Atonement for a sinless society

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I'm halfway through a very interesting book - Atonement for a Sinless Society. It's quite academic and to be honest some of it is over my head. But the fundamental ideas it wrestles with have struck me deeply

First off, despite the title, nowhere does the book deny the reality or the power of sin.

The author explores two fundamental aspects of the way that the Bible speaks of sin - disobedience and failure. Most of our preaching and presentation of the gospel centres on our guilt before God and speaks little of shame.

But - in modern Western societies at least - the desperate need is to address shame. Shame comes from not being able to live up to our own ideals, and causes us to withdraw from others and from God. The terrible fear of the chronicly shamed is to be exposed as an inconsistent failure.

It is self judgement which isolates and alienates rather than the fear of God's judgement.

And so it is the story of God's acceptance of us that has the greatest potential to speak in to the lives of the shamed.

I've not yet got to the end of the book, but it promises to look at the work of Jesus on the cross with a view to restoring the shamed as well as erasing guilt.
 
Loyal Member
I am always leery of these types of books.
Society already thinks they are sinless... that's why they don't need Jesus (or so they think).

I do agree there is a difference between condemnation, conviction, shame and remorse.
But If I don't feel convicted is there any motivation to repent?


It is self judgement which isolates and alienates rather than the fear of God's judgement.
Perhaps.. but Paul said...
1 Cor 11:13; But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.

Another thing to keep in mind here is...
John 12: If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
John 12:48; He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

Those who reject Jesus (and His teachings) will still be judged by the "word" which Jesus spoke to us.
 
Loyal Member
Part of the problem of society thinking it is sinless is that we in the church have done a rotten job of talking about sin. We talk about sin as doing bad things at the expense of its wider meaning as missing the mark.
Atonement is about restoration of relationship, reconciliation and wholeness. Shame divides and alienates us from each other and from God as much as guilt.

(and please don't judge the book by my attempt to talk about it)
 
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RJ

I've not yet got to the end of the book, but it promises to look at the work of Jesus on the cross with a view to restoring the shamed as well as erasing guilt.
In Jesus you find truth and he said it would set you free!
 
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RJ

Hi @RJ - I'm a bit confused and not sure how what you are saying here follows from the earlier posts. Are you linking Christ's offer of freedom to release from shame?
Not sure what you mean about "earlier posts"? Absolutely!!!!...not the offer but having Jesus in you (the same as being born again) is absolutely linking Christ with release from shame! Romans 8:1 Living with Christ in you, is living in the truth that sets you free. When you live in the truth, no condemnation should mean no shame...it does for me,,,,how about you?
 
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Well I have plenty of work to do here. In reflection over the past weeks I have come to realise that a lot of my life is crippled by shame. So often I work hard to present an ideal version of myself to the rest of the world - even my family - and I have the constant anxiety of the reality being exposed.

I know enough to know that this will not likely be a quick fix, but a process of prayer, reflection and reordering my internal life.

Sorry to get all confessional on you - but you did ask!
 
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RJ

I have come to realise that a lot of my life is crippled by shame.
We all have different crosses to bear, some bigger some smaller but this difference is judged by the human mind not God. Jesus died once for all and all sin. If I were to dwell on my past, I would give up but I am blessed to realize that Christ dealt with all that and that I am still not perfect but, he has dealt with that too. Look at your shame as a positive...with out him in you, you would have no shame. He has already dealt with it, so keep you shame to yourself, don't worry about the rest of the world or family and use it for a driving force to daily thank him for what he has done....don't live in bondage to it!
I have the constant anxiety of the reality being exposed.
Again, exposed to who? Certainly not God, Romans 8:1
Sorry to get all confessional on you
It weighs heavy on your heart but you are forgiven. Take your burdens to him and not to man. I pray he sets you free!
 
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Thank you!

I don't know if this is familiar to anyone else... I have followed Jesus for all my adult life and I am finding - once again - that I have only taken the first baby steps in my faith.
 
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It is self judgement which isolates and alienates rather than the fear of God's judgement.
Jesus is God's judgment and the name Jesus means "the Lord is salvation".
The world stood condemned so what kind of judgement does one who is condemned desire or need.
Why would a judge go to a prisoner on death row who has been judged and condemned unless the judge came to
overturn a previous judgement.

