Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why God can't just forgive sin

Forgiveness doesn't do a lot of things. For instance, it doesn't necessarily make people better. If I forgive someone for stealing from me, then I won't seek revenge, but it won't necessarily mean they'll stop stealing. So forgiveness won't necessarily make the forgiven person better.

This could be a problem for religious people if you need to be perfect to be with God. If you have to be perfect to hang out with God forever, then it raises the question: how is God's forgiveness going to make people perfect? If my forgiveness doesn't make someone who steals from me perfect, actually they could easily steal again, then how is God's forgiveness going to make a religious person perfect? Maybe the religious person will feel so grateful or remorseful that they'll never do anything wrong ever again. But experience teaches us that this is unlikely...

This is partly why Christianity teaches a type of forgiveness where forgiveness DOES make someone better. When Jesus died for us on the cross, God put our evil onto Christ, as well as the punishment for it. You can imagine all our badness, like a great pool of black sludge, being poured onto Christ on the cross. So "We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives" (Rom 6:6) and in return we will "be found in [Christ], not having a righteousness of [our] own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ (Phi 3:9). Luther called it the 'Great Exchange'.

2 Cor 5:21: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

Isaiah 53:12: "Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

Unfortunately, Christians still do the wrong thing a lot because God has decided that what Jesus did for us will be fully manifested at a later date. Until then, "The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions" (Gal 5:7). In fact, in our present state, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8).

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home