The Sins of the Whole World; 1 John 2:2

"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 Jn.2:2; KJV).

The word "propitiation" is translated from the Greek word "hilasmos," and that word is from the family of Greek words that relate to the Day of Atonement. One of the meanings of that word is "the means of appeasing" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).

In the Septuaigint (LXX), the Greek version of the Old Testament, the word "hilasmos" appears at Numbers 5:8 in the expression "ram of the atonement."

On the Day of Atonement the "hilasmos" was the one of the two goats which was sacrificed. The Greek word "hilaskomai" is the verb form, meaning "to make propitiation for" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon) and "hilastērion" is "the mercy seat" where the blood of the atoning sacrifice was sprinkled. All these words have the same stem (hilas) and they all relate to the events of the Day of Atonement.

Let us look at another translation of 1 John 2:2:

"He is the atoning sacrifice (hilasmos) for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 Jn.2:2:; NIV).

At 1 John 2:2 the Apostle John is making reference to the goat described as being the "sin offering" on the day of atonement (Lev.16:9), and this goat was in regard to "God's requirements." Ada R. Habershon writes:

"On the Day of Atonement there were 'two goats': the one, God's lot which was killed, the blood being taken inside the vail ; and the other, the scape-goat that bore away the iniquity of Israel to the land not inhabited--the first speaking to us of God's requirements, the second of man's need" (Habershon, Study of the Types [Kregel Publications, 1993], p.22).

Henry W. Soltau states that one aspect was in regard to satisfy the Lord, or as Habershon says, "God's requirement":

"It is important here to remark that the two goats were 'one' sin offering, and the apparent object of having 'two' was, to present two aspects of the same offering for sin. An atonement accomplished for the Lord to satisfy Him ; and this atonement made manifest to the people in the scapegoat sent into the wilderness" (Henry W. Soltau, The Tabernacle; The Priesthood and the Offerings, [Kregel Classics, 1998], p.429).

Once the goat was sacrificed to fulfill God's requirement and to satisfy the Lord the sins of no one was atoned for until, by faith, the priest took the blood of that sacrifice and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat.

Of course on the Day of Atonement the ceremony was strictly in regard to the nation of Israel. John, at 1 John 2:2, takes the imagery of the day of atonement and expands it to the whole world.

According to John the Lord Jesus is the sacrifice which is the means of satisfying the Lord in regard to the sins of the whole world. But as in the case of the day of atonement, no one received the benefit of the sacrifice until, by faith, the blood was sprinkled upon the mercy seat. The Lord Jesus' death upon the Cross is a sacrifice that is sufficent to satisfy God in regard to the sins of the whole world, but it is not until a sinner appropriates the blood of that sacrifice by faith that the demands of divine justice are satisified.

In His grace,
Jerry

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Jerry Shugart's picture

On the "Front Page" of SharperIron Larry Pettegrew wrote:

Larry Pettegrew wrote:
Our punishment would have been an eternal separation from God in hell. But the God-man could suffer the punishment and pay the penalty for the sins of the world. Scripture says explicitly, "and He [Christ ] Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world" (1 John 2:2...)

Did the death of the Lord Jesus upon the Cross "pay the penalty for the sins of the world"? If that is true then all of the sins ever committed have already been paid then how can anyone be condemned to an everlasting separation from God based on his sins?

In other words, if Larry Pettegrew is correct then the Lord Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of both the believer and the unbeliever so therefore both are saved.

From my initial post on this thread we can see that he does not have a clear understanding of 1 John 2:2.

In His grace,
Jerry

Jim's picture

Quote:
God imposed his wrath due unto, and Christ underwent the pains of hell for, either all the sins of all men, or all the sins of some men, or some sins of all men. If the last, some sins of all men, then have all men some sins to answer for, and so shall no man be saved; for if God enter into judgment with us, though it were with all mankind for one sin, no flesh should be justified in his sight: “If the Lord should mark iniquities, who should stand?” Ps. cxxx. 3. We might all go to cast all that we have “to the moles and to the bats, to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty,” Isa. ii. 20, 21. If the second, that is it which we affirm, that Christ in their stead and room suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the world. If the first, why, then, are not all freed from the punishment of all their sins? You will say, “Because of their unbelief; they will not believe.” But this unbelief, is it a sin or not? If not, why should they be punished for it? If it be, then Christ underwent the punishment due to it, or not. If so, then why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which he died from partaking of the fruit of his death? If he did not, then did he not die for all their sins. Let them choose which part they will.

Quotation source: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/owen/deathofdeath.html

[IMG ]http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb226/jrpeet/SharperIron/John_Owen.jp... ]

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Christ died for all men.

But...Alex...that doesn't make sense. Well of course not if you believe our Lord's suffering and satisfaction for the sins of mankind is what produces salvation. Not at all. It satisfies God the Father's just demand but it does not produce salvation. In other words God the Father declared that no more payment for sins had to be made by Christ for anyone, i.e. the propitiation, appeasement or satisfaction.

However, the application of that satisfaction, that divine propitiation, only occurs when a man or woman believes, "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved" (or in the case of those mentally incapable of believing Christ [the Advocate ] is automatically assigned by the court of heaven to such persons as their default court-appointed Advocate).

Because if Christ being the propitiation is sufficient to produce salvation then all men everywhere would be saved without believing, but it is not so. Even the Calvinist believer must "believe" 2,000 years after Christ died for his or her sins. He or she is not born "automatically saved" because Christ died for their sins, they still must believe and are not saved until they believe or else we must declare that the Bible lies when it says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved". And the language, the Greek, is not complicated here. It requires the most basic exegesis to discover it does not say, "In eternity past or at the cross you were saved and now you believe". No, it says, "Believe...and you shall be saved".

All the propitiation does is satisfy God the Father but it does NOT provide automatic application for anyone. The application will be done when you believe so that when you stand before God the Father, the suffering of Christ on your behalf will be sufficient, it will be the satisfaction for the demand of God's justice and nothing additional will be required.

If you reject what God has declared to be the satisfactory demand of his justice in order for you to be declared righteous, then you are left as your own advocate. God allows this. Yes, and this is the problem with the rationalistic and philosophical system of Calvinism. It cannot comprehend God permitting Christ to, in reserve, be the sufficiency for your sins yet you are able to reject that propitiation and attempt to be your own propitiation via some form of personal righteousness and be judged for that. And when I say this the Calvinist will retort, "But Christ died even for that sin" and again I redirect and point out that "Yes he did but it was never applied and in fact none of the propitiation of Christ on behalf of the unbeliever was applied so it is irrelevant, it is a moot point".