John 15:9 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
How can you remain in something that you are not in now?
The default is "in his love" but very few see that.

John 12:48; He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.
Jesus is the word so he is the word that he spoke and since the lamb is the light of the New Jerusalem and there is no night then Jesus is the last day for those found in him.Before that last day is revealed we are under our own judgement which is what got us condemned to begin with.
Jesus is the light of the world so he is the day of the Lord and in that day there is no night,the last day.
The resurrection is not a future event but will eventually happen.Jesus said "I am the resurrection".

John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
Jesus is a time that has now come and yet is coming and everything is beautiful in his time whether you receive it now or in the future.
He is the truth,the light,the resurrection,the life,the way,the day,the word,the judgement and the time.

John 5:25 Timeless truth I speak to you: The hour is coming, it is even now, when the dead shall hear the voice of The Son of God, and they who hear shall live.

 
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I'm not advocating dismissing the reality of God's judgement of guilt. But considering that having our guilt washed away is a part of salvation, not the complete story.
 
Active Member
I'm halfway through a very interesting book - Atonement for a Sinless Society. It's quite academic and to be honest some of it is over my head. But the fundamental ideas it wrestles with have struck me deeply

First off, despite the title, nowhere does the book deny the reality or the power of sin.

The author explores two fundamental aspects of the way that the Bible speaks of sin - disobedience and failure. Most of our preaching and presentation of the gospel centres on our guilt before God and speaks little of shame.

But - in modern Western societies at least - the desperate need is to address shame. Shame comes from not being able to live up to our own ideals, and causes us to withdraw from others and from God. The terrible fear of the chronicly shamed is to be exposed as an inconsistent failure.

It is self judgement which isolates and alienates rather than the fear of God's judgement.

And so it is the story of God's acceptance of us that has the greatest potential to speak in to the lives of the shamed.

I've not yet got to the end of the book, but it promises to look at the work of Jesus on the cross with a view to restoring the shamed as well as erasing guilt.
I enjoyed reading this, and I did want to mention (hope I don't get too off topic) that recently, I was in a depression, for I think it was about 5 days. I went about doing the things I do, but I would cry at the drop of a pin. I haven't been looking to the Lord each day, and during that day. I believe ultimately, there lies the cause of my depression through the years. I don't think it's a chemical imbalance, or if it is, that too I could always ask the Lord's help and make it much easier than trying to do "all" things myself.

Maybe off-track a bit, apologies, but maybe did need to lay some ground-work. I know that I am guilty, and believe the bible, about the fall in the garden. I believe in Jesus, the Saviour, the One, and only Way to God, our Reconciler. I also believe what this book says about the shame, and how it is about "self". I can be beating myself up and not even notice it. Not that much anymore, because I hold onto Him tight when I am starting to drift into that "self" destructive behaviour. That's just my opinion here.

I was going to mention actually calling my health provider and asking if I could see a psychiatrist, and they set me up with a name/number to call. I went as I was desperate for help, and conveniently "left God out", I mean, didn't even pray about it to Him. So I end up sitting in a teenie office, without even a reception area, with a lovely looking white-haired lady. When I asked her about herself, she said she was a psychologist, which I wasn't sure about what that was. But it has psych in it, plus the fact I took psychology in school. So yes, I basically knew what it was. Long story, getting longer here, lol!!

What I wanted to add was that she said some things I knew were VERY familiar, and yes, I realized soon she was a follower of Christ, and her "mission" is through her help as a psychologist. How did I land with her, in my tiny town, with few doctors at all, let alone a christian doc?? :wink: Ok, and she writes books, and gave me two. I haven't read either, no surprise there, but especially after reading your post @Hekuran I really want to explore the one that interested me most. It's called "The Deadly Perfectionism Trap".

I've made this post too long, but I just want to say, that the "shame" thing brought it to the front of my mind. I scanned in the back, cover of the book, so nothing illegal here. But I wanted to share what this woman writes about this "perfectionism" thing, as well as about herself at the bottom.

 
Active Member
Part of the problem of society thinking it is sinless is that we in the church have done a rotten job of talking about sin. We talk about sin as doing bad things at the expense of its wider meaning as missing the mark.
Atonement is about restoration of relationship, reconciliation and wholeness. Shame divides and alienates us from each other and from God as much as guilt.

