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Atonement

“We must remember that both in St Paul’s letters and in Hebrews, there is no playing off of Father and Son. Some have wrongly drawn a cartoon of a vengeful Father unjustly demanding the blood of His Son. No, God initiates, offering His best gift, and Christ takes on death, willingly atoning for sin by His suffering…God does not demand blood for His own arbitrary purposes; yet He does not simply declare us forgiven without the crucifixion and descent into hades. We remain in the realm of real mystery, where death is conquered by death, and sin removed by sacrifice.” (Edith M. Humphrey) “The object of the Cross is not the wrath of God, but the death and confinement of man. It is the virtual non-existence that holds us in death that is trampled down by the death of Christ. The punishment theories of the atonement have a way of mixing moral themes into Christ’s death and resurrection. They are about Christ’s payment for the moral debt of our sins. Somehow, something is terribly askew in such meditations. The utter graciousness and even gratuitous character of Christ’s victory is overlooked.” (Father Stephen Freeman) “…His [Christ’s] death is not about our atonement through His suffering, but rather, Christ’s having destroyed the power and permanency of death, by His holy resurrection…We just believe that God just forgives us. He doesn’t expect anyone to pay. It isn’t that He gets a third party to pay. He just lets it go.” (Abbot Tryphon, Frederica Mathewes-Green) “The danger for Christians of any tradition in understanding the atonement as satisfactory, meaning what Christ did on the Cross as satisfying God the Father’s penal demand for divine justice, is that it absolves us of our need to take up our own Cross since Christ did all of the work for us. The Cross ceases to be a present way of life for all who love Christ, but rather something that happened a long time ago with no application to our present life. This understanding also makes the words of Christ in the Gospel to take up our cross daily insignificant. The mystery of the Cross is the means by which God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit operating as One – draw us into participating in the life of Christ for our salvation.” (Sacramental Living Ministries) “There are really two ends to the one pole or two sides to this one coin of forgiveness. The one end is God’s. The other end is our own, our own acceptance and experience of God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness from God’s side has never been the problem..\.,We have no theology of retributive justice or substitutionary atonement. God doesn’t need us (or Jesus) to sacrifice or die or do anything in order for God to love and forgive us. God is not bound. God doesn’t need anything to love and forgive any sinner. Sacrifice is never about what God needs, it’s about what we need. As the Psalmist David says, “Sacrifice and offering You (God) do not desire, or I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Fr. Michael Gillis) #EdithMHumphrey #FatherStephenFreeman #AbbotTryphon #FredericaMathewesGreen #SacramentalLivingMinistries #FrMichaelGillis

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