Remember, again, propitiation is the satisfaction for the demand of God's justice but it is not the application of that propitiation which comes through belief. Again, if when Christ died and became to propitiation for the sins of the world or even a limited group it included salvation, all such persons would be born saved and no such thing exists because again, even the Calvinist admits one must "believe" and if they do not "believe" they cannot be saved and clearly again, as Acts says, "Believe...and you will be saved". So if propitiation contained within it the personal application for some or all, then some or all would be born saved and none are. Propitiation simply is God's justice being satisfied so that no additional suffering for sins need to take place by Christ in order to be our substitute if we believe. It does not mean that someone else will not have to suffer if they reject this satisfactory resource and choose to become their own. Not at all.

Jerry Shugart's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
All the propitiation does is satisfy God the Father but it does NOT provide automatic application for anyone. The application will be done when you believe so that when you stand before God the Father, the suffering of Christ on your behalf will be sufficient, it will be the satisfaction for the demand of God's justice and nothing additional will be required.

Alex, what you say is supported by Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founding President of Dallas Theological Seminary, here:

"It is both reasonable and scriptual to conclude that a perfect substitution avails for those who are saved, that in the case of the elect it is delayed in its application until they believe, and that in the case of the nonelect it is never applied at all" (Lewis Sperry Chafer, "For Whom Did Christ Die?" Biblioteca Sacra 137, [Oct.-Dec., 1980 ], 321).

It is evident that the blessings which flow from the Lord Jesus' death upon the Cross are not applied to anyone until faith is exercised. It is not unil the sinner believes the gospel that he is "baptized" or identified with His death:

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death" (Ro.6:3-4).

In His grace,
Jerry

JohnBrian's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
...Yes, and this is the problem with the rationalistic and philosophical system of Calvinism. It cannot comprehend God permitting Christ to, in reserve, be the sufficiency for your sins yet you are able to reject that propitiation and attempt to be your own propitiation via some form of personal righteousness and be judged for that.
Interesting! It appears to me that you affirm the Canons of Dordt on this issue...

Quote:
http://www.reformed.org/documents/canons_of_dordt.html Canons of Dordt on Sufficiency and Efficiency

Second Main Point of Doctrine - Article 3: The Infinite Value of Christ's Death

This death of God's Son is the only and entirely complete sacrifice and satisfaction for sins; it is of infinite value and worth, more than sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world.

Article 6: Unbelief Man's Responsibility

However, that many who have been called through the gospel do not repent or believe in Christ but perish in unbelief is not because the sacrifice of Christ offered on the cross is deficient or insufficient, but because they themselves are at fault.

Article 8: The Saving Effectiveness of Christ's Death

For it was the entirely free plan and very gracious will and intention of God the Father that the enlivening and saving effectiveness of his Son's costly death should work itself out in all his chosen ones, in order that he might grant justifying faith to them only and thereby lead them without fail to salvation.

...while at the same time rejecting the Canons Rejection of the Errors

Quote:
Rejection of the Errors - Section III

Who teach that Christ, by the satisfaction which he gave, did not certainly merit for anyone salvation itself and the faith by which this satisfaction of Christ is effectively applied to salvation, but only acquired for the Father the authority or plenary will to relate in a new way with men and to impose such new conditions as he chose, and that the satisfying of these conditions depends on the free choice of man; consequently, that it was possible that either all or none would fulfill them.

For they have too low an opinion of the death of Christ, do not at all acknowledge the foremost fruit or benefit which it brings forth, and summon back from hell the Pelagian error.

Section VI

Who make use of the distinction between obtaining and applying in order to instill in the unwary and inexperienced the opinion that God, as far as he is concerned, wished to bestow equally upon all people the benefits which are gained by Christ's death; but that the distinction by which some rather than others come to share in the forgiveness of sins and eternal life depends on their own free choice (which applies itself to the grace offered indiscriminately) but does not depend on the unique gift of mercy which effectively works in them, so that they, rather than others, apply that grace to themselves.

For, while pretending to set forth this distinction in an acceptable sense, they attempt to give the people the deadly poison of Pelagianism.

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Alex Guggenheim's picture

JohnBrian wrote:
Interesting! It appears to me that you affirm the Canons of Dordt on this issue...

Quote:
http://www.reformed.org/documents/canons_of_dordt.html Canons of Dordt on Sufficiency and Efficiency

Second Main Point of Doctrine - Article 3: The Infinite Value of Christ's Death

This death of God's Son is the only and entirely complete sacrifice and satisfaction for sins; it is of infinite value and worth, more than sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world.

Article 6: Unbelief Man's Responsibility

However, that many who have been called through the gospel do not repent or believe in Christ but perish in unbelief is not because the sacrifice of Christ offered on the cross is deficient or insufficient, but because they themselves are at fault.

With the above I agree.

Quote:
Article 8: The Saving Effectiveness of Christ's Death

For it was the entirely free plan and very gracious will and intention of God the Father that the enlivening and saving effectiveness of his Son's costly death should work itself out in all his chosen ones, in order that he might grant justifying faith to them only and thereby lead them without fail to salvation...

Having once held to this for a measurable period of time I have a healthy familiarization with it. I do not affirm this as it is written though it contains some elements I accept (noting the entire paragraph in the Canon). I do not affirm that it was the "intention" that it "work itself out in all his chosen ones" rather that the propitiation of Christ and its effectiveness had the intent of being effective for all men, whether all men responded to the gospel or not. Its sufficiency represents its intent.

Obviously at issue and fairly introduced after this point would be just what this section presents, the element of the "chosen" and its impact on the theology of propitiation to which I very briefly state what you may anticipate, that is I do not adhere to the Calvinist/Reformed position on election and predestination.

Quote:
Rejection of the Errors - Section III

Who teach that Christ, by the satisfaction which he gave, did not certainly merit for anyone salvation itself and the faith by which this satisfaction of Christ is effectively applied to salvation, but only acquired for the Father the authority or plenary will to relate in a new way with men and to impose such new conditions as he chose, and that the satisfying of these conditions depends on the free choice of man; consequently, that it was possible that either all or none would fulfill them.

As to the consideration regarding who would and would not believe or whether, in theory, it is possible that no one could have believed or all, I do not believe an exploration of this consideration is essential for a proper framework or understanding of propitiation. It is a point to consider but the reality that some have believed takes precedent. Is it something that one can explore? Yes, I don't deny this but its value is less than the reality that some have believed. And this particular treatment by the Canon is specifically aimed at Pelagian doctrine and does not address my theological view at the moment.

As to what the Canon categorizes as a "Pelagian error" and how it implies the application of the propitiation rests upon the shoulders of the *"free will" of man, I do agree that the Bible does not teach that. It is quite obvious to me that we cannot believe apart from the enabling of God the Holy Spirit, however I do not affirm the Calvinist formula for salvation.

