That’s not my opinion. However, based on a consensus from the gospel teachers I’ve heard, most Christians are taught to believe God was wanting, even needing, to punish someone to forgive us for our sins. They teach God punished Christ because of you.
I don’t view God that way at all. I do understand why some do, since Christian teachers teach Christ was punished by God instead of us, without delivering a satisfactory answer telling us why God did that. The answer given by Christian teachers is that God did it to satisfy his sense of justice. Romans 6:23 reads, “The wages of sin is death.” So somebody has got to pay for your sin they teach; and therefore God punished Christ to let you live, is how the story goes. Of course we all die anyway, so that debt is paid by us despite Christ’s sacrifice. Also, that word “wages,” in that scripture, is a metaphor. Nobody pays God their own life, because they sinned. And death is not a benefit to be paid to us. Wages there means the ‘result’ of sin is death. Would that act, God punishing Christ because you sinned, satisfy anyone’s sense of justice? It’s the equivalence of you killing your son because I broke the law.
I believe scriptures prove Christ could have left earth another way. If not, would Christ ask his Father for another way to leave, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done?” Luke 22:42. And since he could have returned to heaven another way, his death was not necessary for your salvation. Other facts support this belief also.
Men killed Christ, not God. And since both the Father and Son live in our future, as well as our present, they knew exactly what was going to happen to Christ before he came to teach. Christ knew about his death before it happened. He knew when it would happen, and he told his apostles.
Scriptures identify the only way to redemption and salvation is through following Christ. Following Christ is why God redeems us. And it’s the only way to get saved. The whole gospel of John screams this idea. But here are the most familiar scriptures among novice Bible students:
16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Christ’s teaching led to his arrest and conviction, resulting in death. But only his teaching caused you to believe in Christ. The whole world is aware Christ died, yet the whole world is not saved. Because knowing Christ died does not endear most people to him.
Christ never told anyone his death was necessary for Christian salvation. At least that’s not in scripture. If you’ve seen it, tell me. But I’ve been studying scripture since 1975, and have never seen it. And his statement that the Holy Spirit would not come upon his disciples until he left is not the same point.
Since God knew what would happen before Christ came to preach, both Christ, and his Father, considered his death a sacrifice they were willing to accept. It was not a blood sacrifice God needed, like an imaginary Aztec god. In stories (parables) Christ directed the blame for his death at the responsible individuals. Here’s my analogy of what happened, and why:
A parent saves a child, knowing he will die in the process. That’s the same type of sacrifice Christ offered to save us. In my analogy the parent would not be killing himself because he wanted pain and death, or because, let’s assume, another relative wanted him to die a painful death. Christ didn’t volunteer to die because he wanted pain and death. And God didn’t offer him up for that purpose either. I don’t follow Christ because he died. And I don’t think you do either. I follow him because he spoke to men, and through their words he convinced me to follow him.
Now compare the analogy I wrote above, about the parent saving the child and dying in the process, with Christ’s parable about the vineyard owner who sent his representatives to collect proceeds the vineyard was producing, from the vineyard keepers, who flogged and killed them. And then finally the vineyard owner sent his son. And who killed that son? Did the vineyard owner, or those tending his vineyard? Whose will was it that the vineyard owner’s son be killed? Was it the vineyard owner’s will, or those renting out his vineyard? It’s in that way the Father and Son see the sacrifice of Christ. In Christ’s parable he was representing what part the Father, the Son, and the guilty servants of God played in the Son’s death. Here is Christ’s account of that story:
“1Then Jesus began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a wine vat, and built a watchtower. Then he rented it out to some tenants and went away on a journey.
4Then he sent them another servant, and they struck him over the head and treated him shamefully.
5He sent still another, and this one they killed.
He sent many others; some they beat and others they killed.
6Finally, having one beloved son, he sent him to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
11This is from the Lord,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
12At this, the leaders sought to arrest Jesus, for they knew that He had spoken this parable against them. But fearing the crowd, they left Him and went away.”
From this story it’s clear who Christ held accountable for his death. And it was not his Father.
Below are some of the scriptures Christian teachers claim say God needed the blood sacrifice of Christ to forgive you of your sins. These words are recorded in Hebrews chapter 9:
1Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2A tabernacle was prepared. In its first room were the lampstand, the table, and the consecrated bread. This was called the Holy Place. 3Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4containing the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. Inside the ark were the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5Above the ark were the cherubim of glory, overshadowing the mercy seat. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
6When everything had been prepared in this way, the priests entered regularly into the first room to perform their sacred duties. 7But only the high priest entered the second room, and then only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.
