ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 166

“The Achievements of the Cross - Part 1”

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,

Retired Professor of Theology and Church History,

Andrews University

 

INDEX OF TOPICS OF THIS NEWSLETTER

               • How to Subscribe and Unsubscribe

               • Update on my Surgery:

                   Remember Me in Your Prayers

                 Proposed Passover Sermons for Adventist Churches

               • Proposed Merger of the Anglican and Catholic Churches

               • Bacchiocchi Responds to False Allegations

                   Response from the Rector of the Gregorian University

                 Problems in Receiving this Newsletter

                 THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE CROSS

                   (The Essay of this Newsletter)

               • Announcements of Services and Products

                   * Upgrade of Prof. Jon Paulien’s Album with powerpoint outlines of his Revelation’s lectures

                   * Special offer on New DVD Album with 10 powerpoint lectures on the Sabbath and Second Advent

                   * A New Townhome Community near the campus of Andrews University

                   * Incredible New Offers on Hitachi Projectors

                   * The Smallest and most Powerful Remote Presenter

                   * Does your church or School Need a Screen?

                   * Bed and Breakfast in London, England

                   * TAGNET new Web-hosting offer

 

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UPDATE ON MY SURGERY

 

         Never before in my life I received so many messages from fellow believers in different parts of the world, reassuring me that they were praying for my surgery and prompt recovery. It has been for my wife and I a deeply moving experience reading hundreds of touching messages coming China, Singapore, the Pacific Islands, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, European countries, Russia, Central and South American countries,  African countries, and across the USA.

 

Prayers for the Success of my Surgery

 

         The countless encouraging messages made me forcefully aware of the fact that we belong to a caring family of faith, with members scattered in various parts of the world. One evening when my wife was reading a few dozen messages, I could not help but shed tears. It was hard for me to believe God had made it possible for me to touch the lives of so many people through the spoken word and printed page. Incidentally, some of the messages were from non-SDA scholars and ministers who reassured me of their prayers.

 

         During the three days following the surgery, a procession of people came to visit me in my small hospital room. Among them were the President of Andrews University, church pastors, seminary students, and fellow-believers whom we had not seen for many years. Frankly, I must confess that it was taxing but encouraging for me, especially on Saturday, February 24, to receive so many visitors, eager to wish me well and to offer a prayer on my behalf.

 

         My wife was especially strengthened by the visit of so many caring visitors, whom she never knew they loved us in Christ. The problem is that my outreach in our local community is very limited, because I seldom speak in our local churches. I am much better known in Hong Kong, China, than in Berrien Springs, Michigan, where we live.

 

The Time and Results of the Surgery

 

         The three hours surgery took place on Tuesday afternoon, February 20, 2007. Both the surgeon Dr. Dennis Rashbach and the anesthesiologist, Dr. Carlos Neouman, are Adventists, well-known for their professional skills. They prayed for divine assistance before my surgery.  The surgeon successfully removed not only the section of the colon obstructed by cancer, but also the gold bladder that was filled with stones. This means that the incision is about 15 inches long. The recovery is proceeding faster than anticipated with no complications. In fact, I was discharged five days after the surgery on Sunday, February 25. I am trusting on divine healing to get back to a normal life after a few weeks of recovery. To ensure that my mind does not become rusted during recovery, I am preparing this newsletter for you.

 

         An unpleasant surprise was the results of the biopsy of the liver, which reveals the presence of cancerous cells in my liver. This means that by God’s grace I won the first battle, but I have yet another battle to fight with divine help before I can declare victory. This will be a tough battle, because the cancer is widespread in the liver. My strategy is to attack the cancer in the liver using three methods: 1) faith in divine healing, 2) the latest conventional remedies, and 3) natural products that can boost my immune system. Our daughter Loretta, a Professor of Nursing at the Florida School of Nursing, has laid out a plan to boost my immune system with diet and supplementary products. It is my conviction that God expects us to use all the resources He is making available to us, while trusting His divine healing to do the rest.

 

The Example of Ellen White

 

         I am reminded of the diligence of Ellen White in seeking all the available resources to fill in the gaps of the many visions she received. She was a diligent researcher, not a lazy person. She bought and used over 3000 volumes, besides asking for the help of competent brethren to find the material needed for some of the historical sections of the Conflict of the Ages. 

 

         It is unfortunate that the true story of how Ellen White wrote her books, is largely unknown to most Adventists, who believe that she received her messages like faxes from heaven.  This misconception has been put to rest by the newly released book More than a Prophet, authored by Prof. Graeme Bradford. He devoted 20 years of painstaking research to the prophetic ministry of Ellen White.

 

         About twenty conferences have donated More than a Prophet  to each of their workers. Many churches are ordering the book for their congregations by the case of 30 copies for only $5.00 per copy, instead of the regular price of $25.00. With your order you will receive also a FREE DVD ALBUM with all of Prof. Graeme Bradford’s writings and his DVD live two hours video lecture on Ellen White. Airmailing expenses are included to any foreign destination. 

 

         If you or your church have not received this timely study, read the details about this special offer, by clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/BradfordOffer/offer.htm  If you have a problem to order on line, just call us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

         While reading how Ellen White went for three weeks in 1864 to Dr. Jackson’s Sanitarium in Dansville, N.Y, for treatment and to learn more about healthful living, I was encouraged to follow her example by contacting Cancer Treatment Centers who offer both conventional and unconventional treatment. Some argue that this approach is wrong, because we should seek divine healing simply by faith.   But this was not Ellen White’s approach. She journeyed to Dansville to receive treatment and instruction. Eventually this led in 1866 to establish the Western Health Reform Institute (later the Battle Creek Sanitarium), which became the vehicle for promoting Health Reform. It is evident that Ellen White rejected the false assumption that healing is guaranteed by “faith.” Simply stated,  some assume that a weak faith means lack of healing, while a strong faith means certain healing. Is this a sound biblical assumption?  Hardly so!

 

The Example of Paul

 

          A fitting example is the experience of one of the greatest man of faith who ever lived, the apostle Paul. Three times he pleaded with God for healing his infirmity which he nicks-name “a thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor 12:7). But we are told that the Lord “said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12:9).

 

         Like in the case of Paul, the Lord may allow the presence of some infirmities in our bodies so that His strength may be revealed through our weakness. Some of the most inspiring testimonies often come from believers who have nobly endured suffering to the end of their lives.

 

         Please continue to pray for me that the Lord may strengthen my body to fight the cancer in my liver, while at the same time living in the reassurance that whatever the outcome may be,  His grace is sufficient for me.

 

         May I share this inspiring thought someone sent me. I took the liberty to slightly edit the original:

 

Happiness keeps  you sweet,

Trials keep  you strong,

Sorrows keep  you human, 

Failures  keeps you humble,

Success  keeps you glowing,

But only God  keeps you going!

You are so special in God’s sight!