*I do not hold to either the Calvinist or Pelagian view of "free will" nor do I even employ the term but for the sake of responding I utilize it here. As well I do not view my understanding for human will or human volition as in between either point seeing that I reject the erring concept that they are the theological polars and all other views are in between setting up a false linear subjugation for all others.

Quote:
Section VI

Who make use of the distinction between obtaining and applying in order to instill in the unwary and inexperienced the opinion that God, as far as he is concerned, wished to bestow equally upon all people the benefits which are gained by Christ's death; but that the distinction by which some rather than others come to share in the forgiveness of sins and eternal life depends on their own free choice (which applies itself to the grace offered indiscriminately) but does not depend on the unique gift of mercy which effectively works in them, so that they, rather than others, apply that grace to themselves.

I affirm that the element of God's mercy working effectively in them is part of the proper formula in our process of salvation and I do agree that salvation does not depend on one's "free choice". There is more to salvation than "free choice". Again, though, I do not accept Calvinism's formula for salvation either.

But here the language is designed to combat Pelagianism and really does not have in view other approaches so it does not have sufficient body to present something I can strongly affirm or oppose. Even where the expression "God, as far as he is concerned, wished to bestow", is offered it does not share the same reflection in its consideration that I would give. That is, I would not express it, either in opposing or affirming the issue, with the nuanced word "wish" rather I would prefer to stay with "will".

But if we are treating the two as precisely synonymous I would say I do not affirm their rejection but state that it was God's will as expressed in the sufficiency of Christ's propitiation and in 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is....not willing that any should perish" and 1 Timothy 2:4, "who will have all men to be saved" that the benefits of the propitiation be applied without exception. Obviously we know what God wills for and offers men, men do not always fulfill or receive.

However and again, here my lack of agreement with the rejection should not be an assumption that by default I agree with the Pelagian view. Again, on this issue I see a global positioning and not a linear one and do not accept the claim by others of being in between either school nor assign myself any position on such a faulty linear scale, rather position myself globally with theologically proprietary, imported and modified elements on the matter.

Jerry Shugart's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
I do not affirm that it was the "intention" that it "work itself out in all his chosen ones" rather that the propitiation of Christ and its effectiveness had the intent of being effective for all men, whether all men responded to the gospel or not.

Alex, I very much enjoyed what you had to say. I would like to hear your opinion in regard to the Lord's "chosen ones" of which the following verse speaks:

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Eph.1:4).

Does this not imply that before the foundation of the world some people were chosen for salvation while others were not?

You are obviously a thoughtful person so I would like to hear what you might say about this subject.

In His grace,
Jerry

JohnBrian's picture

Jerry Shugart wrote:
"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 Jn.2:2; KJV).
Gary D. Long in an article titled http://www.the-highway.com/1Jh2.2.html Propitiation in 1 John 2:2 shows 4 different interpretations of the term "world." The Generical, Geographical, Eschatological, and Ethnological. He concludes that the ethnological interpretation fits the context best. That views holds that "world" in this passage (and also in John 3:16)
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...stresses that some without distinction, not all without exception, out of the Gentiles as well as out of the Jews (Rom. 9:24) have had their sins propitiated by the death of Christ.

Other articles of interest:

http://www.reformationtheology.com/2007/11/understanding_1_john_22.php ]John Samson
http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Miscellaneous/1_john_2.htm A W Pink
http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/4whom11.htm Middletown Bible Church

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Alex Guggenheim's picture

Jerry Shugart wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
I do not affirm that it was the "intention" that it "work itself out in all his chosen ones" rather that the propitiation of Christ and its effectiveness had the intent of being effective for all men, whether all men responded to the gospel or not.

Alex, I very much enjoyed what you had to say. I would like to hear your opinion in regard to the Lord's "chosen ones" of which the following verse speaks:

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Eph.1:4).

Does this not imply that before the foundation of the world some people were chosen for salvation while others were not?

You are obviously a thoughtful person so I would like to hear what you might say about this subject.

In His grace,
Jerry

Quote:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

While it is understandable or plausible that one could conclude from this passage that before the foundation of the world God chose some to be saved and some not, a closer examination significantly wrestles against this cursory view and points the passage in another direction with proper reorganization of such thoughts. That is to say, while "predestined us" and "chosen us in him" are all present, it appears that these properties of the passage are grammatically inappropriately combined resulting in an erring interpretation.

So let's examine the text.

1. First the declaration is made, "He chose us". I don't believe this requires much argument since God making some kind of choice is recognized by all.

Then the question is what choice did God make? The direct object of the word "chose" is "us". So God made a choice concern "us". The plural pronoun "us" is used as an antecedent for believers.

So for now we have, "He chose us".

So ask yourself, what choice did God make for us? He made some kind of choice, it is clear but what choice was made? Let's further explore.

2. Here we have the tiny prepositional phrase "in him". And here is where much of the problem lies. Those who propose that God made a choice as to who would and would not be "in him", that is "in Christ" do so based on what they see here apart from the remainder of the sentence. But as well they also do this while ignoring a very missing essential element that they need to aid them in their cause and that is the "to be" infinitive εἰμί.

In other words it does not say:

"He chose us to be in him before the foundation of the world"

Rather it says:

"He chose us...to be (εἰμί) (translated in some bibles "that we should be") holy and blameless (or without blame)"

Quote:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blamelesse

The choice God made about us as that to which the passage is referring is not the choice of who would and would not be saved but HOW we would be holy and blameless before God the Father which is when a person is "in him" or in Christ.

In other words, it is "in him" or "in Christ our Lord" that before the foundation of the world began God determined that believers would be blameless and holy. God determined or chose the means of our imputed righteousness which is Christ.

One should rightly viewed the passage in this manner:

"Before the foundation of the world he hath chosen us (to be) that we should be holy and without blame, in him (that is in Christ which is what happens when we are saved), before him (God the Father) in love."

Essentially this is revealing that the plan of salvation before the foundation of the world was already determined and that the means by which humanity could and would stand before God the Father, blameless and holy, would be "in him" that is in Christ, not who would stand before God holy and blameless, rather how they would stand before God holy and blameless.

Further Paul states that not only was that decided upon before the foundation of the world but that "our adoption" that comes with our salvation was predetermined. Meaning that this plan, this divine mechanism (and all of its subsequent benefits) was planned eons before this present world's generation.

The choice made by the God was how we would be blameless and holy which is "in Christ". When a person is "in Christ" they are holy and blameless. The choice was not who would be saved, rather how we would stand before God holy and blameless. Yes a choice was made but it was not who would and would not be saved.

