Part VII: The Compelling Logic of
the Plan of Salvation: The Difference Between Sin and Sins
The Salvation of the Whole Man
MAN IS A body-spirit
entity, the union of the two resulting in the emergence of soul,
or self. The body without the spirit is dead. These two fundamental
elements of the individual, in the theology of the New Testament
as well as in some quite explicit Old Testament references, are
treated quite specifically as requiring salvation. This subject
has been discussed analytically in one of the Doorway Papers
from which the following list of passages provides a useful summary.
These references show, rather contrary to popular opinion, that
although there is a real sense in which man can be viewed as
body, soul, and spirit, he is fundamentally a body-spirit entity
with the soul rather as a resultant, than having existence in
its own right.
The spirit is given and taken away by God Ecclesiastes
It is formed by God Zechariah
God is the God of all the spirits of all flesh Numbers
God is the Father of the spirits of the saved Hebrews
At death God gathers the spirit to Himself Job
When the time comes, man cannot retain his spirit Ecclesiastes
Ananias and Sapphira surrendered their spirits Acts
Stephen commended his spirit into Jesus' keeping Acts
Jesus dismissed His Spirit Matthew
Once the spirit has left the body, the body is dead James
The spirit departs with the last expiration of breath
25:8, 17; 35:29; 49:33;
10:18; 27:3; 34:14,15
The spirit is given with the drawing of the first breath Genesis
2:7 and Job 27:3
In any resurrection from the dead it is the spirit which returns
to the body Luke
8.55, Ezekiel 37:5
The spirit made perfect is kept by God waiting to be clothed
with a resurrected body Hebrews 12:23
It is the spirit, not the soul, which is born again John
Both of these
fundamental components, the body and the spirit, require salvation
if the whole man is to be saved. In dealing with the body, salvation
is from the effects of sin, i.e., from the effects of
a disease. In dealing with the spirit, man needs salvation from
his sins both from their effects and from their penalty.
And this Jesus came to do: "He shall save His people from
their sins" (Matthew 1:21).
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Because we are born in sin,
because we inherit it without having any choice in the matter
and therefore without being responsible for it, God took upon
Himself this responsibility. In this respect His provision is
truly universal, is for all mankind.
As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made
To be made alive is not the same thing as
being resurrected. Resurrection is a temporary reprieve, the
kind of reprieve which was granted to Lazarus, the widow of Nain's
son, or Jairus' daughter. Each of these people died again in
due time. The Lord Jesus was not the first one to be resurrected,
but He was the first one to be made alive: in this sense
being the first fruits (1 Corinthians 15:23).
All men will be made alive, because the sin
which brings about their death was laid upon Jesus who tasted
death for every man.
We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels
for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour, that
he by the grace of God should taste death for every man
Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin
of the world
In Scripture this aspect of His sacrifice
is referred to as a "ransom."
Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified
in due time
The Lord accomplished this by being made sin,
though He knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21); and by being
made in the likeness of sin � full flesh and as a
sin-offering (Romans 8:3), and then by dying as the Lamb
of God, as the Last Adam, undoing the work of the First Adam
(1 Corinthians 15:45).
Such is the nature of sin
that the individual is not held responsible. But we are
held responsible for our sins. Either we bear
the penalty, or by faith we accept the Lord's sacrifice in our
place. Forgiveness applies therefore only to to those who accept
the Lord as Saviour. It is always our sins that
He bore, our sins that are forgiven.
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on
the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto
Your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake
Sin is never forgiven,
for in the nature of the case it serves very little purpose merely
to forgive it if it is a disease. However, the disease itself
is offensive to God and something must be done about it. As a
temporary measure it can, like an open sore, be dressed or covered
over. This "covering" is the basic provision of the
atonement, which is the meaning of the word. It is temporary.
The disease will not be taken away altogether until we are given
new bodies in the resurrection. In the meantime, the blood of
Jesus Christ cleanses us.
But the cleansing is needed constantly for
the disease plagues us, as Paul makes all too clear in Roman
7, until we are rid of this body.