 

PROPOSED PASSOVER SERMONS FOR BUSY PASTORS

 

         In a few weeks time the Christian world will take time to commemorate the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ. The celebration is known as Passover by some Christians (April 3, 2007) and Easter-Sunday (April 8, 2007) by others. The two names and dates trace their origin to the second century, when the Bishop of Rome promoted moving the Passover date to the Sunday after the Nisan 14 Passover, in order, as stated by Constantine, “to have nothing in common with the detestable Jewsih crowd.” Most Christians ignore that Easter-Sunday is not found in the New Testament.  It came into existence more to show hate toward the Jews, rather than love toward Jesus Christ. You can read about it in my dissertation From Sabbath too Sunday.

 

         Our immediate concern is not to discuss the Passover controversy of the early Church, but to propose how our Adventist Churches can participate in the celebration of the ANNUAL FEAST OF REDEMPTION: PASSOVER. Most Adventists assume that the Passover celebration came to an end with the sacrifice of Christ, the Paschal Lamb on the Cross. But there is abundant evidence showing that NT Christians did observe Passover. In fact, the change from Passover to Easter-Sunday stirred up more controversy in the Early Church than the change from Sabbath to Sunday. This historical fact is unknown to most Adventists.

 

         The NT observance of Passover is acknowledged by Ellen White. For example, she comments on Acts 20:6 (“We sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread”), “At Philippi Paul tarried to keep the Passover. . . . The Philippians were the most loving and truehearted of the apostle’s converts, and during the eight days of the feast he enjoyed peaceful and happy communion with them” (Acts of the Apostles, pp. 390-391).  Ellen White acknowledges also the importance of Pentecost for Paul when she writes that he shortened his stay at Ephesus, because “he was on his way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost” (Redemption: or the Teaching of Paul, and His Mission to the Gentiles, p. 65). The implication of these statements is clear. Ellen White believed that Paul celebrated the Feasts of Passover and Pentecost.

 

         The typology of Passover was initially fulfilled when Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, was sacrificed to deliver us from the bondage of sin. Yet there is still a future and ultimate fulfillment of Passover at the End, when Christ will deliver His people from the great tribulation and invite them to participate in “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9). Christ Himself pointed to this future fulfillment of Passover when He said: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:16). In this statement Christ makes it clear that the ultimate fulfillment of Passover was not at the Cross, but will be at the End with the establishment of God’s kingdom. It is interesting to study how Christ took the non-sacrificial elements of the Jewish Passover–the Bread and Wine–to establish the Christian Passover.

 

         Our Adventist church calendar hardly acknowledges the biblical Passover, because it is largely promotional calendar (education, Religious Liberty, Famine Relief), not religious.  But an increasing number of Adventist pastors recognize the importance of preaching at Passover time on Christ’s sufferings, death, and resurrection. In fact, several pastors have told me that they have found very helpful the outline of the Passover Sermon, which is found in volume one of my book God’s Festivals in Scripture and History.  To order a copy click to this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=34&osCsid=79e7eb7b4013342630c7097e26e21b4b

 

         Adventist Messianic congregations are now emerging, not only in Israel,  but even in places like Andrews University. On Passover Sabbath you will find the Andrews University Tower auditorium packed with Adventist eager to celebrate Passover according to the early Christian tradition.

 

         The interest for the rediscovery of the spiritual meaning of the OT Festivals is reflected in the symposium that was sponsored by the Biblical Research Institute, held at Andrews University last October 24, 2006. I was invited to read a paper that was well-received.  The paper is included in the CD Album with all my books and articles. To order the album, simply click here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=23&products_id=47

 

         Pastors eager to lead their congregation to a fresh appreciation of Passover–the annual Feast of Redemption–may wish to use the outlines of the last three newsletters on The Centrality of the Cross, The Necessity of the Cross,  and The Achievements of the Cross. These studies are taken from my book The Passion of Christ in Scripture and History. Several Bible teachers told me that they view this section of the book as the clearest and most comprehensive Adventist study on the meaning of the Cross.

 

               The book can be offered to church members as a study guide to the Passover Sermons. In the last newsletter I explained the mistake I made by asking the printer twice to reprint The Passion of Christ, forgetting completely that he had already delivered me the reprint of book two weeks earlier.  This may have been a providential mistake that will help many of our Adventist people at this Passover season to reflect afresh on the meaning of the Cross.

 

               To make it possible for many people to benefit from The Passion of Christ, we offer this timely book until March 31, 2007 for only $3.00 per copy for a case 34 copies ($100.00 for the case, postpaid), and $5.00 per copy for a smaller case of 10 copies ($50.00 for the case, postage paid). The regular price of the book is $25.00 per copy.  You will also receive as a special bonus TWO FREE DVD ALBUMS with the two hours 3ABN live interview, where I share the highlights of the book. The DVD ALBUM regularly sells for $50.00, but you receive it free with your order.

 

               After the 3ABN interview, the phone kept on ringing for three weeks. Viewers from different parts of the world were calling to order a copy of the book which sold out in three weeks. This double reprint came out at the right time, because in few weeks time most Christians will celebrate Christ’s Passion and Resurrection either on Passover (April 3) or on Easter-Sunday (April 8, 2007).

 

               The book The Passion of Christ and the accompanying DVD album, are ideal witnessing tools. They will help both your church members and friends to appreciate more fully the meaning of the Cross.  Your help in promoting and distributing this timely book is greatly appreciated.

 

This is the Special Offer for quantity orders of The Passion of Christ in Scripture and History.

       1 copy of the book for $25.00, postage paid.

               Plus ONE free 3ABN DVD album included.

       2 copies of the book for $35.00, postage paid. ($17.50 each).

               Plus ONE free 3ABN DVD album included.

       10 copies of the book for $50.00, postage paid. ($5.00 each).

               Plus ONE free 3ABN DVD album is included.

       34 copies (one case) of the book for $100.00, postage paid.

       ($2.95 each).  Plus TWO free 3ABN DVD albums are included.

 

Four Ways to Order The Passion of Christ

 

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               (4) Regular Mail: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 4990, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

PROPOSED MERGER OF THE CATHOLIC AND ANGLICAN CHURCHES

 

         Several Adventists have asked me to investigate the news of a possible merger between the Catholic and Anglican Churches. This breaking news appeared in the British and Australian press on February 19, 2007. The news was released by Brisbane’s Catholic Archbishop John Bathersby, who is leading a radical push to merge the world’s Anglican and Catholic churches.

 

         As joint chair of an international commission of both churches, Archbishop Bathersby helped produce a 42-page statement called Growing Together in Unity and Mission. The document proposes practical steps on how Anglicans and Catholics could re-unite under the leadership of the Pope.

 

         Some Adventists wonder if this proposed merger marks the initial fulfilment of Ellen White’s predictions about the endtime reunification of Catholicism and Protestantism. Repeatedly in The Great Controversy Ellen White speaks of a growing and strong sentiment among Protestants to minimize their differences with the Catholic church, in order to achieve a unity among their churches under the leadership of the Pope. For example, she writes: “There has been for years, in churches of the Protestant faith, a strong and growing sentiment in favor of a union based upon common points of doctrine.  To secure such a union, the discussion of subjects upon which all were not agreed—however important they might be from a Bible standpoint—must necessarily be waived” (Great Controversy , p. 444).

