Friday, April 28, 2006

Repentance and the Fourth Gospel: Part 4

Lamb of God: 1:29
When John the Baptist said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” does he insinuate the concept of repentance? The first problem with this verse is the expression “Lamb of God.” While it may refer to the apocalyptic lamb mentioned in Revelation 5 (Beasley-Murray, Dodd, Carson), or the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, it most likely is a reference to the Paschal lamb.

The connection to repentance can only be made if one understands the phrase “sin of the world” as a reference to forgiveness, and then points out the connection between repentance and forgiveness of sin in the NT (for example, see Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; 17:3–4; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 5:31; 8:22). It should also be noted that there is one explicit mention of believing and forgiveness of sins in the NT: “everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43). Evidence for “takes away” referring to forgiveness can be found in the LXX of 1 Sam 15:25 and 25:28 where the Greek verb (airo) refers to forgiveness. In this context, it could also take the meaning of “sin-bearing,” though this appears less likely. This text appears too distant from the concept of repentance to draw any strong conclusions.

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