C.S. Lewis on prayer once explained, though cryptically,
“Almost certainly God is not in time. His life does not consist of moments one following another… Ten– thirty – – and every other moment from the beginning of the world– – is always present for Him. If you like to put it this way, He has all eternity in which to listen to the split second off [a] prayer.”
The true context of Scripture is not the cultural milieu of the writer who penned its inspired message. It is the mind of God who, as C. S. Lewis correctly noted, “is not in time.” Calvary did not become just an historical event. Jesus’s death became the fulcrum for all history, before and after. Nothing else of any real importance has ever happened because this single event, the Cross, eclipses all events backward and forward in time and defines their significance to mankind.
Calvary, to be sure, is an eternal plan overlaid upon the timeline of history. Calvary is a work of an eternal God in His eternity which means it applied as much to the Patriarchs and the prophets as to us. Calvary reaches back (in temporal terms) as well as forward. In Glory we might all agree that Jesus died on the Cross while we looked on in our sin and spiritual need. In God’s eyes, can we not say: we stood next to the centurion that looked on while Jesus was dying?
Calvary speaks, among other truths, to divine forgiveness.1 Dare we say that while Jesus was dying at Calvary God forgave us every sin? God’s forgiveness reached back to the Ancients who served and worshipped Him and forward to our time and beyond. It was and is an eternal act of God. Was not His forgiveness complete and final through Jesus’s death on Calvary?
He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.2
All that remains is that we appropriate His divine provision. All that God’s forgiveness entails is ours through accepting Christ as Savior and letting God engender faith in our hearts to embrace it.
Metzger continues, “There is discernible [here] a Christological-theological motivation that accounts for them having been added …[but many] regarded the longer reading[s] as part of the original text.” [Metzger 191-193]
The main theological ground for the belief that Christ’s death was an act of eternal forgiveness relays on such verses as Hebrews 9:22 “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness”
2 Colossians 2:13-14