PCUSA uncomfortable with phrase "Till on that cross as Jesus died / the wrath of God was satisfied."

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Shaynus's picture

PCA or PCUSA? Big difference between the title of the article and the link. 

Brenda T's picture

And, actually, it was 9 (out of 15) members of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song (PCOCS) not the denomination as a whole that rejected the song. The song is sung in some PCUSA churches as per this May 2013 article.

Joel Tetreau's picture

I smell a liberal theological rat here in someone's hymnology. Without the imputation of God's wrath there is no imputation of our sin. Without the imputation of sin - we can't have the righteousness of Jesus. Oh my word!

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Don Sailer's picture

Joel Tetreau wrote:

I smell a liberal theological rat here in someone's hymnology. Without the imputation of God's wrath there is no imputation of our sin. Without the imputation of sin - we can't have the righteousness of Jesus. Oh my word!

Straight Ahead!

jt

 

Are you sure? How do you know that you are not injecting your theology into Scripture. The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world was not the object of God's wrath on the  cross. Jesus stated, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him" (John 8:28-29). Jesus, God the Son in the flesh, always pleased his Father. It is inconceivable that God would pour out his wrath on the One who always pleases him. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. The Scriptures do not state that Jesus died on the cross to appease God's wrath or to bear his wrath. It just isn't in the Bible.

Jesus also stated, "But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me" (John 16:32). God and the Father are one. Jesus freely laid down his life for us as God's gift. He was and is the Lamb. And he was never the recipient of God's wrath.  The offering of Jesus was a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God as he gave himself up for us (Ephesians 5:1-2). God loves the Son. Period.

Jesus affirmed God's love for him when he quoted Psalms 22:1 and the last word of Psalm 22:31 (asa' - it is finished). This psalm clearly teaches that Jesus was not forsaken by God. It teaches that God "has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help" (v. 24).

Somehow, when a person believes in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross for his or her sins, that person receives the righteousness of Christ. But it isn't explained in Scripture how that takes place. Importing a 14th or 15th century theory of the atonement into the Scriptures is extremely dangerous. The early church did just fine without the reformers theory of atonement.

Now to all my friends on this board, if you can show me a verse from Scripture that states that God poured out his wrath on Jesus when he died on the cross, I will believe it.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

 

Shaynus's picture

Hi Don, would you agree that Christ's death was substitutionary? Was it expiatory? 

Don Sailer's picture

The hymn would be much more scriptural if it said, "the love of God was satisfied."

There are numerous verses in the Bible that teach us that Jesus died on the cross to satisfy the love of God.

John 3:16

Romans 5:8

1 John 4:10

The God who is love wants to forgive sin. But since animal sacrifices cannot take away sin (Hebrews 10:4, 11), God passed over the sins committed beforehand (Romans 3:25). But in order for God to be just, a perfect divine/human sacrifice must be offered so that God in his love can forgive those who believe in Jesus' name (Hebrews 10:12, Romans 3:26).

The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ satisfies God's love and makes it right for God to forgive those who believe in Jesus. John affirms this when he states, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Paul affirmed the same thing in Romans 3:26.

The fact remains, "that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ" (2 Cor. 5:19). When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. This is why Paul can implore us to "be reconciled to God" (v. 20). He then explains that God made Jesus who had no sin to be a sin offering for us, "so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (v. 21).

Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, was our sin offering. God provided the Lamb. He gave his Son. And his Son gave himself up for us as a fragrant and beautiful sacrifice to God. And where was God in all of this? In Christ.

Maybe the Greek gods were angry and needed to be appeased by a sacrifice. But the Bible reveals a God who is vastly different from the Greek gods. The God of the Bible is a God who is love, who is filled with loving kindness toward humanity, and who provides his own Son to be an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. Not to appease his anger and wrath, but to satisfy his love.

You can read about it in the Scriptures!

Blessings.

 

 

 

DavidO's picture

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.

~Isaiah 53

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

~I Cor. 5

Don Sailer's picture

Shaynus wrote:

Hi Don, would you agree that Christ's death was substitutionary? Was it expiatory? 

 

Yes, Jesus' death was substitutionary. Jesus died for us.

Romans 5:8

2 Corinthians 5:15

1 Thess. 5:10

He died for our sins and takes our sins away. So his death is expiatory.

