"That God might be just, and the justifier of
him that believeth on Jesus."Rom. 3:26 .
EVOLUTIONISTS, and all those who deny the Scriptural narrative of Genesis, confirmed by the New Testament recordsthat man was created in the image and likeness of God, and that he fell from this perfection through disobedience into depravity, the fallen and imperfect conditionall such deny that justice needed any satisfaction. Their claim is that God is the author of all the sin and imperfection which we see about us, in that he created us in the blemished condition, but one remove from the brute, and that whatever improvement over the brute we have made is to our credit as a race, hence that neither as a race nor as individuals have we done anything to require divine condemnation. There could, therefore, be no depravity, and consequently no justice in either requiring or providing a redemption from the fall and condemnationif, as they hold, neither of these ever took place.
The Scriptural proposition is the reverse: that man, created perfect and upright in the divine image, was responsible for his conduct, and that his disobedience justly merited his loss of life; that the divine sentence, "Dying thou shalt die," is a just and reasonable one; that Adam's posterity, inheriting from him the weaknesses and frailties of the fallen state, have more or less increased continually the depraved constitutions, the variations which we see all about us in the physical, mental and moral conditions. As none of the race is perfect, none is worthy of eternal life under the divine arrangement, and the death sentence rests upon all. Thus the Apostle explains the matter, "By one man's disobedience sin entered into the world, and death as the result of sin, and thus death passed upon all men because all are sinners."Rom. 5:12.
The Bible proposition is that, since the death sentence is against every member of our race, none of them could justly be released from that sentence without a substitute, a ransom, an atonement for the sin, a satisfaction for the penalty. This is so universally the testimony of the entire Scriptures that time and space would fail us to quote the many instances both in the types and the literal statements on the subject. Nor is this necessary, for all Bible students are familiar with the numerous references to the Redeemer, the ransom, the sacrifice for sins, the "shedding of blood, without which there is no remission."
"IT BEHOOVED CHRIST TO SUFFER."Luke 24:46 .
We see, then, that from the Bible standpoint it was absolutely necessary that as by a man [Adam] came death, by a man also [Christ] should come the resurrection of the dead. (1 Cor. 15:21.) So then it is evident that in the divine order there could be no resurrection without the ransom sacrifice being first given. This may seem to some to be contradicted by the facts, as they point us to certain individuals brought out of death before Christ came, and others awakened by him before he had paid the ransom price. But we reply that these exceptional cases were not violations of the rule in any degree, for these awakened ones were not really made alive.
From the divine standpoint the whole world is in a dying and dead condition, and those who were awakened from unconscious death to a small measure of life common to the world were not resurrected, were not raised out of death, but were still in death, still under the curse, still under the sentence, "Dying thou shalt die." They were merely temporarily resuscitated. To have resurrected them would have meant more than an awakening: it would have meant that after their awakening they should be raised completely out of death into the fulness of lifesuch, for instance, as Adam enjoyed before the penalty came upon him. The Scriptures assure us that Christ was the first who should rise from the dead, and that his brethren, the Church, will be next in order, and that none others can be fully resuscitated, none others can have life in the absolute sense until the Church shall have received its higher life through the first resurrection.
When it is seen that the penalty against sin is not dying but death, and that it is not death for a moment or a year or a million years even, but death everlastingly, then it will be clearly seen that in order to have any future life it was necessary that the penalty pronounced by divine justice against our race should be cancelled before it could be blessed with the life eternal which the Lord has promised to those who believe and obey him.
In referring to so complex a subject, the Scriptures, of course, use quite a variety of terms, and the difficulty of many is that they do not recognize the divine [R3707 : page 23] plan with sufficient clearness to distinguish between the shades of meaning properly attaching to these words. For instance, we have the words ransom, redemption, sin-offering, atonement, reconciliation, etc. It is true that these are all related to this great subject, but it is equally true that they do not mean the same thing, that they touch the subject from different standpoints. Only by gaining a clear Scriptural view of the whole matter of sin and atonement for sin and reconciliation of the sinner to God can we hope to have this entire matter clear and distinct before our minds, with the proper meaning attached to each wordthe proper thought intended by the Lord in these words, which explain his plan.
