Vol.XVII No.XII Pg.7
February 1981

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Please give us further comments on the death of Christ. T.P.


This was discussed in Dec. '80 P.T. and "staggered the imagination" of a Dallas preacher so infected with the evangelical concept of imputation he runs a fever at times. Be assured our equal space, one issue policy is open to him if he wants to use it. We are saddened to see speculative theology displace what God has seen fit to reveal to us concerning redemption.

"Death" is a condition, the result of separation of life (spirit) from body. By metonymy... separation from God is called "death," but this remains figurative, subject to limitations established by the user of the figure. Inspired men used "death" "die" "dead" in different ways, figuratively, and each must be interpreted in context, limited to use there. For example: "dead to sin (freed from sin)" (Rom. 6:) does not mean one can no longer sin, nor even that sin can not "reign" again in us (v.11-13).

When one says Christ "died spiritually" and defines that as "cut off from God," but declares He was not "a lost soul at any moment," that one has placed his own limitations on the figurative use of terms. And when anyone extends figurative language (even by a most logical process) the conclusions are his own, NOT Bible teaching. Saints are "children" of God, figuratively. But a "child" (literally remains his father's child regardless of his conduct — so, we could logically conclude "once a child, always a child," and surely God would not send a "child of God" to Hell. Sounds logical, but it is not Bible doctrine. For those who like to be "staggered": "If 'justified by his blood' and like passages point to the physical death of Christ, as we are told, then what does that shed blood do for me since I still must die physically?" Theological fancy has closed eyes to the obvious language of the scriptures.

We are well aware that blood is indicative of life (Lev. 17:11) but the blood (life) that Christ gave for us was given on the cross, NOT in his journeys through Palestine. It was a sacrificed "lamb" that took away sins (Jn. 1:29; 2:18-22; 3:14; 12:32-f) and such passages point clearly to physical death. Fortunately, any one who doesn't know what Christ did for our physical death can read 1 Cor. 15.

While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.... being now justified by his blood (Rom. 5:8-9). In His resurrected life (4:25; 5:10) He is our priestly advocate (Heb. 4:14-f; 7:23f) and that on the basis of BLOOD (life) offered in his DEATH ON THE CROSS (Heb. 9:11-28). The pet passage of the "imputation" fancy is Heb. 10:9, where the "will" of God Christ came to do is clearly God's will that He die on the cross (Matt. 26:39-44). Context demands this, but fanciful theology has little time for context.

Many things about the death of our Lord I do not understand, but I know enough to limit my preaching to revealed truth. Extending God's figurative language builds speculative theories, but it doesn't save souls.