1 Corinthians 15:3.

Hebrews 10:11-12

1 Peter 3:18

John 1:29

Don Sailer's picture

DavidO wrote:

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.

~Isaiah 53

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

~I Cor. 5

 

The word for "punishment" in Isaiah 53:5 is moo/sar, and it means discipline in this context. The LXX translated this Hebrew word as paidea, which means training or discipline.

The discipline that brings us peace is nothing less than the obedience of Jesus Christ to the Father's will to die for us, to carry our sins upon his body. Hebrews 5:7-9 and Philippians 2:8 reveal that Jesus learned obedience from what he suffered. He was made perfect in the sense that he willingly and obediently submitted to the Father's will (Luke 22:42). He was obedient to death - even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8)!

It was this discipline that resulted in obedience to death that brought us peace. Punishment was not upon him but discipline - the discipline to subject himself to the Father's will and become obedient to death.

Blessings.

 

 

christian cerna's picture

Don, yes God is love. But he is also a just God. A god who hates iniquity and punishes the evil doer.

Just do a word search in the Bible for 'wrath' and 'vengeance'. 

God loves his chosen people, and hates others.

Don Sailer's picture

christian cerna wrote:

Don, yes God is love. But he is also a just God. A god who hates iniquity and punishes the evil doer.

Just do a word search in the Bible for 'wrath' and 'vengeance'. 

God loves his chosen people, and hates others.

 

I agree with you that God is love, that God is just, and that God hates iniquity and punishes the evil doer.

But Jesus was not an evil doer. He was an innocent, perfect, sinless sacrifice given to us by God's love and Jesus' obedience to the Father's will.

Blessings!

Do you have a verse that teaches that God poured out his wrath on Jesus?

 

 

christian cerna's picture

Don, Jesus Christ took on himself the punishment that we deserved. He died among criminals, hanged on a cross. He died for us, though he was innocent and sinless before God. 

But regardless of one's theological view, the song doesn't even say that the wrath of God was against Christ. It merely says that when Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied. It could refer to the wrath of God that we deserved, when we were once children of wrath. Jesus's death satisfied the justice of God.

 

Ephesians 2:3
"...among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."

 

Shaynus's picture

Don, 

"My God, My God why have you forsaken me?" was quoted by Jesus at the cross. If he was seen by God as only innocent, why would God forsake Him (and do the rest of the imagery in PS 22)? It's not impossible for God to see Jesus both as sinless and as bearing the sin of the world. Just like the doctrine of the trinity, our categories for what is possible or impossible break down in the light of the cross. Why can't it be that God can pour his wrath out on Jesus who is made sin for us, and that the same Jesus be perfectly sinless. I see no contradiction. In addition to Is. 53, what about Psalm 22?

 

 

DavidO's picture

Don Sailer wrote:
The discipline that brings us peace is nothing less than the obedience of Jesus Christ to the Father's will to die for us, to carry our sins upon his body. Hebrews 5:7-9 and Philippians 2:8 reveal that Jesus learned obedience from what he suffered. He was made perfect in the sense that he willingly and obediently submitted to the Father's will (Luke 22:42). He was obedient to death - even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8)!

It was this discipline that resulted in obedience to death that brought us peace. Punishment was not upon him but discipline - the discipline to subject himself to the Father's will and become obedient to death.

Bolding mine, of course.  Those two statements say two things that seem not be consistent with one another.   Would Jesus have obeyed without being disciplined?

Don, you say Jesus died for our sins.  What do you mean by for?  Because of?  On behalf of?  In service of?  For can mean a lot of things.  Protestants have traditionally believed that "for" in that context means in punishment of. 

Do you believe a sinner is declared righteous when converted?  How can a just God declare a sinner righteous if his sins have not been punished?

How does the 'satisfying love' view of the atonement explain this from Galatians 3?

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us - for it is written, 'Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree.

Mark_Smith's picture

Don Sailor, you are trying to split the theological hair too fine. The wrath of God comes from the fact that people are sinners, Romans 1:18. Jesus became sin for us, 2 Cor 5:21, also 1 Peter 2:24. Thus, God viewed the wrath He had for us on Jesus. Then, Jesus paid for that sin and the accompanying wrath by becoming the propitiation for us, see 1 John 2:2. It really is as simple as that...don't make it any more complicated.