Most people are so unmethodical in their own thinking, in their conduct of their own lives in respect to themselves and in respect to their dealings with others, that it is difficult for them to think of the heavenly Father, who is absolutely perfect in every quality of his being, and who preserves each of his qualities intact without allowing them to interfere the one with the other as being systematic and methodical in the administration of his government. Thus, with the Almighty, justice is declared to be the very foundation of his throne, his government. Nothing can ever be done by the Almighty that can violate his justice. Whatever his wisdom and love and power may plan must all be brought into full accord and alignment with this fundamental element of his character, of his governmentjustice. He cannot exercise love at the expense of his justice, but only in harmony with it. We must remember that in thinking of the Almighty we cannot measure him by ourselves, because we are fallen creatures, and the image of God originally granted to our race has been largely lost; hence only as we measure the Almighty by his own statements, his own declarations, can we get proper conceptions of the harmonies of his character.
The divine word is immutable, unchangeable, as the Scriptures declare; hence the divine sentence of death was an unchangeable one. True, God might have put a different sentence upon our race. He could have sentenced us as a race to be cut off in death up to a certain time, decreeing that then the penalty should be considered as being paid in full and all the culprits be released. In that event no ransom sacrifice for sinners would have been necessary. But God purposely made his plan as it is in order to furnish the necessity for a Redeemer, and in order that his Son might have the honor of manifesting his loyalty and obedience to the Father even unto death, and in order that this obedient one might then be glorified before angels and men, exalted to the highest place next to the Father. Likewise the Lord purposed that a certain little flock should be selected from the world to be the Bride of Christ, and thus to be, through relationship to Christ, members of the seed of Abraham and heirs of the great Oath-Bound Covenant made to Abraham, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord in the inheritance of the Millennial Kingdom which is to bless all the families of the earth.
As it was optional with the Almighty what the penalty should be for Adam's sin so long as it was in line with justice, so also it was optional with him how that penalty should be met so long as no principle of justice would be violated. He has chosen a method which most wonderfully exhibits divine wisdom, divine love and divine power. He has purposed the reconciliation of the world to himself through Christ (2 Cor. 5:19.) This reconciliation is in two parts: first, he arranged for the reconciling of his own justice, the meeting of the demands of his own justice; and, second, provided that those who should come to a knowledge of this gracious arrangement might turn their hearts from sin to righteousness, to God, to be reconciled to him, to submit themselves to his will, to come back into harmony with him, forsaking sin.
So far as the world is concerned this reconciliation is still futureGod is not yet reconciled to the world, and the world is not yet reconciled to God. That the world is not in a reconciled condition needs no argument in proof; that God is not reconciled to the world can be equally substantiated by the Scriptural statements, which declare that only believers have yet escaped the "condemnation which is on the world." The world is represented as still being aliens and strangers and foreigners, without God, and having no hope. (Eph. 2:12.) The curse is still represented as being against the world, but the promise is given us that by and by, when the divine plan shall have been unfolded still further, the time will come when there shall be no more curse, no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying, because the former things shall have passed away. (Rev. 21:4.) So long, therefore, as divine condemnation, the curse, the sentence of death, rests against the world, it is evident that God is not yet reconciled to the world nor the world to him.
The Apostle assures us that we (true believers) were reconciled to God by the death of his Son. That is, Christ before we were born effected a work for believers on account of which they are no longer reckoned a part of the world nor under the world's condemnation. We have escaped the condemnation which is upon the world, we are justified toward God by his grace through the blood accepted by us in faith. Because of this reconciliation, this justification, the Lord counts us as holy, ignoring and covering from his sight all the blemishes and weaknesses we have received through heredity. And when such justified ones present their bodies living sacrifices to the Lord's will and service, they are acceptable, the Apostle tells us.
This class throughout this Gospel age have experienced the first step of regeneration, namely, the begetting of the holy Spirit; the second step, the birth, to the faithful, comes in the first resurrection, when like our Lord we shall be born from the dead as his brethren, under another figure his body members, under another figure his Bride and joint-heirs. To this class, to whom divine justice is already reconciled, and who are already reconciled to God in that they have given up their wills to him and are seeking to walk after the Spiritto this class the Apostle declares God has "committed the ministry of reconciliation."2 Cor. 5:18.
