checked your profile to make sure you are not a Christian.

No problem.
Fair question.
All of history is dealing with this and related questions.

I will peel the onion for you.
When you process all the bible quotes and people's different perspectives what you get is this.................

Before the creation was created the creator was already there and perfectly content.

He chose to make the universe.
He set up the laws including the spiritual and the physical.
He knew history would play out like this.

We (finite)creatures are unable to comprehend everything about (infinite)Him.
Therefore.........
There is really no point second guessing him.
You can cooperate or resist him.
He is so capable he created YOU with a genuine capacity to choose for which you are responsible.
Your choice.

Are you studying philosophy?
 
S

socperkins

Guest
#4
This is the part I struggle with. If I were to engineer a situation in which, say, I had to donate all of my blood to my daughter to save her life, this would be considered a little weird, not virtuous. If a situation naturally arose in which I had to do it, however, it would probably be considered virtuous. Christ's self-sacrifice on the cross is consistently portrayed as a virtuous act, so I don't imagine I'm understanding it correctly. If the world was built so that it was the only possibility, it seems weird, not praiseworthy.
I have two answers for this question, if I can figure out how to word them... Let's use your example. You engineer a situation in which you have to donate all your blood to save your daughter. That's not quite what happened with God and humanity. It was more like He set up a situation with infinite possibilities for success, and one option for failure, and we chose the failure option. After that, He had two choices - let us all suffer, or send Jesus to take the blame.

Secondly, I think that Jesus came to this Earth not just to be sacrificed, but also to set a shining example. We should all strive to be Christ like, and we should all give of ourselves for the benefit of others. And what does this say about God, that he is willing to sacrifice of himself for us lowly creatures? I don't know any other gods who will do that.
 
S

socperkins

Guest
#5
We (finite)creatures are unable to comprehend everything about (infinite)Him.
Therefore.........
There is really no point second guessing him.
You can cooperate or resist him.
This is true, and I think it's a problem that a lot of non-Christians have. They're afraid to give in and let God run their lives. If it was a human institution it would be terrible (the word Orwellian comes to mind), but we're not talking about humanity, we're talking about divinity.
 

Kakashi

Senior Member
Jan 3, 2007
626
1
0
32
#6
Everyone has questions and there's nothing wrong asking them as long as it is with an open mind.


Definition had a lot of it spot on, but I think I can comment on a few things. When you said "it makes God a servant to Justice' i think it more of it as His "character". i can see what you're saying as in ' why did God have to set up the universe in such a way that it required a sacrifice in order for men to be forgiven" If God had control of it all surely he could make it another way. but honestly the only thing i can think if is, that's just how the universe is set up.

Everything that is God is good correct? This brings up many objections to, well why is evil present? And people always respond, " well evil is the absence of good" and that is just it. God created the universe with this in mind. Everything that is of him is good and everything apart from Him falls apart literally. We might as well ask, why did God make sin lead to death, but that'd be as silly as saying why does a lack of sugar in a cake make it taste horrible (I'm assuming that it is, if you think otherwise then that's fine but the basic argument stands lol).

We could ask all sorts of ways of, well why didn't God make things different way, but obviously the lack of good is bad and that just seems common sense (not saying you're lacking of it, you seem like a smart guy)

So, i think I've analysed that decently. But then comes the question of, well why does not God in all His power just blank out everyone's sin and just skip the whole sacrifice. Now, we can technically say he din't have to and you might say God designed the law to be in such a way that it requires a sacrifice yes, but all in all it is God's character that made the choice to do it so that we could have a way out. Why did it have to be done? Because without Himself in other people there was only death. if we say, why didn't God just design things differently we might as well say well why didn't God make anything apart from him good instead of evil? He couldn't because that would be contradictory as saying an water without hydrogen still makes it water when obviously it only leaves you with Oxygen (and all the "minerals" in between of course depending on where you get your water lol). That being said, that sin that is imbeded in us because we have strayed from that is there it's there because from the beginning man wanted it that way and it is passed down to us.

