Monday, September 04, 2017

Ecclesiates 7:13 - How Could Crooked Mankind Be Made Straight?

Solomon stated:

I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and a chasing after wind. That which is crooked can't be made straight; and that which is lacking can't be reckoned as straight. -- Ecclesiastes 1:15, RLIV.

And later he says:

Ecclesiastes 7:13 - Consider the work of God, for who can make that straight, which he has made crooked?
-- World English.

In other words, man, under the present sun of crookedness and vanity, cannot make himself straight; he cannot justify himself. Mankind came to be under this sinful, crooked condition when Adam sinned. Mankind has been in a dying condition ever since that disobedience. Since none could justify himself, none could acceptable as a sacrifice to Jehovah to redeem mankind from his dying condition.

Psalms 49:7-9 - None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give God a ransom for him. For the redemption of their life is costly, No payment is ever enough, That he should live on forever, That he should not see corruption.
-- World English.

Sinful man, having been subjected to vanity and a crooked condition by God due to Adam's sin, cannot provide the price needed to redeem even one of his brothers, thus the sacrifice of any sinful human being, no matter how young or how innocent that human being made appear to be to man, would be an abomination before Jehovah.

As bleak as the words of Solomon and Psalmist may appear, neither said that there was no way for man to be redeemed. Both, however, in effect, stated that sinful man cannot redeem himself.

Paul agreed with Solomon, when he wrote:

Romans 8:20-22 - The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

The "creation" Paul speaks of is not in reference to angels. Neither the Hebrew scriptures nor the Christian New Testament ever speak of the angels as being under a bondage of corruption, or having been made crooked, etc. Thus the 'whole creation' that Paul speaks of is the old human creation (as contrasted with the new creation, the sons of God that Paul spoke of in Romans 8:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17; mankind, being under subjection as sun of crookedness, cannot free himself from that crooked condition.

The Psalmist declared that man's redemption is costly; it is some far beyond the ahility of sinful man to provide. However, Genesis 3:15 indicates that it was God intention to reverse the condemnation that had come upon man due to Adam's sin. According what is stated, however, taht seed was to bruised in the heel, while serpent was to bruised in the head. This indicates the costly price needed to redeem mankind. The redemption price would be a man, but it could not be a man of Adamic stock, for such a man cannot even justify himself. That man would have be born separate from the condemnation in Adam, so as not be crooked, sinful. Since man, under the present sun of crookedness, cannot produce a new creation, a creation that is not under the present sun that upon man through Adam. Such a man would not be under the subjection to the crooked condition of mankind.

Isaiah foretold of such a man, speaking as the children of Israel after that man had come:

Isaiah 53:2-10 - He has no form nor magnificence that we should see Him; nor form that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and abandoned of men, a Man of pains, and acquainted with sickness. And as it were hiding our faces from Him, He being despised, and we did not value Him.
4 Surely He has borne our sicknesses, and He carried our pain; yet we esteemed Him plagued, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His wounds we ourselves are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have each one turned to his own way; and Jehovah made meet in Him the iniquity of all of us. 7 He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, but He did not open His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a ewe before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from justice; and who shall consider His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living; from the transgression of My people, the stroke was to Him. 9 And He appointed Him His grave with the wicked, but He was with a rich man in His death; though He had done no violence, and deceit was not in His mouth. 10 But Jehovah pleased to crush Him, to make Him sick, so that If He should put His soul as a guilt offering.  -- Green's Literal.

He further says that this one "shall justify [be a means of justification, being made straight] for many, and He shall bear their iniquities." (Isaiah 53:11)

And, "He poured out His soul to death; and He was counted with those transgressing; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for those transgressing." -- Isaiah 53:12.

Here we have the description of the one who was be sacrificed -- cut off out of the land of the living -- for our sins. It is indeed a costly price for one who sinless to pay.

The NT tells us that it was God who prepared Jesus' body. (Hebrews 10:5) Thus, he was not born into this world under the condemantion that is in Adam that Paul wrote about. He had the costly price acceptable to God needed to redeem mankind, and he did so. -- Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6.









Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The True Gospel

“I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ”
Romans 1:16

God's Promises to Bless All Nations.
Bible card by Providence
Lithograph Co., 1906.
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
(1) SINCE the scriptures speak of those who preach a “different gospel” — an alleged good news — than that taught by the apostles (1 Corinthians 11:4), no apology seems necessary for our subject — “Which is the true Gospel of which the Apostle was not ashamed?” If time and thought may be profitably expended in the study of the earthly sciences — sociology, finance, etc., etc., built largely upon human inferences and conjectures — surely none could dispute the propriety of studying the science of divine revelation. If it is profitable to investigate the physical diseases of mankind and their causes, and the laws of medicine and of sanitation for the offset of these, it surely cannot be disputed that the Gospel which God has presented as the antidote for soul-sickness and soul-death, and as the science pertaining to life eternal, is worthy of still greater and more profound consideration.

(2) The greatest minds, the noblest specimens of our race, have admitted our topic to be the one above all others in importance; and have weighed it carefully — whether as a result they accepted or rejected it. We are not now discussing the weight of mental acumen enlisted for and against the Gospel. We are merely noting the fact that all men of ability have recognized that the subject is worthy of their careful consideration, and as having claims upon their attention paramount to any and all others. Indeed, it may be set down as a fact that whoever has given the subject of religion no consideration is one of three things, — a novice in mental exercise, or a near relative to “the fool who has said in his heart there is no Yahweh,” or a coward, preyed upon by fears, instigated by Satan to hinder honest investigation of the divine message of love and mercy. — Psalm 14:1.

(3) The fact that you are reading this indicates that you have given some thought to our theme; — though experience assures us that comparatively few have ever reached fully satisfactory conclusions on this subject. Hence your faith and love and zeal toward God and your zeal for the Gospel may be less strong than you could desire. We hope that this scriptural presentation many more, by God’s grace, will see more clearly than ever before which is the true Gospel — the one of which the Apostle was not ashamed, and of which, therefore, none of us need feel ashamed, — the Gospel, therefore, which should more and more move and energize us, as the power of God for salvation. — Romans 1:16.

(4) No one of intelligence will dispute the meaning of the word “Gospel;” it signifies “good/glad tidings,” good news, — a good message. According to Luke 2:10, the angel declared it to be "good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people." (American Standard Version) Nevertheless, often what many consider “a real gospel sermon” is understood to signify bad tidings — tidings of eternal misery to the great mass of our race — to all except the little flock of God’s faithful people who respond to a “gospel” of accepting Jesus or spending eternity in miserable suffering. As a consequence the preacher of a “gospel sermon” is expected to figuratively shake the congregation over an abyss of everlasting torture, making as strong an effort as possible to intimidate them thereby to a thorough reformation of life, in hope of thus escaping an awful eternity.

(5) True, this that we might term “the Gospel (?) of damnation” is not so generally preached as it once was, because more enlightened minds of cultured people repudiate it as a fetich of the past. Yet this perversion of the Gospel may still to be heard in some country places, at camp meetings, occasionally in the city pulpit, and universally in Salvation Army meetings. Nothing is further from our intention than a criticism of the consciences and honesty of intention of those who thus preach. And yet other preach a general gospel of damnation that is alleged be for most of the people that they will be eternally destroyed in Armageddon (or some other way) is they do not conform thier claims of leadership, etc. It is no part of our mission to criticize persons and motives, but with malice toward none and with love toward all we consider it not only our privilege but our duty to criticize doctrines, that thereby the truth may be more firmly established, and error brought into disrepute.

(6) Before we proceed to the consideration of the Gospel of which the Apostle was not ashamed — the Gospel set forth in the Scriptures — it will be expedient for us to take a glance at the different Gospels set forth by the various denominations of Christendom. It is not our thought that each denomination represents a different Gospel, for the differences in many instances are chiefly respecting ceremonies, forms, methods of government, name, etc., and not in respect to the message or Gospel held forth. Nevertheless, there are three distinct lines of faith, or doctrine — three distinct Gospels set forth in Christendom, all recognized as “orthodox,” because these all contain as their fundamental the doctrine of the eternal torment of many, or most, of mankind, except the comparatively few “saved.” Each of these three Gospels have millions of supporters, divided into numerous denominations. These in point of numbers are:

-1- The Roman Catholic faith, or Gospel, in which concur the Greek Catholics and Arminian Catholics, and some of the high-church Episcopalians.
-2- The Calvinistic Gospel, which is held by the various Presbyterian denominations, the Congregationalists, Baptists, and many Lutherans and Episcopalians.
-3- The Arminian Gospel, held and chiefly represented by the Methodists of various names and connections, and by the Free-Will Baptists: however, many of other denominations at heart accept the Arminian Gospel, while their church connections identify them with the Calvinistic Gospel. Hence we may say, so far as Protestantism is concerned, that the Arminian and the Calvinist Gospels are about equally supported.