That is to say, all such are recognized as God's ambassadors in the world, and are commissioned to tell the good tidings in the world in accord with our text, that God, while still just and without violation of his own justice, is able to justify those who believe in Jesus, because Jesus by the grace of God tasted death for every man, and gave the ransom price in his great sacrifice finished at Calvary. But while we are thus [R3707 : page 24] God's ambassadors telling the story, the Lord assures us that not all will hear itthat only a certain class have ears to hear the message, and that only those who have faith to believe the message can receive the blessing which we announce. These who now believe and enter into rest through faith are but a few, "not many wise, not many great, not many learned hath God chosen," but "chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, to be heirs of the kingdom"a "little flock."1 Cor. 1:26; Jas. 2:5; Luke 12:32.
This ministry of reconciliation which consecrated believers are now privileged to engage in as members of the body of Christ, as his representatives, is a costly ministry or service. Although the message is good, the darkness hateth the light, and the light-bearers, we are assured, must expect to suffer persecution, must walk in the footsteps of the Captain of their Salvation. Those who will not take up their cross to follow him cannot be counted in as his ambassadors. The trials, the difficulties, the oppositions, the persecutions encountered are all parts of the test which the Lord requires of these, as demonstrating their loyalty to him and to the principles of justice and mercy and loverepresented in him and his laws.
However, the Lord has a provision for the worldthose now deaf and blindin the next age, and the divine arrangement is that those who now suffer because of their loyalty to the Lord and because of their pleasure [R3708 : page 24] in the privileges of ambassadorship, shall be the divine representatives before the world in the coming age. The conditions will then be so changed that these ambassadors and their message will no longer be misunderstood. The special testings and trials of the narrow way will by that time have selected all the elect, the Bride of Christ. Then the way and glorious opportunities will open before the world, that all may have the eyes of their understanding opened wide and their ears unstopped, that they may know positively respecting divine wisdom, justice, love and power, and that these are all operating through Christ for the blessing of all the families of the earth. That period is called the "day of Christ" in contrast to the present period, which is represented as being the night of sin, under the darkness and influence of the prince of this world, Satan.
"In that day" the work of reconciliation will go grandly forward, for undoubtedly the great majority of mankind, as soon as the curse shall be removed, as soon as the difficulties and obstructions to faith shall be out of the way, will be glad to know of opportunities for coming back into harmony with their Creator. And then all the willing and obedient shall be uplifted to full perfection of life, to full restitution to all that was lost, with added blessings, while the wilfully disobedient or goat class, followers of the example and spirit of Satan, will with him be destroyed in the Second Death.
From the foregoing all should be able to see how distinctly separate in the divine plan are the Church and the worldthat atonement, reconciliation, has already been effected for the Church, for believers, for the household of faith and for none others, but that the world is to have a rolling away of the curse in fullest measure as an outcome of the great redemption work of Christin God's due time.
If, now, we have the matter clearly before our mindsif, looking into the divinely appointed types of the Old Testament and their corroborations in the New Testament, we find that God distinctly outlined these separate dealings with the Church and with the world, our faith and obedience and joy in the Lord will be increased. We have already set this matter forth in detail in a pamphlet entitled Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices. All of the interested doubtless possess it; and any too poor to purchase may have it free, on application. In it we call attention to the fact that the great and important event in Israel's history known as the Day of Atonement typified, illustrated the whole work of this Gospel age.
The sin offerings of that typical Day of Atonement were two, first the bullock, second the goat. The bullock represented our Lord Jesus, the goat represented those who walk in his steps, the little flock. The sacrifice of the bullock was for a specific purpose and effected that purpose; the sacrifice of the goat of the sin offering was for a different purpose and effected that purpose. The bullock with its fatness well represented the man Christ Jesus in his perfection sacrificed on our behalf; the lean, wayward goat with little fat well represented the leanness, the poverty, the natural unfitness of the Church to be associated with her Lord and to present herself a living sacrifice with him upon the altar, to have fellowship in his sufferings, that in due time she might have fellowship also in the glories that are to follow in the Kingdom.
