Did Jesus die a sinner? ( I say No! But a pastor I know says Yes.)

Stillwaters

Puritan Board Freshman
Jesus Christ is impeccable, but I don’t think it is because of God’s decree. God decreed that not a bone of his would be broken, yet that doesn’t mean that Jesus’ bones were unbreakable. They were very much breakable because he is a real human, with real human bones. It is better, in my opinion, to say that Christ is impeccable simply because he is the God-man.
P.S. PLEASE KNOW that he quotes Wayne Grudem about some things.
FYI: I do NOT agree with Wayne Grudem's EFF/ESS, but that is not mentioned in this sermon.
 

Santos

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi,
There are many reasons why Christ was Impeccable.

This sermon discusses almost all of them.

This sermon also addresses the "Man Made Presupposition" the Peccabilists falsely apply.

It also addresses Christ's "Human Will" being immutable.

In the past 9 years that I have been researching the true Doctrine of the Impeccability of Christ, this is one of the absolute best sermons I have heard about it.

PLEASE KNOW that he quotes Wayne Grudem about some things.

FYI: I do NOT agree with Wayne Grudem's EFF/ESS, but that is not mentioned in this semon.

Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to listening to this.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
I'm pretty sick about it.

Before you get too sick over it, try to learn the speaker's intent.

It sounds to me like someone may have come to an awareness that the sin placed on Jesus and the punishment he took for it was not just an idea, but was real sin and real justice. As far as that goes, it's actually an important correction to today's liberal theology. There can be no real salvation unless Jesus really suffered and died for real sin—and in that sense, really became a sinner. In fact, Jesus could not have died at all if he were not a sinner in that sense, since death is the wages of sin. And there certainly is a sense in which, by going to the cross, Jesus who otherwise needed no salvation was entrusting himself to God to save him. So I'm guessing those statements might be an attempt to affirm things we ought to be affirming: that there is real punishment for real sin, and that Jesus really took that punishment for us, in full.

Of course, those statements are a clumsy attempt to affirm these things, and they need correction or further clarification. But the speaker might not be heading in as bad a direction as it sounds. Many of us have, at some point, latched on to an important truth and then began overstating it or carrying it too far.
 

dhh712

Puritan Board Freshman
There can be no real salvation unless Jesus really suffered and died for real sin—and in that sense, really became a sinner. In fact, Jesus could not have died at all if he were not a sinner in that sense, since death is the wages of sin. And there certainly is a sense in which, by going to the cross, Jesus who otherwise needed no salvation was entrusting himself to God to save him. So I'm guessing those statements might be an attempt to affirm things we ought to be affirming: that there is real punishment for real sin, and that Jesus really took that punishment for us, in full.

Of course, those statements are a clumsy attempt to affirm these things, and they need correction or further clarification. But the speaker might not be heading in as bad a direction as it sounds. Many of us have, at some point, latched on to an important truth and then began overstating it or carrying it too far.
Jack, this is what I was trying to point out in my post when I said that only the second point of what Santos listed may have a biblical basis--that in essence, Jesus *did* die a sinner because he bore upon himself our sins; in one sense one can see this: if he is a sin bearer--and became sin for us--then he essentially is a sinner. But I made a point that he did not die a sinner because of any sin that he committed but only because he took our sins upon himself.

It was however pointed out to me that this may not be a good way to look at this and that in no way would Jesus as the bearer our sins be looked at dying a sinner. Yet it seems to me by what you point out that Jesus died a sinner would not be the same thing as saying broadly that he "is a sinner". It would seem to have to be correct that he died a sinner because he was punished for sins--not any of course that he committed. Yet by bearing them in his own body and taking them upon himself and as the Scripture teaches "becoming sin for us" then it appears to me to not be completely unbiblical then to state that Jesus died a sinner if it is looked at from this perspective.

Yet as you state this needs to be explained very carefully. It could also just be a technical matter of wording perhaps? I am quite new to the faith so I am always trying to learn and understand things correctly which I may previously not have had a good perception of.
 

Santos

Puritan Board Freshman
Before you get too sick over it, try to learn the speaker's intent.

