Refuting Jack Sequeira's Erroneous Teachings on the Atonement (Universal Forensic Justification)
I posted this reply to Jack Sequeira's (Yom's) idea that all the world was justified at the cross in the flesh of Christ. I would appreciate any additions and corrections of the views that I have articulated that may be necessary
My biggest objection to his views is that he states that all the sin of the world was in Christ's "flesh" and that all the world was crucified bodily with Christ on the cross. This means in Yom's opinion that Christ had sin IN HIM "bodily" rather than had sin legally placed ON HIM vicariously, in a forensic sense. So according to Yom, Christ did not die in our place substitutionally or vicariously, but rather we (all the world) all died on the cross with Christ because He had our FLESH. Yom's views are a reiteration of E. J. Waggoner's views that Christ took our sinful flesh, that all the world was mysteriously crucified at the cross through Christ's flesh, and that because Christ supposedly came in our sinful flesh all Christians can attain to the sinless perfection which Christ had.
Only "In Christ"
All who are personally "in Christ" have been justified by faith in the sinless life and atoning death of our Lord who died on the cross of Calvary for our sins. Only the repentant believing sinner is declared to be legally "in Christ" and has been justified from his sins. At the cross our Lord shed His blood to make provision for the forgiveness of any repentant sinner who trusts in Christ. All who repent and believe are justified and have passed from death unto life. Those who do not believe are still condemned already and will not see eternal life.
The legal guilt of the sin of the world was imputed unto our Lord at the cross. The sin of the world was not imparted to the Savior because He had no sin in Him in any way. He only had sin and guilt placed on Him legally. Christ was holy and completely separate from all sin.
Sin is not a matter of the body or the flesh. Sin is a matter of mind or heart. The natural-born man is born with a sinful selfish heart and he goes astray from birth. Our Lord was free from all taint and propensity to sin even though His body was affected and weakened by 4,000 years of degeneration and sin. Christ however was not infected with sin in any way. He was holy, harmless, and undefiled. His mind was the mind of Jesus Christ, the ruler of all creation and free of all sin. As God, He could offer Himself for the sins of the world, because He was equal to the broadest and widest demands of the Law of God for righteousness. Christ's righteousness was the very righteousness of God Himself. Thus He could offer His holy life as the Son of Man to legally atone for the sins and guilt of the world that whosoever believes in Him should not perish.
Provision for atonement has been made for all, but atonement is only effectual for those who believe and repent. All the natural born sons of Adam are born under the wrath of God and only those who are born again "in Christ" have passed from death unto life. Salvation is offered as a gift to all who believe, when they believe.
To teach that all those who are in Adam have been justified at the cross is to misuse the words and meaning of the apostle Paul. When Paul says "all shall be made alive", he is clearly speaking to those who "shall" be made alive when they believe. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Cor 15:22 "All" here means all who are in Christ and believe, not that all men have been justified at the cross.
Look at Romans 5:15ff
"15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
Verse 17 explains verse 16.
Verse 19 explains what Paul means in verse 18.
Here is verse 16:
"And not as it was by one (Adam) that sinned, so is the gift : for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification."
Paul is saying that sin entered the world through the one sin of "one" man, Adam, on the one hand, but on the other hand the free gift is after many sins unto justification.
The explanation of "free gift" of verse 16 is found in verse 17:
"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness (justification) shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ."
Paul is saying that just as death came upon "all" men through Adam's offense, they which RECEIVE of the grace and gift of righteousness (justification) SHALL have eternal life through Jesus Christ. Paul is clearly stating that when he is speaking of "all" being saved through Christ, he is speaking of "all" who believe shall "receive" the gift of justification through faith in Christ.
When we look at verses 18 and 19 the same thing is true about the meaning of the word "all".
Here is verse 18:
"Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
There are those who mistakenly think that when Paul states that "the free gift came unto all men " that he means that "all men" have been saved at the cross. But by reading the next verse we can see how Paul clarifies what he means.
Here is verse 19:
"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
Here we see that Paul is showing that by the obedience of Christ the "many" SHALL BE MADE RIGHTEOUS. Paul speaks in the future tense because he is showing that only those who believe will be made (declared) righteous. Paul does NOT say that "many" WERE made righteous at the cross!!!! He is obviously stating that "all" who put their faith in Christ SHALL be declared righteous.