(7) It may not be possible for us to handle our subject properly and thoroughly without offering some criticism of these three Gospels which for centuries have entrenched themselves in Christian minds, each fortified by the decisions of its own Councils, backed by voluminous opinions from their several theological seminaries, but we can and assuredly will strenuously avoid saying one solitary word in criticism of those who we believe conscientiously uphold these several conflicting Gospels. We call you to witness that we are all Scripturally enjoined to “Contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints” (the true Gospel), at the same time that we are enjoined by the same authority to “Speak evil of no man.” (Jude 1:3; Titus 3:2) We shall endeavor to keep strictly within these admittedly proper lines, and, additionally, as the Apostle admonishes: ‘Speak the truth in love.’ — Ephesians 4:15.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ROMAN CATHOLICISM

(8) The Gospel according to traditional Roman Catholicism is that man was created with a body and an immortal soul, that all men fell into sin and their immortal souls are condemned to eternal torment — that Christ accomplished a redemptive work which, supplemented by the sacrifice of the mass, and by prayers and penances, permits all believers (Roman Catholics) to escape that eternal torment, which will be the sure portion of most non-Catholics (with few exceptions) and heretics, regardless of their good works or morals. As for its own people, it holds that even many its highest officials, including bishops and popes, go to purgatory for refinement, purification from sin and to be prepared for heaven. It claims that some will spend only a short time in purgatory, assisted out of it by the merit of prayers, masses, etc., on their behalf by their friends after death. But their expectation is that ultimately purgatory will be no more, its thousands of millions being prepared for a better and happier condition. But according to all the great theologians of papacy, and according to all the earlier papal bulls, the vast majority of protestants, rejecters of papacy’s teachings, will suffer endless torment. (Some have claimed that the Catholic Church has changed their attitude in the last century or so.) This is the traditional Roman Catholic “gospel” fairly presented, as we understand it. It does not seem to us to be very good news — not very good tidings, even to those who get the very best it has to offer, and it certainly would be very bad tidings to all out of harmony with papacy.

THE GOSPEL PRESENTED BY CALVINISM

(9) Let us next look at the great protestant doctrine represented in the word Calvinism — the doctrine of the election of the church and the reprobation of all others. Calvinism claims that faith in Christ is essential to salvation and it admits that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17) Calvinism requires more than a mere knowledge of Christ and belief in him as a good and exemplary man, who died a martyr to his too extreme convictions. It requires faith in Christ’s death as a sacrifice for man’s sin, and at least some manifestation towards righteousness of life before any could be recognized as being of the elect church. Consequently, according to Calvinism, the elect church could not include the heathen of the present time and all the way back through the past, who have never heard of the only name given under heaven or amongst men whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12) Stretched to its very broadest, Calvinism could not include more than one in twenty of earth’s fifty thousand millions that are estimated to have lived from Adam’s day until the present time. In other words, according to the broadest possible estimate of this view, more than forty-seven billions of humanity were, in the language of the “Westminster Confession of Faith”, “passed by” as non-elect in the divine plan.

(10) And what does this mean — “passed by” or “non-elect?” It means, according to Calvinism, that God, who knew the end from the beginning, before creating this world and mankind upon it, determined that he would “pass by” and not elect the great majority of those billions of his creatures to life and happiness, but would predestine them to an eternity of torture, and that carrying out this diabolical plan, he prepared a great place large enough to hold billions, and fuel sufficient to produce the necessary combustion there to all eternity — did all this with a full appreciation of all the awful facts and circumstances of the case.

(11) Moreover, we remember the statement of Calvinism to the effect that God’s favor toward the elect is not because of any worthiness on their part, nor because of any works which they had done, but “of his own sovereign grace” he saves them from all the horrible conditions which he has predestined shall be upon the others. Now if the salvation of the elect is not because of their works or worthiness, but because of God’s sovereign grace only, the simplest mind can see that God might without any violation of principle have extended that sovereign grace to others — to all, since it was not because of worthiness nor because of works, but merely of his own volition that any are saved, — according to Calvinism.

(12) It is reported that the celebrated Jonathan Edwards, when preaching upon this subject in New England years ago, after picturing the awful torment of the non-elect, was asked the question: “Would not the thought of the anguish of the lost mar the bliss of God’s people in glory?” His answer in substance was: “No; you will be so changed that such matters will not affect you; you will look over the battlements of heaven and see in torment your neighbors and friends, and yes, your own parents and children, brothers and sisters, and turning round will praise God the louder because his justice is made manifest.”