It sounds to me like someone may have come to an awareness that the sin placed on Jesus and the punishment he took for it was not just an idea, but was real sin and real justice. As far as that goes, it's actually an important correction to today's liberal theology. There can be no real salvation unless Jesus really suffered and died for real sin—and in that sense, really became a sinner. In fact, Jesus could not have died at all if he were not a sinner in that sense, since death is the wages of sin. And there certainly is a sense in which, by going to the cross, Jesus who otherwise needed no salvation was entrusting himself to God to save him. So I'm guessing those statements might be an attempt to affirm things we ought to be affirming: that there is real punishment for real sin, and that Jesus really took that punishment for us, in full.

Of course, those statements are a clumsy attempt to affirm these things, and they need correction or further clarification. But the speaker might not be heading in as bad a direction as it sounds. Many of us have, at some point, latched on to an important truth and then began overstating it or carrying it too far.
I do not deny that Jesus paid for real and actual sin. However to say that made Him a sinner in any sense means that He was no longer an acceptable sacrifice.
 

Pundit

Puritan Board Freshman
  • Jesus died guilty of sin
  • Jesus died a sinner
  • Jesus deserved to die
  • Jesus deserved God's wrath
  • Jesus needed saving (because of the reasons mentioned above)

To return to the OP, and in my quest to be as charitable as possible to the preacher in question, I would argue that these statements taken in isolation from their respective contexts are very clumsy, oversimplified, and misleading at minimum. And therefore, I think a good corrective is for the preacher in question to read a systematic theology like Louis Berkhof's text and to focus on using biblical, creedal, and/or historical language to avoid any misunderstandings if not known heresies. But even so, at face value, I think those bullet points could too easily be understood as inferring denials of the incarnate Christ's impeccability, active obedience, and other vital Christological doctrines as outlined in our respective confessions.

If I was asked to speak on this, I would look to Christological texts such as 2 Cor. 8:9, Hebrews 7:26-27, and 1 Peter 3:18 to name a few, and in using 2 Cor. 5:21 to present a Reformed understanding of imputation and using Romans 5 to speak to federal headship, I would ensure I was very clear on the parallel between the imputed righteousness of Christ is an "alien" righteousness that is external to us and the imputation of our sin to Christ as an "alien" sinfulness that is external to Him. The unregenerate sinner does not deserve grace any more than the perfect, holy, and unblemished Lamb of God deserve to die. And therefore, insofar as a sinfulness that is outside of Christ is "added" to His account, He absorbs real guilt, death, and wrath as the propitiation for our sins. Bonar's hymn Thy Works, Not Mine, O Christ does a great job of speaking to this as well.

So, if the points were reworked to stress how as a penal substitute, Christ dies as if He was a sinner because of how our sinfulness and guilt is imputed to Him and not anything the harmless and unblemished Lamb of God did, and therefore, He absorbs the curse, death, and wrath we deserve whereby propitiation results, then, that would be a much clearer presentation of the basis for our justification. But to be frank, the bullet points as presented smack of anti-creedalism and biblicism in the absence of the aforementioned biblical, creedal, or historical language.

In terms of Christ needing saving in the context of imputed sin, I think this is a really bizarre statement at best. If we want to talk about how the resurrection represents the vindication of Christ as discussed in this article from Dr. Beale, that's one thing. If we want to go to Hebrews 9 and say that the Father "accepts" Christ's intercession and sacrifice on our behalf insofar as Christ mediates the covenant of grace to us in His highly priestly office, that's another thing. But this is very different than saying that Christ needed to be "born again" or "regenerated" according to His humanity after receiving the imputation of our sin, and to the extent that this last proposition is unscriptural and not confessional, I don't see how it is tenable.

TL;DR: It's not cool for preachers to say weird things without biblical, creedal, or historical support that blur the boundaries between heterodoxy and orthodoxy.
 

Santos

Puritan Board Freshman
To return to the OP, and in my quest to be as charitable as possible to the preacher in question, I would argue that these statements taken in isolation from their respective contexts are very clumsy, oversimplified, and misleading at minimum. And therefore, I think a good corrective is for the preacher in question to read a systematic theology like Louis Berkhof's text and to focus on using biblical, creedal, and/or historical language to avoid any misunderstandings if not known heresies. But even so, at face value, I think those bullet points could too easily be understood as inferring denials of the incarnate Christ's impeccability, active obedience, and other vital Christological doctrines as outlined in our respective confessions.

