No Sacrifice Please…Just Responsibility

This sacrifice idea as explained by Yael is fairly accurate – it even appears in Hebrews (whoever wrote that letter)…no one is forgiven for ‘intentional sins’ by a sacifice.

Heb 10:26 “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins

Point being, sacrifices covered unintentional sins – this makes sense – even if Jesus were this type of sacrifice – he covers the problem of ‘ignorance’. Once we are no longer ignorant – then there is no true excuse for committing a sin. I can admit that makes sense (to some small degree).

However, if the problem is ignorance why a ’sacrifice’? Because ignorance needs lenses to realize it’s severity. Even sins of ignorance suck pretty bad. I can see Jesus as an example of this – possibly?

However, Jesus’ teaching is repentance – not sacrifice – for your sins. His first words in Matthew are ‘repent for the kingdom of heaven is near’…or ‘turn from your sins NOW – on earth – and live a new kingdom ethic”. Nothing about sacrifice in Matthew to be honest – unless we talk about our own sacrifice of our lives for doing ‘good’ (keeping 100% in line with real repentance/responsibility – and with Jesus’ own actions in his life).

However, there is no ‘need’ for sacrifice after we are no longer ‘ignorant’…we know what we need to do and we know what we did that was ‘wrong/sin’. I don’t need to slice a lamb’s neck for adultery – makes no sense at all – when that lamb won’t help me see more clearer my ignorance anymore…no no no…we both know when we ‘mess up’. We need teshuvah – action on our part (not some lambs anymore) to admit responsibilty and move forward in repairing the break in the ‘wall’.

Jesus may very well have been a sacrifice, we all may very well be sacrifices – but is it a worthwhile enough life to call that? Life should contain ideas of being sacrificial – so as to be summed up as such. Maybe this is the point of Jesus? Maybe this is the repair with God we needed? (I am talking about the movement of responsibility onto us – being responsible for our actions – including in and up to death – don’t blame God type thing)

***Comment taken from Yael’s ‘Giving Up Your Rights’  blog entry

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10 thoughts on “No Sacrifice Please…Just Responsibility

  1. I’ve been pondering this for a couple days. Sorry for the silence. The sacrifice for sins of ignorance idea makes very good sense. Once you are not ignorant, then you are more responsible for your actions. But, lack of ignorance doesn’t keep us from sinning. We still do it. We still screw up. Just because we know we shouldn’t do certain things, that doesn’t keep us humans from doing them. So the divide between us and God can’t just be due to sins of ignorance. It has to be due to sin in general doesn’t it? Jesus life can’t just be about a sacrifice for sins of ignorance that divide us from God. If his life is about atonement doesn’t it have to be more than that?

  2. i think we’re taking sacrifice in too literal of a way. Jesus was def. a sacrifice, so are we. we sacrifice time to type on here, to be a part of this silicon community that the canon has established. we sacrifice time, “wants”, personal agendas, and all sorts of things to be in relationship with our friends and family. for Eve, i’ve sacrificed sleep, heading to smokey bars, and having my music too loud.

    but you’re right, Hebrews and other Xn writers use the image of the pascal lamb and take it WAY to far.. a metaphoric overstatement that turned ugly and literal on Christianity. but Judaism (not to speak out of turn) has long had this idea of sacrifice.. just read the Talmud or Midrash about Abraham and Isaac. i listened to a local rabbi talk about how we are always sacrificing our children on the alter of work and careerism, among other things. this sermon really hit me between the eyes.

    so to say that no sacrifice is require is too idealistic but to say life is all sacrifice is to look to be a martyr on any cross or alter you can place yourself on. the selfish and the perpetual victim. either are not a choice i’m looking to make and those paths are closed to me.

  3. “So the divide between us and God can’t just be due to sins of ignorance. It has to be due to sin in general doesn’t it?” (Doug)

    I think Jesus is basically a signal to Gentiles they can approach this relationship w/God – as far as sacrifice and what that all means – Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners…but also quite ignorant to the whole set of ideals he taught. We all come in ignorant – with little knowledge of what it is we were doing and it’s extents of damage.

    Now we have no ‘excuse’ for the extents of damage we create – we basically ‘know’ better when dealing with our actions – this is how I am using ignorance.

    I think we don’t have an ‘excuse’ for most of our actions after that initial discipleship period…in most of the cases (ie: acting violently or ripping off our neighbor). Not to say we aren’t continuing to grow/mature as we go – we are – we continue to learn – but the basics are pretty straightforward IMO (let’s say the 10 commandments for an example) – and we have no real excuse for the harms we will committ on others.

    So in some sense, Jesus’ death was to ‘save’ us from our ignorant ways towards others (ie: family, friends, neighbors, and spouses…even our enemy). I think of faith this way – we come in quite unknowledgeable – unsure of what we have done with our lives and how that impacts people. The goal of good faith is to teach us empathy for those around us and personal responsibility so we don’t committ those actions again.