8By this arrangement the Holy Spirit was showing that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. 9It is an illustration for the present time, because the gifts and sacrifices being offered were unable to cleanse the conscience of the worshiper. 10They consist only in food and drink and special washings—external regulations imposed until the time of reform
11But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made by hands and is not of this creation. 12He did not enter by the blood of goats and calves, but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus securing eternal redemption.
13For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that their bodies are clean, 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, purify our consciences from works of death, so that we may serve the living God!
I once bought into the narrative taught by denominational Christianity, accepting their teaching Christ’s blood opened the way for forgiveness. However, I have come to believe those scriptures above only suggest that narrative, while actually meaning something different. Because of the barbaric act that the Jewish religious leaders had Romans enact upon Christ, God had their ancestors dramatize that act on animals. In the scriptures above, Hebrews 9:1-14, Paul compared the spilling of Christ’s blood to those animal sacrifices for forgiveness of sins. That’s clear. But the reason why he compared it to the animal blood isn’t. Also, the scripture does not specify that it was Christ’s blood that gives salvation. Instead it mentions his entering into the “Most Holy Place”(heaven), by his blood, while securing eternal redemption. And that statement is factually correct. He died a bloody death to enter into heaven. Verse 12 reads, “He did not enter by the blood of goats and calves, but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus securing eternal redemption.” Did the blood redeem mankind, or did Christ’s work on earth do that?
In accessing Paul’s statements, it’s appropriate to understand the history of the apostle Paul. Of all Christians in the first century Paul could be characterized as the number one Jewish convert. Before submitting to Christ he was a Pharisee, while he was proud of being a Pharisee and of his Jewish heritage. Pharisee was one of the Jewish sects that most strictly followed Jewish religious laws and practices.
I believe Paul only used Christ’s blood in those scriptures metaphorically, analogous, comparing it to the animal sacrifices Jews were ordered to perform for forgiveness of sins, because God had ordered them to dramatize this horrific event, Christ’s death; and because those of the Jewish faith associated blood sacrifices with forgiveness of sins. If it was not for this Jewish practice, that connection to Christ’s death wouldn’t exist, and the claim probably would not be made about Christ’s blood allowing forgiveness of sins. Denominational Christianity believes the comparison of Christ’s blood to forgive sins is to satisfy God’s justice. I don’t believe that. I believe the primary reason for that comparison is because of what the Jews were told by God: the spilling of blood in a sacrifice meant God forgave them. So naturally they would easily associate forgiveness with Christ’s blood.
One scripture above also states Christ offering a blood sacrifice had an effect to, “purify our consciences from works of death, so that we may serve the living God!” That means some people (Christians), respond more quickly to God because of it, just as an Israelite offering a blood sacrifice drew him/her closer to God. And that might be the reason God let Christ die, rather than his sense of Justice. Just a thought, I’m not raising this point as a proven fact. But many Christians sympathize with the sufferings of Christ, and as Paul wrote, it affects their conscience, turning them from sin.
The evidence I submit is the factual account of Jesus’ life. Factually, it was men influenced by demons that killed Christ, not God our Father. See Genesis 3:15. Factually the only appeasement that exists, relative to our forgiven standing before God, is that God is appeased when we, as Christians, follow Christ’s words.
The sacrifice the Father made was his allowing Christ to be killed, while knowing he would be killed when he sent him. And the Father knew this way before he sent Christ to earth to save us; thus it was a sacrifice for the Father to do that. That idea is totally different than God needing Christ to die to appease the feelings he had against us for our sins; the teaching that God needed a perfect human life to die as a ransom for the perfect life Adam gave up, to satisfy God’s sense of justice. Those biblical allusions to Christ’s blood saving us are metaphorical in nature. And Christ’s history shows his blood was only spilled because of his words. Scriptures further teach only following Christ’s words saves. See Matthew chapter 7.
While Christ’s words opened the possibility that all humans can be saved, the Bible states all humans won’t be saved. Neither by his words, or by his death. Again, this fact proves Christians are not saved because of the spilling of Christ’s blood. If that were so, scripture would teach salvation comes to all people. Which it doesn’t. So these ideas about the sacrifice of Christ’s blood appeasing God’s wrath towards mankind are bogus in nature, in that they appear to be taught in scripture, while the idea is not actually taught in scripture. Men still persecute and sometimes kill Christ’s followers too, for speaking Christ’s words. Is God using the death of martyred Christians as a propitiatory sacrifice? Of course not.
Atonement for mankind’s sin is spoken of being significantly correlated with Christ’s death only because that was his eventuality for teaching. His teaching led to his death. But if he didn’t come to teach us, we would answer for our own sins. We all sin. Through Christ God told us, follow my son and I will pass over your sin, until I have him remove your sinful tendencies. In that way Christ gave his life as a substitute for ours, because he was killed in the process of teaching that message.