Jesus Died for Aphesis: A Reminder

The worst mistranslation in our English Bibles is the translation from the Greek aphesis to the English “forgiveness.” “Remission” is better, but very few have any useful working definition of the word “remission.”

I want to remind everyone, all the time, that the Greek word aphesis was used to translated the Hebrew word for “Jubilee” (Lev. 25) and the Hebrew word for “scapegoat” (Lev. 16).  It is also used to translate the release of debts that happened every seven years in Israel (Deut. 15).

Aphesis is far more than forgiveness. It is a return to our true home in the kingdom of God (Jubilee); it is the release of all our debts (the 7-year release); and it is the sending of our sins far from us (the scapegoat).

In the New Testament, Jesus says that he came to bring aphesis to the captive and the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18).

Thus, when you read that Jesus died for the aphesis of sins in Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:14, do not limit those verses to the forgiveness of our sins. Aphesis is complete deliverance from sin. Jesus died to heal your broken heart, to release you from captivity to your sins, to return you to your rightful place in fellowship with God and, yes, to forgive your old sins.

When we repent and begin to follow Jesus (not just believe he died for us, but repent and submit to him as Lord; Rom. 10:9-10), he provides us complete and utter deliverance from sin. We get a brand new start, standing in our ancestral home in the presence of Almighty God, washed, purchased by his blood, and empowered by his Spirit. We are no longer captives, but sons of God.

“Sin shall not have dominion over you because you are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14, NIV

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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8 Responses to Jesus Died for Aphesis: A Reminder

  1. Paul my Brother In Christ Jesus in the last paragraph near the end of the above article you have – “mho” gave himself for us …, it should be “who” gave himself for us…”. Have a True Grace Empowered Day/Night.The Atonement It Is The Central Doctrine,Washing My Garment/Robe In His Blood, In His Eternal Debt/Grace Kal-El Anakin Skywalker

    • Paul Pavao says:

      How strange. I am relatively certain I copied and pasted that in from Bible Gateway. They don’t have it wrong. How did I change it? Puzzling.

      • I got your back Paul when I have time to read your articles !. May True Grace Be with you and those you love. The Atonement It Is The Central Doctrine/Washing My Garment/Robe In His Blood/In His Eternal Debt/Grace. Kal El Anakin Skywalker Disciple, Bondservant, Slave To God The Son, Son Of God, Vice Monarch, Lord Of Life, Lord, Redeemer, Savior, God, King, Master of The Universe, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Your LDS/Saint/Christian/Sentinel/Son Of Thunder/Kryptonian/ Warrior Brother In Christ Jesus.

      • Kal-EL Anakin Skywalker says:

        I am sure the ancient scribal copyist felt the same way when they were transcribing from other ancient manuscripts in regards to the Bible. He Died To Make Man Holy.

  2. KatieAnn says:

    Thank you Paul, very much, for your input and thoughts. I just want to add something to this since, even with the help of the Holy Spirit, we stumble. Namely, that, when we do fall into sin, “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (John 2:1)

  3. KatieAnn says:

    Hello Paul, just yesterday I was reading your article titled “The Substitutionary Atonement of Jesus Christ on the Cross” from Christian History for Everyman where you discuss the word “aphesis”. In the same article, you also bring up the importance of the word “apulotrosis”. As of late, I’m trying to wrap my head around what exactly was accomplished on the cross and how to understand the atonement.
    How about: aphesis + apulotrosis = atonement
    What are your thoughts on this?
    Reading Ephesians this morning, I also came across this verse, which really caught my eye this time “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2).

    • Paul Pavao says:

      Hi KatieAnn. Not much about God is as simple as this + this = this. I would be more prone to summing it up in English. God saw that we were slaves to sin, so he bought us out of that slavery with the blood of his Son, and he gave us everything we need to live as his holy and godly children (Tit. 2:11-14; 2 Pet. 1:3-4). God then raised his Son from the dead, putting him at the head of all those redeemed, to lead and rule them until he returns to retrieve his elect and conquer the final enemy, death.

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