    But if we do, there is no excuse. From that point on all we can do is try to ‘make things right’ – we do not appeal to the cross and make it a vain symbol – no we show its power in our ability to ‘change’…to accept responsibility and repent – to be people of integrity. We do a ‘bad’ – we make atonement for it (atonement being a variety of things – namely repentance/change/acceptance of responsibility).

  4. “so to say that no sacrifice is require is too idealistic but to say life is all sacrifice is to look to be a martyr on any cross or alter you can place yourself on” (Luke)

    I think its defining what ‘sacrifce’ is in many contexts is the key – like what was Jesus’ life about or what is our life about concerning this term…what are its historical uses and what does that mean now? I like the divide of the terms ‘ignorance’ and ‘wilfull’ when dealing with sins. I think this is how it really is – without good knowledge of what effect our actions have on others – do we really understand anything we have done?

    We see this in prison inmates that reform and take responsibility for their actions – and we also see it in those who never take responsibility…we see true ignorance and also the movement towards empathy in the same building – sometimes even in the same crime.

    Now sin isn ain’t a crime per se (not all the time anyways) – but it’s similar – it cuts us off from others around us – seperation from the closeness we are supposed to share. But the example is also us – on a smaller scale – we all did things we are ashamed off after coming to terms with God and realizing how stupid some of the stuff we did and thought was. Albeit – we were quite ignorant to our actions in totality – yeah we felt some level of guilt – but nothing I would call empathy/hurt. After some discipleship this all changes – we start learning how what we do effect’s others and us – we start to realize why we can’t do what we used to do.

    As far as a sacrifice, it’s a system that Yael claims ended during the prophets and I tend to agree. We find certain passages and examples in the Tanakh where sacrificial systems had all but ceased and charity (for example) becomes a form of atonement (I believe repentance was another form) – all backed by passages in the prophets or maybe even psalms. So what was Jesus then?

    For me, Jesus became a sacrificial life – the messianic example of a new way of doing things – a new kingdom ethic. Maybe he was some type of paschal lamb – not sure – but if so – then his sacrifice was to ‘open the eyes of the blind’ – not the ‘eyes of those that can see’ (no need for the sacrifice).

    But like you Luke – we need to find balance. Too much sacrifice can be bad (martyr syndrome) – too little walks away from the texts too far. So I just try to figure it out as I go and grow – finding a balance that both doesn’t downplay the cross but also doesn’t assign it way too much responsibility.

  5. Just for the record the fact that Jesus can cheat death means there was no “sacrifice” at all. Definition of sacrifice – destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else b : something given up or lost. If someone can kill something then bring it back then there is no loss, and with out loss there is no sacrifice.

  6. “If someone can kill something then bring it back then there is no loss, and with out loss there is no sacrifice” (Brandon)

    I would debate that – it’s not like the definition for ‘sacrifice’ is going to take into account the realm of resurrection. Resurrection is the idea of raising from dead done external to one’s self – it’s an action accomplished by God.

    In this sense, Jesus may have sacrificed his life – gave his time on earth for the chance of eternal resurrection…having this hope in God. I see sacrifice still – something was ‘lost’ – his earthly life and cut short at that – 33 years is not even 1/2 a life. I would say their was quite a bot of sacrifice – wouldn’t you say 33 is young?

    • I believe I read that the average life span for that point in time was around 40 years so no 33 doesn’t seem to bad.

      So God couldn’t have brought Jesus back to earth as flesh and bone. If the answer is yes then there is no sacrifice, it was a choice if it is no well then God has limited power.

  7. “I believe I read that the average life span for that point in time was around 40 years so no 33 doesn’t seem to bad” (Brandon)

    I am guessing you woulnd’t say 33 is young then – based on the avg age of the people in that era.

    “So God couldn’t have brought Jesus back to earth as flesh and bone. If the answer is yes then there is no sacrifice, it was a choice if it is no well then God has limited power.” (Brandon)

    I don’t quite get what it is you are affirming/saying here? I’ll take a shot at it anyways.

    You see, my point is Jesus’ life was a ‘sacrifice’ in that he willingly laid it down to follow what he believed in. God resurrected him – let’s make that clear – a choice external to his actions on earth. The resurrection takes nothing away from the life he lived – his faith was in God to resurrect him…and this happened.

    If it is the case that Jesus resurrected himself and knew his death would result in him being resurrected…there is still some sacrifice in that. Death sucks my man – and he still had to go through that (which is taking on a lot to prove a point). It;s like when we reach back into the burning house to save our pet cat – oh we will be burnt – maybe 1st maybe 3rd degree we don’t know – but we still do it accepting the sacrifice we are making is going to hurt a bit. Would you say that it’s a sacrifice to go back in and get that cat?

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