 

         Can the proposed merger between the Catholic and Anglican Churches be seen as the initial prophetic fulfilment of Ellen White’s prediction about the endtime reunification of Catholicism and Protestantism?  It seems to me that such an interpretation is premature for four major reasons.

 

         First, as the Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, John Bathersby acknowledges, “the paper was only meant to feed into an internal discussion,” and not an official announcement to the world an imminent merging of the two churches.  He did not put a timetable on reunification, but judging from the slow progress of the past 50 years, he felt that an equal number of years will pass before some concrete steps will be taken toward reunification.  He said: “We’ve come so far within the last 40 and 50 years, I’m prepared to be optimistic and say, well, we can go at least as far as that in the next 40 years to come.”

 

         Second, of all the Protestant churches, the Anglican church is the closest to the Catholic Church. The reason is that the separation between the two churches that occurred 500 years ago, was motivated by political, not theological difference. It was the refusal of the Pope to approve the annulment King Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, that eventually led the King in 1534 to make a decisive break with the Roman Catholic Church, by appointing himself Supreme Head of the Church of England, instead of the Pope. This means, as an Anglican puts it, “We rejected the Pope, not the Catholic church.” Both churches are sacramental and episcopal. The sticky point is the acceptance of the universal primacy of the Pope, which is becoming more appealing to Anglicans who find it increasingly difficult to accept a divorced future king, like Charles, as the head of their church.

 

         Lastly, we noted in the previous newsletter that Pope Benedict XVI has no intention to promote a partnership with the Muslim or an ecumenical relationship with the Protestants. In an important Report, Benedict XVI laid down an important principle: “We must not mistake words for reality; theological progress and a few documents do not signify a thoroughgoing rapprochement . . . An ecumenism which does not face up to these difficulties which men at present find inseparable, is full of dangers.”

 

         The present pope is committed to preserve the unicity and identity of the Catholic Church by rejecting any attempt to allow other Christian Churches to become channels of grace. Salvation is to be found only within the Catholic Church — “no salus extra ecclesia– no salvation outside the Catholic.” The present retrenchment to pre-Vatican II’s position, makes it difficult to see how Ellen White’s prediction of a reunification of the Catholic and Protestant churches can take place during the Pontificate of Benedict XVI. We need to wait for another Pope like John Paul II to see some significal ecumenical rapproachment between Catholic and Protestant churches.

 

BACCHIOCCHI RESPONDS TO FALSE ALLEGATIONS

 

               I am pleased to report that on Monday, February 26, I received an email message from the Rector, that is, the President of the Pontifical Gregorian University. He acknowledges to have received my documented response, originally sent to him first on January 2 via the Post Office and then sent again via UPS on January 23, 2007.

 

               The Rector’s email is very brief, but cordial. He wrote: “Allow me to express my sincere appreciation for the respectful manner in which you have presented  your request.

 

               My documented response has been sent to you through TNT. Global express service.

Sincerely

 

Gianfranco Ghirlanda, S.J.

Rettore

Pontificia Universitą Gregoriana

Piazza della Pilotta, 4

00187 Roma                                                                                       

 

               Within the next few days, I should receive the documented response of Rector Ghirlanda, which I am eager to read.  I will be sure to report to you on the content of the response in the next newsletter.

 

               The recent attempts to prove that Sunday was established by Christ and the apostles (see the recent declaration of Pope Benedict XVI himself mentioned in my previous newsletter No. 164), may explain why the General Secretary of the Pontifical Gregorian University attacked my moral integrity and tried to discredit the scholarly credibility of my dissertation  From Sabbath to Sunday.

 

               In an official document, the General Secretary accuses me of having falsely claimed to have received the summa cum laude academic distinction, a gold medal donated by Pope Paul VI, and the imprimatur for the abridged and unabridged versions of my dissertation.

 

               During the past three months I worked diligently to prepare an official response to these false allegations made against me. I shared my documented response in the Newsletters No. 159 and 160. If you missed these newsletter, you can read my official response by clicking at this link  http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Gregoriana1

 

               At this point I am eager to read the Rector’s documented response to the false allegations  made against me by the General Secretary of the Gregorian University.  In my next newsletter, I will share with you the highlights of the response.

 

PROBLEMS IN RECEIVING THIS NEWSLETTER

 

               Several subscribers complain that they do not receive the newsletter regularly.  Rest assured that the problem is not with TAGNET, my internet service provider, but with the filter placed on your account by your internet service provider.

 

               I was having the same problem of messages not being delivered to my mailbox.  I asked TAGNET to remove all filters from my account, and now I receive all the messages, including the unwanted ones. Ask your service provider to do the same thing with your account. Receiving unwanted messages is a small problem for me, because with the delete key I can remove in a few seconds all the spam messages. It is only a matter of applying what the Revelation calls “the patience of the saints,” (Rev 14:12), a rare virtue in our inpatient society.

 

“The Achievements of the Cross - Part 1”

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,

Retired Professor of Theology and Church History,

Andrews University

 

         This newsletter continues the study began in the previous newsletter on the reasons for Christ’s death.  The study is excerpted from chapter 4 of THE PASSION OF CHRIST IN SCRIPTURE AND HISTORY, which is entitled “The Cross of Christ.”  In the previous two newsletters we considered the centrality and necessity of the Cross.  We concluded that the centrality of Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross is the foundation and center of the Christian faith. Christ understood His saving mission not in terms of living to teach moral principles, but in terms of dying to save people from their sins.

 

            In this newsletter we move from the necessity of the Cross to the achievements of the Cross.  The question we intend to address is: Why did God take our place and bear our sins?  In recent years some disagreement has emerged among Adventist theologians regarding the reasons for Christ’s death.  Some are uncomfortable with the notion of the substitutionary function of Christ’s death to bear the punishment of penitent sinners. They prefer to view Christ’s death as a revelation of divine love designed to rekindle a loving response in the heart of sinners.

 

             But, if Christ had sacrificed His life merely to demonstrate His love toward us, it is hard to understand why such cruel demonstration was necessary. Love is best demonstrated not by dying for someone, but rather by living for and serving that person. The Cross must be seen as a revelation of both divine love and divine justice. This study attempts to show that salvation is through divine expiation of human sin and not merely through a divine revelation of love.

 

            To facilitate our understanding of the achievements of the Cross, we will consider five major word pictures used in Scripture to explain the results of Christ’s sacrificial death: propitiation, redemption, justification, reconciliation, and intercession.  For the sake of brevity, this Bible Study deals only with the first two word pictures:  propitiation and redemption.  The study of the next three word pictures (justification, reconciliation, and intercession) will be posted in the next newsletter.

 

 

 The heart of the Cross is God in Christ Substituting Himself for the Salvation of Sinners.

 

         In the previous newsletter we noted that the necessity of the Cross stems from the holiness of God and the gravity of sin. We need now to move from the necessity of the Cross to the achievements of the Cross.