Be it noted that our Lord Jesus was typified both by the bullock and the priest; that the bullock represented him as the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all; that the priest represented the new mind, the holy Spirit, by which our Lord was begotten again at the moment of his consecration. During the three and a half years of our Lord's ministry he was the priest, and his body was the sacrifice, reckoned dead. In the type the priest went immediately into the Holy of the Tabernacle, which represented his standing before God as now no longer a man but a New Creature. The first vail represented his consecration to death, and his rising on the other side of it to newness of life as a spirit being begotten of the holy Spirit.
As a "New Creature" our Lord spent the three years and a half of his ministry in the holy, enlightened by the light of the golden candlestick, divine truth, fed by the shew bread, the divine promises and blessing, while he himself ministered at the golden altar, offering up his two handsfull of incense upon the fire, the fragrance penetrating beyond the veil, the second veil, into the Most Holy, as a cloud resting above the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat. That offering of the incense by the priest in the Holy represents to us the light in which our heavenly Father viewed his Son and his offering of himself in the trials and difficulties of his life during the three and a half years of his consecration. As a whole it was sweet incense to the Lord, a fragrant incense, holy and acceptable.
At the same time that the incense was being offered in the Holy the fat was being offered on the brazen altar in the Court, and those who saw the fat consumed upon the altar and how rapidly it was consumed because of the fatness could appreciate that a great and fat sacrifice was offered to the Lord. Those in the Court [R3708 : page 25] who thus beheld our Lord's sacrifice from the human standpoint were believers, those in sympathy with him, the apostles and others. But there was still another class who looked to Jesus and who saw his daily sacrifice and who viewed his course in a different lightthe Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, who were in opposition to him. To these his very sacrifices spoke foolishness, they were a stench in their nostrils, and their standpoint of view is also represented in the type by the burning outside the camp of the hoofs, horns, entrails, hide, etc., of the bullock. Here we have the three-fold view of our Lord's sacrifice: that of his opposers, that of his followers and that of the Father. When our Lord died all three of these fires, so to speak, were finished, his incense was all offered, the fat was all consumed, the world's detestation of his good works, the hatred with which they of the darkness hated him who was of the light was at an endhe troubleth them no more.
The next step of the priest was to pass under the second veil. This represented our Lord's death at Calvary. He was under that veil parts of three days and rose on the other side the veil, a perfect spirit being, born of the Spirit. And it was only a few days thereafter that he ascended on high and approached the Mercy Seat, there to appear in the presence of God for us, as the Scriptures declare. Bear in mind that he did not appear for the world but for us, for believers. He is not the world's advocate before the Father. We have an advocate with the Father, he is our representative, he now speaks for us. (1 Jno. 2:1.) In the type this is shown by the statement that the priest sprinkled the blood upon the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat in the shape of a cross, the head of the cross being on the Mercy Seat, the lower end of it pointing and extending toward the veil.
The Apostle tells us that Christ offered up his own blood, but by this we do not understand him to mean that any of the literal blood of Jesus was taken into heaven, but rather as the blood shed represented the sacrificed life of the Lord, so in the antitype our Lord presented before the Father the evidences of his death, applying a measure of that benefit, a measure of the merit of his sacrifice on behalf of the Church, his body, and all the household of faith, but none of it on behalf of the world, none of it outside the household of faith. This is clearly shown in the type, for the priest, we are told, made an offering for himself and his house. His house, the Levites, typified the household of faith, himself represented his sons the underpriests, and in the antitype represented the Church, the members of the body of Christ under Jesus as the Head, as it is written, "God gave Jesus to be the Head over the Church, which is his body."
The statement of the type is most explicit: that the atonement made for this sacrifice, by the sprinkling of the blood of the bullock, was an atonement not for all the people but merely for a limited, special class of them, all belonging to one tribe, the Levites, who represent here the household of faith. (Leviticus 16:6,17.) It will be noticed that this is in full, in absolute accord with what we have already seen, to the effect that the reconciliation has not yet reached the world but merely believers, and that the world still, as the Apostle says, lieth in the wicked one. (1 John 5:19.) The whole world lies under the curse, the sentence; they are not yet released, the curse has not yet been rolled away. Only we, only believers, have escaped the condemnation; only we have passed from death unto life; only believers have gotten free from the curse, the sentence, and are no longer aliens, strangers, foreigners from God's covenant promises.
