Return of the prodigal son -- Guercino
Return of the prodigal sonGuercino

This is the fourth in a series of posts that proposes to answer the following question.

Can you name a single thing Jesus said which was genuinely new, original, or useful?

We had The Presentation Of The Question in part 1. If you wish to understand why we are considering this question and how we intend to answer it, please visit part 1.

With respect to the question above, here we will examine the following.

What Was The Result?

To some extent, the last post in this series, that one that answered the question Why did He do it?, also spoke to the result. However, that post focused on motive; this one will focus on the result.

What was the result? Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf involved two things: redemption from death and the forgiveness of sins. Why do we need redemption from death and the forgiveness of sins. Genesis 3 explains the necessity, the disobedience of Adam that brought God’s wrath upon us and the sentence of death.

Genesis 3:17-19 New King James Version (NKJV)

17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”


The theme of redemption runs throughout the Bible. Some form of the word occurs about a 150 times. Even Job, as he sat scrapping his boil-blistered skin on a smoking garbage heap, yearned for his redeemer.

Job 19:25-27 New King James Version (NKJV)

25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

With Jesus’ death upon a cross, we finally have our redeemer.

However, the Bible teaches that God Himself has provided the only means through which His wrath can be appeased and sinful man can be reconciled to Him. In the New Testament, the act of propitiation always refers to the work of God and not the sacrifices or gifts offered by man. The reason for this is that man is totally incapable of satisfying God’s justice except by spending eternity in hell. There is no service, sacrifice or gift that man can offer that will appease the holy wrath of God or satisfy His perfect justice. The only satisfaction, or propitiation, that could be acceptable to God and that could reconcile man to Him, had to be made by God. For this reason God the Son, Jesus Christ, came into the world in human flesh to be the perfect sacrifice for sin and make atonement or “propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). (from here)

Jesus’ death appeased the wrath of God. Only Jesus’ willing sacrifice could appease the wrath of God. Only Jesus could pay our debt for sin. Only He could reconcile us with God. Because Jesus sacrificed His own life for our sake, in God’s eyes we are now forgiven.


What does it mean to be forgiven?

Have you ever lived with dread, knowing that you have wronged someone severely and there was nothing you could do to “take it back” or “undo it”?  Do you avoid the person you have wronged, knowing every time you see them you are reminded, and guilt stricken, at what you have done?  Do you ever wish you could start all over and be freed from this burden of guilt and shame? Thanks to a small, eleven letter word we can begin again, freed from the awesome weight of our guilt.

That word is “forgiveness”.  Although a small word, “forgiveness” has a very huge meaning…. “to release, to let go, to send away.”  Forgiveness is saying that we no longer hold the offense against the offender, instead it will be put away; we no longer desire retribution for the offender’s actions, but now seek a restored relationship with them. (from here)

Some form of the word forgive occurs about a 100 times in the Bible. Since we need God to forgive us of our sins, it seems like that word should occur more often. Why doesn’t it? If we want to understand what Jesus accomplished with His death and resurrection, then then we need to read the Book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 10:5-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’”

Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Once and for all. Because of Jesus, we can have forgiveness from God and for all eternity. We never have to ask to be redeemed or forgiven again. We have the forgiveness told of in the The Parable of the Lost Son.

Luke 15:32 New King James Version (NKJV)

32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.

Willing Slave To A New Master

We have a habit of complicating things. Some people have this idea. With Jesus’ sacrifice, we can sin all we want, and there is no price to pay. Wrong! Romans 6 explains the conundrum, but the gist of it is that we have chosen a new master, one who loves us.

Romans 6:20-23 English Standard Version (ESV)

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Back To That Question

Was Jesus trying to do anything new, original, or useful? Imagine you were on a rescue mission. An evil man has kidnapped a child. He intends to confine and abuse that child for as long as he can, and you have the opportunity to stop him. How are you going to react if someone asks whether you are doing something new, original, or useful? Well, I suppose you might consider freeing that child from the clutches of an evil man useful. Nevertheless, I suspect you are also going to wonder why anyone would ask that question.

Additional References


  1. When I was debating with Zande, he simply refused my answer as an answer. I was simply just illustrating that from a post modern perspective his question wasn’t limited to his single empirical truth. He kept asking me the same question over and over and over, I kept telling him that I answered his question over and over and over. He then quantified his question into a yes or no question. I replied to him that’s a logical fallacy and claimed “datur tertium”. He kept asking me the question over and over. I kept replying “Datur Tertium”.

    Zande finally replied, “Well I guess you’re the one that has to sleep with yourself at night.”

    Yeah, that’s a bit trollish.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “He kept asking me the question over and over. I kept replying “Datur Tertium”

      Since tertium non datur means no third possibility is given, I take it that when you said datur tertium (should probably read tertium datur) you mean that there is a third possible answer to his question. Why not give a third answer instead of repeating in Latin a third answer was possible ? Or maybe you did and I just haven’t read back far enough in the thread.