(and please don't judge the book by my attempt to talk about it)
I know this from experiencing it. When I am feeling shame about falling short of being "like Jesus", I am not believing that God has saved me through Christ's sacrifice, God's sacrifice. It does separate me, in that I am not communing with God, and I sin in turning my back on all Truth. Instead, I am listening to the untruth of the fallen world.
 
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Thanks @believer1952

For me, the most powerful picture of God and shame in the Bible is in the story of the lost son. He drags himself back home in complete disgrace, utterly shamed and humiliated.

The Father does not even give his son time to recite his repentance speech before he sets about restoring, honouring him, and bringing him back into the family: 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him...'

If God - all loving, all wise - accepts me, then it doesn't make sense for me to not accept myself, or to allow shame and perfectionism to take hold of us.
 
Loyal Member
Thank you!

I don't know if this is familiar to anyone else... I have followed Jesus for all my adult life and I am finding - once again - that I have only taken the first baby steps in my faith.
It is like thinking you have more than 90% of it and then as you move forward you learning more you realized it is probably backwards with your lack being in excess of 90%...

The truth is: Without Him we are nothing! With Him on the other hand, are we not able in all things through Christ who strengthens us?
 
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Staff member
Greetings,

bumping this.

@Hekuran
how are you doing/standing/walking now?

I read through this and thought it brought out some interesting points from everyone.
Today i was thinking about shame, listening to 1John. It got me thinking about Adam and Eve hiding in the Garden from God.
That also led to thinking how important confessing sin is.

These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming. 1John 2:26-28

I liked Thiscrosshurts comments about Jesus being the Light, too. Especially in the light of what the Apostle John wrote.
John 12:48; He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.
Jesus is the word so he is the word that he spoke and since the lamb is the light of the New Jerusalem and there is no night then Jesus is the last day for those found in him.Before that last day is revealed we are under our own judgement which is what got us condemned to begin with.
Jesus is the light of the world so he is the day of the Lord and in that day there is no night,the last day.

Bless you ....><>
 
Loyal Member
Ahh. Two years can be a long time can't it? To be honest, I'd completely forgotten this thread, and that book was in a dusty part of my memory.

Yes, interesting thoughts from everyone. I was drawn to the curse of perfectionism on a second read.

Short summary of me: I'm possibly a little less sinful, and a whole lot less controlled by shame. Praise God!

Thanks for pulling this out of the archive
 
Loyal Member
Part of the problem of society thinking it is sinless is that we in the church have done a rotten job of talking about sin. We talk about sin as doing bad things at the expense of its wider meaning as missing the mark.
Atonement is about restoration of relationship, reconciliation and wholeness. Shame divides and alienates us from each other and from God as much as guilt.

(and please don't judge the book by my attempt to talk about it)
Shame doesn't divide us from God.
Sin does.
You have the cart before the horse.
 
Moderator
Staff member
Greetings again Hekuran,

Ahh. Two years can be a long time can't it? To be honest, I'd completely forgotten this thread, and that book was in a dusty part of my memory.

Yes, interesting thoughts from everyone. I was drawn to the curse of perfectionism on a second read.

Short summary of me: I'm possibly a little less sinful, and a whole lot less controlled by shame. Praise God!

Thanks for pulling this out of the archive
yes, perfectionism in itself is not healthy if it becomes a god before God, if that makes sense?

Yes, shun the shame unless it is deserved, but even then, we do need to recall that the Lord Jesus Christ partook of shame as part of that blessed exchange for us on the tree (cross).
The devil will have anyone who listens to his lies biting his bait to keep us looking at ourselves and to ignore the words of the LORD, Who alone can be trusted. Such ignoring tends to rebellion which of course is not on course.

May I suggest that you dip into the Song of Solomon a bit and see Jesus in there in a way that helps you equate more of the One Who, though He received blows to the head and whippings to His back, though He was spat upon and had His beard pulled, though He was crowned with thorns and mocked and ridiculed, though He was pierced and bled and died, remained that Lovely Lover of your soul, crying out, Father, forgive them...
yes it can drive the shame to such painful depths but from there we can cry out, forgive me Lord, and then we might hear resounding back, It is finished.... for you all things new, lets walk in peace as One.

Yes, there is more but I think and even now, pray that you know what i mean and why i wrote that to you.


Bless you ....><>
 

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