Don Sailer's picture

Shaynus wrote:

Don, 

"My God, My God why have you forsaken me?" was quoted by Jesus at the cross. If he was seen by God as only innocent, why would God forsake Him (and do the rest of the imagery in PS 22)? It's not impossible for God to see Jesus both as sinless and as bearing the sin of the world. Just like the doctrine of the trinity, our categories for what is possible or impossible break down in the light of the cross. Why can't it be that God can pour his wrath out on Jesus who is made sin for us, and that the same Jesus be perfectly sinless. I see no contradiction. In addition to Is. 53, what about Psalm 22?

 

 

 

Hi Shaynus,

Jesus was quoting Psalm 22:1. There is no way to reference a psalm in his day except by reciting the first line. I encourage you to read Psalm 22 to see what it is about. You will then see why Jesus referred those present to the psalm. It is also important to understand that both Matthew and Mark transliterate the saying. This was done so that the reader would know that Jesus is quoting scripture.

Can you show me a verse in the Bible that states that God poured out his wrath on Jesus? The issue isn't whether or not you see a contradiction. The issue is whether or not the Bible states that God poured our his wrath on Jesus.

Blessings.

Don Sailer's picture

DavidO wrote:

Don Sailer wrote:
The discipline that brings us peace is nothing less than the obedience of Jesus Christ to the Father's will to die for us, to carry our sins upon his body. Hebrews 5:7-9 and Philippians 2:8 reveal that Jesus learned obedience from what he suffered. He was made perfect in the sense that he willingly and obediently submitted to the Father's will (Luke 22:42). He was obedient to death - even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8)!

It was this discipline that resulted in obedience to death that brought us peace. Punishment was not upon him but discipline - the discipline to subject himself to the Father's will and become obedient to death.

Bolding mine, of course.  Those two statements say two things that seem not be consistent with one another.   Would Jesus have obeyed without being disciplined?

Don, you say Jesus died for our sins.  What do you mean by for?  Because of?  On behalf of?  In service of?  For can mean a lot of things.  Protestants have traditionally believed that "for" in that context means in punishment of. 

Do you believe a sinner is declared righteous when converted?  How can a just God declare a sinner righteous if his sins have not been punished?

How does the 'satisfying love' view of the atonement explain this from Galatians 3?

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us - for it is written, 'Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree.

 

The wages of sin is death. Jesus Christ died for us. His blood covers us and washes our sins away when we believe in him. God is now right and just to forgive us of our sins when we turn to Christ because the one sacrifice that can take away sin was offered. The curse of the law is death. Here, Jesus becoming a curse for us is synonymous with Jesus dying for us. The curse Jesus suffered is death. Another way to look at it is that Jesus became a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God by dying for our sins (Hebrews 2:9-18).

As to punishment of our sins, what is forgiveness? What does it mean to have a debt forgiven? Does someone else have to be punished for my debt to be forgiven?

The fact is, the Bible teaches that Jesus is an atoning sacrifice for our sins. He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of this world. His death makes this a reality for all who believe. I do not need to read into Scripture more than what it states.

Can you show me a verse that states that Jesus bore the wrath of God? I've already given verses that state that Jesus was not alone when he was crucified. He claimed that his Father was with him. He claimed that his Father was pleased with him. He cites Psalm 22:1 and the last word of the psalm (asa') to prove that he was doing the Father's will and that his Father was not despising him or disdaining him or turning his face from him.

Blessings.

Shaynus's picture

It's possible to not have a verse that states something explicitly and say that the Bible teaches something. Again, the trinity is a good example of this. I've read the Psalm I think it's clear Jesus was referencing himself in the Psalm. The Bible indicates that the wrath of God needs to be poured out on sinners. If not me, then who? Jesus. That's who.

Don Sailer's picture

DavidO wrote:

Don Sailer wrote:
The discipline that brings us peace is nothing less than the obedience of Jesus Christ to the Father's will to die for us, to carry our sins upon his body. Hebrews 5:7-9 and Philippians 2:8 reveal that Jesus learned obedience from what he suffered. He was made perfect in the sense that he willingly and obediently submitted to the Father's will (Luke 22:42). He was obedient to death - even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8)!

It was this discipline that resulted in obedience to death that brought us peace. Punishment was not upon him but discipline - the discipline to subject himself to the Father's will and become obedient to death.

Bolding mine, of course.  Those two statements say two things that seem not be consistent with one another.   Would Jesus have obeyed without being disciplined?

