Who had the power and authority to bear and forgive sin? I have written a lot about the atonement, with some approaches to this subject being clear cut, but others being a bit “iffy”. While I have been reluctant to use the term “representative” and “representation” because there are others who use this to formulate their individualistic atonement view, and which is a wrong view, I now find it necessary to take this approach also, albeit with hopefully a very different outcome.
There is a crude term which goes something like “having a dog in the fight” but which rings a bell in the matter of the cross, where there was a fight, a conflict, by two opposing parties. Both of these parties are represented by the same person, Jesus, who represented man and mankind as “The son of man” and represented God as “The son of God”. He is this representation because he is the divine son of the divine God but in our human body form, and so becomes both “dogs in the fight” at the same time.
These opposing parties are in conflict with each other, and apart from the cross, also represent those forces which we find to be in ourselves*, our flesh or human nature. Jesus then becomes representative of this internal conflict, which is god versus flesh, or righteousness versus unrighteousness.
If you refuse to recognise Jesus as “divine”, IE his “divinity”, then you lose one half of the opposing forces, and one half of the representation of those forces. You lose the half which represents God, so you then lose the aspect that He is able to suffer through his Son, and therefore His forgiveness is not tied to his suffering, the suffering that love undergoes because it loves and because the nature of love is that it suffers the nature of unlove within itself, so as to restore that love nature.
The parable about the vineyard and those who rented it killing the son who was the King’s representative, shows the impact it would have had on the King and his subsequent action of retribution on the vineyard renters. If the divine son of God suffers, then God his father suffers also, and in anycase the son, Jesus, had been given his Father’s authority to act on behalf of his Father, just as by coming to this earth in human form, Jesus was authorised to represent humankind.
A representative is effectively the person whom they represent, if he represents us then whatever happens to him happens to us as well, as the vineyard story tells us. By killing the “heir”, they also thrust a sword or spear into the King or Father’s heart. And by killing Jesus on the cross, not only was this so, but we died also. When Jesus died and rose, he had all authority and power as our representative, to take us with him, to “prepare a place for us”.
Just as he entered into our “hell” through our separation from God, when he overcame his and our enemy, by representing US, he also gave His authority to US to have died [according to the law of sin and death] and to rise again with him, so that just as he is seated at the right hand of the Father, so too are we seated at HIS right hand. When “satan” “fell from heaven” (and there was war in heaven) [although it was the lightning that fell, not “satan”] He was deposed, lost HIS seat, and ‘WE filled that vacancy’.***
The ‘evil one’ [flesh] lost his/its power and authority as Jesus took it from him/it in that battle in his flesh which was to the death, so that His experience became ours as well, even as ours became his.
The cross was where this battle of power and authority took place within his flesh and his person, and where man met God once again, and is the place and symbol of the resolution of the estrangement from God, and of man’s inner conflict. It is the place and the enactment and declaration of our full and complete forgiveness and restoration and reconciliation to Him, in full, for now and forever. The only thing that can contradict this as/from being our situation is our unbelief.
If you do not see that the cross was your total and absolute forgiveness and which stands forever, then you will end up with some halfway house position of incomplete forgiveness, where you will always be wrestling with your moral condition, never able to be sure that his love has absolutely and completely dealt with all your sin for all time.
Unitarians for one group**, deny the divinity of Christ, and thereby lose the aspect that God suffered through his son, and that this in itself, by virtue of his love and his authority, was the presentation of our forgiveness of sin and death. I guess they do this in order to disassociate themselves from the “Trinity”. For similar reasons they also divorce themselves from the action of the Holy Spirit in believer’s lives.
The “problem” of understanding the cross from an analytical aspect is that it was designed as a filter to allow only those whose hearts were ready to receive God, to be able to do so, and to exclude# those with a fleshly intellectual analytical approach from being able to “enter in” to that kingdom which it was declaring. Paul in Corinthians has a lot to say on this. “Not many wise” etc. [1 Corin. 1-26].
*[Romans 7]**[cChristadelphian]**[cJehovahs witnesses]
Jehovahs Witnesses http://www.teachingtheword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=59595&columnid=5440
Story of an ex Christadelphian https://www.exchristovoiceofreason.com/2017/04/thoughts-about-my-journey-out-of.html
EXTRA. The pure position that God has put forward is that sin and death are no longer consequential, he has taken care of them and is now done with them, and he now only recognises life if and as it arises from our faith that recognises he has dealt with it all.
***The power of sin via law, was deposed by Jesus’ sacrifice, which forgiveness rendered law and ego fallen and null and void, and our identity can be resumed with cleansed hearts as sons of God. “One died for all, therefore, all died…” [no longer to be under laws of death, but to live by the Spirit of life.] [#The true fruit can only come from the true Spirit ].