In answering the question, “How were people saved in the Old Testament,” a pastor in Dallas did a really good job of explaining the traditional, orthodox, evangelical view of the subject. It was what I was taught in seminary, what I believed for 35 years of ministry, and what I have since begun to seriously question. His handling of the issue illustrates most of my concerns.
If I had only one criticism to give of his explanation, it would be that almost all of what he said was based upon assumptions rather than the Biblical text. We won’t quibble about the minor statements that he makes that many would find questionable like his comment:
“Contrary to the lie of the enemy who told them, ‘You will be like a god if you do that (eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).’ They might become like “a god” with a small “g” but they would never become like God.”
Such a statement plainly contradicts Gen. 3:22.
John 19:30 says that Jesus paid a ransom (cf., Mk. 10:45) to propitiate the God of heaven (1John 4:10) in order that all men may be brought safely home to heaven (cf., ?). Right? And that payment was paid in full, right? Are we absolutely sure that the text actually says that? Or did someone empty Jesus’ bank account for an item that He never intended to buy Himself?
That is the current, most popular view of John 19:30, the one considered orthodox by the noted leaders within Christendom. As a result, no one is debating the meaning of this vital passage of Scripture. Well, maybe we should be debating it nonetheless because it should be noticed by all who study it that it absolutely does not say what everyone is saying that it says. The verse says,
“When Jesus, therefore, had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished.’ And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.”
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