Now note the second sacrifice. After finishing the one part of atonement, as already noted, the priest continued the work of the day's atonement and made another offering, namely, the goat. It is not true that Christ after having gone into heaven, into the Most Holy, came out again, sacrificing himself again as a man, making another sacrifice for sins in his own person. Indeed he had only the one human nature, and when it was sacrificed the work of Calvary was finished. Hence this second sin offering is not another offering of the man Christ Jesus, but it is an offering of his body. Nevertheless, in harmony with the divine plan, Christ [R3709 : page 25] accepts and the Father accepts all those who come unto the Father by him through faith in his blood, and who in harmony with the call present their bodies living sacrifices. These all are counted as members of the body of Christ; so the work of this Gospel age has been the sacrificing of the members of the body of Christ. It was the Head that did this sacrificing as represented in the type, as represented also in the figure of baptism. We give ourselves to the Lord, we receive his mind, and in proportion as his spirit dwells in us richly, in that proportion we are glad to be "living sacrifices." Thus by his spirit upon us he wills in us "to will and to do the Father's good pleasure." And the Father's good pleasure respecting us is the same as respecting the Only Begotten, namely, that we should show our devotion to his will, to his plan, to his righteousness, by such faithfulness as will bring us in the present time tribulation and cost us self-sacrifice, even as a similar course cost our Lord his life.
Not that all the members of the body of Christ will necessarily suffer on the cross, nor that they will all necessarily suffer some public, shameful death. On the contrary, in the figure of the Scriptures all the members of the body of Christ are beheaded, not literally, for not even the apostles so suffered death, but figuratively beheadedeach must lose his own self-will, his own headship, and must become members of the body of Christ, knowing no head, no will but the will of his Lord. All who thus sacrifice their wills are accepted of the Lord as members of his body, and these are represented in the sacrifice of the goat, which he has been offering as a part of himself, as a part of his own sacrifice throughout this Gospel age.
The making of these two sin offerings does not imply that the first offering was insufficient. On the contrary, the Scriptures assure us that the whole merit of redemption resides in the Lamb of God, whose sacrifice takes away the sin of the world. But as our Lord's testing was necessary as a demonstration of his loyalty to the Father even unto deathwas a consideration in respect to his high exaltation to the glory, honor and immortalityso in the Father's plan none can ever reach that same plane and be his joint-heirs in the Kingdom except as they shall demonstrate that they are possessed and controlled by the same spirit as that of their Redeemer. Hence the arrangement has been made that while Christ's death was a full value for the [R3709 : page 26] redemption of Adam and all his race, and full value for the sin, and atonement for the whole world of mankind, God has been pleased to apply that merit in an indirect way of first imputing righteousness to the Church and allowing the Church thus to be adopted as members of the body of Christ, and as members of his body permitting the Head to see to our sacrificing as parts of his own sacrifice, that he might thus offer us up as acceptable sacrifices, as a part of himself, that we might ultimately be with him partakers of his divine nature and sharers of his glory.
In this view all the Scriptures agree, that the sufferings of Christ are being filled up by the Church, which is his body. This, the Apostle tells us, was what was prophesied in olden times, namely, "the sufferings of Christ and the glory that would follow." The glory has not yet come, though we believe it is near. The reason for the long delay of the glory has been that the sufferings of Christ might be completed. Had it been the Father's plan that only Jesus was to suffer and only Jesus was to be glorified, then indeed the glory might have come more than eighteen centuries ago. The delay of the glory is in our interest, that, as the Apostle declared, "We might fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ."Col. 1:24.
In harmony with this statement are all the promises and encouragements of the New Testament; for instance the Apostle's statement, "If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him," "if we be dead with him we shall also live with him." (2 Tim. 2:12; Rom. 6:8.) After pointing out that we are heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord, the Apostle adds the conditions, namely, "If so be that we suffer with him." In expressing his own hope of a share in the Kingdom with our Lord the Apostle declares that he counts all things but loss and dross in comparison with the privilege of knowing him and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death, that he might also know, experience, the blessed honors and favors of our Lord's resurrection, the first resurrection, to glory, honor, immortality, the divine nature.