 

            Why did God take our place and bear our sins? The New Testament offers two major answers to this question, which may be summed up as revelation and salvation. Revelation is the subjective aspect of Christ’s death, namely, how Christ’s atoning death reveals God’s love in a way that can rekindle a loving response in the heart of sinners. Salvation is the objective aspect of Christ’s death, namely, how Christ’s atoning death satisfied divine justice by dealing with the objective reality of sin. For the sake of clarity, we examine the achievements of the Cross under these two main categories:

 

            1. The Revelation of God

            2. The Salvation of Sinners

 

THE REVELATION OF GOD’S LOVE

 

            God has revealed Himself in various ways, but, as Hebrews 1:1-3 points out, through His own Son He has spoken to us in a special way. This means that Christ’s life, suffering, and death offer to us a unique revelation of God’s love, character, and nature. Being the culmination of Christ’s life, the Cross is also the supreme revelation of God’s love. This truth is emphatically stated in the New Testament.

 

The Cross Is the Supreme Revelation of God’s Love

 

            Twice John affirms that Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross is the supreme manifestation of true love. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16). For John the true definition of love is to be found at Calvary, not in a dictionary. John’s second verse is still more precise: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). God’s love is true love because it was manifested in sending His only Son to die the death that we deserve “so that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).

 

            Paul also writes about the love of God twice in the first part of Romans 5. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom 5:5). “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). These two texts point to the subjective and objective aspects of God’s love. Paul says that we know God’s love objectively because He has proven His love through the death of His Son, and subjectively because He continuously pours His love into our hearts through the indwelling of His Spirit.

 

            The Cross is a supreme revelation of God’s love. First because it tells us that He sent His own Son, not a third party. Second because God sent His Son, not merely to teach us or to serve us, but to die for us—undeserving sinners that we are. The value of a love gift is determined by what it costs to the giver and how deserving the recipient is. In the gift of His Son God gave everything for those who deserved nothing from Him.

 

            Calvary must be seen as a revelation of the love of both the Father and the Son, because God initiated and participated in the self-giving of His Son. As Paul puts it: “All is from God who through Christ reconciles us to Himself. . . . God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:18-19). At Golgotha, the Father was not a spectator, but a participant in the anguish and suffering of His Son. Consequently, Christ’s experience of the limitations, sufferings, agony, and death of human flesh is a supreme revelation of both the Son and the Father’s love.

          

The Cross Kindles a Loving Response

 

         The revelation of divine love through the life, suffering, and death of Christ is designed to kindle a loving response in the hearts of sinners. The human heart responds to a genuine manifestation of sacrificial love. Jesus said: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The sinner who hears the Good News of the Savior who died to rescue humankind from the penalty and power of sin is moved to respond by repenting of sin and accepting divine forgiveness and salvation.

 

            Paul emphasizes the compelling power of Christ’s love revealed at the Cross: “For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all” (2 Cor 2:14). Similarly John writes: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16). Passages such as these clearly emphasize the moral influence exercised on the human heart by God’s love exhibited at the Cross.

          

The “Moral Influence” Theory

 

            The unique demonstration of God’s love at the Cross has led many theologians during the history of the Christian church to find atoning value in the moral influence of the Cross. To them, the efficacy of the Cross lies not in any objective satisfaction of divine justice through Christ’s death, but in its subjective inspiration to respond to God’s love by changing our attitudes and actions.

 

            The most famous promoter of the “moral influence” view of the Cross was the French theologian Peter Abelard (1079-1142). He was a popular lecturer who attracted large audiences at the University of Notre Dame, Paris. He strongly disagreed with his contemporary, Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109), on the reason for Christ’s death. In his epoch-making book Cur Deus Homo? (Why God Became Man?), Anselm explains that Christ had to suffer in His mind and body the exact equivalent of the punishment due for all of humankind’s sins in order to satisfy the demands of divine justice.

 

            Abelard rejected Anselm’s satisfaction view of Christ’s death, proposing instead what is known as “the moral influence” view of the atonement. He wrote: “How cruel and wicked it seems, that anyone should demand the blood of an innocent person as the price for anything, or that it should in any way please him that an innocent man should be slain—still less that God should consider the death of His Son so agreeable that by it he should be reconciled to the whole world.”

 

            Instead, Abelard explained the function of Christ’s death in exclusively subjective terms, namely, as a revelation of divine love designed to move human hearts to repent and turn to God. He wrote: “Redemption is the greatest love kindled in us by Christ’s passion, a love which not only delivers us from the bondage of sin, but also acquires for us the true freedom of children, where love instead of fear becomes the ruling affection.”

 

            A favorite text that Abelard quoted to support his view is Luke 7:47, where Jesus, referring to the adulterous woman who anointed His feet, says: “I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Abelard misunderstood this text. He made love the ground of forgiveness, rather than its result. For him, Christ’s death offers forgiveness by evoking a loving response. When we love Christ we show that we are forgiven. As Robert Franks put it, “Abelard reduced the whole process of redemption to one single clear principle, namely, the manifestation of God’s love to us in Christ, which awakens an answering love in us.”

          

Supporters of the Moral Influence Theory

 

         The moral influence view of Christ’s death has enjoyed considerable support throughout the centuries. Peter Lombard, who became Bishop of Paris in 1159, defended the view in his famous Book of Sentences. Other proponents of this view were Socinus, a sixteenth-century theologian who also denied the Trinity, and Friedrich Schleiermacher, regarded as the father of nineteenth-century liberal theology. At present, the moral influence view has been reproposed by evangelical theologians and a few Adventists writers, who find the substitutionary view of Christ’s death no longer acceptable today. In their view, the notion of substitution reflects the ancient Roman court setting, rather than that of a family love relationship.

 

            The new model being promoted is that of a family relationship, in which God deals with sinners as parents deal with disobedient children. In an article in Christianity Today entitled “Evangelical Megashift: Why You May Not Have Heard About Wrath, Sin, and Hell Recently,” Robert Brow, a prominent Canadian theologian, explains that “One of the most obvious features of new-model evangelicalism is an emphasis on recalling the warmth of a family relationship when thinking about God. It prefers to picture God as three persons held together in a relationship of love. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, it argues, made humans in their image with a view to bringing many children to glory. So instead of being dragged trembling into a law court, we are to breathe in the atmosphere of a loving family.”

 

         According to this new model, as Robert Brow explains, the Cross is no longer God satisfying the demands of His justice by being willing to bear through His Son the punishment of our sins, but “the inevitable cost of loving. God is love, and love always gets hurt. We can hold back from getting hurt, or we can go through Gethsemane to accept the sacrifice that is involved in loving.”  Sins are allegedly forgiven out of the bounty of God’s loving tolerance, which elicits a loving response from the sinners’ heart. No substitutionary sacrifice for sinners is necessary.

 

The Limitations of the “Moral Influence” View of the Cross

 

         The moral influence theory is correct in affirming that the love of Christ shines through the Cross and elicits our loving response. But it is faulty in denying the substitutionary function of Christ’s death. We know that Christ that loved us because He gave Himself for us. His love awakens ours. In John’s words, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). But the question is: How does the Cross demonstrate Christ’s Love? Did Christ suffer and die merely to show His love toward us? If that were true, it is hard to understand why Christ would choose to show love in such a cruel way.