(13) We are glad to note that many of our Calvinistic friends are repudiating this doctrine, realizing that there is in it a serious lack, not only as respects divine love, but also as respects divine justice. We are glad some years ago to note that some of our Presbyterian friends were so moved by higher and nobler conceptions of the Almighty that they wished to rid themselves of any part in so blasphemous a statement respecting his character and his plan. We are sorry, however, that when the matter of “the revision of the Presbyterian standards” was taken up it was found that only a minority was in favor of revision, and we are still more sorry to note that that minority of intelligent, godly people was willing to continue to confess to such a horrible mis-statement of their true views — willing to continue to “blaspheme that holy name” because a majority of their brethren were unwilling that such blasphemous misrepresentations should be discontinued.

(14) We are prone to believe that if this matter were brought to the intelligent attention of Presbyterians in general, a large majority would be found willing, nay, anxious, to undo the wrong and to make such reparation as would be within their power, by way of honoring the great Yahweh and attesting their appreciation of his love and his justice, as well as of his wisdom and of his power. This is just the point: Calvinism, in its anxiety to establish the wisdom and power of God, his foreknowledge and his ability to carry out his plan, has conceived of a plan which is far from the correct one, lacking both in justice and in love.

(15) It may be argued that Love is a virtue and that its exercise is not incumbent upon Jehovah; that all that could be asked or expected of him would be simple Justice, and some might be ready to claim that for God to eternally torment these untold billions “passed by” would be in strict accord with Justice. This we deny! We claim that having the power to create mankind would not justify their creation if the Creator saw that the result would be the everlasting torture of a single creature. Justice would say that power is not to be exercised to the injury of another, and that to exercise the creative power under such foreknown conditions would be injustice. And Wisdom attuned to Justice would say, Better a thousand times never to have created anybody than to have created one being to suffer eternally, for such eternal suffering would not be just, but unjust.

(16) We have endeavored that this statement be a fair representation of the Gospel according to John Calvin, and of the beliefs of those who subscribe to the Westminster Confession and their allies. This surely is not the Gospel of which the Apostle Paul, in our text, declared, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” Paul would assuredly have been ashamed of such a Gospel, and so are all enlightened Christians, who have the spirit of love and justice, and also a developed knowledge of God's plan. Nevertheless, there are those who unfortunately, through circumstances of birth, etc., and hitherto without realizing what it meant, have been lending their name and influence to this great blasphemy against the divine character.

THE ARMINIAN VIEW OF THE GOSPEL

(17) Let us now examine the Arminian view. This view is growing in popularity. Its message or Gospel is: God is love — he loves you; he loves everybody; he is doing all that he can to save everybody; if you are lost it will not be God’s fault, but your own. On the surface, at least, this theory seems much more loving and much more just than the one already examined, but before we go far we will also find it very defective, very far from being either a reasonable or a Scriptural Gospel. We will find it inconsistent with its own statement — illogical.

(18) For instance, while it sounds nice theoretically to say that God is doing all that he can do to save the whole world at the present time, everybody knows that this is not true; that on the contrary you or I or any other intelligent human being if possessed of the one-thousandth part of the divine power and wisdom could speedily accomplish the evangelization of the whole world. Nor will it do to say that God has committed himself to a certain mode of procedure through his Church, and that if the Church fails to contribute with sufficient liberality both money and evangelists the heathen will not hear of “the only name given under heaven or amongst men whereby we must be saved,” but will go to eternal torment, etc. Neither will it do to say that God is doing all that he can do and is hampered by the lack of interest in the Church; because his wisdom and foreknowledge foresaw all these conditions as they are, and he could not justly be excused from the real responsibility of the matter, since he is the Creator, and in him is vested the all-power as well as the all-wisdom. Such a claim as this would be tantamount to saying that God has erred in wisdom when he thought to leave the conversion of the world to the Church, seeing that the Church has not accomplished this. Such a claim would be merely excusing God from doing all that he can do, instead of showing that he is doing all that he can do.