Coming back to the type, we see that the sacrifice of the goat was identical with that of the bullock in every particular: The priest shall do with the goat as he did with the bullock. The little fat of the goat was placed upon the altar, its small hoofs, horns and skin were burned without the camp, and represented the opposition of the world to those who are the Lord's true followers; and the High Priest again, as representing this class, the members of his body, offered incense upon the golden altar, and at the conclusion he again went into the Most Holy with the blood of the goat, which he sprinkled as he had previously done with the blood of the bullock, but not for the same purpose. The Lord's members have no share whatever in any atonement for themselves, no power to do aught to cleanse themselves from any sin or stain or to lift themselves out of condemnation; all that was done for them before they had any privilege of sacrificing. This second sacrifice of the Day of Atonement, we are specifically told, was to "make atonement for the sins of the people"Israel in general outside the priestly tribe representing the world outside the present household of faith.Lev. 16:15.
Throughout the Day of Atonement all the Israelites, representing all the families of the earth, were excluded from divine favor. They were under sin, under the curse, and conducted themselves in a manner to correspond with this thought. They fasted and wore sackcloth and ashes and humbled themselves in the dust, waiting for the completion of the Atonement Day sacrifices, which would reconcile them to God and bring his blessing. They continued so until the second sacrifice of the Atonement Day had been completed, until the blood of the goat had been offered for the sins of the people. Then the High Priest came out of the Tabernacle. He had finished the work which he went in to do. He changed his garments. Laying aside the white linen garments of the Day of Atonement he put on the garments of glory and beauty, his usual habiliments, and went forth to the people at the altar, and raising his hands gave them the blessing of the Lord Jehovah, which represented the forgiveness of the sins of the world, the rolling away of the curse or the sentence of death, the bringing of the whole world back into relationship to God. Then the people arose from the dust and gave a shout of thanksgiving. These pantomime doings were all typical.Heb. 9:24,28.
Throughout this Gospel age, the antitypical Day of Atonement, the whole world has been under condemnation except the few who have heard of the grace of God and accepted the same, and who thus have become reckonedly of the favored, antitypical tribe of Levi, the household of faith. As for the remainder of the world, the Apostle explains their condition of sackcloth and ashes, saying, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until nowwaiting for the manifestation of the sons of God."Rom. 8:22.
In the type Natural Israel waited for the great High Priest, in the antitype the world waits for the great High Priest Jesus, the Head of the Church, and the members of his bodythe glorified sons of God, who at the second advent of Christ and the establishment of his Kingdom will be revealed to the world in power and great glory, to give them knowledge of the remission of their sins, and to give them every assistance in uplifting them and in restoring all the willing and obedient to harmony with the Lord.
To rightly understand the foregoing is to discern that our Lord Jesus in his own person has been the Mediator between the Father and the household of faith during this Gospel age, and that in the divine order he is now selecting the members of his body, who with him and under him as the Head will be the Mediator between God and the world in the age to follow thisduring the Millennial age.
We are not to lose sight of the fact that all the responsibility is with the Head, and that the Lord requires of every one who shall be accepted as a member of the body of Christ that he shall lose his own headship, his own individuality, and shall accept instead the will and mind of Christ. As the Apostle says, "We have the mind of Christ," who is our head.1 Cor. 2:16.
From this standpoint Jesus is always the Mediatorjust as a man weighing a hundred pounds might fill an office, and if afterward he took on flesh and weighed two hundred pounds or more, he would still be the [R3710 : page 27] same man; what he added to his bulk would in no wise interfere with his individuality. So it is with Christ, he merely adds on these members. His own individuality is maintained, however many members may be added. It is still Jesus, still the Christ, who would be thought of and addressed, and the whole work accomplished is still the work of Christ. This is merely the divine method by which a little flock from amongst men are privileged to become associated with Jesus, in suffering with him now, in being glorified with him by and by. This is marvelous in our eyes, and none but our God would or could have conceived so broad and deep and high and glorious an arrangement.