If I was asked to speak on this, I would look to Christological texts such as 2 Cor. 8:9, Hebrews 7:26-27, and 1 Peter 3:18 to name a few, and in using 2 Cor. 5:21 to present a Reformed understanding of imputation and using Romans 5 to speak to federal headship, I would ensure I was very clear on the parallel between the imputed righteousness of Christ is an "alien" righteousness that is external to us and the imputation of our sin to Christ as an "alien" sinfulness that is external to Him. The unregenerate sinner does not deserve grace any more than the perfect, holy, and unblemished Lamb of God deserve to die. And therefore, insofar as a sinfulness that is outside of Christ is "added" to His account, He absorbs real guilt, death, and wrath as the propitiation for our sins. Bonar's hymn Thy Works, Not Mine, O Christ does a great job of speaking to this as well.

So, if the points were reworked to stress how as a penal substitute, Christ dies as if He was a sinner because of how our sinfulness and guilt is imputed to Him and not anything the harmless and unblemished Lamb of God did, and therefore, He absorbs the curse, death, and wrath we deserve whereby propitiation results, then, that would be a much clearer presentation of the basis for our justification. But to be frank, the bullet points as presented smack of anti-creedalism and biblicism in the absence of the aforementioned biblical, creedal, or historical language.

In terms of Christ needing saving in the context of imputed sin, I think this is a really bizarre statement at best. If we want to talk about how the resurrection represents the vindication of Christ as discussed in this article from Dr. Beale, that's one thing. If we want to go to Hebrews 9 and say that the Father "accepts" Christ's intercession and sacrifice on our behalf insofar as Christ mediates the covenant of grace to us in His highly priestly office, that's another thing. But this is very different than saying that Christ needed to be "born again" or "regenerated" according to His humanity after receiving the imputation of our sin, and to the extent that this last proposition is unscriptural and not confessional, I don't see how it is tenable.

TL;DR: It's not cool for preachers to say weird things without biblical, creedal, or historical support that blur the boundaries between heterodoxy and orthodoxy.
Brother, Thank you so much. This is the response that I was needing. This will very much help me to organize my thought for the meeting that I have Saturday to discuss this issue with this pastor. I am only about 2-3 years reformed and I am still learning how to rightly understand Systematic Theology, and it's proper terminology, and then to articulate them in their proper context without being hindered by my gaps in understanding.
That is really my reason for being so disturbed by this teaching. It did not clarify anything for me but instead made things very muddy.

"TL;DR: It's not cool for preachers to say weird things without biblical, creedal, or historical support that blur the boundaries between heterodoxy and orthodoxy."

This comment is the best summary of my exact sentiments.
 

Pundit

Puritan Board Freshman
Brother, Thank you so much. This is the response that I was needing. This will very much help me to organize my thought for the meeting that I have Saturday to discuss this issue with this pastor. I am only about 2-3 years reformed and I am still learning how to rightly understand Systematic Theology, and it's proper terminology, and then to articulate them in their proper context without being hindered by my gaps in understanding.
That is really my reason for being so disturbed by this teaching. It did not clarify anything for me but instead made things very muddy.

"TL;DR: It's not cool for preachers to say weird things without biblical, creedal, or historical support that blur the boundaries between heterodoxy and orthodoxy."

This comment is the best summary of my exact sentiments.
My pleasure, Santos. I would bear in mind the admonitions found in the pastoral epistles regarding the need to treat an elder with some deference, but at the same time, I think some constructive criticism is well in order given the amount of doubt that's in the air. I would also strongly recommend reviewing Berkhof's section on Christ's atonement, active vs passive obedience, and so on from his systematic theology going into your meeting to ensure you're prepared for any curve balls.

I may have missed this but is this supposed to be a creedal church that subscribes to a Reformed confessional standard?

Sent from my SM-G988W using Tapatalk
 

Santos

Puritan Board Freshman
My pleasure, Santos. I would bear in mind the admonitions found in the pastoral epistles regarding the need to treat an elder with some deference, but at the same time, I think some constructive criticism is well in order given the amount of doubt that's in the air. I would also strongly recommend reviewing Berkhof's section on Christ's atonement, active vs passive obedience, and so on from his systematic theology going into your meeting to ensure you're prepared for any curve balls.