I have done my best to be specific without being microscopic yet remain general enough that if there are further questions they can be identified and asked.

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In his article titled http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1992/791_God_H... God Has Chosen Us in Him Before the Foundation of the Earth, John Piper refutes the above argument.

Quote:
They insist that this text only teaches that God chose Christ and an undefined number of those who choose to be in Christ by faith. They say that Ephesians 1:4 is not an election or choosing of individuals, but an election of Christ and the church; but what individuals are part of the church, God does not decide.

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Alex Guggenheim's picture

JohnBrian wrote:
In his article titled http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1992/791_God_H... God Has Chosen Us in Him Before the Foundation of the Earth, John Piper refutes the above argument.

Quote:
They insist that this text only teaches that God chose Christ and an undefined number of those who choose to be in Christ by faith. They say that Ephesians 1:4 is not an election or choosing of individuals, but an election of Christ and the church; but what individuals are part of the church, God does not decide.
Unfortunately Piper offers no exegesis of any kind to justify his objection nor his position. He appears to simply "assert" it says otherwise which is consistent with Piper's tendency to be very light on the exegesis and heavy on the rationalizing. Interestingly he also employs a well known technique which is to devalue the passage in dispute and point to another passage possibly friendlier to his argument (which still offers no support for his position but it certainly helps him in not having to stay on an already weak argument):

Quote:
But I say the words of verse 4 alone will probably not settle this issue. But if we look at what Paul says elsewhere about this, we can be sure about what he means, namely, that God chose his people individually and personally before the foundation of the world to be saved;

And Piper is wrong. The words of the passage don't need help, they are quite clear and settle themselves, if one is willing to adhere to the grammatical boundaries Piper obviously avoids.

Secondly, Piper's article does not deal with much of what I said and so while it might serve to assert something to the contrary it doesn't serve as a refutation of what I posted seeing it both was not intended as a refutation of my post and that really does not approach the general substance of the arguments with which he contends. The article reads more like a devotional homily and to be fair to Piper I doubt even he intended to be a refutation, rather an affirmation of what he and his readers already believed.

Understand, this is not intended on settling the issue of election. Jerry Shugart was asking about this one passage.

Jerry Shugart's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
2. Here we have the tiny prepositional phrase "in him". And here is where much of the problem lies. Those who propose that God made a choice as to who would and would not be "in him", that is "in Christ" do so based on what they see here apart from the remainder of the sentence. But as well they also do this while ignoring a very missing essential element that they need to aid them in their cause and that is the "to be" infinitive εἰμί.

In other words it does not say:

"He chose us to be in him before the foundation of the world"

Rather it says:

"He chose us...to be (εἰμί) (translated in some bibles "that we should be") holy and blameless (or without blame)"

Quote:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blamelesse

The choice God made about us as that to which the passage is referring is not the choice of who would and would not be saved but HOW we would be holy and blameless before God the Father which is when a person is "in him" or in Christ.

In other words, it is "in him" or "in Christ our Lord" that before the foundation of the world began God determined that believers would be blameless and holy. God determined or chose the means of our imputed righteousness which is Christ.

One should rightly viewed the passage in this manner:

"Before the foundation of the world he hath chosen us (to be) that we should be holy and without blame, in him (that is in Christ which is what happens when we are saved), before him (God the Father) in love."


Alex, that might be a viable option if that verse is viewed in isolation. But what do you do with this verse?:

"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim.1:9).

In the preceding verse the Apostle Paul speaks of those who are blessed and he says that this blessedness was given "in Christ Jesus before the world began." Do not the words "in Christ Jesus" refer to the Body of Christ?:

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal.3:28).

How does a believer become a member of the Body of Christ?:

"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied" (1 Pet.1:2).

The primary meaning of the word "sanctify" is "to separate, or set apart, for God, or to some sacred purpose." The believer is set apart for God into the Body of Christ when he is baptized by the Holy Spirit into that Body:

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit...the Body of Christ" (1 Cor.12:13,27).

Therefore Paul is saying that the Christian was blessed "in Christ Jesus" before the world began. Here it says the same thing, this time using the words "in Him" to refer to being "in Christ Jesus":

"According as he hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Eph.1:4).

How can it be said that anyone received blessings "in Christ" since the Body of Christ did not even exist before the foundation of the world?

Belief of the Truth

The following verses says that "God from the beginning" has chosen the Christian to salvation, and it also demonstrate that being chosen by God unto salvation is through belief in the truth:

"But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess.2:13-14).

Notice that here Paul says that God hath "from the beginning" chosen the Christian to salvation through belief in the truth. How can this be since before the foundation of the world there was no one believing the gospel?

Actually, the answer is quite simple. In the eternal state the same "moment" when the sinner believes the gospel can be said to be the same "moment" that existed before the world began. After all, since God lives in the ever present "now" then the moment when a sinner believes belongs to the same "now" as does a moment that existed before the world began. Obviously the above quoted verses in regard to when the Christian is saved and placed in the Body of Christ can only be understood in a sense that only exists in the eternal state.

In His grace,
Jerry

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Jerry Shugart wrote:

Alex, that might be a viable option if that verse is viewed in isolation. But what do you do with this verse?
If you don't mind I will respond in 2 parts. First being the premise(s) contained here and the question itself. Secondly I will tackle the subsequent passages.

When you state the verse is viewed in "isolation" you seem to be saying "in isolation with respect to the doctrine of election" and not in "isolation with its context". But it also seems that you somewhat have a double meaning...meaning you have both in view so I will address it simultaneously.

1.
If you mean isolated from the remainder of passages that would be in consideration regarding the doctrine of election I can only say that your original question only asked me about this one passage. As well though, its interpretation is not based on what other passages say or don't say, rather on its own grammatical/exegetical merits. In the passage where it says:

Quote:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blameless

No matter what any other passage says it does not negate or influence the grammatical structure of the sentence which is the means by which we, in large part, determine what is being said. And here the leading verb (He chose us) with the infinitive (to be [εἰμί ] translated in some bibles that we should be) followed by the accusative nouns cannot be undone by other passages.

2.
If you mean isolated from any other part of Ephesians there is nothing in the immediate or entire Ephesians context to alter the grammatical structure or the word meanings and use. It means just what has been explained and apart from someone ignoring its structure it stands quite firmly on its own merits. And earlier I offered a rendering that I want to modify even more, because here, I believe, is the best understanding based on its grammatical structure:

Quote:
"Before the foundation of the world he hath chosen (to be) that we should be holy and without blame, us, in him (that is in Christ which is what happens when we are saved), before him (God the Father) in love."