It is very important to observe the verb tense in Paul's discourse here. Paul is NOT saying that ALL the sons of Adam have been justified at the cross. He is clearly saying that "all" who "receive" the free gift SHALL pass from death unto life.
Of course there is a sense (the meritorious cause) wherein the guilt for the sins of all men have had atonement provided for them and offered to them in the death of Christ on the cross. But the atonement that was provided for all men at the cross becomes effectual only for those who repent and believe and are "in Christ". Those who are by nature still "in Adam" have not been saved from the wrath of God until they personally put their faith in Christ and receive the atonement.
"Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we (Christians) shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." Romans 5:9-11
Here Paul is speaking of believers who are NOW justified by His blood and SAVED from wrath through Him. Because since the reconciliation has been provided by God by the death of Christ, now that WE HAVE RECEIVED THE ATONEMENT we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul clearly states that God has provided the atonement and that those who personally have RECEIVED the atonement shall be saved from wrath on the last day. Notice how Paul clarifies his teaching on effective justification and salvation in Acts 20:20-21
Acts 20:20-21 20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am very concerned with the teachings of "Yom" and Jack Sequeira. Of course these errors are only a reflection of the teachings of E. J. Waggoner of the 1870-1910 era. Waggoner fell into full blown spiritual pantheism as the result of his rejection of the historic Christian belief in the vicarious substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross.
Jack Sequeira's view that Christ could not substitutionally die for our sins on the cross is total blasphemy and a denial of the historic apostolic and Protestant doctrine of the vicarious atonement of our Lord. The idea that the atonement could take place only because our "flesh" was nailed to the cross with Christ is completely unbiblical and will ultimately lead those who ascribe to this to become pantheistic and believe that since we supposedly according to Sequeira were in Christ's flesh at the cross, God can be in our "flesh" now and thus supposedly is in all flesh. This is nothing more than New Age mysticism and sinless perfectionism. Christ does not indwell the unbelieving unrepentant worldling sinner. To teach that Christ indwells all humanity and that all humanity indwelt Christ on the cross is a heresy called panentheism. This is the ancient teaching of Hinduism and Buddhism that teaches that all humanity is indwelt by the universal spirit of Buddha and that enlightenment consists in becoming aware of the god within all humanity. Sequeira's teaching is nothing more that an iteration of "Christian Buddhism".
It is interesting that Sequeira states that the "western" mind has a very difficult time grasping his idea on the nature of the atonement. This is because Sequeira views are a Hindu perversion of the Christian faith.
The historic and Biblical view of the atonement is that Christ paid for the guilt and penalty of sin legally on the cross. The pantheistic view of the atonement is that everyone in the whole world paid for their sins by being mysteriously present with Christ in His flesh when He died on the cross in the flesh.
The Sequeira people like to point out that the Levitical law forbade an innocent man to be punished for a guilty man. Thus they reason that since Christ was innocent, He could NOT be punished for the sins and guilt of the world. The fact is of course that Christ could be the substitute for the sins and guilt of the world, because He is in fact God incarnate and His holy life as creator could redeem His fallen creation through His death on the cross as the Son of Man.
They object that Christ's divinity did not DIE on the cross and that ONLY His humanity died on the cross. Here they totally miss the fact that by uniting Christ's divine person to humanity, when Christ's human nature died on the cross He was legally able to bear the guilt of all the sins of the world and cancel out the handwriting (Greek: chirographon) of the ordinances (the indictment or list of our sins) which were against us with His own precious blood by nailing them to the cross. The Bible is very clear --- our sins were nailed to the cross (legally imputed to Him), NOT us and NOT our flesh and NOT the entire human family in some vague mysterious mystical way.
In the act of God giving Jesus to die for the sin and guilt of the world, Christ is offering to make this sin offering effectual for all who repent of their sins and believe in Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Thus, only the sins of the believing and repenting sinner have been personally reckoned to have been nailed to the cross. Paul is speaking to the believing church at Colossia when he speaks of their sins having been legally nailed to the cross.
