Jesus as Payment for Our Sins versus Matthew 5


Did Jesus think that his primary purpose was to stand in our place and receive the punishment from God that we deserved?  Did he believe that God considered mankind to be essentially his own enemy?  Did he think that  God was  such an inflexible judge that mankind’s  universal and eternal damnation was the only way to balance the cosmic books?

If so then why does the Gospel of Matthew have Jesus  say this:

‘You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters,* what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5: 38-48)


Can God only love those who love him, as so many Christians claim?  In other words;  is God  no better than the tax-collectors?  It doesn’t really make sense, does it? That Jesus would advocate a behavior that God the father will not even practice himself; demanding instead either hellish retribution or the murder of a divine scapegoat.  Though God might demand an eye for an eye (his rightful pound of flesh) when we choose not to seek this but instead forgive our enemies then we are in some way more like God?   Curious.



  1. #1 by Christian Beyer on April 20, 2009 - 3:15 pm


  2. #2 by Ben Currin (TheoPoet) on April 24, 2009 - 3:10 pm

    For all those interested, I’ve continued my Atonement series after a short hiatus from it—TheoPoetic Musings: פֶּסַח And The Ransom Theory Of The Atonement *(Continued) and with that post I finished my thoughts on the Ransom theory. Next, I’ll be looking at the Moral Influence Theory of the Atonement in my post Implications Of The Incarnation To The Atonement.

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