Don, you say Jesus died for our sins.  What do you mean by for?  Because of?  On behalf of?  In service of?  For can mean a lot of things.  Protestants have traditionally believed that "for" in that context means in punishment of. 

Do you believe a sinner is declared righteous when converted?  How can a just God declare a sinner righteous if his sins have not been punished?

How does the 'satisfying love' view of the atonement explain this from Galatians 3?

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us - for it is written, 'Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree.

I didn't write the Bible. The word used in the NIV for "punishment" can also be translated as discipline. The LXX translators used "paidea" to translate the Hebrew word. This word also means discipline.

The Bible teaches that Jesus learned obedience - obedience to death, even death on a cross. This discipline is the discipline that brings us peace. So yes, the discipline that brings us peace was upon him.

 

Don Sailer's picture

christian cerna wrote:

Don, Jesus Christ took on himself the punishment that we deserved. He died among criminals, hanged on a cross. He died for us, though he was innocent and sinless before God. 

But regardless of one's theological view, the song doesn't even say that the wrath of God was against Christ. It merely says that when Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied. It could refer to the wrath of God that we deserved, when we were once children of wrath. Jesus's death satisfied the justice of God.

 

Ephesians 2:3
"...among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."

 

 

I understand. And if that is the meaning that most understand when singing the song, then the issue is greatly diminished. But most people who sing this song believe that God's wrath was satisfied when Jesus died on the cross because God poured out his wrath on Jesus in wave upon wave until it was completely exhausted upon Jesus.

Blessings.

Shaynus's picture

Don Sailer wrote:

christian cerna wrote:

Don, Jesus Christ took on himself the punishment that we deserved. He died among criminals, hanged on a cross. He died for us, though he was innocent and sinless before God. 

But regardless of one's theological view, the song doesn't even say that the wrath of God was against Christ. It merely says that when Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied. It could refer to the wrath of God that we deserved, when we were once children of wrath. Jesus's death satisfied the justice of God.

 

Ephesians 2:3
"...among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."

 

 

I understand. And if that is the meaning that most understand when singing the song, then the issue is greatly diminished. But most people who sing this song believe that God's wrath was satisfied when Jesus died on the cross because God poured out his wrath on Jesus in wave upon wave until it was completely exhausted upon Jesus.

Blessings.

 

I think God's wrath was satisfied FOR ME. I don't think it was satisfied, because hell still exists. I sing the song all the time knowing what it means, and I don't think anyone is confused.

DavidO's picture

Don Sailer wrote:
As to punishment of our sins, what is forgiveness? What does it mean to have a debt forgiven? Does someone else have to be punished for my debt to be forgiven?

Does someone have to die at all for my debt to be forgiven?  Why did God kill His Son?  Because his love would not otherwise be satisfied?  That's weird.

Why was Jesus' sacrifice the only one that could wash away sin?  There's a reason the death of bulls and goats couldn't do it. 

Don Sailer's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

Don Sailor, you are trying to split the theological hair too fine. The wrath of God comes from the fact that people are sinners, Romans 1:18. Jesus became sin for us, 2 Cor 5:21, also 1 Peter 2:24. Thus, God viewed the wrath He had for us on Jesus. Then, Jesus paid for that sin and the accompanying wrath by becoming the propitiation for us, see 1 John 2:2. It really is as simple as that...don't make it any more complicated.

 

Hi Mark,

My name is Don Sailer, not Don Sailor.

No one is denying that human beings are the object of God's wrath if they remain in a state of rebellion.

Jesus is a sin offering for us. He did not become "sin" for us if you mean that Jesus somehow bore our sin in his body in some intrinsic way that changed his nature. 1 Peter 2:24 uses the Greek word "anaphero" that is translated as "bore." It means that Jesus took up or carried our sins "on" his body. The preposition "en" can also be translated as on, near, at, upon, etc. Isaiah 53:4-6 is a good description of what Jesus did. He took up or carried our infirmities, sorrows, sins. Jesus bore our sins upon his body. He then died for us.

Do you have a verse that states that God viewed the wrath that he had for us on Jesus? Do you have a verse in the Bible that states that Jesus "paid" for our sins. I can't find a verse that states either.