Colossians 2:9-14 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
I would urge those who are dabbling in these false views of the atonement which Jack Sequeira and Yom have borrowed from Dr. Weiland and Dr. Waggoner before them, to very cautiously turn away from this cunningly devised fable which will lead to the omega of apostasy and the mark of the beast in salvation by works.
Make no mistake only the believing repenting sinner has Christ's atoning blood covering his sins which are recorded in heaven. Christ died effectually only for the SINS of all who put their faith in His sinless life and atoning death on the cross. Our personal sin debt was nailed to the cross NOT our personal flesh. Our old self is crucified (declared legally dead) and we are reborn by the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells all who believe. Christ did NOT crucify our personal flesh at the cross and His active and passive righteousness do not save those who do not repent and believe in the Gospel. Corporate humanity did NOT die in the flesh at the cross, but rather our SINS and guilt were legally atoned for at the cross and our sins are forgiven personally when we repent and put our faith in His blood that was shed for us.
These are indeed perilous times in which we live. May the true Christ of the Bible be with you,
No man is forgiven until he personally asks for forgiveness. Repentance and faith are not meritorious but rather they are, as the Protestant reformers declared, instrumental. Only the imputed (reckoned) perfect righteousness (His active "doing" and His passive "dying") of Christ is meritorious. We are saved through faith IN Christ's sinless life and atoning death. Christ's sinless life and atoning death are the object of faith. It is Christ and His sinless life and atoning death on the cross that are meritorious. It is the love of Christ revealed at the cross where He loved us and gave Himself for us as a propitiation for our sins that draws us to His offer of pardon and forgiveness. A propitiation is a payment offered to cancel a legal debt.
The word redemption is a close synonym. We must repeat, no man is forgiven until he asks for forgiveness. We are forgiven FOR CHRIST'S SAKE. God can legally forgive us because the legal debt that we owe to the Law has been paid. This payment of the debt to the Law is NOT forgiveness of my sins until I ask for forgiveness personally. The forgiveness is effected by repentance and faith in the blood. The blood (the forfeited life of Christ) is meritorious. Faith is only the instrumental means through which the blood is accounted as mine personally.
It is really very interesting that Jack Sequeira is reviving these false teachings that have been around in the history of the Christian church since the beginning of time. This view that all humanity was physically crucified at the cross through the flesh of Christ is taken from an old pantheistic Hindu teaching that God is in all Mankind and in all flesh. So the reasoning of the "Christian" pantheists is that since Christ as God could come in our "sinful" flesh that when His flesh died, the flesh of all Mankind died with Him on the cross. These "filthy dreamers" as Paul calls them know nothing of the true nature of sin.
"Sin" in the Bible is two fold. It is a legal problem and it is a moral problem.
All humanity is by nature legally guilty before the Law of God. Why? Because the Law of God demands perfect unblemished righteousness of all the sons and daughters of Adam. Thus the Law also condemns to death all who fall short of its demands.
But sin is also a moral problem in the heart of mankind. Man's natural heart is estranged from God and he is without the Holy Spirit living in him. Without the Holy Spirit living in us we cannot obey the holy Law of God. The Law of God is spiritual and we are carnally minded, dead in trespasses and sin. And so humanity is both legally guilty and morally polluted in heart and mind. Sin is NOT a matter of our bodies being sinful. Sin is a matter of our carnal minds being alienated from conception.
Christ was neither legally guilty before the Law of God nor was He morally polluted in any way. Christ took our degenerated flesh but this did not mean that He took our "sinful flesh". The Bible is clear that He came in the "likeness" of sinful flesh and was yet completely "without sin". The "sinful nature" of man is NOT due to his FLESH or his body. The sinful nature is due to his sinful MIND. Christ did not have a sinful mind or any propensity to sin in thought, deed, or word. His mind was holy, harmless, and undefiled. He was not of like sinful passions as are we. His mind was the mind of the eternal Son of God and in His life was manifested the very righteousness of God.