(19) But let us look more critically into this matter. If this view we are criticizing is correct, if God is doing all that he can to save the world, and if he has been doing this during all the past ages, then without question the world’s conversion is a hopeless thing, and we can never expect to see better results than at present. This theory presupposes a race or battle between the Almighty and Satan, each seeking to capture the human family, and to the discredit of the theory it shows Satan the victor thus far. Starting out with one pair, both on Jehovah’s side, the first 1656 (according to the Masoretic text) years ended with a flood in which the whole world of mankind was blotted out because of wickedness, and only eight persons reckoned sufficiently righteous to be preserved. Starting again with those eight persons counted sufficiently righteous for preservation, we find that there are in the world today over five billion people, and that out of that whole number there are about two billion professing Christians, and a very much smaller number of true “saints of God.”

(20) What would be the lesson from this if the Arminian theory be correct, that God is doing all that he can do to save the world? The lesson would be that with all his good intentions of love and mercy our God is thoroughly incapable of the work he undertook to do. In effect, this theory presents God as a very weak God. And if these are the results in six thousand years, what could we hope for in the future? How many hundreds of millions of years would it be before the whole world would be converted? We answer that according to statistics it would never be, for statistics show that the natural increase of population throughout the world is far, far beyond the proportion of even nominal conversions from heathendom. Indeed, according to some good reckonings, the percentage of Christians every year is decreasing, the births of heathen lands so far outnumbering the births of Christian lands — even counting all the children born in Christendom as Christians.

(21) Is any Christian, in view of these facts, prepared to claim that our God has been doing all that he could do for the conversion of the world? If so, that Christian may as well write upon his hopes at once the word “Ichabod” (meaning "There is no glory"). If we saw that the Calvinistic view magnifies the wisdom and power of God at the expense of his justice and love, we find on the other hand that the Arminian view magnifies the love of God at the expense of his wisdom and power. The true Gospel must show divine Wisdom and Power in full accord with divine Justice and Love: of any other we must needs be ashamed.

DISTINCTIONS WITHOUT PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE

(22) But we may as well now as at any time concede that there is comparatively little difference in the outcome of these two popular Protestant Gospels — the difference is merely a theoretical one respecting how the results are to be reached. The results themselves are the same in both cases — the eternal doom and torment of over forty-seven billion of human creatures. For our Arminian friends no less than Calvinists agree that there is no salvation aside from faith in Christ, the only name given; and they admit also that of those who believe in Christ only the sanctified are of the real Church; and their Gospel is also that only the real Church is to be saved and that all others are to be eternally and most horribly tormented; — some claim in literal flames, others say by the torments and gnawings of conscience and remorse, which they proceed to say will be worse than the literal flames, — and we respond, if worse, so much worse for the argument.

(23) All will surely agree as respects these two theories or Gospels held out to the world by Protestant Christendom that it would make no difference to the forty-seven thousand millions, whether they got into that awful state of hopeless woe by divine predestination and lack of love and justice, or by divine incapacity and lack of foreknowledge and proper arrangements. We believe that no true Christian will be ready after examining the subject thus far to say that he fully approves either of these theories, and that he is not ashamed of both of them.

CONSIDER NOW THE TRUE GOSPEL

(24) Let us now proceed to examine what is the true Gospel, presented to us in the Word of God — the Gospel of which the Apostle was not ashamed. The word “gospel” itself should be the clue — should save the intelligent Christian from being misled by the various theories of bad tidings of great misery for nearly all people, miscalled “gospel.” He who thinks it good news that one out of a thousand of the human family is to be saved and the remaining 999 to be eternally tormented, is either not a Christian at all, or he is decidedly undeveloped in Christian character, in mercy, in love, in justice. In our opinion he is at most only a “babe in Christ” who has need first of the milk of the Word and subsequently of the “strong meat” thereof, that he may grow up into Christ in all things, and be able to comprehend with all saints the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God which passeth all understanding. — Ephesians 3:18,19.

(25) When occasionally we come across some one who gives evidence of being a Christian, and who still entertains such horribly blasphemous views respecting the Heavenly Father’s character, we feel like quoting to him Jehovah’s words through the Prophet, “My ways are not as your ways, nor my thoughts as your thoughts, for as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my plans higher than your plans.” (Isaiah 55:8,9) And part of our object in this study is to have those, whose eyes are anointed of Yahweh, that they may see spiritual things, discern some of Jehovah’s higher ways and higher plans which he presents to us in his Word under the name “gospel” — good tidings.