 

            If a person dashes into a burning building to rescue someone, that rescue is seen as a demonstration of love, because it was designed to save a life. But if a person jumps into the burning building because he wants to be burned to death, that would be a demonstration of folly, not of love. In the same way, Christ’s death on the Cross can be a demonstration of love only if He gave His life in order to rescue us. The Cross can be seen as a proof of God’s love only when it is a proof of His justice.

 

            Christ’s death on the Cross must have an objective purpose before it can have a subjective response. Paul makes this point when he says, “Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died” (2 Cor 5:14; NIV). The compelling manifestation of Christ’s love rests on the costliness of the Cross. When we recognize that He died that we might live, then His love grips our hearts, compelling us to live for Him.

 

            The drawing power and moral influence of the Cross is one important function of Christ’s death, which is only valid and valuable if it is understood as the effect rather than the primary cause of Christ’s death. Scripture emphatically states that the purpose of Christ’s death was to deal directly with the objective reality of sin: “He died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3). “His blood cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

 

            Summing up, the divine revelation of love at the Cross and our human response to it is determined by the recognition that Christ died not merely to show love, but to pay the penalty of our disobedience. If Christ had sacrificed His life merely to demonstrate His love toward us, it is hard to understand why such cruel demonstration was necessary. Love is best demonstrated not by dying for someone, but rather by living for and serving that person. The Cross must be seen as a revelation of both divine love and divine justice.

 

            To limit the value and the function of Christ’s death to its moral influence upon the human heart is to attribute to natural persons the capacity to save themselves merely by responding to God’s love. Such a view ignores both the depravity of human nature (Rom 3:23) and the need of salvation from sin (Rom 6:23). Salvation is through divine expiation of human sin and not merely through a divine revelation of love.

 

THE SALVATION OF SINNERS

 

            Scripture teaches that the sufferings and death of Jesus were not merely the revelation of His sacrificial love to elicit our loving response, but also the salvation of sinners through Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice. When we examine how Christ accomplished the salvation of sinful people, we find that Scripture presents multifaceted images, each designed to help us understand an important aspect of Christ’s redemptive accomplishments. No single image could exhaust the many aspects of the Cross.

 

            For the sake of clarity we will consider five major word pictures of salvation which are used in Scripture to illustrate the achievements of the Cross. The first is propitiation, which derives from the sacrifices offered in the Temple court. The second is redemption, which is taken from the release of slaves in the marketplace. The third is justification, which comes from the acquittal of an accused person in a law court. The fourth is reconciliation, which is inspired by family relationships. The fifth is intercession, which comes from Christ’s heavenly ministry. In this newsletter we consider the first two word pictures: propitiation and redemption. The remaining three will be discussed in a forthcoming newsletter.

 

            The foundation of all of these word pictures is the substitutionary nature of Christ’s sacrifice. As John Stott rightly points out: “If God in Christ did not die in our place, there could be neither propitiation, not redemption, not justification, nor reconciliation. In addition, all the images begin their life in the Old Testament, but are elaborated and enriched in the New, particularly by being directly related to Christ and His Cross.”

 

CHRIST’S DEATH AS PROPITIATION

 

            The central part of Christ’s sacrificial death is removal of the guilt of our sins, known as expiation or propitiation. Paul affirms that the central purpose of Christ’s shedding of blood is to make “expiation” for our sins: “Whom God put forward as an expiation [propitiation—KJV] by his blood, to be received by faith” (Rom 3:25). Similarly, John declares that Christ is “the expiation [propitiation—KJV] for our sins” (1 John 2:2).

 

            The English terms “expiation,” used in the RSV, or “propitiation,” used in the KJV, are a translation of the Greek verb hilaskomai (Heb 2:17), the noun hilasmos (1 John 2:2; 4:10), and the adjective hilasterion (Rom 3:25; Heb 9:5). The meaning of these word pictures derives from the lid of the ark which is called kaphar in Hebrew (Lev 16:20) and hilasterion in Greek (Heb 9:5). The sin was “covered,” that is, it was expiated in the Old Testament through the sprinkling of the blood upon the mercy seat, which symbolized forgiveness, atonement, through the satisfaction of divine justice.

 

            In the New Testament antitype, sin is covered through the sacrifice of Christ who satisfies divine justice. Perhaps the most important text in this regard is Romans 3:25 (KJV), where Paul says that God has set forth Christ as the hilasterion (mercy seat) for sinners, designed to propitiate the divine displeasure (wrath) against sin. By means of Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice, the guilty person is covered in the eyes of God and the guilt is removed. The sin is dealt with so effectively that it is no longer the object of God’s condemnation.

 

            The RSV translates the hilasterion word group as “expiation,” because the translators were uncomfortable with the notion that Christ’s death “propitiated,” that is, appeased or pacified, God’s wrath. But the New Testament use of hilasterion has nothing to do with the pagan notion of “placating an angry God” or “appeasing a vindictive, arbitrary, and capricious God.”  The text of Romans 3:25 tells us that “God in His merciful will presented Christ as the propitiation to His holy wrath on human guilt because He accepted Christ as man’s representative and divine Substitute to receive His judgment on sin.”

 

            God’s wrath, as noted earlier, is not an irrational, capricious, emotional outburst of anger and “seeing red.” Rather, it is His consistent and uncompromising reaction to the objective reality of moral evil. God’s antagonism against sin is satisfied by Christ’s “propitiatory sacrifice,” which reconciles to God those who accept by faith His sacrifice. Expiation and propitiation are linked together, because expiation deals with sin by clearing the guilt in such a way that propitiation is effected toward God and the forgiven sinner is restored to fellowship with God.

          

Sacrificial Offerings

 

         To understand the propitiatory function of Christ’s sacrifice, we must consider the Old Testament sacrificial system, which typified the redemptive work of Christ (Col 2:17; Heb 9:23-24; 10:1). The animal sin offerings were designed to teach the need of vicarious atonement to expiate sin. The sin of the penitent Israelite was, by means of confession (Lev 1:4),  transferred to a sacrificial animal that died in the place of the sinner. Through this process, the sin was expiated as punishment was met and God was propitiated as His displeasure  terminated.

 

            The vicarious meaning of the animal sacrifice was highlighted especially through the ritual of the blood which symbolized the atonement through a substitutionary life: “The life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement by reason of the life” (Lev 17:11).

 

            This text makes three important affirmations about blood. First, blood is the symbol of life. For this reason God forbade the consumption of meat which still had its “lifeblood” in it (Gen 9:4; Deut 12:23). The emphasis in the sacrificial system was not on the bloody torture of the sacrificial victim, as in Gibson’s movie where the bloody body of Christ is reduced into a pulp. Instead, the focus is on the blood shed by the sacrificial victim for the penitent sinner. Simply stated, in Scripture blood stands for salvation through sacrificial death, not through the intensity of suffering portrayed in The Passion. The animal was not tortured before being sacrificed, because atonement for sin was accomplished by the sacrifice of the innocent victim.