But as you can see when one translates from one language to another, the subtleties and expressions are very difficult to provide in exacting manner unless you translate in a way that is less preferential with respect to reading and more favorable to the grammatical structure and intended meaning and placement of the words. Which, as one can see, does move the word "us" to an awkward place for English readers but not awkward regarding the proper alignment of thought in the Greek.

3. As to the question "what do I do with this verse"? I would obviously restate that they do not impact the findings of the previous passage. They don't alter its grammatical reality. So anyone believing in the Calvinist view of election would be better off understanding this passage does not support their doctrine. It does not deny it either. That isn't my point. My point is that it is irrelevant because as revealed its grammar demonstrates it isn't talking about God choosing anyone for salvation, rather it is referring to the choice God made for believers to be holy and blameless persons which comes "in Christ".

*So no matter what any other verses say they do not function as a vehicle to deny the reality of the grammar of another passage, particularly this one. So now I will post this first part and then deal with the passages and thoughts you posted beyond that in another post but will need most of the day and tomorrow, spouse permitting, duties permitting, and so on :).

(*I do understand that at times word meanings and use are aided by other passages but here none of the verses cited have any impact regarding altering word meaning, use or more importantly the grammatical compass that tells us specifically in what direction the passage pointed).

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Jerry,
Okay now I will begin to tackle the various passages and thoughts. I cannot be certain, even as I type, how much time will be available but I certainly wish I get plenty of it, the endeavor is quite satisfying.
[

Jerry Shugart wrote:
"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim.1:9).

In the preceding verse the Apostle Paul speaks of those who are blessed and he says that this blessedness was given "in Christ Jesus before the world began." Do not the words "in Christ Jesus" refer to the Body of Christ?:

Well if one presumes that “in Christ” refers to the body of Christ then they obviously would feel a warrant to proceed with arguments connected to this position. However, I would find it necessary to justify this specific assignment for its meaning since obviously there are implications and further applications to other passages and/or thought that leads either to more enlightenment or more misalignment, sometimes grave and sometimes benign.

When we look at the phrase “in Christ” we have to acquiesce to its grammatical, contextual and historical use. Most outstanding is the preposition “en” which, like all prepositions in the Greek (and generally universally) is a reference to location and direction. That means the intended use of a preposition is to establish position or location with regard to something and sometimes also direction.

With few possible exceptions, the use of the term “in Christ” therefore is intended (as its prepositional design indicates) to make specific reference to the believer’s position with regard to Christ, our Lord. And this is borne out with its use in the same manner with other passages and if one were to substitute it with "the body of Christ" here and other places they would quickly discover its lack of prescriptive value.

This is a positional expression and this positional expression “in Christ” represents, as this passage and many others do, the place from which spiritual benefits are derived. Here the passage identifies part of what is received by being in Christ (a plan which the passage reveals was made in eternity past) which is salvation (saved us) a holy calling, and a plan and purpose according to God’s grace.

So to say it is a fair synonym with reference to “the body of Christ” is to remove it from its context and intended view which simply refers to the believer’s relationship with regard to Christ and whatever relevant benefits are brought out in the passage.

*One might respond with, "Well isn't the body of Christ "in Christ" itself"? And the answer is of course but that does not make it a synonym for the prepositional phrase "in Christ". In fact such a recognition or distinction would actually weaken the synonymous rendering.

Jerry Shugart's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
As well though, its interpretation is not based on what other passages say or don't say, rather on its own grammatical/exegetical merits.

Let us look at the verse on its own grammatical/exegetical merits.

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Eph.1:4).

He has chosen us "in Him" before the foundation of the earth. The key to understanding this verse is determining what the words "in Him" signify. From another similiar verse I believe that it means "in Christ Jesus" i.e. in the Body of Christ:

"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim.1:9).

The Christian's blessings which this verse refers to are said to be "given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." Likewise, Ephesians 1:4 is also speaking of the Christian being chosen "in Him before the foundation of the world" for the express purpose that the Christian should be "holy and withouit blame" before Him. This is referring to the Church, the Body of Christ:

"That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph.5:27).

But how can anyone be said to be a member of the Body of Christ "before the foundation of the world" since the Body of Christ did not even exist before the world began?The only answer that can be given is that in these verses figurative language is being employed. The Apostles knew that God existence is the eternal state, outside of time, as witnessed by Peter's words here:

"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Pet.3:8).

How can we understand God's relationship to time as judged by this verse? Sir Robert Anderson asks, "does any one really imagine that there is a celestial timepiece with a thousand-year dial!"

Of course we cannot take Peter's words literally but instead we can understand his words as meaning that God is not bound by time as we are. According to this there is a speeding up of time at the same time that there is a slowing down of time. Surely this thought can only be interpreted as meaning that God is timeless.

The verses which the Calvnists quote in order to attempt to prove their ideas on election cannot be taken literally since they are figurative in nature. Let us look at the following verse:

"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied" (1 Pet.1:2).

Since God lives in the ever present "now" how can we explain these verses that speak of His "foreknowledge"? A "foreknowledge" certainly implies a "present" time as well as a "future" time in God's existence. Therefore we can understand that in this verse Peter is speaking figuratively.

This figure of speech is called "Anthropopatheia": "Ascribing to God what belongs to human and rational beings, irrational creatures, or inanimate things" (The Companion Bible, Appendix #6: Figures of Speech).

Since the Scriptures reveal that God is able to predict events that remain in the future then it appears that He has a "foreknowledge" of these events. Men live under the limitations of time, being bound by time, and if we were to impose that same limitation to God then it would appear that He has a "foreknowledge" of events. But that is not reality, since He lives in the ever present "now."

The Calvinists make a mistake when they apply these verses which are "figurative" in nature and interpret them in a "literal" sense and then make doctrine from their literal interpretation.

In His grace,
Jerry

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Jerry Shugart wrote:

The Christian's blessings which this verse refers to are said to be "given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." Likewise, Ephesians 1:4 is also speaking of the Christian being chosen "in Him before the foundation of the world" for the express purpose that the Christian should be "holy and withouit blame" before Him. This is referring to the Church, the Body of Christ

Possibly you missed the force of the grammar in the Ephesians presentation.

We were not chose to be "in him" rather we were chosen to be holy and blameless, in him. There is a very critical difference between the two and teh grammar, as I presented, does not give any other license. Again, "in him" is a positional reference not a categorical one which what the "body of Christ" is referring to. "in him" or "In Christ" and "the church" or "the body of Christ" cannot function as synonyms and have no prescriptive ability to do so. As well both are used with different grammatical intent.

I am working on more response to the earlier post.

Jerry Shugart's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Well if one presumes that “in Christ” refers to the body of Christ then they obviously would feel a warrant to proceed with arguments connected to this position.

