The lamb of God formula, God formula cannot be found in the synoptic tradition in the three Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke.
Paul goes completely all guns blazing and he says Jesus simply died for your sins, just believe in that and you don’t need to the works of the law you will have salvation. Jesus and Paul are standing on two opposite sides of the fence. [Hebrews 9:22] without shedding of blood is no forgiveness for sins
There is a biblical view of salvation and there is Christian view of salvation. They are not the same. In the writings of Paul, we get this idea that Jesus died for your sins on the cross as a substitution for you. This idea is most prominently put out by Paul himself.
You cannot find this idea clearly put in the synoptic tradition in the three Gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In the Gospel of John there is some development. John goes a bit further and starts changing things. [John 1:29]
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
If you read in the synoptic tradition, we had Jesus telling his disciples, he doesn’t tell them “I’ve come to die for you, I will redeem you, I will sacrifice myself on the cross and you do not have to worry about salvation.” Jesus doesn’t tell them that rather in the synoptic tradition.
In the three Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, he is repeatedly telling them follow an ethical code, follow a strict code, sell everything, follow me, and follow the law of Moses. It is very clear that any of the points of law cannot be relaxed. (Matthew 19:16-21)
In the Gospel of John, suddenly, changes the ‘behold! the lamb of God’ formula. The lamb of God formula, when Jesus was baptized by John in the river Jordan the lamb of God formula cannot be found in the synoptic tradition in the three Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke.
Let’s have a look at the ‘lamb of God’ formula in the synoptic tradition as compared to John’s Gospel [Mark 1:9-13] At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan.
He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. [Matthew 3:13-17] Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” [Luke 3:21-22] When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” [John 1:29-34]
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony:
“I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” John brings this idea in from somewhere and adds it ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’. John added stuff into this idea, and he moved towards redemption through the cross.
They only have that statement in John 1:29n and they have Paul’s passages which are Romans 3:19-28, Galatians 3:10, Galatians 3:24-25. We should know how to counter these verses. Paul is talking about the law.
[Galatians 2:16] know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified [Romans 3:19-28]
Therefore, by the deeds of the Law no flesh will be justified … for we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. [Galatians 3:10]
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” [Galatians 3:24-25]
So, the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. Paul is saying the law is not necessary anymore, you just believe in the crucifixion, and you will have salvation.
But James, the half-brother of Jesus refutes him and did not actually believe in what Paul is saying rather James was more in line what Jesus had taught to follow the law.
James is problem for Paul. We can clearly see in the writings in the epistle of James that can be found in New Testament he is in favour of Jesus and following the law. [James 2:14]
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
[James 2:20] How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
The question is why is James using this language?
Christian scholars have speculated for centuries as to who is James talking about. Many of them think he was talking to Paul directly. So, James in other words is rebuking Paul for believing in what he believed in that faith alone in crucifixion of Christ is enough for salvation and one doesn’t have to do works.
This is why Martin Luther was of the view that it is impossible to reconcile James with Paul and if anyone wants to reconcile them both then I will let that person call me a fool and I will give my doctor’s hat to him. This is how adamant Martin Luther was during the reformation period.
That’s why he was of the view that the Book of James with the Book of Jude and some other writings should be thrown out of the Bible because they were a problem for them
Look at what James is saying [James 2:21]
Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?
Let me find the quotes of Martin Luther who is telling us that James is against Paul. Remember this is after the alleged crucifixion
Martin Luther has this to say:
“Many sweat hard at reconciling James with Paul… but unsuccessfully. ‘Faith justifies’ (Paul) stands in flat contradiction to ‘Faith does not justify’ (James 2:24). If anyone done harmonize these sayings, I’ll put my doctor’s cap on him and Let him call me a for call fool.” Martin Luther continues …
‘In a word, St. John’s Gospel and his first epistles, especially Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians, and St. Peter’s first epistle are the books that show you Christ and teach you all that it is necessary and salvatory for you to know, even if you were never to see or hear any order book or doctrine.
St. James’ epistle is really an epistle of straw, compared to the others, for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it.’ [Luther’s Works, vol. 35, Word and Sacrament I (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1960), p. 395-397] James is against Paul.
You can see the quotes of Martin Luther. He says it is impossible to reconcile Paul with James because James is teaching exactly what Jesus taught to follow the law, do the good works and have faith. Paul is teaching don’t worry about the law, the curse of the law has been lifted, you just have to follow me and my view which is to believe in the cross and that’s enough for your salvation.
Martin Luther was of the view that James and Paul can never be reconciled, he said it is impossible because as they are saying two different things. When it comes to redemption and salvation, there is a reason why Christian scholars hardly ever refer to the synoptic tradition.
The Gospel of Matthew, Mark, and Luke because these gospels go directly against the view Christians have adopted in this current day and age and last few centuries.
In other words, James is saying we need faith and ‘hope. Both. Where Paul who never ever met Jesus says no. We only need to believe Jesus died on the cross.
Allah knows Best
Credit br Habib Rashid