By Simon Ifeanyi Ezeh
First: Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world but how exactly does he do that? How and why is Jesus Christ our only Saviour and Lord? He takes away sins by revealing to mankind that God is our Father (nobody knew this prior to his incarnation – Jn 17) who is merciful and forgiving; declaring that man also has the power to forgive sins just like God (Matt 6:14,15; Jn20:23).
As the Messiah, he brought forgiveness of sin down to the realm of men so that man could and should forgive whenever he is offended. This way, Jesus Christ takes away the sin of anyone who asks for God’s mercy and forgiveness as far as the petitioner forgives his offender(s) as well. This petitioner forgives his offenders and God forgives him – this is the mercy principle.
So, Jesus Christ sorted out the sin problem at both levels: at the level of God and at the level of man. He solved the sin question by this revelation (not by dying on the cross as we’d soon discover later on), exposed the dynamics of the kingdom of God and delivered the fundamentals of our faith in God to us. This is how and why he is the only Saviour of man. He saves us by his words, not his blood (Jn6:53-63): his life, not his death.
God says in Ezekiel 18 (whole chapter), that it is the soul which sins that dies and this death could be both spiritual and/or physical. An honest inspection of the entire chapter reveals that a man lives or dies solely on his own accounts. However, the sinner only dies if he fails to repent: if he repents, he lives! Even within this edict of God that the soul that sins dies is a way out provided by God and this way out is repentance.
God is very tautological in delivering this message of Ezekiel 18 so we can’t miss it. Therefore, anyone who takes the matter beyond sin, repentance or no repentance, forgiveness and life or no forgiveness and death to include vicarious death of a righteous man to enable God forgive the sinner is preaching another gospel entirely.
Of course, no work of righteousness could be accomplished without God’s help. Therefore, every believer in God must ask him for help for every activity in life. That’s the whole point of Jesus Christ because his name means ‘God saves’. Every believer in God must seek his salvation in all situations and circumstances. We need God to help us and keep us free from sin just as we need him to help us repent when we fall into sin and he is always available to save.
So, a man’s own deeds determine his fate in God, not the deeds of someone else. Of course, we find contradictions to this scripture in Exodus and Lamentations where the sons are supposed to suffer for their fathers’ deeds and my response to that is that Jesus Christ is the ONLY standard for writing this article. We accept only the scriptures that agree with Christ as credible, nothing more, nothing less and nothing else! That’s the whole point of the beatitudes in Matt chapters 5, 6 & 7 and in Luke 6:20-49 where we have statements like, ‘Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy,’ and ‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God,’ etc.
If Jesus Christ paid God with his blood in order for God to have mercy on us, the above statement would have read thus, ‘Blessed are those who trust in the death or blood of Jesus Christ for they shall obtain mercy,’ but it doesn’t. It should also have read, ‘Blessed are those whose “fathers” are merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’, if God dealt with us according to the deeds of our “fathers” but it doesn’t read like that. Thank God it doesn’t.
According to Jesus Christ in the Beatitudes, it is those who show mercy to others that qualify for mercy from God. An unmerciful person cannot receive mercy from God regardless of his empty religion. Everyone has the capacity to show mercy or not to show mercy to others: that’s why we are made in God’s image. Remember, the ultimate mercy we receive from God is that we are forgiven so we end up in heaven with him.
Jesus gave a parable in Matt 18:23-35 to illustrate this mercy principle. Please, look it up.
By the same token, it is the pure in heart that sees God in their lives, situations and in eternity. A man with an impure heart cannot see God no matter how long he prays, fasts, and pleads the blood of Jesus. In fact, once a man begins to plead the blood of Jesus or cover himself with the blood of Jesus, you know he’s never met him because Jesus’ blood are his words, not the literal blood in his veins!
The doctrines of Jesus Christ are as simple as looking up the sky to tell if it’s going to rain or not (Matt 16:2-4) but man has added all sorts to complicate it and enslave his fellow man. So, Jesus Christ the righteous could not have died for the unrighteous sinners as we have seen above but he suffered untold afflictions part of which is his death on Calvary in order to bring us the truth which frees us from men and Satan. Thank God he was only detained for three days by death. Praise God.
In fact, he had finished his work of salvation (delivering the truths of God’s kingdom to us) much earlier than his death on Calvary according to his prayer in John 17.
Second: God is merciful. Our lives daily testify of this in that we don’t drop dead as soon as we sin, he usually, as a rule, allows us an opportunity to repent and live (both physically and spiritually). We don’t need chapters and verses to establish this but for simplicity, we’d mention a few in addition to the ones we have read already. In Matt 6:14, 15, Jesus says that all we require to obtain mercy from God is that we also have mercy on others, not his death or blood.