      1. Well, like I said above, I gave him plenty of different answers. He just didn’t except them because I didn’t give him the yes or no answers that he demanded.

        Did you take Latin in school? I took 4 semesters it was always Datur Tertium in the class room not Tertium Datur, maybe my teacher was wrong. Really the only thing they stressed was if the declension case endings matched.


        1. I have never taken Latin. All I did was google the phrase and all the listings I saw had the phrase reversed but maybe they are all wrong .

          “Well, like I said above, I gave him plenty of different answers.”

          No, that’s not what you said above. That’s why I asked the question .

          You said above, ““He kept asking me the question over and over. I kept replying “Datur Tertium”

          I’m not trying to be difficult here but if someone asks a question and you reply that there is a third answer in addition to yes and no, why not provide the third answer instead of repeating over and over that there is a third answer ?

          Regardless, thanks for your answer.


          1. Are you not reading my comments? I said I gave him an answer multiple times, which I’ve said, ” I gave him plenty of different” in the other above comment. He didn’t accept them, which is why when he kept asking for another answer based off of his quantified only two answers question I replied, “Datur Tertium”

            Now, I’m not going to rewrite the answer here, if that’s what you want, that is being difficult. If you want to see the answer you can go to his page.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. You said, “What is an Internet troll? Here is one definition.
    An Internet troll is someone who posts offensive, controversial, or divisive material on an Internet community.”

    “Offensive” according to who ? “Controversial” according to who ? “Divisive” according to who ?

    Isn’t this what Jesus and his disciples had to deal with 2,000 years ago ? Wouldn’t they be considered “Trolls” today ?

    I’m not sure how much a Deist and a Theist will be able to discuss here. I guess we will find out.

    Thanks again.


    1. You are comparing Zande with Jesus and His Apostles? You are silly enough to equate being banned from my website with martyrdom? That is not even rational. What Jesus had to deal with is people who nailed Him to a cross, and all but one of His disciples died for the sake of His name. What Zande had to deal with is one word: goodbye.

      Jesus and His disciples died for nothing more than speaking the honest truth. I banned Zande for spamming my website. He as much as confessed that is what he was doing. Moreover, the facts he posted and insisted upon calling incontrovertible are garbage. If you want his company, it is your choice, but I chose not to make it mine. I try not to make it my business to spread misinformation.


      1. “You are silly enough to equate being banned from my website with martyrdom?”

        So if I make a statement you don’t agree with, I am automatically “silly” ? You missed the point entirely. I was comparing your definition of trolling to what Jesus and his disciples faced during their ministries 2,000 years ago.

        What I can say about John Zande is when I have made statements he disagreed with, he was more sensitive in his responses than you have been.


        1. You elevate banning Zande from my website to crucifying Jesus, and then you complain I am calling you silly, that I am insensitive?

          I saw Zande from my point of view, not your point of view. I did not decide to ban Zande based upon what you have seen of him. I decided to ban Zande based upon what I saw of him.

          We each have the right to live according to the dictates of our own conscience. Does my exercise of my right to live according to the dictates of my conscience offends you? That is part of price we all pay for being allowed to exercise our own freedom of conscience. Other people make choices we do not like.

          Consider. I think your choice to pester me about Zande stupid. Shrug. I cannot make you walk in my shoes, but I still don’t have to apply your standards to my behavior, and that is basically what you are insisting I must do.


          1. “You elevate banning Zande from my website to crucifying Jesus, and then you complain I am calling you silly, that I am insensitive?”

            I never said such thing. You continue to engage your mouth before taking the time to understand what I have said.

            It’s probably a good time to leave before you consider me a troll as well.
            Thank you again for allowing me to comment .


  3. First of all, I am NOT an Atheist, but a Deist. I have exchanged many comments with John Zande and have found him to be courteous especially during the times we have disagreed. I am curious why you felt the need to band him from commenting on your blog ?

    Thank you for allowing my comment here.


  4. Hey Tom,

    Continued good things you are bringing.

    ‘Willing slave to a new master.’ How many slaves were not willing? And how many slaves have poor masters? Yes some slaves were willing even with poor masters, but the combination of slave and master in the Lord is an idea so foreign that the origin could only be divine.

    This ‘master’ does not demand service; we do so willingly, and He bestows gifts. Most humbling.

    ‘Accepted in the beloved.’ ‘Joint heirs with Christ.’ Members of His body.’ And as you stress, not only forgiven, but the Lord ‘forgets perfectly,’ and remembers sin no more.

    Truly the Lord of Lords.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Tom,

    I especially appreciated your presentation of the two accomplishments of Christ’s death…. redemption from death and forgiveness of sins. I agree these were the most basic, core results that stem from His death. May the Lord allow many to read this series and come to a greater understanding of Christ, His work and their need of HIm.

    Lord bless! Thanks for the blessing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, why did you ask that question? With respect to Jesus not giving them what they wanted, man knows what he wants but only the gods know what he needs.


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