On what basis can a holy God forgive sin?

Author: Kevin George

Thank you for joining me in my quest to answer this question!

A search for the original meaning, contrasted with Penal Substitutionary Atonement

6 thoughts on “On what basis can a holy God forgive sin?”

  1. Kevin – Since 2011, I’ve come to many similar conclusions about atonement and ceasing from sin as I see you have here – appreciate how refreshing it is to read a few of the chapters thus far. When do you plan to release your book?


    1. Next year sounds great Kevin! The only points of feedback I have so far are these:

      -Improve – add a few scholarly footnote or endnote citations when describing the other theories of atonement, such as Oxford Encyclopedia or Encyclopedia Britannica, so people can see briefly the sources you used for various theories (I’ve been working on a graphic aid for a few years on atonement theories and I need to do the same thing, lol)

      -Sustain – the context you give for each verse so readers can see the context is not really always atonement for sin (like you do for Ransom & PSA theories) is perfect!

      -Sustain – I’m not sure if you believe in our ability to live free from sin as Christians, but I get that impression as I read what you have written (the 5-7 chapters I’ve read thus far bouncing around). Our fellowship focuses on victory over sin a lot and I love seeing the constant reminders for us to stop sinning and live righteously, as I see this as the most important aspect of the Christian walk. So whether that was intentional or not, it has been great to see!

      Sorry to give you a few paragraphs to read, but just wanted to share those with you.



      1. Matt,
        Yes, I do plan to add some citations. Some will be easy to find. Others, not so easy as I have yet to come across any writing that goes back and takes a new look at the Bible passages like I have. There are numerous authors who point out moral, ethical, and logical inconsistencies in PSA, but there does not seem to be much grounding in the biblical texts.
        I will be going back to review everything and may add additional context where I feel it is needed. Thanks for the reminder.
        I also believe in the ability to stop sinning, however, I stop short of impeccability – an inability to sin.


  2. Hi Kevin,
    soon after being confronted with the gospel that the Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles preached, I left the church that I attended. Soon after I noticed that something was off with penal substitution theology and – similar to you – started writing my own set of articles and researching this very topic. It tremendously helped me taking Jesus Christ and his teachings much more seriously. On Youtube I found some comments of yours that looked quite reasonable and soon after I found your blog. There are some minor points that maybe worth considering:

    2nd Corinthians 5:21 – When discussing this passage, you do a good job in arguing against PSA using the context. However, you seem to miss that the expression “he made him to be sin” can and should (as I would argue) be translated as “he made him to be sin offering.” This would be in perfect harmony with the context of this passage. After checking the Greek expression in the Septuagint (for example in Lev. 4:3, 4:21b, 4:24b, 5:12b) you will know what I mean. Please notice that I do not have any knowledge about the Greek language but tools like blueletterbible.org make it possible to handle Greek to at least some extend. Since you seem to be able of Greek – can you confirm this other translation?

    1st Peter 2:24 – When discussing this passage, you again do a good job arguing against PSA using the scriptural context rather than protestant tradition. Maybe as some sort of footnote it would be worth mentioning two appearances of the word “ἀναφέρω” in the Septuagint: Numbers 14:33 and Ezekiel 36:15. The main appearances of this Greek word are specifically about OT offerings with meanings that do not fit 1st Peter 2. However, this two passages provide some sort of “hard evidence” that the meaning that you deduced from the context of 1st Peter is correct. Ezekiel 36:15 seems to be the more obvious example though.

    I hope your work can be an eye-opener and a blessing for many!

    Greetings from Germany.


    1. Hi Chris. Thank you for the input. The information regarding 1 Peter 2:24 is good. I may include it. At the moment I am mostly working offline with a book editing program which allows me to add footnotes and other details in preparation for publishing (which I hope will happen later this year).
      The claim that 2 Cor. 5:21 is about an offering is quite common. Your statement challenged me to take another look. I still disagree but can fully respect those who hold that view. Here is my conclusion, which will likely be added in some form to the book:
      “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.“ 2 Corinthians 5:21

      Does this verse teach that Jesus was an offering for sin, a human death in place of the Old Testament animal sacrifices? Many people believe that this verse is intended to state, “For our sake he made him [an offering for] sin…”. However, there are several problems with this claim. Here are some of those problems:
      1. The word “offering” is not in the text of 2 Cor. 5:21. In contrast, Jesus chose martyrdom as a fragrant-smelling sacrifice (metaphorically), not a sin sacrifice, in Eph. 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
      2. Direct human sacrifices were an abomination to God “You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.” Deut. 12:31, also Deut. 18:10, Ez. 16:10
      3. No man can redeem another. Ps. 49:7-8, Ezekiel 18:20
      4. Jesus was beaten and severely wounded. Damaged sacrifices were not acceptable. Lev. 22:21-23, Malachi 1:8
      5. Sin offering of animals for the common people were to be female goats or female lambs. Lev. 4:28, 32
      6. Sacrifices for sin were to be done only on the altar, located in the temple. Deut. 12:13-14
      7. There was a scapegoat offering for sin, but this one was released into the wild and not killed. Leviticus 16:9-10, 21-22
      8. Sacrifices for sin did not always require the death of an animal. Flour was also allowed as a substitute. Lev. 5:11-13
      9. God does not demand or need sacrifices. He expects obedience first. “In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.” Psalm 40:6, 51:6, also Heb. 10:5-8, 1 Sam. 15:22.
      10. If Jesus was literally “made to be sin”, then he would not have been an acceptable sacrifice to God. A polluted sacrifice would be an insult, not a gift, comparable to a husband giving wilted flowers to his wife after apologizing for an offense.


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