Repentance and willingness to forgive others is all we require to get mercy or forgiveness from God and that is the whole point of the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. Jesus Christ preached a very clear and simple gospel.
The prodigal son (we fit the person of the prodigal son when we live in sin) didn’t require a vicarious human or animal sacrifice to God (his father is God) in order to be forgiven. All he did was repent and God forgave and God NEVER changes. Jesus Christ couldn’t have been a sacrifice for sins since God neither desires nor requires sacrifice as a precondition for anything. The same theme runs through the scriptures bellow:
Matt 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Ps 40:6-8. Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
The natural question would then be, ‘Who killed Jesus Christ and why?’ Jesus Christ himself fulsomely addresses the questions of ‘Who killed him?’ and ‘Why?’ in his parable of the tenants and landowner in Matt 21:33-46 except that many would not still get it regardless of his down to earth and tautological approach. Also, Matt 26: 27-29 contradicts Jn 6:53-63 by making Jesus blood literal but it’s obvious that the later is true whereas the former is not. The later has many witnesses but the former has none.
In Matt 21:33-46, the landowner is God; the tenants or husbandmen are pastors or religious leaders; the servants are the prophets; the heir to the estate is Christ Jesus while the estate or God’s farm or land is the church. In summary, God built his church (any gathering of people to worship him) and put human overseers over it but these overseers or pastors are corrupt. So, any time he sent servants or prophets to go and receive fruits (worship from his children) from the estate – the church, the tenants or pastors would kill them.
Finally, he sent his son Jesus Christ – the heir of the church – to see if the tenants/pastors/religious leaders would respect him and do the right thing but they also killed him since the heir is the most potent threat to their ambition to take over the estate. Simply put: if the overseers have any regard for the heir of God’s estate, the church, they won’t be living the way they currently do for which reason Jesus Christ commands that they be brought before him and slaughtered at the appropriate time as in Luke 19:27. Jesus Christ severally cursed both his betrayer and killers but he surrendered to be killed because God told him to. God made a mess of their plan by raising him from the dead three days later. So, why would God nullify the sacrifice that was ostensibly made to him?
Remember that God is merciful. Mercy is his nature. He doesn’t acquire it by accepting sacrifices, etc. A God who requires sacrifice of a man in order to forgive another man won’t be merciful and that’s the agenda of the wicked to confuse things and present God as wicked. Remember also that Jesus himself forgave many times before ever being killed just as we know that he accomplished the work of salvation according to his prayer in John 17 before ever going to Calvary. God is merciful and have been forgiving sins even before the coming of Christ but it has never been so elaborate as demonstrated by Christ. Let’s not allow ignorant and/or wicked men to misrepresent God to us because the consequences are terrible.
For those who believe Jesus died as a sacrifice to God for the forgiveness of the sins of man, my question to them would be: ‘Where you forgiven or did someone pay God on your behalf?’ If God was paid on our behalf, it means God didn’t have mercy on us since he was paid and that would also mean he isn’t merciful since somebody must die in order for him to forgive but we know it isn’t the case. God always forgives without requiring anyone’s blood as a precondition because he is merciful.
Jesus Christ forgave the paralytic upon seeing his faith and that of his friends who removed the roof of the house where Jesus was teaching in order to reach Jesus. He forgave him without any blood sacrifice and introduced the era in which men could forgive sins without needing blood from either man or animal. In his entire ministry, he never needed blood sacrifice to forgive anyone.
You could definitely find scriptures that contradict this writing but my position is that whatever we find in the Bible is correct to the extent that it agrees with the words of Jesus Christ since he only is the Saviour and Messiah of all ages even as we are warned by God to only listen to him in Lk 9:35.
Of course, it’s important to note that Jesus’ death and resurrection brought so many benefits for humanity even though his killers never knew how far reaching their action was. By dying and resurrecting, he exposed death as a lie or an empty threat so that nothing could stop a child of God from obeying God even if it means dying in the flesh.
One only has to wait ‘three days’ to rise and continue from where he left off. This way, Jesus messed up or punctured the most potent threat to mankind, death, although he had raised people from the dead much earlier than his own resurrection.
Finally, we would have to inspect Matt 25:31-46 to see the clear picture of GOD’s final judgement as given by none other than Jesus Christ himself. This passage agrees perfectly with Ezekiel 18 that we shall be accepted or rejected based on how we lived, not on the bases of the death and blood of Jesus.
Matt 25:31-46, 12:36-37, all the parables of Christ and the beatitudes make it very clear that salvation is solely by works and has nothing to do with Paul’s phantom grace as believed by Christians.