Now as far as the whole "well God didn't have to sacrifice His Son", that might be technically true but God's character wouldn't allow Him not to. If we say "God is love" we can say he didn't have to, but because of who He is he did, but that does not make Him a slave to His own character. That makes Him who he is. It would be like saying God is a slave to God and that does not really make sense. God finds satisfaction in loving us and everything that comes out of that is what he found appropriate to do out of His character of love. it might seem odd, but looking back at it all, it's where we find it more gracious and "virtuous' rather than odd. When everything is put in perspective that we are something that has strayed from the perfect intial plan that is falling apart, God's sacrifice is merely just a bridge he built to get back to us and welcomes us over, but he won't make us come.


Sorry, that was a bit of a rant, but it's a complicated issue for sure! i hope i was able to properly say how I think it is concerning this manner.
 
C

charisenexcelcis

Guest
#7
I have no problem with this being God's choice nor with it being absolutely neccesary--since that which is neccesary is defined by God's character and God's actions are defined by God's character, those two things are not in conflict. An important part of this is the idea of substitution. We understand this, we speak of those who give up their lives for others. We understand that there are things worth dying for. Yes, God is just. Yes, God is gracious. God is also loving. "For God so loved the world, thatHe gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth shall not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the the world, through Him might be saved.
 

pickles

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2009
14,440
149
0
#8
Ive posted this before but I think it might help you to understand. During the time of Jesus many were sheepherders and all had a basic knowladge of it. I came across this in a book about sheep herding. During lambing season many baby lambs die as many mom lambs do. One would think that it would be simple to just give the orphan lambs to the mom lambs that lost their baby lambs. But no, the mom lambs will not accept the baby lambs as they do not recongnize them as their own. So the sheep herders take the dead lamb and wash the orphan lamb in its blood. Thus making it acceptable to the mother. So like man became unreconizable before God because of sin, we are washed in the blood of Jesus so that the father will see us as his own.
God bless, pickles
 
D

dustyzafu

Guest
#9
Thank you for the explanations. If I've understood, the sense I'm getting is that it wasn't only for the forgiveness of sins that Jesus died - God might have chosen to build it so that he could have simply flipped a switch - but to cultivate a personal bond.
 
Oct 1, 2009
296
3
0
#10
Two things to begin with. God had no need to send us a saviour. He could have just let us all die in our sins and he would have still been glorious and just. He sent no saviour to the angels who sinned but most of us would raise a big stink if he had not done so for us.
Secondly,
1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Propitiation is the idea of buying a slave's freedom and setting him free. You see, sin made us slaves, Christ's sacrifice set us free and allowed us to live. The question is, how expensive was our sin that cost God his own son to redeem us? And how great was the love that we did not deserve?
 
D

dustyzafu

Guest
#11
Two things to begin with. God had no need to send us a saviour. He could have just let us all die in our sins and he would have still been glorious and just.
As I said:

(Please note that I'm of course not questioning the idea that God had to do anything to save us. He could have left us in our sins.)
Propitiation is the idea of buying a slave's freedom and setting him free. You see, sin made us slaves, Christ's sacrifice set us free and allowed us to live. The question is, how expensive was our sin that cost God his own son to redeem us? And how great was the love that we did not deserve?
That wasn't my question, but thanks. :D
 
D

dustyzafu

Guest
#13
Sometimes we just think to much.
With respect, I'm not sure that's a problem here. A non-Christian was curious about an aspect of salvation and several people explained why Jesus' death meant more than just the forgiveness of sins. Since then I've done some reading and understand more about Jesus' priesthood, etc., so I don't think much was wasted here.
 

