There appears to be a contradiction running through scripture, and that is, the contradiction of the heart and the mind. It is probably the difference between the spiritual man and the carnal man. (The man without the Spirit).
It appears as the solution to the problem of why various groups contradict the accepted atonement issues. [Also they do not believe in the Spirit or that the Spirit is a “personal” gift to Christians. So how can you be led by a Spirit in whom you do not believe?]
Getting back to the point, I propose that the contradiction is, as Godet mentioned, similar to what he encountered in the 1800’s? but I can quote Him later. This issue seems to come into focus because of the perceived difference between the way the atonement is presented by scripture on the one hand, and the way Paul explains it on the other.
It seems to me that if you are going to offer someone up as sacrifice, or take the animal sacrifices for example, that the conveyed meaning would be that the animal dies so that you don’t have to, so you remain alive, it takes your place, it substitutes for you.
But on the other hand, Paul in explaining the aspects of the atonement, seems to be saying that you have to die with the subject in order to live, and that the object of the sacrifice comes to life. (Jesus). (Different to the animal ones).
This appears to me as contradictory, and although the rational mind may be able to follow Paul’s explanations so as to provide an aid to the understanding of the matter, and though this understanding may be correct, it stands in opposition to that which God intended as to how the gospel should be received. [which is why they do not receive the Spirit].
The problem takes shape in that those who reject the emotional heart desires as they arise from the spectacle of Christ on the cross, bearing their sin, which is to them non understandable and a blow to their ego because it does not allow any elbow room for them to escape the enormous ramifications and claims on their lives; they then take up Paul’s explanations of the atonement and proclaim it, the explanation, as being the ‘gospel of the atonement’.
God has aimed everything at softening the heart, because it is the heart that needs to be returned to Him, so that our desires will be for Him and for righteousness. This is why it is the message about a Father and His only beloved son. By dividing heart response from mind response, he divides the one group from the other. But it is those of the heart who are the desired ones, and those of the mind are rejected.
The ones who take the intellectual approach then turn on those of the heart, who are God’s real children, and accuse them of being inferior and unworthy and unsaved. Of having insufficient biblical knowledge, which to them becomes the saving criteria. They refuse to fellowship with the chosen ones of God who have met His criteria by surrendering their heart to His. They dare to call themselves “the truth” and “The Plain Truth” and other things, when what has happened is really the same thing that happened in Eden, when Adam refused to comply with God’s command because Adam did not have love in His heart, which is what Jesus told the Pharisees. When Adam utilises His mind to rationalise and disobey God. Jesus said that it was [only] the one who loved Him who would do what He said. Adam was the first to example this error.
It is said that when the Israelites were to sacrifice a lamb, that they had to first take it into the household and treat it like a pet, later to kill it and presumably eat it (or maybe to burn it), sounds a bit hard on the children, but the idea was that there should be some emotional value attached to the sacrifice, which carries out the idea of the claim made on the heart, the sensitivity issues.
There is so much scripture which when taken at face value, supports the atonement view of a life for a life as a sacrifice might be. “Through faith in His blood”, which is denied by them. They have a bag full of explanations, which, denying the face value or literal connotations, are contrivances of the mind, of the intellect, of the ego. So instead of the ego being destroyed by the overwhelming utter complete ownership of us by Him, they retain it and work on it and produce a lot of stuff which ends up in complete denial of that which God established as being the very means by which the heart could be apprehended and captured, and released from its slavery to sin.
Again I say, it is that they deny the emotional heart atonement so as to be able to follow the Pauline explanation of the atonement, thus making the explanation itself* the relevant means by which the framework of the atonement is viewed, and it is treated in that light, and that the “by faith in His blood” is not only ignored, but ridiculed, along with those who by it have been cleansed in their faith of it.
God wishes to return to Himself His people who listen to Him via their heart, not via their intellect. It may be possible to show that the whole of the bible promotes this idea, and that we stand or fall on this. It also may be possible for the whole man, heart and mind to be renewed, but God has ordained that the heart must come first because it is the seat of our desires and it is of the utmost importance that these desires, when crystallised by the cross, become captive to Him.
The test of the serpent in the garden when Adam failed, remains the same test today, where spiritual love will go down the right path but intellectualism [pride] will fall.
It comes back to what Jesus said to the Pharisees, that “you have not the love of the Father in your hearts”. Otherwise they would love the true brethren, showing themselves also to be true, but they dismiss them and treat them as, to quote the book of Revelation, “outside are the dogs”. Hopefully true understanding will come to them and they will see that all those who have love in their heart for God through Christ are true believers. [And all those who don’t, are not].
*[They make the explanation the experience instead of having the heart experience.]
[The conventional acceptance of His sacrifice nevertheless has the effect of us spiritually dying with Him, joining with Him on His cross anyway, in accordance with Paul’s explanation]
WHERE THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS, THERE IS FREEDOM FREEDOM FREEDOM AND STILL MORE FREEDOM. “It is finished”.
“And understand WITH THEIR HEART, and turn, and I would heal them.”
The cross breaks our relationship with law (marriage analogy Romans 7)
The cross is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
“I have come to give them an understanding.”
What a high price we pay for the knowledge of good and evil.
The only thing relevant – “you do not have the love of God in your heart”.