THERE’S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
If I have actually, by some rare “fluke,” rediscovered the true nature of the Pauline Gospel (as premial justice to Christ), is that really so surprising? Did Copernicus discover that the solar system is heliocentric? Did Newton discover laws of motion? Did Faraday discover laws of electricity? Did Velikovsky discover the nature of gravity? And what of Augustine? Anselm? Luther? Calvin? What did they discover…or rediscover? And why them? Were they the first? Will they be the last? Is there nothing left to discover? Did even they have it all exactly right? How gullible are we prepared to be about the past? About the process of discovery? About the finality of theories? About the status of “facts”? About the doctrines of the creeds, confessions, and catechisms of yore?
If those who attend Calvinistic churches, for instance, continue to “remain in [Christ’s] Word,” they can still overcome the worst effects of their creedal statements and catechisms. Naturally, they will still (in fact, especially) see contradictions and inconsistencies and won’t understand everything (who of us does?). But they will “understand more than [their] teachers” and that is a considerable advance. The truth that they do know will empower their faith to overcome and free them from the worst effects of the falsehoods of their teachers and preachers.
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that God did not need to punish every sin…not even every murder! For He can reverse sin’s evil effects! That’s why God could proclaim forgiveness even to Christ’s executioners. This is the reason for the forty-year reprieve for Jerusalem after its egregious crime against their God. Yet, for those who still remained stubborn after God’s demonstration that He had no need to punish them for their sins horrific slaughter befell them…even at their own hands.
It doesn’t take an Aristotle to see the superior logic of premial justice.
REPENTING OF AUGUSTINE’S ORIGINAL SIN
The vast generality of modern Western Christians have not yet repented of Augustine’s “original sin,” i.e., his injuriously erroneous formulation of the nature of Adam’s first and primal sin. The consequence of this theological hardheartedness has been a grossly misanthropic doctrine of sin, indeed, a veritable punitive overcast darkening the resultant semi-Christian worldview. Ironically, this gross misrepresentation of sin, per se, has led to an underestimation of the evil of incorrigible wickedness, especially of an institutionalized form, whether political, military, financial, industrial, corporate, or what have you. If every human motion is equally sinful or at least thoroughly tainted by sin and under equal judgment, then no one is either particularly righteous nor especially wicked. Thus it becomes very difficult to develop a more mature, discerning, or nuanced sensibility to inform the judgments and policies of our institutions. To an evangelist, everyone is a generic “sinner” in need of a standardized “repentance.” But getting down to cases domestically, commercially, industrially, environmentally, financially, politically, militarily, legally, judicially, morally, ethically, etc., shows a very complex interplay of forces, motives, defense mechanisms, hypocrisies, judgmentalisms, compulsions, naiveties, indulgences, etc.
What the work of Christ reveals is not that sin was “paid for” (as if it “needed” to be paid for) at the Cross, but that that Sin (depicted by every sin-offering of the Old Covenant, as well as by the Passover and Day of Atonement rituals and certain other sacrifices) needed to be repaid to Christ by the justice of God, because he, of all human beings, did not deserve such wicked handling. So in the mightiest display of divine justice in history, God overwhelmingly reversed his plight by raising Jesus of Nazareth from the dead and giving him glory before mankind. His reward from God for willingly suffering such indignity and torment, ultimately from Satan, included exaltation to the throne of the universe (promised to the coming Son of David), the inheritance of the universe as his rightful possession, the consequent ousting of Satan and his dark kingdom, and the Gift of the Holy Spirit in inconceivable abundance to freely distribute to any and all of sinful humanity who simply and sincerely believe this extraordinarily validated Message of liberation and rescue.
In summary, sin does not need to be paid for; the sin against the Son of God, however, did need to be repaid him. Sinners who believe this Proclamation and are baptized are included in the benefits and boon of that capacious award to the Lord Jesus Christ. Or to say it another way: not sin as such, but sins against the righteous need “payment”—more specifically, repayment. The cross-and-resurrection of our Lord proves that thesis in spades. In this Gospel Fact we, who suffer not only from our own sins but from those of others, can take solid hope and so live in determined obedience.
Without singeing a hair on their miserable beards, God raised up His beloved Son intact…nay, invincible! This divine tactic gave those killers room to repent without having to bear the consequences, guilt, or penalty of that divine regicide.
~to be continued~