Kakashi

Senior Member
Jan 3, 2007
626
1
0
32
#14
Thank you for the explanations. If I've understood, the sense I'm getting is that it wasn't only for the forgiveness of sins that Jesus died - God might have chosen to build it so that he could have simply flipped a switch - but to cultivate a personal bond.
That sounds about right. Basically,God wants those who really love Him to ACTUALLY love him and not just make it as such like we're robots. Had he just made everything better, poof, then there'd be no chance to see who really loved him through good and bad times. God built the bridge back to Him. He just wants to see who will cross.

Christ also came to kinda show us by example that as humans how it's supposed to be done.
 
Last edited:

pickles

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2009
14,440
149
0
#15
The difficulty for and unbeliever is as scripture say; The message of the cross is foolishness to the unbeliever.;
Once one believes the the understanding is in you.
God bless, pickles
 
Jan 8, 2009
7,576
19
0
#16
There are actually quite a few different views or 'models' of the atonement.

Some see the social transformer, the victim , the victor, some see the sacrifice as a substitute for us, others see the great moral teacher, others still see the sacrifice according to the Jewish sacrificial system, others only see the shedding of blood, some still get more out of the torture and suffering than the actual death.

Let us step back a moment from the actual sacrifice and death on the cross and think bigger picture.

Think back to Genesis. God creates the human race, Adam transgresses God's command by eating of the forbidden fruit.

A few thousand years later , yada yada yada,

Christ comes. Christ is made in the image of humankind, like Adam, but this time Christ is sinless, perfect, victorious.

Christ is the new Adam.

The old Adam was created, lived, and died due to his own transgression. The first Adam gave us death.

The new Adam was begotten, lived, and died not due to his own transgression but due to old Adam's transgression and all of old Adam's offspring (which is every person who has ever lived, including us). In doing so, the last Adam gives us life.

Christ's obedience leading to life therefore becomes simply a role reversal of the first Adam's disobedience leading to death. The sacrifice of Christ is not so much about death, but more about life.

So what is the purpose of Christ's sacrifice? Basically it was the end of the life of the last Adam, whose sole purpose was to recover the human race from sin, and defeat death. I suggest that if Adam had not died, Christ would not have needed to die. Adam (representing the whole human race) was a man who sinned and died according to the ruling of the righteous Judge (God). Christ, is the man who did not sin, the Judge, in fact (being God), and died according to the ruling of the unrighteous sinners (us, humankind, all who crucified him, in a metaphorical/symbolic sense) - again, role reversal.

Hebrews 10 explains why a sacrificial form of death was necessary - mainly because of continuity reasons between the old testament and the new. It would have been highly inappropriate for Christ to die by falling off a donkey, as there is little relevance to the old testament in that sort of death. The answer to why Christ needed to appear as a sort of sacrifice, is found in understanding the purpose of the Jewish sacrificial system and its origins.
 
Last edited:
Jan 8, 2009
7,576
19
0
#17
ps. Humankind needing to judge and sentence God to death is the main reason why Christ needed to die a death due to judicial system and could not merely die in a freak accident or as "godly roadkill". God judged humankind to death through Adam , humans judged God to death through Christ. In doing so, God and humankind are even steven, the score is settled between God and His creation, and thereby the gap between God and mankind is bridged. In Christ, God cannot hold the creation to account, and likewise humankind cannot hold God to account for reasons of death and suffering inflicted by the Judge's initial ruling. The end result is mutual understanding and relationship between God and mankind that existed before Adam's fall and that was the original intended purpose of God's creation. As Paul? taught:

Eph 2:14 For He is our peace, He making us both one, and He has broken down the middle wall of partition between us,
Eph 2:15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity (the Law of commandments contained in ordinances) so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, making peace between them;
Eph 2:16 and so that He might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity in Himself.
 
Last edited:
May 21, 2009
3,955
18
0
#18
Hi Dusty
I never meant to offend you. I'm glad your question got you deeper into God.
My thoughts about the sacrifice of Jesus and the Father being able to let his Son come here for us.
Is we are always thinking as humans.
Jesus knew before he left heaven and came to earth that his Father had the power to bring him back alive.
God bless you always.