Is hell in the bible? What if I quit church? Didn't Jesus die on the
cross to save everyone? Do I have free will? Is God mad at the world? Where's God? I don't understand the Bible! Am I going to burn in hell if
I sin? Is there a heaven? My pastor says I have to be baptized. Where is my dead mother? Is
Satan real? Does God really care if I love Him? Is there a hell? Why
is there so much evil in the world? Isn't God in control?
Q: I don't
understand how we can be pardoned, if we are justified. If we are declared
not guilty (justified), how can we be pardoned for sins of which we are not
A: You are absolutely right. If we are not guilty, then
pardon is impossible. We cannot, in the judicial sense, be both pardoned and
justified. It's impossible--in the judicial sense. Thus, this passage is
This is not pardon in the judicial, Israelite sense of "You are guilty of
sins, and if you confess your sins, then they will be let go." It is pardon
in a more general sense, which is "God took our sins away, Himself, via
Christ on the cross." The common denominator is: "sins are gone." This is
the essence of the Greek word translated pardon, "aphesis," whose English
elements are "from-letting." It is to let off from, or let go. It's a broad
word and the context must be consulted. I wish it had simply been translated
God lets go of Israel sins as well as ours, but with them it's a cooperative
taking away. Israel helps by confessing and doing good works. It is the
taking away of sins in the judicial sense: "You're guilty, but you are
really repentant so we'll pardon you." Ours is the taking away of sins in
the sense that God placed all of our sins on Christ and we had nothing to do
with it. We don't cooperate.
In both cases, sins are let go of. "Letting go" is the generic meaning of
"pardon," which ought to never be translated pardon, I don't think, but
simply "let go." Why not just translate it what it means? This term "pardon"
is confusing because of its judicial associations. Simply translate it "let
go" and then we could let the context decide what kind of "letting go" it is
(Israel letting go or body of Christ letting go) and not get thrown off by
this judicial term. Again, Israel's sins are let go because they confess,
repent, produce works worthy of repentance. Our sins are let go because they
were taken away at the cross completely free of any contribution on our
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I am a spiritual seeker, just like you. I have sampled the religious
institutions of humans and found them unable to contain the greatness of God.
All my life, I have had deep questions about God and my relationship to Him: Why
am I here? Why is there so much evil in the world? Is the universe coming to an
end? What will happen to my unbelieving loved ones after they die? How important
is it to attend a church? I didnít find answers in church. In fact, most of the
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