The nature of the resurrected body is a mystery,
but it will be as real as the body we now have. The body
of the redeemed will be sown in corruption but raised without
corruption (1 Corinthians 15:42), being sown a natural body
but raised a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44): nevertheless
it will be a real body. It will be like His glorious body
The bodies of the unredeemed will also be freed of
this disease, sin, but their fate appears to be reserved
for a second death (Revelation 20:14). That they will
be raised in body is quite certain from John 5:28, 29:
All that are in
the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that
have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that
have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [judgment].
Sins are forgiven, not merely covered (I John 1:9).
As far as the east is
from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from
There is therefore now no condemnation
to them which are in Christ Jesus (Romans
To him gave all the prophets witness, that
through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission
The promise is remission or sending away,
not merely covering up. This "sending away" of sins
is now, whereas the "taking away" of sin
is yet in the future.
| There are
these two factors, then: covering or atonement is needed to remove
the offense of the disease in the sight of God; and repeated
cleansing is required to reduce the effect of the disease in
our own lives.
passage in the New Testament speaks of sin as being cleansed,
in contrast with sins which are forgiven (I John 1 :9).
As though to offset the danger of the child of God supposing
that by the cleansing he is completely and altogether freed from
sin, Scripture goes on to say, "If we say that we
have no sin, we deceive ourselves" (I John 1:8).
It is all too painfully clear that only death will rid us completely
of the diseased body, or "body of death," as Paul has
put it (Romans 7:24). And our own experience fully confirms this.
not know whether there is a precise difference in Scripture between
washing with water and cleansing with blood, but a number of
passages seem to suggest that the washing of water refers to
the body and the disease of sin, whereas the blood relates
rather to forgiveness of sins which infect and arise out
of the spirit of man.
Thus rebirth seems to involve both
the action of water and of blood (I John 5:6). And the full assurance
of faith is associated with being "sprinkled" (with
blood) from an evil conscience, but our bodies washed with pure
water (Hebrews 10:22). The need of daily cleansing seems to be
reflected by the Lord's words, "He that is washed needeth
not save to wash his feet. . ." (John 13:10); but this is
predicated on the fact that we already have received an overall
"washing." The baptism of infants was at first based
on the idea that though without sins, a child is still
unclean in terms of sin in God's sight. To render such
a one whole, a symbolic washing away of the sin of the
body with water was felt to have meaning.
Thus the logic of the Plan of Salvation
is really beautifully maintained throughout Scripture. In His
Person the Lord Jesus Christ provided for all who believe a full,
perfect, and sufficient sacrifice. In being made sin for
us, He who knew no sin gave His life on our behalf that
we might be made alive for ever. And by bearing the penalty of
our sins which have separated us from God, He suffered
the same inevitable separation from His God (Matthew 27:46),
making it possible for God to remain just and yet forgive us
our sins for His sake. Such is God's Plan of Salvation
of the whole man.
In the table (below), it is apparent
that far more space is given in Scripture to the nature of sin,
the disease itself, than to the symptoms. It is obvious that
this must be so, for the disease itself is
at the root of all else.
If there is a key verse which sheds light on man's innate propensity
for wickedness, it could be the simple fact stated in Romans
7:8: "But sin . . . wrought in me all manner of concupiscence."
The Greek word rendered concupiscence
in the King James Version (epithumia) is much more frequently
translated as "lust," and there can be little doubt
that the phrase "lusts of the flesh" employs the word
flesh in the physical sense. Paul uses this phrase several
times (Romans 13:14; Galatians 5:16, 24; Ephesians 2:3), as does
Peter (1 Peter 2:11; 4:2), and John (I John 2:16). Bodily appetites
are here in view. While the term flesh may also have reference
to the behaviour of the natural man, there is no question that
at the root of it is the concept of a diseased body inherited
by natural generation. The disease is the root cause of those
driving passions which in man are so suicidal. In classical Greek
the word epithumia meant "craving" or "passion,"
whether for things allowable or forbidden. This powerful symptom
of the fatal disease in the body is the cause of our temptations
Both Adam and Eve, while unfallen,
were tempted "apart from" sin in the flesh,
and therefore from outside -- Eve by Satan, and Adam by Eve.