 

            Second, blood makes atonement because the life represented by the blood is sacrificed in the place of sinner. Thomas Crawford expresses this truth well: “The text, then, according to its plain and obvious import, teaches the vicarious nature of the rite of sacrifice. Life was given for life, the life of the victim for the life of the offerer, indeed, the life of the innocent victim for the life of the sinful offerer.”

 

            Third, blood was provided by God to make atonement. God says: “I have given it to you.” The sacrificial system was God-given—not a human device to placate God, but a divine provision to save penitent sinners. The sacrifices were recognized as divine provisions, not human meritorious works. They were not intended to make God gracious, because God Himself provided them in order to be merciful toward His sinful people while at the same time meeting the demands of His justice. Salvation has always been a divine gift of grace, not a human achievement.

 

Atonement through Christ’s Blood

 

         The meaning and function of blood in the sacrificial system helps us to understand two crucial text in Hebrews. The first says: “Under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Heb 9:22). The second text says: “For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins” (Heb 10:4).

 

            These texts highlight two important truths. The first text tells us that there is no forgiveness without blood, because the penalty of sin has to be met by a substitutionary sacrifice. There had to be life for life. The second text explains that the blood of animal sacrifices could not atone for human beings, because, as Jesus Himself said, a human being has “much more value . . . than a sheep” (Matt 12:12). Only the “precious blood of Christ” was valuable enough to atone for the sins of humankind. Old Testament believers were taught through the shed blood of animal sacrifices to look forward in faith to “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).

 

            Peter reminds believers that they “were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Pet 1:18-19). Hebrews explains more explicitly than any other New Testament book that Christ’s perfect sacrifice for sin on the Cross represents the fulfillment of the Old Testament substitutionary sacrifices. Christ “has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb 9:26; cf. 10:12, 14).

 

The Bearing of Our Sins

 

         The substitutionary nature of Christ’s sacrifice is also taught by those Scriptural passages which speak of our sins being “laid upon” Christ (Is 53:6; cf. 2 Cor 5:21) and of His “bearing” our sins (Is 53:12; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 2:24). According to Scripture, our sins were imputed to Christ. This does not mean that Christ bore our sins by becoming morally guilty and affected by sin. He “knew no sin” (2 Cor 2:21). Christ bore our sins by assuming the legal obligation of our punishment. What can be transferred is not subjective moral sinfulness/guiltiness, but the objective punishment of sin. It is the latter that was imputed to Christ.

 

            To appreciate this point, it is important to recognize that sin may be considered in terms of its nature, which is transgression (culpa–guilt) of the law (1 John 3:4), and in terms of its legal consequences (poena–punishment), which is punishment (Rom 6:23). It is only in the latter sense that Christ bore our sins vicariously by assuming our liability to punishment. Our punishment  can be transferred because punishment is an objective reality which is not inherent in the person of the sinner. Christ then bore our sin by accepting the condemnation of our sins which is death (Rom 6:23); by being willing to die “the righteous for the unrighteous that he might bring us to God” (1 Pet 3:18).

 

The Prepositions Huper and Anti

 

         The substitutionary meaning of Christ’s sacrifice is also expressed in those passages which use the Greek prepositions huper and anti to describe Christ’s work for sinners. The preposition huper can mean both “in place of” and “for the benefit of.” The latter meaning is probably found in passages such as John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for [huper] his friends” (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb 2:9).

 

            In other passages, however, the preposition huper clearly means “instead of.” For example, in 2 Corinthians 5:14, Paul says: “The love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for [huper] all. Therefore all have died.” Obviously, Christ’s death here is substitutionary because it would be nonsense to say that because “one has died for the benefit of all, therefore all died.” (See also Gal 3:3; John 11:50; Mark 10:45; 1 Pet 3:18; 2:22; Heb 4:15). It is only on the assumption that Christ’s death was substitutionary that Paul could have drawn the immediate inference “therefore all have died.”

 

            The meaning of substitution is conveyed unequivocally by those passages which use the preposition anti, which clearly means “instead of” or “in place of.” For example, Christ said: “The son of man came to give his life a ransom for [antiin the place of] many” (Mark 10:45; cf. Matt 2:22; 5:38; 20:28). 1 Timothy 2:6 provides an interesting example in which both anti and huper are used in the same text: “Christ Jesus . . . gave himself as a ransom [antilutron] for [huper] all.” Here the use of anti together with huper suggests that Christ’s death is a substitute ransom for the benefit of all. Thus, Scripture clearly teaches that Christ endured suffering and death not only for the benefit of but also in the place of sinners.

 

            The substitutionary nature of Christ’s sacrifice helps us understand Paul’s description of Christ’s death as “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph 5:2; cf. Gen 8:21; Lev 1:9). “Christ’s self-sacrifice is pleasing to God because this sacrificial offering took away the barrier between God and sinful man in that Christ fully bore God’s wrath on man’s sin. Through Christ, God’s wrath is not turned into love but is turned away from man and borne by Himself.”

 

The Innocent Cannot Suffer for the Wicked

 

         Some argue that it is illegal to make an innocent suffer for the guilty. Consequently, Christ’s death cannot justly be a substitutionary sacrifice of “the righteous for the unrighteous” (1 Pet 3:18). This objection fails to recognize that it is not God imposing a vicarious punishment upon a third party, His Son, but it is God Himself willing to suffer in and through the person of His Son for sinners: “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Cor 5:19). The Father did not impose on the Son an ordeal He was reluctant to bear, nor did the Son extract from the Father a forgiveness He was reluctant to give. “There was no unwillingness in either. On the contrary, their wills coincided in the perfect self-sacrifice of love.”

 

            It is not unjust for a judge to choose vicariously to pay the penalty for someone else’s disobedience. The transference of penalty from a guilty to an innocent person is unjust in a human court because no human judge can remove the causes of disobedience by paying its penalty. However, Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice not only pays the penalty of sin, but also breaks the power of sin (1 John 1:9); it not only declares the penitent sinner just (justification), but it also enables the sinner to become just (sanctification).

 

The Need for Repentance Excludes Substitution

 

         Others object to the substitutionary view of Christ’s death because God still expects us to confess and to repent of our sins. If Christ’s sacrifice vicariously paid the penalty of our sins, then God should release us altogether from punishment without any preconditions.

 

            This objection ignores the fact that the substitutionary payment is made not by a third party, but by God Himself. Christ is both the vicarious sacrifice and the judge (Rom 14:10). Consequently, God has the right to determine upon what basis forgiveness is to be granted. Christ’s obedience does not make ours unnecessary, but possible. Thus, Christ has the right to require repentance and faith as conditions for forgiveness and salvation.

 

The Father Would Be Unjust in Sacrificing the Son for the Sins of Humankind

 

         Another objection to the doctrine of vicarious atonement is that it makes God guilty of injustice because He would have sacrificed the Son to meet the demands of His own justice. This objection, like the previous one, ignores the fact that the plan of redemption was conceived by the triune God and was not an imposition of the Father upon the Son. Christ voluntarily undertook to pay the human penalty for sin and to satisfy the demands of the divine justice: “I lay down my life for the sheep . . . for this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:15, 17-18).