Several texts come to mind, as, for instance, "By a man came death, by a man also comes the resurrection from the dead," "Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man," "He gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:6.) How do these texts fit in to what we have found to be the established testimony of God's Word respecting the relationship of the Church to her Lord in the sufferings as well as in the glory to follow?
They all fit perfectly when rightly viewed. They declare that the whole merit of the world's salvation was through Jesusthat is, centered in his death. Every Scripture so teaches; not a single Scripture implies that there is merit or efficacy in the sacrifice of the body members of Christ aside from the merit which those members received first through the sacrifice of Jesus. It is the merit of Christ, therefore, that reaches the world, that blesses the world, that is the ransom price for the world, although it is made to come through a circuitous route instead of going directly to the world. A portion of the world receives the blessing first, the believers; but the blessing does not stop with them, but does flow through them to all the families of the earth. These texts are all in full accord in ascribing the whole merit of salvation and the complete satisfaction of Justice to the merit of our Lord's sacrifice finished personally at Calvary, but by divine consent continued indirectly through his adopted members.
Let us inquire respecting the time of the satisfaction of Justice. Was Justice satisfied when the Lord left the glory which he had with the Father and was born a babe? No! Was it satisfied when he reached manhood's estate and had presented himself, the man Christ Jesus, at the time of his baptism, consecrating his life? No! for although the Father there accepted the sacrifice, and evidenced the acceptance by the giving of the holy Spirit, the sacrifice itself was not yet complete. Was Justice satisfied at the close of the three and a half years' ministry, when on the cross he cried, "It is finished?" No! Satisfaction was not yet accomplished, though the means of satisfaction was now in our Lord's hands. Was satisfaction of Justice accomplished when our Lord ascended up on high and appeared in the presence of God for us? Yes, we answer. Justice was satisfied so far as the "us" class was concerned, but not beyond the "us," the believers, the "household of faith." As already shown the curse still rests upon the world, which is still declared of the Lord to be under "condemnation."
Does the sacrifice of the Lord's people throughout this age down to the present time satisfy Justice? No! All the members of the body of Christ are counted in as one, and the sacrificing of the body members is not yet completed. Will Justice be satisfied when the last member of the Church shall have suffered as a member of the body of Christ? No! it will still be necessary for the "Head," after having supervised the sacrifice, to present the "members"to present before the Father the evidence that these adopted members followed in his steps, completed their consecration even unto death faithfully. Thus he will present us before the Father "blameless," "irreproachable." (Phil. 2:15.) Then the merit of this adopted portion of our Lord's sacrifice will be presented on behalf of the world, and, as shown us in the type, the Father is sure to accept it and to grant the full blessing, which will mean the rolling away, in every sense, of the sentence, the curse now resting upon the race.Col. 1:26,27.
Was it necessary for God to arrange the matter thus that the Church might have fellowship in the sufferings as well as in the glory of Christ, might be a part of the sin offering of the Day of Atonement as members of the body as well as his members in the throne? We answer that nothing was necessary except as God had previously determined to make it so; but, as the Apostle declares, this is a part of the mystery hid from previous ages and generations, that we should have fellowship, participation, with the Messiah in the sufferings as well as in the glory.
As we have seen, the fact that any atonement sacrifice was necessary was merely of the divine arrangement. God could have put a penalty upon Adam and his race that would not have required a redemption sacrifice. He chose the redemption plan because it would the better illustrate his government and the laws of his empire, that it might illustrate his wisdom, justice, love and power, and he added this feature of allowing the Church as members of the body of Christ to be participants with him as a further illustration of the same divine wisdom, justice, love and power. From God's standpoint the whole transaction of redemption is one, divided into two parts.
If the Day of Atonement were represented by the personal sufferings of our Lord Jesus' sacrifice, the antitype would be three and a half years at least; but when we see the full meaning of the divine plan we perceive that the Atonement Day lasts for nearly nineteen centuries, and that the "times of restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began" are delayed, until at the conclusion of this Atonement Day the great antitypical Jubilee shall be fully ushered in.