 

 

 

 

Don Sailer's picture

Shaynus wrote:

It's possible to not have a verse that states something explicitly and say that the Bible teaches something. Again, the trinity is a good example of this. I've read the Psalm I think it's clear Jesus was referencing himself in the Psalm. The Bible indicates that the wrath of God needs to be poured out on sinners. If not me, then who? Jesus. That's who.

The word "trinity" is not in the Bible. But there are numerous verses that explicitly teach that God consists of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in the concept of the trinity because the Bible teaches the concept (John 1:1, Matthew 28:19, etc. ).

All I'm asking of you is to provide a verse that teaches the concept that God poured out his wrath on Jesus so that his wrath doesn't have to be poured out on us.

Now show me a verse that states or teaches that Jesus is the object of God's wrath, or that God poured out his wrath on Jesus?

 

Don Sailer's picture

DavidO wrote:

Don Sailer wrote:
As to punishment of our sins, what is forgiveness? What does it mean to have a debt forgiven? Does someone else have to be punished for my debt to be forgiven?

Does someone have to die at all for my debt to be forgiven?  Why did God kill His Son?  Because his love would not otherwise be satisfied?  That's weird.

Why was Jesus' sacrifice the only one that could wash away sin?  There's a reason the death of bulls and goats couldn't do it. 

 

Hi David,

The point I was making is that "forgiveness" is a concept that is poorly understood by many when it comes to our sins. I don't know why the Son had to die except that the death of bulls and goats couldn't do it. I only know that the Son had to die because the Bible states that this is so.

Do you see what I'm getting at? We believe that Jesus is the only sacrifice that can take away sin because the Bible teaches this.

Now where does it teach that Jesus had to die to bear God's wrath? Where does it teach that God poured out his wrath on Jesus? Where does it teach that Jesus died to satisfy the wrath of God?

The PCUSA committee suggested a change in the line of the song that is actually supported by Scripture. Truly, the love of God was magnified when Jesus died for our sins. There are so many verses that teach that Jesus died to satisfy the love of God. There are none that teach that Jesus died to satisfy the wrath of God.

We are by nature objects of God's wrath. But in Christ we are objects of God's love, kindness and grace. Did Jesus die to appease an angry God? Or did Jesus die to fulfill God's loving desire to forgive sinners? There's a Romans 5:8 for the second question. There is no verse for the first question.

Greg Long's picture

Don, Is. 53 really couldn't be more clear. He was stricken, smitten, afflicted, wounded, bruised, chastised, oppressed. By whom? By God. It pleased the Lord to bruise Him.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

DavidO's picture

There are indeed verses which, when considered together, do support the traditional protestant answer to the first question. 

Jeffrey Dean's picture

Now this is an excellent thread.  It is so much better than the usual drivel.  Threads like this are why I check this place often.

I would point out to David O that Jesus gave up His life of His own will in His own timing.

Don Sailer, I appreciate your points very much.  They make me examine what I believe about what exactly happened on the Cross.

Example:  I have heard like New York lawyer boiler plate from every other pastor in the pulpit that:  "God is so Holy that He cannot look on sin and that is why He turned His back on His Son on the cross."  That statement seemed so obviously wrong to me since God has been in the presence of sin since Adam.  God hung out with Adam while He made him some new clothes, He talked to Moses like a friend, He entertained the High Priest once a year, and so forth.  (Not to mention that Jesus had been hanging with mankind for like 33 years prior to the cross.)  So Shaynus, I have always wondered about those words from Jesus on the cross about being forsaken.  And then I heard it explained to me in a way that finally made sense.

A teacher I enjoy said it like this.  God the Father didn't go anywhere.  Yet Jesus the Son in those last minutes as a man with the burden of mankind's sin heaped upon Him had His close bond of fellowship with His Father broken for the first time ever.  Jesus couldn't see, touch, hear, feel His connection due to that sin burden.  The shock of that moment brought His cry. 

That may not satisfy anyone here but it seems to me more in character with God the Father than abandonment.  

Shaynus's picture

Don, if your central objection is: how could God be so unfair as to pour out his wrath on Jesus, a perfect human being, then let's step back a little. How fair was it for the second person of the trinity to lower himself to take upon himself the form of a servant, and then eventually death, and not only that, but death on a cross. It would appear to me that Jesus didn't care about fairness, and fairness was one of the things he gave up on our behalf. He could have made fairness, a thing to be grasped, but lowered himself, even to death on a cross. Why try to rescue him from perceived unfairness when he gave all his rights up anyway?

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