 

            The objection also fails to recognize that in the drama of the Cross, the Father is not the Judge punishing His Son, the innocent victim. Instead, both of Them are mysteriously united in carrying out our redemption. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). God “did not spare his own Son” (Rom 8:32). “We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom 5:10). In giving His Son, God gave Himself. God is the Judge who in the person of His Son bore the penalty which He Himself inflicted. As Robert Dale puts it, “The mysterious unity of the Father and the Son rendered possible for God at once to endure and to inflict penal suffering.”

 

            In order to save us in a way consonant to His justice, God substituted Himself through Christ for our salvation. The self-sacrifice of God on the Cross reveals the simultaneous blending of justice and mercy. There is nothing unjust in the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ, because the substitute for the lawbreaker is none other than the divine Lawgiver Himself.

 

            Moreover, Christ’s sacrifice must be viewed not only in terms of pain and suffering, but also in terms of gain and glory. It has resulted in a countless multitude of the redeemed praising Him with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” (Rev 5:12). Finally, if Christ’s death was not a substitutionary sacrifice, His bitter suffering and shameful death would truly be an unjust, irrational, and cruel exhibition.

 

Conclusion

 

         Our discussion of the propitiatory function of Christ’s sacrifice has shown that Christ did not die to placate God’s anger and persuade Him to forgive sinners. The initiative was undertaken by God Himself who put forth His own Son to be a propitiatory sacrifice. God did not offer an animal or an object, but Himself in the person of His Son. Thus, God Himself in His loving mercy took the initiative to appease His righteous anger by bearing it Himself in the person of His own Son who took our place and died for us. The sacrificial system clearly shows that Christ’s substitutionary death paid the penalty of sin and averted God’s wrath “so that God can look on man without displeasure and man can look on God without fear. Sin is expiated and God is propitiated.”  God is both the provider and the recipient of the propitiation.

 

CHRIST’S DEATH AS REDEMPTION

 

            In seeking to understand the achievements of the Cross, we now move from the word picture of propitiation associated with the sacrifices in the Temple to that of redemption that comes to us from the marketplace. The term “redemption” translates the Greek apolutrosis, which derives from lutron, which was the “ramson,” or “price of release” paid in the marketplace for the purchase or manumission of a slave.

 

            While propitiation views the Cross from the perspective of divine wrath or displeasure satisfied by Christ’s sacrifice, redemption sees the Cross as the release from the bondage to which sin has consigned us. It views the work of Christ not simply as deliverance from the bondage of sin but also in terms of the ransom price paid for our deliverance.

 

            The meaning of redemption is clarified by Christ’s words: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his love as a ransom [lutron] for many” (Matt 20:28; cf. Mark 10:45). In this declaration Christ explains that His mission was one of ransom—lutron, which is also translated “redemption.” The ransom price was His life, and the payment of the ransom price was substitutionary in nature. The same idea is expressed in numerous other passages that deal with redemption. Leon Morris warns against reducing the biblical concept of redemption to cheap deliverance. “The language of redemption is that of securing release by the payment of a price, and it is this concept that is applied expressly to the laying down of Jesus’ life and the shedding of His blood. Jesus shed His blood in order to pay the price of our ransom. Redemption cannot be reduced to lower terms.”

 

            In the Old Testament, property, animals, persons, and the nation could be “redeemed” by the payment of a price. The right to redeem belonged to a “kinsman redeemer.” An impoverished Israelite compelled to sell himself into slavery could later redeem himself or be redeemed by a relative (Ex 30:12-16; 13:13; Num 3:40-51; Lev 25:47-55). In either case, the “redemption” was a costly intervention. Somebody paid the price necessary to free the person from slavery.

 

            Israel as a nation was redeemed from slavery in Egypt (Ex 6:6; Deut 7:8; 15:15) and from exile in Babylon (Is 43:1-14; 48:20; Jer 31:11). Redemption always involved the payment of a price, and Israel’s redemption was no exception. “I am the Lord, and I will bring you from under the burden of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment” (Ex 6:6; cf. Deut 9:26; Neh 1:10).

 

            In the New Testament, the meaning of “redemption” is expanded to include two new concepts. First, the plight of those needing redemption is moral, not material. It is a deliverance not from physical or political oppression, but from the spiritual bondage of sin. Second, the price paid for our redemption is not monetary, but is the precious blood of Jesus. “You were ransomed from your futile ways . . . not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Pet 1:18).

 

The Scope of Redemption

 

         The scope of Christ’s redemption through His sacrificial death includes three areas, all of which are related to our bondage to sin. First, there is deliverance from the penalty of sin. Paul explains that Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds” (Tit 2:14).

 

            In this text Paul describes redemption both as deliverance and purification. Deliverance from all iniquities is defined by Paul elsewhere as “the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Eph 1:7). In other words, Christ’s death secures our legal acquittal and penal release from our transgressions of God’s law. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Gal 3:13). The curse of the law is the condemnation it pronounces upon transgressors (Gal 3:10).

 

            Second, Christ’s redemption delivers believers from the power of sin. Through His substitutionary death, Jesus not only pays the penalty of our sins, but also enables us through His Spirit to break the grip of sin in our lives. Christ gave Himself “to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds” (Tit 2:14). Redemption and purification go together. “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with his word” (Eph 5:25-26).

 

            Thomas Taylor writes: “Redemption and sanctification are inseparable companions; none is redeemed who is not purged. The blood of Christ has this double effect in whomever it is effectual to salvation; for he is made to us righteousness and sanctification (1 Cor 1:30).”

 

         Third, Christ’s redemption reassures us of the final consummation to be realized at Christ’s glorious coming. That is the “day of redemption” (Eph 4:30) when we will be made perfect. This includes “the redemption of our bodies” (Rom 8:23) from sin, sickness, and death. Only then will Christ complete the redemption of the human and subhuman creation from sin, sorrow, and death. This shows how closely related is the present redemption accomplished by Jesus on the Cross to the final consummation of redemption that will take place on the glorious day of His Coming.

 

Conclusion

 

         In this newsletter we looked at two word pictures  used in Scripture  to illustrate the achievements of the Cross. The first is propitiation, which derives from the sacrifices offered in the Temple court. The second is redemption, which is taken from the release of slaves in the marketplace.

 

         In the next newsletter we continue our study by examining the remaining three word pictures. The third is justification, which comes from the acquittal of an accused person in a law court. The fourth is reconciliation, which is inspired by family relationships. The fifth is intercession, which comes from Christ’s heavenly ministry.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS OF SERVICES AND PRODUCTS

 

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               Prof. Paulien teaches the book of Revelation using powerpoint outlines. The file containing all his powerpoint outlines,  has just been added to his CD ALBUM, which contains more than a dozen of his books and scores of his articles. If you plan to study or to teach the book of Revelation, you will find the powerpoint outlines of Prof. Paulien’s lectures most helpful.

 

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          The new CD Album contains a dozen of Prof. Paulien’s books, scores of his articles, and his powerpoint outlines of the book of Revelation.  You will find this collection to be a priceless resource to enrich your understanding and experience of biblical truths. Prof. Paulien examines fundamental biblical beliefs in a profound and yet popular way. 

