Gold Coast Bereans

Out of Ghana, West Africa; Christian hearts and critical minds seeking, speaking and writing the truth with love. This is a conversation of a group of friends, now living in the USA and the UK, who have known each other for more than 20 years.

Monday, June 11, 2007

1 John 3:5. Reflecting on what Christ accomplished

But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 1 John 3:5.

“In Him is no sin.” It took me a while to realize that as horrific as Christ’s death on the cross was, there was also another major play going on in the heavens. God took an incredible risk by sending His Son- who is also God Himself, a true divine mystery- to die for us. If Christ had made just even one minor slip involving sin, all creation including the angels in heaven would be forever trapped in an eternal conflict with Satan with no chance whatsoever of redemption. God would also have lost his Son forever and the Godhead would have been dealt a mortal blow for all eternity. Remember that John 1 says that without Christ nothing was made that was ever made. So obviously, God cannot function without Christ. This may sound controversial to some but Christ made it very clear that He is God. (John 10:30 and also see John 14).

Sure, God could have patched a salvage plan if there were one or two minor slips during Christ’s life on earth. But think about what Hebrews 4:15,16 says about Christ our High Priest. He was tempted in every way that we are yet is without sin, so he can sympathize with us in our weaknesses and help us in our need when sin is knocking on our door. Just think about what would have happened if Christ had done everything right but just once had maybe told a lie, stolen, used a profanity etc, etc. I think whatever salvage plan God would have devised would have covered everything but that sin. Christ would not be able to help us with that sin since He Himself would be guilty of it. So heaven would be full of saints who would do everything right but lie pathologically to one another or if it was a theft, I can imagine that God would have to chain down the gold on the streets of heaven. Even at this present time, I am quite concerned about my own covetous attitude and that of my brothers, and I can imagine that we may need burglar alarms in those mansions in heaven if we enter that sacred place as we are now.

For me, this is what Gods love means; the death of Christ was horrific and thank God it was once and for all, but we should realize how much of a risk both God and Christ took on our behalf just to save us and I am glad to be called the chief of sinners because it makes me appreciate even more how much Christ loves me and how much of a sacrifice He made just to allow me to live for eternity. I can hardly go an hour without some mischief tempting me, how much more 33 odd years of sinless perfection. Just like it has been said with terrorists, “They have to be right only once and they have won, we have to be right 100% of the time”. Satan had to get it right only once and he would have been in the driver’s seat in this eternal conflict of good and evil.

I therefore say to anyone who asks why God cannot save outside of Christ if God is that omnipotent. It is not that God cannot save you, but you have made yourself “unsavable” if you reject Christ, because there is no other deliverance from sin. - Alien Warrior



Anonymous Robbo said...

Your reflection brings up a number or related issues regarding atonement, acceptance of the finished work of Christ and salvation for man. Also, the concept of the Triune God, the work of Atonement, and the Eternal High Priesthood of Jesus Christ
It also got me thinking about some of the stuff I have come across in lurking at several Christian blogs over the past year.

I had known of John Calvin as a giant of the Christian faith but I had never heard about the five points of Calvinism defined in the acronym "TULIP". Since I started reading Christian blogs I have encountered massive debates on these matters. The L in TULIP stands for Limited Atonement and Calvin's point, as I understand it, was that Jesus died only for the Elect, those who will believe in him and not for everyone. It implies Jesus did not die for those who end up in Hell, because that would suggest that His work was a failure. It is tied up with Predestination. Incidentally, one of the Rev Jerry Falwell's last controversies which this time was in the Christian community, not politics, was his declaration to the effect that "the doctrine of Limited Atonement is heresy". On the other side of this argument is a man called Arminius who taught "Free Will" in that everyone has the potential to be in Heaven if only they would accept Christ's work on their behalf.

So we have Calvinists on one side and Arminians on the other. Charles Finney, who was often quoted in our Christian circle in Ghana, has been given a very bad rap by Calvinists because he is considered Arminian.

Personally I sense a chicken and egg situation here. What comes first? Do you become elect when you believe or are you elected before you were even conceived (elected ova and spermatozoa?) and destined to believe one day before you die?

Or are both views, seemingly diametrical opposites to the human mind, actually true in some way? Should we simply leave this alone as a mystery we will not completely understand until we meet our Lord in Heaven? I lean on the latter option because there are passages in the Bible which support both completely. Of course God knows everything, being all knowing and "He works in us both to will and to do his good pleasure" but within that context there are several dire warnings " to work out salvation with fear and trembling", "to fight the good fight", "not to fall away" and there are countless passages about making the right and wrong choices.

So what are you guys? Calvinists or Arminians? Is it the same as asking you if you follow Apollos or Paul or am I stretching my point? My point being that, we follow neither Calvin nor Arminius, or for that matter Cardinal Resinger. We follow Christ. He came to die for our sins. "Whosoever believes in him, will not perish but have Everlasting Life....."

June 11, 2007 at 10:13 AM  
Anonymous G. Columbus said...

I don’t mind the non-uniformity of these variant views (Calvinist vs. Arminian, etc.), provided unity in Christ underlies all of these discussions and there are no heresies being propounded as truth.

The question, however, is when do we move from friendly discussions about things we do not fully understand to more serious objections about issues that are clearly non-scriptural or frankly heretical?

- Gaius Columbus

June 11, 2007 at 12:16 PM  

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