Alex, I did quote a verse which certainly backs up my assertion that being in the Body of Christ is the source of the blessings of being "holy and blameless":

"That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph.5:27).

Your whole answer to my comments are based on the idea that the phrase "in Christ" does not refer to the Body of Christ. However, Paul says that if anyone be "in Christ" then he is a new creation:

"So if any one be in Christ, there is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold all things have become new" (2 Cor.5:17; J. N. Darby Translation).

Is not this "new creation" referring to the Body of Christ?:

"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation" (Gal.6:15; NKJV).

It is in the Body of Christ were "neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything":

"And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all" (Col.3:10-11).

Those who are said to be "in Christ" are members of the Church, which is His Body. If "any one be in Christ" he is a member of the Body of Christ. It is inconceivable that Paul would use the phrase "in Christ" indiscriminately, sometimes applying it to the Body of Christ and sometimes not. That would lead to nothing but confusion and our Lord is not a God of confusion.

Quote:
In other words it does not say:

"He chose us to be in him before the foundation of the world"


No, it does not say that but the following verse seems to support the idea that "He chose us to be in him before the foundation of the world.":

"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim.1:9).

These blessings were given to the Christian "in Christ Jesus before the world began." Certainly if these words are to be taken literally then we can only conclude that some people received these blessings in Christ Jesus before the world began while others did not.

In His grace,
Jerry

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Jerry Shugart wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Well if one presumes that “in Christ” refers to the body of Christ then they obviously would feel a warrant to proceed with arguments connected to this position.

Alex, I did quote a verse which certainly backs up my assertion that being in the Body of Christ is the source of the blessings of being "holy and blameless":

"That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph.5:27).

Your whole answer to my comments are based on the idea that the phrase "in Christ" does not refer to the Body of Christ. However, Paul says that if anyone be "in Christ" then he is a new creation:

"So if any one be in Christ, there is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold all things have become new" (2 Cor.5:17; J. N. Darby Translation).

Is not this "new creation" referring to the Body of Christ?:

You are right, I am arguing that being "in Christ" is not a reference specifically or synonymously to "the body of Christ" and my argument is derived from the grammatical boundaries of both terms and their use.

As well when you state and then ask:

Jerry Shugart wrote:
Paul says that if anyone be "in Christ" then he is a new creation...Is not this "new creation" referring to the Body of Christ?

as well as earlier in your similar premise:

Jerry Shugart wrote:
the Apostle Paul speaks of those who are blessed and he says that this blessedness was given "in Christ Jesus before the world began." Do not the words "in Christ Jesus" refer to the Body of Christ?

it is necessary that your provide grammatical evidence or cause for your assertions. Simply believing you have put two and two together that appears reasonable is not sufficient argument for theological force in either interpreting meaning for passages or developing/supporting theological doctrines.

But to answer the questions direct...no, neither of them are rightly understood as synonyms for "in Christ". They are grammatically different and categorically different. They may have a relationship to each other theologically but they do not function as synonyms.

Jerry Shugart's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
[You are right, I am arguing that being "in Christ" is not a reference specifically or synonymously to "the body of Christ" and my argument is derived from the grammatical boundaries of both terms and their use.

Alex, you have given no evidence concerning your assumptions in regard to any "grammatical boundaries of both terms and their use." None whatsoever. At least I have quoted verses from the pen of Paul which leads to the conclusion that when the term "in Christ" is used the meaning is "in the Body of Christ." And you did not even address those verses.

But let us go back to the meaning you put on the following verse:

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Eph.1:4).

From what I can understand the meaning which you put on these words is:

"Before the foundation of the world the Lord chose a method whereby we should be holy and without blame before Him, and that is in Christ."

If that is not the meaning which you are placing on the verse then tell me how it should be worded. However, the meaning you give bears no resemblance to the way it reads in the King James Version of the Bible or any version of the Bible which I have read. If the meaning you put on the verse is so sure according to the grammar then at least one version of the Bible would surely have a translation of that verse which matches the meaning that you give for it. But I have not been able to find even one translation where the meaning matches the meaning which you give.

Perhaps you can provide at least one translation of the verse which matches the meaning you place on it.

In His grace,
Jerry

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Jerry Shugart wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
[You are right, I am arguing that being "in Christ" is not a reference specifically or synonymously to "the body of Christ" and my argument is derived from the grammatical boundaries of both terms and their use.

Alex, you have given no evidence concerning your assumptions in regard to any "grammatical boundaries of both terms and their use." None whatsoever.
What exactly then do you consider this to be?

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
When we look at the phrase “in Christ” we have to acquiesce to its grammatical, contextual and historical use. Most outstanding is the preposition “en” which, like all prepositions in the Greek (and generally universally) is a reference to location and direction. That means the intended use of a preposition is to establish position or location with regard to something and sometimes also direction.

With few possible exceptions, the use of the term “in Christ” therefore is intended (as its prepositional design indicates) to make specific reference to the believer’s position with regard to Christ, our Lord. And this is borne out with its use in the same manner with other passages and if one were to substitute it with "the body of Christ" here and other places they would quickly discover its lack of prescriptive value.

This is a positional expression and this positional expression “in Christ” represents, as this passage and many others do, the place from which spiritual benefits are derived. Here the passage identifies part of what is received by being in Christ (a plan which the passage reveals was made in eternity past) which is salvation (saved us) a holy calling, and a plan and purpose according to God’s grace.

So to say it is a fair synonym with reference to “the body of Christ” is to remove it from its context and intended view which simply refers to the believer’s relationship with regard to Christ and whatever relevant benefits are brought out in the passage.

*One might respond with, "Well isn't the body of Christ "in Christ" itself"? And the answer is of course but that does not make it a synonym for the prepositional phrase "in Christ". In fact such a recognition or distinction would actually weaken the synonymous rendering.

You mean to say you consider none of the above discussion and presentation of the grammatical facts "non-evidence"? If so we are probably at a serious stall.

Jerry Shugart wrote:
At least I have quoted verses from the pen of Paul which leads to the conclusion that when the term "in Christ" is used the meaning is "in the Body of Christ." And you did not even address those verses.
Did you not read my earlier post stating I would deal with the post in portions as time permits. Did you miss this? In post #16 I stated:

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
So now I will post this first part and then deal with the passages and thoughts you posted beyond that in another post but will need most of the day and tomorrow, spouse permitting, duties permitting, and so on.

Further, when you claim that you quoted other verse which "leads to the conclusion that when the term "in Christ" is used the meaning is "in the Body of Christ" you provided no support, you simply concluded by way of observation and the attempt to make a rational connection. The conclusion wasn't one of hermeneutical/exegetical or theological force, rather one of rational force which isn't the basis of proper interpretive determination.