 

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               Have you ever looked for a clear, scholarly, and visual presentation of the history, validity, and value of the Sabbath, to use for your personal study and for witnessing to your friends?  If you have, you will be pleased to learn that my latest DVD ALBUM with my SABBATH AND SECOND ADVENT SEMINARS, is offering just what you may have been looking for.

 

               The DVD ALBUM consists of 10 DVD powerpoint lectures on the Sabbath and Second Advent which I presents in churches and schools across North America and overseas.  Each lecture is delivered with about 100 powerpoint slides professionally prepared.  If you have not had the opportunity to attend one of my seminars, you will enjoy listening to my passionate and compelling presentation of the Sabbath and Second Advent in the privacy of your home. 

 

               If your church is equipped with a DVD player and a projector, all your church members can be blessed by these timely messages. You can preview a few minutes of these timely messages, simply by clicking on this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/preview.html  If you have DSL service, the downloading time is less than two minutes. To view these digital clips, your computer must have QUICK TIME software. If you need to install QUICK TIME, you can download it freely from the web simply by clicking http://www.apple.com/quicktime/mac.html

 

               You will be impressed by the clarity of the 1000 slides used for the 10 lectures. The reason for their clarity is that the editor spent a month to insert manually each slide during the editing process. This has been an expensive project, costing me over $10,000.00. I have worked on this project during the past 10 years, making three different recordings. My goal has been to offer clear, visual, and compelling lectures on the Sabbath and Second Advent.

 

Topics Covered by the latest DVD Album:

               • The gripping testimony of my search for the Sabbath at a Vatican University in Rome:

               • The discoveries I made in Vatican libraries on the change from Sabbath to Sunday in early Christianity. You will see some of the documents and pictures of the Popes largely responsible for promoting the abandonment of the Sabbath and the adoption of Sunday.

               • Practical principles on how to keep the Sabbath to experience mental, physical, and spiritual renewal.

               • An update report on the recent Sabbath/Sunday developments. You will learn about the latest attacks against the Sabbath and the unprecedented rediscovery of the Sabbath by scholars, church leaders, and congregations of different denominations.

               • An informative Bible Study on the certainty and imminence of Christ’s Return. The lecture discusses the unprecedented fulfilment of end-time prophecies.

               • A practical meditation on how to live in the joyful expectancy of a soon-coming Savior.

               • As an extra bonus the album includes also a two-hours sacred concert entitled THE SABBATH IN SONGS. With the help of two gifted lyric tenors, I presents the message and blessings of the Sabbath for today with words and songs.  I do the speaking and the two tenors do the singing. The recording was professionally done at a TV studio in South Bend, Indiana.

 

               The history of this DVD album goes back about 10 years, when Amazing Facts first recorded only 4 lectures at the Sacramento Central SDA Church. In seeking to improve the visual quality of the lectures, a new recording was done about 5 years later in Dallas, Texas, by our Adventist Media Center. Since then, I worked hard to increase the number of the lectures and to produce about 500 new powerpoint slides to enhance the visual quality of the presentations. This called for a new recording that was done recently by a TV crew at the new Michiana-FilAm SDA Church at Andrews University.

 

Special Offer and Order Information

 

               Your special offer on this latest recording, consisting of 10 DVD powerpoint lectures on the Sabbath and Second Advent,  is only $50.00, instead of the regular price of $150.00.  The special $50.00 price includes the airmail expenses to any foreign country.

 

               You can order the latest DVD Album on the SABBATH and  SECOND ADVENT for only $50.00,  instead of the regular price of $150.00, in four different ways:

      

               (1)  Online: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=23&products_id=48

 

               (2)  Phone:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

               (3)  Email:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date.     

 

               (4) Regular Mail: By mailing a check for $50.00 to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 4990, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

A NEW TOWNHOME COMMUNITY NEAR TO THE CAMPUS OF ANDREWS UNIVERSITY

 

               If you are planning to move to Andrews University, you will be pleased to learn about a new Townhome Community being developed less than a mile away from the campus of Andrews University.

For a description and a picture of the Townhome Units, click at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/danny

 

INCREDIBLE NEW OFFERS ON HITACHI PROJECTORS

 

          HITACHI has given us an additional discount on some of their projectors to help especially our churches and schools in developing countries. This is the special offer on the following three models:

 

CP-X260 HIGH RESOLUTION 2500 LUMENS - Only $1095.00

          Previous SDA price for the 2500 lumens was $2395.00.

 

CP-X444 HIGH RESOLUTION 3200 LUMENS - Only $1695.00

          Previous SDA price for the 3200 lumens was $3295.00.

 

CP-X1250 HIGH RESOLUTION 4500 LUMENS Only $3795.00

          Previous SDA price for the 4500 lumens was $4900.00.

 

WARRANTY: The above prices include a 3 years 24/7 replacement warranty worth about $285.00.

 

You can order the HITACHI projectors online by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=24

 

If you have a problem ordering online, call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone. Your order will be processed immediately.

 

THE SMALLEST AND MOST POWERFUL REMOTE PRESENTER

 

               If you are looking for an outstanding REMOTE for your PowerPoint presentations, you will be pleased to know HONEYWELL has just come out with the smallest and most powerful remote in the market.

 

               The size of the transmitter is smaller than a credit card. You can stick it inside the palm of your hand and nobody can see it. I tested the remote in an open environment, and the radio signal can go up to 400 feet of distance. IT IS INCREDIBLE! The transmitter has three button: forward, backward, and laser.

 

               You can order online the new POWERPOINT  PRESENTER simply by clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=67

 

               If you have a problem ordering online, simply call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone. You can also email us your order at <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>, giving us your address, credit card number, and expiration date.

 

DOES YOUR CHURCH OR SCHOOL NEED A SCREEN?

 

               If your church/school is looking for a screen, the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY, the largest manufacture of screens in the world, has agreed to offer their line of screens to our Adventist churches and schools at a about 30% discount.

 

               The procedure is very simple. Visit the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY website at http://www.da-lite.com. You will see hundreds of models of screens with their respective prices. Once you find the screen that you need, give us the model number by phone (269) 471-2915 or email your request <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com> We will forward your order immediately to DA-LITE that will ship the screen directly to your address. You will receive the screen at about 30% discount.

 

BED & BREAKFAST FACILITIES IN LONDON, ENGLAND

 

               If your travel plans call for a stop in London, you will be pleased to learn about a most gracious Adventist couple that offer the best accommodation and breakfast I have ever enjoyed. It has become my home away from home when in London.  See details at: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Promotions/BED&BREAKFAST.htm

 

TAGNET SPECIAL NEW WEB HOSTING OFFER FOR ADVENTIST CHURCHES AND MEMBERS

 

               TAGnet provides an incredible number of webhosting services to our churches and members. This newsletter comes to you through their gracious and efficient service. For detail information, visit their website at http://www.netadventist.org or   http://home.tagnet.org/ You may also call their office 800 - 9TAGNET. They are ready and eager to help you.