This is from Lyndon Conn, USA, and his website is www.eternaltruth.us
The false teaching of the ”the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ”
To say that righteousness is attributed to us is fine, but most people want to teach that the righteousness of Christ is ”imparted” to us. This is not the same thing. Along with the impartation, many will teach that our sins are covered by His righteousness, and this is completely unbiblical. Righteousness is not something that can be transferred, and neither is sin. There are so many false, man-made ideas about atonement, it is insane.
How is it that righteousness can be attributed to us? Is it not by the Holy Spirit who transforms us into new creatures? This is much different than an impartation of righteousness. Although we could say that having the Holy Spirit in us is an impartation of righteousness and holiness in a sense – since He is righteous and holy; His Spirit has more of an influence on us than an actual affect that would in any way bypass free will. So nothing God offers, gives, or influences us with will impart such a righteousness of Christ that can cover our sins. These things do have influence on us and make it possible to be freed from sin, and to become the righteousness of God in Christ through faith and obedience.
No scripture ever gives any indication that we become righteous without doing anything! Yet no scripture will ever indicate that we can actually do anything to save ourselves without Grace. When we rightly divide the Word of Truth, we can take the scriptures from every view and make complete sense out of it all. But men have made a real mess of the scriptures, as they misuse them, misinterpret them, and abuse them. We only need to step back, pray, start all over, and search the scriptures with an open heart and mind, as we carefully lay them ALL out on the table – NEVER leaning too far to one side without rightly dividing.
Atonement NEVER literally covered sin
That is figurative, saying that sin is dealt with and no longer an issue for the person. It is not a literal covering, and atonement could only deal with sin by taking it away. The work of Christ did much more than a covering. In the OT it could be considered a covering since only the work of Christ would eventually truly free them, but in Christ sins are taken away – as indicated by the scapegoat.
The figurative always points to something else that is the literal. But it is never literal itself. Christ being a Lamb shows us that He was the sacrificial offering, and the passover. We know He was never a literal Lamb. Yet we can understand what it points to by calling Him a Lamb, and we must do the same with all these other atonement terms. There was never a literal payment, debt, or bearing of sins on Christ. But it was ”like” all of these. The literal is simply that Jesus suffered FOR us, dealing with the sin issue by providing a way of escape and deliverance, as He transformed us. Even the term ”Take away the sins” is figurative.
Sin is not a substance and cannot be transferred or taken anywhere, but when our hearts are changed by His good news message, giving us hope and faith, and we are uplifted by His Spirit and made new in Him – sin will be rejected, lain down, resisted, and overcome by the power of His grace. So in this way we are separated from our sins, or sins are ”taken away”. It is not a literal transferring of sins in any way at all, but it is without a count a literal change in the heart, life and minds of every true believer in Christ who will have faith in Him and be made free.
The Hebrew word for Atonement is kaphar, which means ‘to cover”, specifically with bitumen
The Kippur was a real covering? It actually comes from the phrase ”to cover with bitumen”, which is like a cement or mortar. Can you provide a scripture where they actually did this? I don’t think so, because it is not meant literally. It is figurative, and points to the literal – which is to make sin ineffective and powerless. Something covered in cement will not be able to move. When we get right down to true atonement on the day of atonement, it was the two goats that give a better picture of its meaning. One being a perfect acceptable sacrifice to God, and for blood atonement – which sins were not even figuratively placed on. And the scapegoat – which sins were confessed on, and it was released unharmed, or according to legend was led to a cliff and/or devoured by Azazel. In either case, it was not a form of punishment by God for sins, and sins could not be literally placed on it.
How is a heart condition dealt with? By transformation!
If we are changed by the power of God, then we will no longer do what we once did. There are many sins I partook of before salvation that I will need again commit. I have been changed. Nothing was covered up! For something to be covered indicates that it is still present and alive. For something to be transferred indicates that it is not present at all – but is still not reality. Sin is simply not present when we are filled with the Spirit. There is no room for it. That is why Paul said, ”Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh”. Nothing is EVER transferred. Nothing was put on Christ, but He did make the way for deliverance from sin, healing, and empowerment by the Holy Ghost. With these, there can be no sin – as long as we continue to give ourselves fully to them. But if we do not, and we feed the flesh, sin will reign in us, and will not be taken away or transferred in any way. The presence of sin and its effects are very real and undeniable – just as the true deliverance of God is real and undeniable.
Isaiah 53 – figurative expressions that mirror the reality
Isaiah 53 is not saying Jesus literally had iniquity on Him, but that He had to die for our sins in order to become the atoning sacrifice that could free us. You have got to stop taking things too far, or do you have a literal Lamb dying for our sins too? We must be able to see the true meaning of atonement, or it will lead to all sorts of error. And of course Calvinism fits right in with it perfectly, since they take it to a more logical end.
To be washed white as snow – does this mean a black man will become a white man? Or that a white man is more holy than all others? Silly, I know! But that is where taking things too literally takes you. Our sins are not washed white as snow. WE are. And this literally means that sins are removed from us, just as dirt is removed if you wash in a shower.
Being ”purchased”, being a financial term, indicates a payment, but there was not literal payment at all. The idea of such statements is to give comparisons to help our understanding, much like the use of a parable. Men understand purchasing things, making payments, and having debts, and that is why financial terms are used, but they should never be taken too literally. We should rather look for the literal in it.
If Jesus ”paid” anything, who then did He pay?
The devil? This is a belief than many do teach. So Jesus made a deal with the devil. Or did He pay the Father? Can God really be paid off? So then being ”bought with a price” is all about a deal Jesus made with God? When the figurative or allegorical are taken too far, it always leads to nonsensical ideas like this.
The minor teaching of payment in the scriptures has to do with the ”high price Jesus paid” – which refers to His suffering endured in order to free us from sin. The fact that WE have been ”bought with a price” speaks of US, and not a payment for sin. His ”high price paid” makes us His, as we follow Him willingly. If we take this too far, we will enter into the Calvinism zone – teaching that because we belong to Him, as He purchased us, that we cannot ever fall away or do anything at all to no longer be His. And that He will never change His mind about His ”purchase” of us. Therefore, we can end up sinning again, lose faith, or anything at all – and nothing could keep us from salvation. The error just keeps on rolling off of such error, just from taking something like this too far.
The Atonement was never meant to teach a literal payment at all. Failing to understand allegorical and figurative uses in the Bible – especially in atonement, will always lead to false teaching. Imputation of righteousness is one of them. Along with payment for sins, being purchased, debt owed, etc.
His blood has done a wonderful and powerful thing for us! By His blood we have our sins ”washed away” (again, allegorical/figurative – but with the literal meaning of being freed from sin). Who of us takes a literal blood bath? And does Jesus have that much blood that we can all do so? You see how impossible it is for this to be literal? Yet the literal fact is that the shedding of His blood has made it possible for us to be freed from sins – which makes it ”like” being washed clean (because of His shed blood for us), and therefore being ”washed by His blood”. Not literal at all, yet very literal results from it.