Jerry Shugart wrote:
But let us go back to the meaning you put on the following verse:

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Eph.1:4).

From what I can understand the meaning which you put on these words is:

"Before the foundation of the world the Lord chose a method whereby we should be holy and without blame before Him, and that is in Christ."

If that is not the meaning which you are placing on the verse then tell me how it should be worded. However, the meaning you give bears no resemblance to the way it reads in the King James Version of the Bible or any version of the Bible which I have read.

I did post earlier what I believe is the most accurate rendering:

Quote:
"Before the foundation of the world he hath chosen (to be) that we should be holy and without blame, us, in him (that is in Christ which is what happens when we are saved), before him (God the Father) in love."
This is supported by the Greek grammar as I have already pointed out.
Jerry, how one "reads" a passage in the King James is not how we determine its meaning in the Greek. The King James along with any English translation is just that, a translation and as a translation it will be rendered favorable to reading often at the expense of exactness with regard to grammatical intent and structure in the Greek. If what I say here is something you do not accept then we probably are at an impasse. It does not matter what any English translation says other than a first glance familiarization or discovering why something was translated as it was but the English is not our source of interpretation, it is the Greek (here for these passages).

To be honest Jerry, I don't see this dialogue progressing and in saying that I am not wishing to place blame, that is I don't wish to point either to you or myself as the carrier of the fault, rather I believe that our beliefs regarding hermeneutics and interpretation are too foreign to each other for us to effectively discuss the matter.

Jerry Shugart's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
To be honest Jerry, I don't see this dialogue progressing and in saying that I am not wishing to place blame, that is I don't wish to point either to you or myself as the carrier of the fault, rather I believe that our beliefs regarding hermeneutics and interpretation are too foreign to each other for us to effectively discuss the matter.

Alex, perhaps one of the problems revolves around your interpretation of the Greek in the following verse:

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Eph.1:4).

If you are right then the above translation from the KJV is wrong and it should read:

"Before the foundation of the world he hath chosen (to be) that we should be holy and without blame, us, in him (that is in Christ which is what happens when we are saved), before him (God the Father) in love."

As anyone can see the meaning you place on the verse bears no resemblance to the translation in the KJV. It also bears no resemblance to the rendering of the verse found in the NKJV, NIV, ESV, NASB, RSV, ASV, Young, Darby, WEB, and HV. In fact, I cannot find even one version of the Bible where the translators translated the verse in the same way which you do.

There are some highly educated men which made these translations in the various editions of the Bible but yet not even one of them agree with the meaning which you place on the verse. Alex, what are your credentials regarding the Greek language?

Now back to the meaning of the phrase "in Christ." We can see that the believer is baptized into the Body of Christ in the following verse:

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit...the Body of Christ" (1 Cor.12:13,27).

Then we can see that the Apostle Paul uses the expression "baptized into Christ" in the following verse:

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (Ro.6:3).

We can also see that Paul used the expression "put on Christ" when referring to those in the Body of Christ:

"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal.3:27-29).

Please consider the specific words Paul uses at verse 29 when he is speaking of the make up of the Body of Christ, saying that "ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

So the various phrases, "into Jesus Christ," "put on Christ," and "all one in Christ Jesus" are all phrases which are referring to being in the Body of Christ.

In His grace,
Jerry

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Jerry Shugart wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
To be honest Jerry, I don't see this dialogue progressing and in saying that I am not wishing to place blame, that is I don't wish to point either to you or myself as the carrier of the fault, rather I believe that our beliefs regarding hermeneutics and interpretation are too foreign to each other for us to effectively discuss the matter.

Alex, perhaps one of the problems revolves around your interpretation of the Greek in the following verse:

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Eph.1:4).

If you are right then the above translation from the KJV is wrong and it should read:

"Before the foundation of the world he hath chosen (to be) that we should be holy and without blame, us, in him (that is in Christ which is what happens when we are saved), before him (God the Father) in love."

As anyone can see the meaning you place on the verse bears no resemblance to the translation in the KJV. It also bears no resemblance to the rendering of the verse found in the NKJV, NIV, ESV, NASB, RSV, ASV, Young, Darby, WEB, and HV. In fact, I cannot find even one version of the Bible where the translators translated the verse in the same way which you do.

There are some highly educated men which made these translations in the various editions of the Bible but yet not even one of them agree with the meaning which you place on the verse. Alex, what are your credentials regarding the Greek language?

Remember, my issue is not with the translation and you seem to be thinking it is. A translation is not an interpretation. That is, something can be translated a certain way, and often is, with many reductions or absence of critical nuances from one language to the other which cannot be recognized in the new languages which must then be "amplified" by the person exegeting for the student who is being taught is meaning. I don't have any issue with anyone's translation, I am simply providing a proper amplification and placement of words so that the grammatical structure and intended thought is properly communicated which is present in the Greek. However, as you have read it is not favorable toward the reader with regard to ease of reading. Therefore translators don't make it their goal to be purely mechanical and deliberately allow an absence of certain grammatical highlights in the Greek or Hebrew for the sake of translating a bible people can read with some ease of flow.

Let me give you an example to further this:

The Bible says:

"Be ye filled with the Spirit"

Now if we examine the Greek it is best understood as:

Quote:
"Keep on, continuously without ceasing, to allow yourself to be filled by the Spirit".

Why is it better understood this way? Because the command "Be ye filled" is based on a present active imperative (be) and passive voice (filled). But if we translate it with all of its nuances the flow of communication and ease of reading is rendered very difficult and translations include the readers, not just the technical and nuanced precision. And translators also expect subsequent exegesis by teachers to bear out such significant points so they may properly interpret its meaning in the Greek and teach its proper application.

Does that mean I take issue with the translation? No, rather I don't rely on the translation for clarity and grammatical significance because translations don't offer that. And it does not matter how many translations happen to favor the pure mechanical format or the format for the reader or in between, we still don't interpret based on that.

Jerry Shugart wrote:
Now back to the meaning of the phrase "in Christ." We can see that the believer is baptized into the Body of Christ in the following verse:

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit...the Body of Christ" (1 Cor.12:13,27).

Then we can see that the Apostle Paul uses the expression "baptized into Christ" in the following verse:

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (Ro.6:3).

We can also see that Paul used the expression "put on Christ" when referring to those in the Body of Christ:

"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal.3:27-29).

Please consider the specific words Paul uses at verse 29 when he is speaking of the make up of the Body of Christ, saying that "ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

So the various phrases, "into Jesus Christ," "put on Christ," and "all one in Christ Jesus" are all phrases which are referring to being in the Body of Christ.