Christ's sinless life and atoning death have made possible the forgiveness for the most sinful of Adam's children. Christ through the preaching of the Gospel extends the offer of forgiveness to all of humanity. Those who ask forgiveness of their sins RECEIVE the forgiveness of their sins and are cleansed from all unrighteousness before the Law of God. They are legally declared to be as righteous as Christ Himself. God then fills the repentant believing sinner with the gift of His indwelling Holy Spirit to begin to implant the mind of Christ within the believer that he may begin to walk in the newness of life. This is where the moral change within the repentant sinner begins. The believer is reborn to a lively hope in Christ. He now has a new spiritual nature which wars against his old sinful carnal nature. Thus the justified believer begins to take up his cross and follow Christ in a life of self-denying love for God and Man as the Law of God is being written upon his heart each day in growing sanctification. The believer is daily continually being justified by faith in the imputed righteousness of Christ while he grows up into Christ and becomes a partaker of the divine nature through the imparted righteousness of Christ.
E. J. Waggoner and Jack Sequeira whose thoughts you are reflecting in your totally incorrect interpretation of 2 John verse 7ff., are completely misusing John's epistle in order to falsely teach that our Lord came to the earth with a sinful human nature that He had all the sinful propensities and passions of fallen human nature.
Let us look at the warnings contained in John's epistles.
1 John 4:1ff "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already."
2 John 7 "For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that ye lose not the things which we have wrought, but that ye receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If any one cometh unto you, and bringeth not this teaching, receive him not into your house, and give him no greeting: 11 for he that giveth him greeting partaketh in his evil works."
The apostle John is NOT advocating that our Lord came with a sinful human nature in these verses. He is warning the first century church not to believe the false teachings of the Docetists of his day who were teaching that Christ had not actually come into the world with a real physical body, but rather that He only seemed to take on an actual body. The Docetists, as Sequeira does, believed that sin resided in the body. But they further taught that since Christ was sinless, He could not have actually had a body but merely had the illusion of a body. For the Docetists all that pertains to the body was sin and that all the created material world was evil.
Concurrently with this identifying of the human body with sinfulness, they also denied that Christ was actually God in the flesh, but was rather only a demi-god inferior to the deity of the Father. I am not sure what you are teaching regarding the eternal deity of Christ. I think that I read one of your posts stating that you felt that Christ came into existence at some point in the distant past by being "begotten". If this is so then you are not understanding the meaning of the Greek terms, "monogenes" and "prototokos". Just as most Arians and semi-Arians misunderstand these words and thus teach that Christ is not eternally God but only "begotten" as the Son of God.
Here are the Encarta comments on Docetism:
"Docetism, an early Christian heresy affirming that Jesus Christ had only an apparent body. The doctrine took various forms: Some proponents flatly denied any true humanity in Christ; some admitted his incarnation but not his sufferings, suggesting that he persuaded one of his followers-possibly Judas Iscariot or Simon of Cyrene -to take his place on the cross; others ascribed to him a celestial body that was incapable of experiencing human miseries."
"This denial of the human reality of Christ stemmed from dualism, a philosophical doctrine that viewed matter as evil. The docetists, acknowledging that doctrine, concluded that God could not be associated with matter. They could not accept a literal interpretation of John 1:14 that the "Word became flesh."
"Although docetism is alluded to in the New Testament, it was not fully developed until the 2nd and 3rd centuries, when it found an ally in Gnosticism. It occasioned vigorous opposition by early Christian writers, beginning with Ignatius of Antioch and Irenaeus early in the 2nd century. Docetism was officially condemned at the Council of Chalcedon in 451." "Docetism," Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000. Copyright 1993-1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Christ took upon Him a true human body and came in the "likeness" of sinful flesh, but without the sinful propensities and passions that all the naturally born children of Adam have. Christ's body was not sinful. He did not have sin in His flesh.
When the apostle Paul used the term "flesh" in Romans, he is speaking of the sinful selfish human heart that we are all born with.
Romans 8:7ff "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh , but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
The body is not the seat of evil. It is the sinlful mind or sinful rebellious spirit of man that is corrupted and inherited from Adam. Christ did not have sin in Him. He was the divine Lamb of God who was without spot or blemish. He truly had a human body that was weakened after 4,000 years of physical degeneration, but He did NOT have a degenerate SINFUL human nature with which we are born.
At the cross our Lord had the guilt of the world placed ON Him but He did NOT have sin IN Him. He was treated as we deserve so that we may be treated as He deserved.
As the beautiful hymn states: "There was One who was willing to die in my stead that a soul so unworthy may live."
The truth is that on the cross our Lord hung alone that He might atone. Amen.