Mr. Meherally begins:
One of the primary questions frequently posed by a devoted Christian to a non Christian is: "We all do sin. But, under the umbrella of Christianity we have Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross for "our" sins. He is "our" Saviour. Our sins are washed with the blood of our Saviour. Who is "your" Saviour and what is "your" solution for solving the sin problem?
I believe that we all sin and the question concerning who is our savior is a very important. The eternal destiny of all of us depends upon how we approach and answer this question.
There is a short and long answer to this question.
The short answer is yes, Jesus said:
The longer answer begins with another question: why did the innocent and holy blood of Jesus have to be shed to save us from our sins? The Bible is a highly descriptive and coherent account of God's relationship with His [fallen] creation - mankind. We must remember that Jesus, unlike Muhammad, did not simply "show up" one day with a new message that contradicted the earlier Prophets. The words, actions, and life of our Lord fit precisely into the teachings and prophecies of the Old Testament.
The idea of a blood sacrifice comes from the Old Testament - many centuries before the birth of Jesus.
Leviticus 17:11 tells us:
The blood sacrifice was established, by God in the Old Testament, to serve as a sin offering. According to Leviticus 5:17-19:
There are several very important issues in this short passage:
1. We cannot escape the consequences of our sins: "he is guilty and will be held responsible".
2. God provides a method by which the guilt of our sins can be removed. This act, which begins the process of forgiveness, was initiated by God, not by man.
3. The way that God provides forgiveness is not through good works, but through a sacrifice. This is very important because God is clearly telling us that good deeds and good intentions cannot remove the guilt of sin. If this were the case, the sin offering would have been totally unnecessary!
4. Notice that the sacrifice must be "without defect". This concept is very important when we discuss Jesus.
How important was the sin [guilt] offering in the Old Testament? This term is mentioned over 100 times in the Torah and Psalms! The Jews of the Old Testament believed in, and practiced, the blood sacrifice in much the same way that Muslim hold to the five pillars of Islam - it was very important!
Often, Kings, such as Hezekiah, made sin offerings for the entire nation:
In other words, Hezekiah and the High Priests, placed the sins of all of Israel on these innocent animals and sacrificed them. The sacrificial animal suffered the punishment of the sinner's sin and in the sinner's place. The life of the sinner was substituted for the life of the sacrificial animal!
Now, we turn to the New Testament
In the very beginning of the earthly life of Jesus, we are told about His mission:
John the Baptist brought the blood sacrifice of the Old Testament and the New Testament role of Jesus into very sharp perspective:
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice - He was pure and sinless. He took our sins to the cross and paid the debt that we owe for our sins. All that we need to do is to accept this sacrifice for our sins, and we will be saved! Jesus took our place and He took the punishment for our sins.
Perhaps I am lacking in piety or some basic instinct, but I know I am not alone in finding the idea of Jesus' death as atonement for the sins of all humanity on one level bewildering and on the other morally repugnant. Jesus never to my knowledge said anything to indicate that forgiveness from God could only be granted after or because of the cross. ('For Christ's Sake' page 75)
Mr. Harpur is a very eloquent and highly educated man and I have read many of his articles and books. Unfortunately, he has fallen in to the trap of "Modernism" and admits that he is an "uncomfortable Christian" who does not believe in the "exclusive claims of religion". I assume that he would also disagree with Islam's exclusive claims.
1. The fall of "all men" (not only Christians) from the Grace of God through an act of disobedience by Adam and Eve.
2. The restoration of God's Grace for "all men" (not only Christians) through the Blood Sacrifice of Christ.
All who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior will be saved! Those who do not accept Christ, will spend eternity separated from God.
"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:1/2
The above verse very clearly indicates; the Atonement of the sins was for the whole world (i.e. all mankind). In other words, if Adam's act was sin or infirmity for mankind, Jesus' act was its remedy or justification for mankind. If Adam's act was a debt for mankind, Jesus' act was its payment for mankind. If Adam's act was offence for mankind, Jesus' act was its satisfaction and reconciliation with God for mankind.
If that happens to be the Biblical TRUTH, then the posing of the said question by a boastfully devout Christians to any non Christian, in reality, questions the FAITH of the interrogator in his/her own Bible.
The sacrifice of Jesus is a full and complete payment for the sins of those who accept Him as Lord and Savior - He died so that all might be saved. In the passage that you mentioned, Christ's "advocacy" is limited to believers (see also 1 John 2:1 and 1 John 1:7). Jesus came to save "the whole world" which could, and should accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, but John also tells us:
The misconception that Jesus is The Only Saviour makes Jesus mightier than the Almighty of the Old Testament.
No it does not! Jesus said:
The Almighty God said to prophet Isaiah, according to the Bible:
"I, I am the LORD, and besides ME there is no saviour" Isaiah 43:11
"Turn to ME and be saved, all the ends of the earth" Isaiah 45:22
The first verse NEGATES the attribution of such a claim to anyone including Jesus, which the Righteous Jesus never made during his ministry, as mentioned earlier.
As mentioned earlier, He did make such a statement!
Also read Luke 2:11:
a) The Almighty God did not know the coming of "Jesus the Saviour" before the ends of the earth. In other words; the Almighty Erred.
b) Anyone who wishes to be saved by turning to the Almighty LORD, must go via "Jesus the Saviour". Whereas, anyone who wishes to be saved by turning to "Jesus the Saviour", can by pass the Almighty.
Does that not make "Jesus The Only Saviour" mightier than the Almighty LORD?
These choices are a disjunctive syllogism! This verse confirms the idea of salvation through Jesus Christ alone!
"Turn to Me and be saved" is an imperative (command) that expresses the results of following God in obedience (see Genesis 42:18). What does God mean when He says that we " shall be saved" (See also John 3:14,15)?.
If you take a look at Numbers 21:9, this passage tells us: "If a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass he lived." The question here is : what is so simple as taking a look at a brass snake? In the same way we are not doing "something", when we look to the Savior (see Acts 16:30,31). God gave us a gift, through Jesus - the total forgiveness of our sins. We only need to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and all is forgiven. God sent our Savior to earth and will accept us ONLY if our sins are washed away by His blood.
If the reader of this article happens to be the one who firmly believes in the Doctrine of Trinity or resolutely believes that the "ONE" of the above quote from John 10:30, originally written in Greek, translates the "numerical one" and not the "unity of purpose", may argue that I the author of this article, has not known the True Jesus.
You can read about this verse in this response.
Finally, IF the death spread to all men through the sin of Adam (Romans 5:12), and IF the act of Jesus was its justification or payment of debt or its satisfaction and reconciliation with God, then why are people dying?
Good question! Romans 5:12 gives us the answer:
However, Mr. Meherally, the GOOD NEWS of 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 is:
Mr. Meherally, I sincerely hope and pray that you take this good news to heart and come to the only Savior - Jesus Christ.
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