77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
1901 ASV Translation:
77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people In the remission of their sins,
There are no variations between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26.
I. Zacharias' attention has shifted as of 1:76 to his newborn son -- eight days old.
II. He has said that John will be known as the prophet of the Most High.
III. He says in this verse that his message will focus upon revealing the connection between salvation and the forgiveness of sins.
I. In the text we are told that John will give the knowledge of salvation in respect to what the translators call the "remission of our sins".
II. There needs to be a clear understanding of how this "remission" (probably better translated "banishment" -- see the previous study of this text) of our sins occurs in the face of the fact of on-going sin in the lives of those whose sins have been "banished".
A. The Scriptures present no illusions about the fact that the people of God, who have been the recipients of God's promise to "banish" their sins, continue to live less than sin-free lives.
B. They go on beyond the Gospels to record the fact that in Acts and in the Epistles God's work in "banishing" our sins does not produce sin-free people.
C. Central to the question of God's work of "banishing our sins" is the corollary question of precisely what that accomplishes.
1. There are options available on the face of the question.
a. Some believe that God only banishes the sins we confess so that if we allow a lapse in confession, the unconfessed sins remain unbanished. They claim that, if a "believer" should die in that condition, he will perish forever.
b. Some believe that God banishes "all" of the sins of the believer at the point of his becoming a believer so that there is no sin that is not "banished". They claim that if a "believer" dies in a relationally estranged condition because of sinful attitudes toward God and men, they do not perish because their sins have been "banished" -- all of them, once and for all.
c. Some believe that God banishes the sins of the "forgiven" that are past in reference to the point of "forgiveness"...i.e., God forgives all of the past at the point of faith, but not the future. Thus, if a "believer" sins after the point of faith, he will perish on the basis of that sin unless he "confesses it unto banishment" before he dies. This is similar to (a.) above.
d. Some believe that God only banishes the sins that the children of Adam have on their account by reason of their connection to Adam...i.e., "original sin and our identification with it"... so that a "believer" is basically restored to a pre-fall state and must deal with temptation so as to not sin, or to repent and confess, or be subject to the purifying flames of some kind of a purgatory.
e. And in addition to these options, there are various other variations.
2. The bottom line is the question: what, exactly, happens when God "banishes our sins"?
a. In Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:14 the apostle clearly tied "redemption" to the "banishment of our sins".
1) This implies that whatever the nature of the "redemption price" was, it made a direct contribution to the "banishment of our sins".
a) Everywhere in the Scriptures, the redemption price is presented as sufficient for all of the sins of all men of all time.
b) Thus, at least, the potential for an all-inclusive banishment exists: it is "possible" that the "banishment of our sins" takes the large overview of "our sins" and the "banishment" includes past, present, and future. This would make it possible for us to be "sealed unto the day of final redemption" as Ephesians 1:13-14 declares. Otherwise, the concept of being "sealed" has to be rather radically redefined.
2) This tie is precisely the same tie as is found in Zacharias' prophetic word in Luke 1 where he praises God for the "redemption price" (1:68) and then says that John will enlighten us as to its significance in relation to the banishment of our sins (1:77).
b. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15 the apostle declares that the reality of "conversion" (at which point all agree "sins" were "banished" -- the disagreement is not whether "sins" were "banished" at the point of conversion, but which sins and how many of them?) actually produces a "new creation".
1) In the Corinthian passage the apostle ties the creation of a new creature to the claim that God is "not reckoning unto them their trespasses" (2 Corinthians 5:19).
2) In the Galatian passage the same apostle declares that neither submission to Law or rebellion against Law is the issue: rather, it is the matter of becoming a "new creation".
c. In Romans 7:17 and 20 the same apostle argued that the sin that erupts out of the life of a "believer" is not being produced by him but, rather, by an indwelling sin in his members.
1) On the face of it, this is a deliberate "distancing" of the believer from any culpability for sinning.
2) With this, 1 John 3:9 seems to agree: the one born of God cannot sin.
a) This statement is made in a letter that freely admits that believers sin ("...if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father...", etc.).
b) Thus the issue is not whether sins "erupt" from the bodies of the born again; but, rather, what connection do they have to those eruptions?
d. In Romans 4:8 this same apostle declares the blessedness of the one to whom the Lord will not "impute sin".
1) On the face of this, it has to be obvious that someone has "sinned" because the Lord would never "impute" sin to someone who was guiltless.
2) Therefore, the apostle is saying that they are "blessed" who sin but are not "imputed" to have sinned.
3) This refusal to "impute" sin is tied by the context to the banishment of sins and the divine willingness to "justify" the "ungodly".
e. Thus, in a round-about way, the Scriptures divorce the sinner from his sins so that he is considered by God as exempt from the charge of sinning.
f. But, that does not answer at least a part of the question: how does God respond to His "justified" when the sin that indwells them erupts?
1) The answer seems to lie in the fact that God deals with them in a way that is similar to, yet distinct from, the way He deals with "sinners".
a) In terms of the "similarity", God does not lift the "cause and effect" reality of the universe in the present time: if we sow it, we will reap it.
b) In terms of the "distinction", God deals with "sinners" in retribution, but with His "saints" in "child-training discipline". It doesn't look much different on the outside, but the motivations and goals are altogether distinct.
2) The apostle wrote in Romans 12:2 that the saints of God are "transformed" by the renewal of their minds.
a) This implies that an on-going transformational program is underway for all of the "saints".
b) It further implies that as long as the transformation is incomplete, there will be eruptions of indwelling Sin out of the bodies of the saints.
c) And it further implies that the eruptions will diminish only as the transformation increases.
3) Thus, we can say, with some qualification, that if we do not deal with the eruptions of sin from our members the practical reality is that things happen to us as though those sins have not been "banished".
a) Thus, the "believer" who permits the eruptions of sins out of his body without applying the "renewed mind's remedies" will find that his experience in time will spin down in terms of quality so that his actual experience is not much different from the "unbeliever's".
b) And, on the other hand, if a believer handles those eruptions, they will diminish over time. The bottom line is this: sin always creates a consequential, down-line, set of undesireable experiences and the only way that can be stopped is to stop the eruption before it occurs.
III. None of the Above is Addressed by Zacharias but His Words Imply that John's ministry Will Address It.