After they had eaten the forbidden fruit, temptations arose as
much from within as from without. James warns against the idea
that we are only tempted from outside (James 1:14): "But
every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust,
[epithumia] and enticed." Whereby we may see that
sin is indeed that which generates all kinds of distressing
appetites, until the spirit also surrenders itself to the corruption
within (2 Peter 2:19); and we then become the slaves of the disease
(Romans 7:20), which thereafter reigns in our mortal body (Romans
The interaction of spirit and body
is very complex, and very real. When we are angry, jealous,
bitter, hateful, a chemical substance, adrenalin, is sent coursing
through our blood to prepare every member of the body for violent
action. This chemical is not neutralized at once, but continues
to sustain the tension for some time after the original stimulus
has disappeared. For a while it generates a stimulus of itself,
and we can easily come into bondage to the upset, so that we
no longer master our feelings. Thus the spirit first acts on
the body and sets up a chemical situation which then makes the
body act upon the spirit. Our character may take a set,
even when we struggle to suppress it. This seems to be analogous
to the way the disease of sin infects our will. Perhaps
in some mystical, but very real way, the blood of Jesus Christ
cleanses us by neutralizing this infection.
There are chemicals released in
the body which regulate human behaviour, such as acetylcholine,
which are neutralized -- in this case by
cholinesterase - -as
soon as the behaviour pattern is to be changed. Where cholinesterase
is not synthesized as a neutralizer of acetylcholine, the muscles
become seized up, tensed in a way that knows no release -- paralysis
and death can be the result. Perhaps the poison of sin acts in
a similar way upon the spirit of man. But for the child of God
the reaction may be neutralized every time we seek cleansing.
This promise of cleansing is part of our salvation.
And it may yet be discovered that hate
generates a poison for which there is a chemical neutralizer
generated by love, a kind of esterase which acts in much the
same way as cholinesterase neutralizes acetylcholine to allow
tense muscles to relax. It would be adrenalinesterase, as it
ORIGINAL SIN - In The Body
A CONSTITUTIONAL DISEASE
Of The Spirit - SINS
By Adam SIN entered and by sin
both of the Body...(Romans 5: 12) ����������������������������>
...And of the Spirit,
so by one man's disobedience many
were made SINNERS
leading to separation from God, which
is SPIRITUAL Death.
Jesus took SIN away
for All Men
(John 1 :29), i.e., of the WHOLE world... �����������������������������>
He who knew no SIN was made a SIN-offering (2 Corinthians 5:21).
He tasted Death for all men (Hebrews 2:9) that All
Men might be made Alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).
In the O.T. SIN is COVERED (Psalm 32:1);
in the N.T. it is TAKEN AWAY (John
OR PUT AWAY (Hebrews. 9:26).
Bore OUR SINS (1 Peter 2:24).
Conceived in SIN we are also BORN in SIN (Psalm 51:5)... ��������������������������������>
SIN permeates our Members (Romans 7:23).
law ineffective (Romans 8:3).
Out of SIN spring all manner of evil desires (Romans 7:8).
In the LIKENESS
of SIN-ful flesh was Jesus made in order to judge it (Romans
...Out of this fatal Root comes the Fruit,
that is to say, SINS.
Evil thoughts, adulteries, blasphemies, wickedness,
deceit, envy, murder theft, pride (Mark 7:21-23).
in us every kind of evil desire (Romans 7:8).
The disease of SIN can never be forgiven:
It must be CLEANSED (I John 1 :7) and
finally removed ���>
when we have a new Body in the RESURRECTION....
In him was no Sin (I John 3:5): That
is to say, "in his flesh" (see Romans 7:13).
He was therefore tempted Apart From (choris) SIN (Hebrews 4: 15)... �����������������������������>
Hence Satan had "nothing
in him" (John 14:30) with which to work.
...Our SINS are FORGIVEN (1 Peter 2:24,
1 John 2:12),
and our spirits are reborn (John 3:3) when we personally accept
Jesus Christ as SAVIOUR.