I may have missed this but is this supposed to be a creedal church that subscribes to a Reformed confessional standard?

Sent from my SM-G988W using Tapatalk
Isaac, I appreciate your reminder of the pastoral epistles. I am attempting to be as Biblical as possible. I am also glad you a reminding me of Berkhof's Systematic, specifically the chapter on atonement. I meant to mention this in my earlier post, but last night I had just set down my copy of Berkhof's Systematic, reading that exact chapter until midnight, when I first saw your comment. What a blessing.
 

Santos

Puritan Board Freshman
My pleasure, Santos. I would bear in mind the admonitions found in the pastoral epistles regarding the need to treat an elder with some deference, but at the same time, I think some constructive criticism is well in order given the amount of doubt that's in the air. I would also strongly recommend reviewing Berkhof's section on Christ's atonement, active vs passive obedience, and so on from his systematic theology going into your meeting to ensure you're prepared for any curve balls.

I may have missed this but is this supposed to be a creedal church that subscribes to a Reformed confessional standard?

Sent from my SM-G988W using Tapatalk

"I may have missed this but is this supposed to be a creedal church that subscribes to a Reformed confessional standard?"

The church website describes their Beliefs & Doctrine as a non-denominational reformed church most closely aligned with historical, evangelical, reformed Baptist views and specifies the 1689 and 1644. It goes on to say that for those who differ on secondary doctrinal points "In essentials unity, in nonessentials charity, in all things Jesus Christ".
 

Pundit

Puritan Board Freshman
I see. Regrettably, it sounds like a church that has less than a full subscription or strong grip of confessionalism. Nevertheless, it gives you an opportunity to build a case on chapters 8, 11, and so on in terms of connecting the dots between Christology and soteriology. That is, tampering with one's doctrine of Christ leads to tampering with the basis for our justification and a host of other implications as the dominoes fall. Indeed, there is a conspicuous pattern of confessional commitments being intertwined such that if you pull one thread out of the ball of yarn, it is enough to unravel the whole system of symbolics. Clark Pinnock is a prime example of someone who began a path into severe heterodoxy by questioning Impassibility such that departures regarding theology proper are what led to his doctrinal defections from Calvinism, the exclusivity of Christ, a Reformed doctrine of scripture, etc., etc. And that's a point you should ensure gets emphasized - the confessions stand or fall together, and given the reasons for the order of the doctrines as presented in documents such as the 1689, it is troubling if people have issues early on (e.g., the first 8 chapters) because they invariably will lead to other issues later on (for example, dispensationalism rejects the doctrine of God's moral law found in chapter 19 precisely because it rejects the covenant theologies found in chapter 7 of the WCF or 2L).

I'm spoiled to sit under a pastor who spent 5 years in a bi-weekly Saturday morning class going through Berkhof's systematic theology whereas we frequently saw that with a little exposure to the theological literature, a lot of second order questions vanish once historical distinctions are introduced and the biblicism of evangelicalism is repudiated. And so, I'm glad you found Berkhof to be a blessing in what is a challenging scenario, and as such, I would heartily commend bookmarking his systematic theology as a "top shelf" resource for future dilemmas.

If you have the chance to do so, have a look at Mongerism.com with its topical directory. This is an example of an article from Lorraine Boettner whose ebook on the atonement might also help. Again, you will note that when pastors and theologians within the Reformed tradition like the John Gills, Francis Turretins, John Owens, and so on handle core topics, they do it with a level of care and surgical precision that stands in sharp contrast (pun intended) to what James White has aptly termed "pulpit crimes" in our day. There are too many good resources that are available for free on solid websites like Monergism or elsewhere for one to have an excuse to not do some due diligence on foundational doctrines.

Ultimately, this idea of being closely aligned with the 1644 and 1689 while yet alluding that highly famous threefold maxim does not fill me with confidence. Depending on how this issue is handled, it is entirely possible that you might need to find a new fellowship with a tighter grip on confessional commitments and a higher standard of care in the pulpit, but then again, I might be jumping the gun here. I guess we shall see.
 
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