The Forgiveness of Sins without the Crucifixion of Jesus
The Christian churches, misled by their triumphalism, have imagined that salvation history begins with the fall in the Garden and then jumps immediately to the birth of Jesus Christ who came down from heaven in order to open up the gates of heaven by dying for our sins. In this narrative, the importance of Jews and Judaism in God's plan of salvation becomes either systematically distorted or it gets passed over in silence. The purpose of this essay is to expose how the Hebrew Scriptures themselves amply demonstrate God’s readiness of forgive sins following the act of teshuvah. Even in the Gospels, Jesus himself exemplifies his Jewish upbringing in proclaiming his Father’s readiness to forgive sins without any reliance upon Jewish suffering generally or upon his future crucifixion in particular. For far too long, the theologies of penal substitution have truncated and obscured the abundant forgiveness of God. Accordingly, readers are invited to join Edward Schillebeeckx in again affirming that “we are not redeemed thanks to the death of Jesus but despite it."