...We are tempted (James 1:14)
| Thus the logic of the
Plan of Salvation is really beautifully maintained throughout
Scripture. In His person, the Lord Jesus Christ provided for
all who believe a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice. In
being made sin for us. He who knew no sin gave
His life on our behalf that we might be made alive forever.
|| And by bearing the
penalty of our sins which have separated us from God,
He suffered the inevitable separation from His God (Matthew 27:46),
making it possible for God to remain just and yet forgive us
our sins for His sake. Such is God's Plan of Salvation for the
THE TABLE COMPARING
sin and sins (above) presents evidence for a different
treatment in Scripture of the words sin and sins, as though
the difference were clear and unmistakable. But a fair criticism
of my presentation is that I have been eclectic in my choice
of passages to demonstrate my thesis. This is true. There are
many perplexing "exceptional" references which any
keen student of the Word of God will call to mind and which undoubtedly
challenge it. Yet I believe there is a fundamental truth here.
Some of the exceptions are more apparent than real. For instance,
it is obvious that because of the scarcity of words for the concept
of sin in the New Testament and the absence of a specific term
for the phenomenon of inborn corruption inherited from Adam,
which we commonly call "Original Sin," there must be
a number of occasions where a single word is used in one sense
in one place and in a rather different sense elsewhere. At times
it is necessary to speak of a single sinful act and to
use the word sin to describe it. It is necessary at times
to speak of the abstract idea of wickedness of any kind, and
again the word sin must be employed.
Thus sin can mean active
sinfulness, as in John 15:22 or John 16:8, 9. It can mean sinfulness
in the form of a certain kind of behaviour, as in John 19:11;
Acts 7:60; Romans 3:20; or Romans 6:1. It can mean "a sinful
or harmful thing" as in Romans 7:7. It can mean a
single act in a special circumstance as in James 4:17. Negatively,
it can mean no sinful act of any kind as in John 8:46 and 1 Peter
2:22. And it can mean one sinful act specifically forgiven or
not forgiven as in Matthew 12:31.
All these are from the New Testament.
As I said in the Introduction, the Old Testament is much less
theologically oriented and there is much poetry in it which can
never be used to establish word meanings. Sometimes it seems
to bear out the New Testament differences but at other times
it rides across them, especially in the Psalms.
the New Testament there are whole chapters (like Romans 6) which
seem to be devoted to the consideration of the inborn corruption
of the body, which is appropriately referred to in the singular
as sin throughout. In Romans 6:6 it seems to me that Paul
is saying we need not be subject to this corruption within
us. We have a new source of power to deal with it, whereby to
"destroy" it, or as the Greek has it, "to make
it powerless," the same word being used in Romans 3:3. This
poison so permeates our members (Romans 7:23) that even our minds
are affected. Man's thinking processes have been fatally disturbed
and must be "turned around" to acknowledge the truth
that is in Christ Jesus. This is, in fact, the meaning of repentance
(metanoia), "a change of mind." As children
of God, our minds are renewed (Romanns 12:1; Ephesians 4:23).
It is part of our salvation.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
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Chapter (Part VIII)
That it is our sins,
and not the sins of unbelievers, for which Christ died
is clearly implied in Scripture. 1 Corinthians 15:3: "Christ
died for our sins." Galatians 1:4:
". . . gave himself for our sins." Colossians
1:14: "in whom we have the forgiveness of sins."
This was Calvin's view, of course, and I am persuaded it is the
position of the Word of God.
There is only one verse in the
New Testament which seems to challenge it. I John 2:2 says: "And
he is the propitiation for our sins: and
not for ours only, but for the whole world." I can only
suppose that John meant the "ours" to refer to his
particular readers (or possibly he was writing primarily to his
Hebrew Christian brethren) and wanted to include all God's children
everywhere whether they read his letter or not. "Not only
your sins and mine are forgiven, but all the saints anywhere
in the whole world. We are all forgiven because He died for us
all." Perhaps this will not satisfy some who have worried
over this particular verse. Yet it is a rule in all such studies
that if a framework is really useful it should not be abandoned
merely because one or two verses seem to conflict with it.
On the whole I believe the distinctions
made in this paper are valid and that many other verses bear
them out and are illuminated in this light. The rationale of
the Plan of Salvation is in no sense weakened merely because
it must be accepted by faith. By faith we understand.
. . .