WFT- exonerate

30 September 2008

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for Monday, September 29th was exonerate:

1 : to relieve of a responsibility, obligation, or hardship 2 : to clear from accusation or blame

This brings to mind several issues about salvation, the day of judgment, and Messiah's atoning work.  Let's consider the M-W etymology first:

We won’t blame you if you don’t know the origins of today’s word. “Exonerate” derives via Middle English from the past participle of the Latin verb “exonerare,” meaning “to unburden,” formed by combining the prefix “ex-” with “onus,” meaning “load” or “burden.” (“Onus” itself lives on with that meaning in English.) In its earliest uses (dating from the 16th century), “exonerate” was used in the context of physical burdens — a ship, for example, could be exonerated of its cargo when it was unloaded. Later it was used in reference to any kind of burden, until a more specific sense developed, meaning “to relieve (someone) of blame.”

What is "salvation"?

The Hebrew word transliterated yeshuah is translated into English as "salvation".  The New American Standard Concordance defines it as such:

yeshuah salvation: - deeds of deliverance*

Deliverance?  Deliverance from what?   Deliverance from the penalty we are due as a result of our sin.  As Paul puts it in Romans 6:23, "The wages [that which is earned] of sin is death."

So we are saved from the death that is our due.  But wait!  Hasn't everybody in the past died?  How are we saved from death?  Although we all die we will not remain in death:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  - 1 Thes 4:16 (NASB)


Those who are dead are truly dead and they await the resurrection of the dead.  Those who are not dead when G-d descends from heaven will be changed "in the twinkling of an eye":

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  - 1 Cor 15:51-52 (NASB)


It is my opinion that our flesh will die... either through the cessation of biological processes that we today call death or (in that moment when G-d Most High returns) through the fact that our sinful flesh will cease to exist and we will be changed.

What about the coming day of judgment?

But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. - Matt 12:36 (NASB)

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.  - Romans 2:4-8 (NASB)

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. - 2 Peter 2:4-11 (NASB)


Lest we be mistaken God has made Scripture replete with warnings of a coming day of judgment.

But wait! There is good news!

Although we are all guilty of sin (1 John 1:8, Rom 3:23, etc) there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua (Rom 8:1).  The penalty has been paid.  The burden of debt we owed because of our sins has been removed by the work of Messiah.  We have been exonerated... not because we are innocent and are found without sin but without being burdened by the debt of our sin.



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Yom Chamishi, 8 Nisan, 5783

Thursday, March 30, 2023


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