The Atonement, The Law, Freedom of Choice, and Self-Sacrificing Love

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The law of God is based on His character and His character is based on the principle of self-sacrificing love. There is legality involved because the penalty of violating His law of self-sacrificing love is eternal death. Why? Because this penalty is absolutely necessary in order to prevent sin and its results from proliferating eternally. Because God created two or more persons with freedom of choice, His law and its rules and regulations were ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY in order to maintain and protect the vital interests and freedom of choice of every individual. For example, my freedom of choice is encroached upon and made impossible if I buy a piece of land, build a house on it, and another man can overpower me and steal my land. My freedom of choice is thus violated and made impossible.

The self-sacrificing principle of God's legal law is a transcript of His character which enabled freedom of choice. Without that legal law, there would be no protection of freedom of choice. His created beings would not have any basis, any rules or regulations by which their freedom of choice could be protected. If Christ had merely chosen to forgive violation of His law--or violation of freedom of choice, He would thus have admitted that it was possible to change His law and permit violation of freedom of choice without any penalty for such. The reason for the penalty, the dept, the wages, the payment for sin, which is transgression of His law, which is violation of someone else's freedom of choice, was and is to protect our freedom of choice eternally and thus prevent sin from existing eternally.

It is clear to see that to forgive sin out of mercy, without payment of the sin debt, would result in the forever violation of the character of God, which is self-sacrificing love, which is concern for and protection of the freedom of choice of every individual ETERNALLY. When we practice self-sacrificing love by obedience to God's Law of self-sacrificing love, we are really protecting one another's freedom of choice. If there were no legal dept or penalty for violation of that legal law of self-sacrificing love, sin could manifest itself eternally.

Since the Father and Christ were the initiators of that legal law of self-sacrificing love, they were the only ones who could pay for any violation of that legal law. Death was the payment or the wages of violating that law. To change any part or parcel of that law without death or payment of the debt would admit to a flaw in that law, and thus a flaw in the character of God and His self-sacrificing love. Such a change in the law would admit that it was not ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to freedom of choice and the best vital interest of all created beings. Such a change would admit that God had erred; that law, rule and regulation was not required for freedom of choice, and that God could merely forgive violations of freedom of choice by forgiving such violations and sin (violation of freedom of choice) could go on forever.

It was charged by Satan that God did not have such self-sacrificing love and was not subject to His own law. This was like saying that He was not subject to His own character, which was based on self-sacrificing love. So God proved that He was subject to His own law by sacrificing His only Son in payment of the debt for man's violation of the principle of self-sacrificing love or His law which was based on that principle. Both forgiveness (pardon) and empowerment for obeying that law, were provided by the sacrifice of Christ. That sacrifice was necessary for both.

Thus, for anyone to say that only mercy by way of forgiveness was necessary, is to say that the character of God can be changed and that His law of self-sacrificing love can be altered without penalty or payment of debt (wages). If this is so, then sin would proliferate eternally. The payment of the debt involves both--mercy (pardon and death. The mercy (grace) also includes grace (empowerment) for obedience (Romans 1:5), in order to prevent eternal sinning and its results. If God could have provided a way that did not include law, rules and violations--a way that precluded sin by any other means than a law which protected against sin or violation of our freedom of choice, but rather concocted a law which was faulty and needed change, that He was a tyrannical God who demanded obedience to a law of supposed self-sacrificing love, which was actually impossible to obey. This WAS NOT the case. God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh in order to prove that His Law of Self-sacrificing Love was possible to obey. Death is necessary to deal with all who will not subscribe to His gift of empowerment in order to obey that legal law of love.

In the law of God, love, mercy and legal protection of our every vital interest, by way of freedom of choice, is insured. It is both a legal law and a law of love. The legal part annihilates sin forever. The love part enables obedience to His law of love which insures the annihilation of sin eternally. One without the other is an oxymoron. One without the other is an impossibility, as far as God's plan for the universe is concerned. Why? Because sin and its deeply pervasive effects would eventually destroy the universe.

The ravages of sin took away our ability to obey God's law. His Sacrifice on Calvary makes that ability possible again via imputed empowerment. No man can boast because the power is provided by Christ. This is what Paul means when He says that salvation is by grace and not of works. Grace is both pardon and empowerment for obedience, Roman 1:5:

Rom 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

So, salvation is by grace alone and not of works, because both the grace of pardon and the grace for obedience is supplied by Christ. But does this formula omit works? God forbid, it makes works of obedience posssible. Any formula that omits the grace for obedience is a half gospel and a blasphemous denial of the gift of grace supplied for obedience, Rom. 1:5. Most "Christians" want the gift pardon without the gift of power for obedience. They want a forgiving God but not an empowering God. They want what they perceive as a merdiful God, by way of His forgiveness of sin, but they reject the legal cure for sin.

Ron Beaulieu