In His grace,
Jerry

The terms themselves must be qualified by their use. That is, even when Paul states that all those that have been "baptized into Christ" have also "put on Christ" this does not warrant the view that they are synonyms. Being "baptized into Christ" "putting on Christ" are not identical concepts. And this seems to be the constant in your use of all these terms, particularly at the onset when "in Christ" was introduced. They do have a relationship and one may be the product of the other but they are not synonyms. This is not to say "never are their synonyms" but here their nuances are being ignored for the sake of trying to make them synonyms.

Jerry Shugart's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Why is it better understood this way? Because the command "Be ye filled" is based on a present active imperative (be) and passive voice (filled). But if we translate it with all of its nuances the flow of communication and ease of reading is rendered very difficult and translations include the readers, not just the technical and nuanced precision. And translators also expect subsequent exegesis by teachers to bear out such significant points so they may properly interpret its meaning in the Greek and teach its proper application.

Alex, if a translation is done properly then that translation will carry the same meaning which the original Greek conveys. Unfortunately, the meaning which your translation conveys is very different from all of the other meanings put forth by all of the Greek experts found in all of the different English versions of the Bible which I mentioned previously.

Again, what are your credentials in the Greek language?

Quote:
The terms themselves must be qualified by their use.

In the instance of the verses at Galatians 3:27-29 the "context" determines the meaning. Besides this, you have not even attempted to say what they do mean but instead all you have done is to assert, without giving proof, that the term "in Christ does not mean "in the Body of Christ."

All you do is make assertions which you do not even attempt to prove in the slightest degree. So for once tell me what Paul is referring to when he writes "ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal.3:29). And please consider these words in the "context" in which they are written.

In His grace,
Jerry

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Jerry,

Regarding our dialogue, I believe its usefulness on the matter is not going to progress though it does appear to have avoided a dive. I do not believe our theological maps are going to allow for enough compatibility to have effective discussion. I will answer this post and unless something absolutely outstanding or all together new is presented (and that appears to be positioned in a location we both have more similar frame of reference) I will retire our exchange on my end (of course that does not mean retire from the thread or any exchanges with others).

Jerry Shugart wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Why is it better understood this way? Because the command "Be ye filled" is based on a present active imperative (be) and passive voice (filled). But if we translate it with all of its nuances the flow of communication and ease of reading is rendered very difficult and translations include the readers, not just the technical and nuanced precision. And translators also expect subsequent exegesis by teachers to bear out such significant points so they may properly interpret its meaning in the Greek and teach its proper application.

Alex, if a translation is done properly then that translation will carry the same meaning which the original Greek conveys. Unfortunately, the meaning which your translation conveys is very different from all of the other meanings put forth by all of the Greek experts found in all of the different English versions of the Bible which I mentioned previously.

Again, what are your credentials in the Greek language?

What credentials do you require? And whatever credentials you require I assume you, yourself, possess such credentials seeing they would be essential to rebut my presentation and provide you the very same "credentialed" authority to stand on upon which you demand I stand. As you can see I ask the question rhetorically. The issue for you is self-defeating. And in truth, this is not a "credentialing board" it is a message board without the context that we impugn the substance of others by demanding credentials we, ourselves, probably do not hold. But if it makes you feel any better I have submitted what I presented to a very close friend who, for years, made his living working as a translator and commentator and he accepted its weight and worth. But that really does not matter either, it speaks for itself and it also denies discovery to other believers unless they gain "credentials". I don't want to do that. There is a time and place for that but not in this case, it isn't necessary. "Infinitives" are infinitives and they function as they do along with all grammar whether a Ph.D. or a Labrador Retriever recognizes it.

To the larger claim, "if a translation is done properly then that translation will carry the same meaning which the original Greek conveys" I can only encourage you to revisit this belief many times in the future when having discussions with translators of any language including the Greek. It is almost an impossibility to translate any sizable document from one language to another and retain the precision and nuance of the original language. This is not the nature of human language or thought. We simply do not possess precisely equivocal contexts, colloquialisms, expressions, tenses, and so on that another language possesses. While we can get very close at times and sometimes can be precise, sometimes we can only be generically true which requires just what bible interpretation demands, our investigation into the original languages. Again, I don't expect to have you read this and suddenly an epiphany occur but encourage you that you keep this belief you stated forefront in your mind over the years as you discuss issues with translators and see if it bears itself out or if you discover it is an ideal that would serve all of us well but in reality is not the experience of language.

Jerry Shugart wrote:
Quote:
The terms themselves must be qualified by their use.

In the instance of the verses at Galatians 3:27-29 the "context" determines the meaning. Besides this, you have not even attempted to say what they do mean but instead all you have done is to assert, without giving proof, that the term "in Christ does not mean "in the Body of Christ."

All you do is make assertions which you do not even attempt to prove in the slightest degree. So for once tell me what Paul is referring to when he writes "ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal.3:29). And please consider these words in the "context" in which they are written.

In His grace,
Jerry

You are right that I have not invested a great deal in providing you theological definitions but much of that is due to responding to your "rationalism" as an inappropriate tool in the construction of your arguments. But do remember Jerry, you asserted contrary to broad theological consensus that these terms were interchangeable, that they were synonymous. The onus is upon you to justify your assertion which you haven't apart from your rationalistic method of believing you have put two and two together and your conclusion makes sense therefore is justified.

Believe me, I understand your process and reasoning. I did not fail to identify how or why you came about the conclusions you did but in respect to treating these terms synonymously, both your process and conclusion are wrong. While coming to conclusions is part of the process the body of your method is absent of any grammatical investigation or theological development with regard to the proprietary use of these terms.

It is true I have rested in the consensus and that certainly is not unreasonable. But even for the sake of the discussion I can happily point you to some resources that will provide working definitions that are generally accepted within theology which do provide cause or arguments for their definitions based on rather extensive grammatical and theological study. In other words, what I am saying is not special to Alex, rather is information very easily obtained at your finger tips. So if you would like such links please PM me and I will send them for your own private research. As well the source would probably be superior to a posting since they would provide a platform for extended reading and research. Or you can google, yahoo, or bling away yourself.

Do understand that in the context of one, I recognize the other is present. That is, when a person is viewed as a "member of the Body of Christ" that carries with it the reality that they are also "in Christ". I do not miss that. I get that. That is not in dispute, rather the assertion that these terms and the others you identified are meant to be defined and prescribed synonymously without the view that they have unique or proprietary aspects, either on the whole or in part, to which they refer which disqualifies them as real synonyms and certainly not able to be interchanged as they appear in the Bible.

What I do believe, however, is that you are earnest and serious in your pursuit. I appreciate that. So with all that said I suspect my contribution with regard to our dialogue (again with the exception of something outstanding or new arising) has supplied what it will and I yield to you.