NOT “UNIVERSAL SALVATION TO IMMORTALITY”
BUT A SALVATION OF ALL DYING IN ADAM TO
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ETERNAL LIFE

(26) The Apostle tells us that God preached the Gospel beforehand to Abraham, “beforehand” signifying before it was due to be preached with its full understanding; please note that the actual preaching of the Gospel did not begin with Abraham, but with our Lord Jesus Christ, as the apostle again declares, this salvation “began to be declared by our Lord and was confirmed to us by them that heard him.” (Galatians 3:8; Hebrews 2:3) All that ever went before our Lord’s preaching was not the actual full preaching of Gospel, but merely types and promises which foreshadowed it. Let us notice next what, according to the Apostle, constituted this forestatement of the Gospel to Abraham: he says that it was couched in the words, “In you and in your seed all nations will be blessed.” (Galatians 3:16,29) Note this carefully: it does not say, In your seed one out of a thousand out of the families of the earth will be blessed, and the remainder be doomed to an indescribably horrible eternity, but that the whole Gospel is a Gospel of blessing, applicable to all the families of the earth — through Christ, the true seed of Abraham.

(27) When our Lord Jesus was born into the world, the Heavenly Father sent a message respecting him, and the angels who bore that message declared that it was a Gospel message. Let us hearken to what the angels said about the eternal torment of the vast majority of our race. They said to the shepherds, “Behold we bring you good tidings [gospel] of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:10) Let it be distinctly noted that the Gospel of the angels, like the Gospel communicated to Abraham, contains no reference to the damnation and eternal misery of any of Yahweh’s creatures, and that consequently our friends of the Salvation Army and others, who in ignorance preach eternal damnation and call it the Gospel, are doing so in utter violation of the meaning of the word and of all the uses of that word throughout the Scriptures. However well they may mean, they are in this certainly committing a wrong, a grievous wrong, and we long to see the light of the knowledge of the goodness of God shine into their hearts and relieve them of this blindness which comes not from God nor from his Word, but from the prince of darkness. — 2 Corinthians 4:4.

(28) It will require all the Millennial age (the age to come -- Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Hebrews 6:5 -- which is to follow this Gospel age in which we live) to bless all the families of the earth with the joyful knowledge of divine grace in Christ. Just so surely as the estimated more than forty-seven thousand millions went down into death without hearing of the Saviour, without coming to a clear knowledge of the truth, without the good tidings of great joy reaching their ears, — just so surely must they all come forth from the grave that this very Gospel message of “good tidings” may be declared to them, and that they may be tested thereby and either be accepted to eternal life or destroyed, as unworthy of life, in the Second Death. We say just so surely, for three reasons:

-1- The announcement of the Gospel to Abraham says, “In your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” and all of these forty-seven billion belong to this very class specified, the families of the earth — and they have not yet been blessed with this knowledge of the only name wherein is the blessing.
-2- The same is true of the message by the angel, — the good tidings of great joy is for all people, and these forty-seven thousand millions of humanity are surely the great bulk of all people.
-3- We are sure that this testimony must be given to them in the future because the Scriptural declaration is that “Christ died for the ungodly;” “he tasted death for every man,” and as a consequence every man must have an opportunity granted him for benefitting by that death, and of availing himself of the privilege of eternal life which was secured by our Lord’s ransom sacrifice.

DID CHRIST DIE FOR THE CHURCH ONLY?

(29) But some one would perhaps say: “Christ died only for the sins of the Church and not for the sins of the world, and consequently the sins of the world cannot be forgiven them.” We answer, No; the Scriptural declaration most positively is that “Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man,” “to be testified in due time.” (Hebrews 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:6) And, additionally, the Apostle says, “He is a propitiation [satisfaction, atoning sacrifice] for our [the Church’s] sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) The "world" in 1 John 2:2 is the same "world" spoken of in John 12:47, where Jesus says that he came not to condemn the world (which has already been condemned in Adam -- Romans 5:12-19), but save the world (from the condemnation in Adam -- 1 Corinthians 15:21,22).

(30) What could be plainer than this? If the price for the sins of the whole world has been paid to satisfy God's Justice, we may rest well assured that His Justice will furnish opportunity through the Redeemer whereby all these whose sins were atoned for may come to a knowledge of Christ, and to an opportunity of accepting divine grace through him.

(31) But some one will say, Why should God adopt a plan which would necessitate a resurrection of the dead, and a post-resurrection trial for eternal life except for all the elect Church of this Gospel age? We answer, 

-1- It is not for us to inquire why Jehovah adopts certain plans which differ from those which our poor finite minds might arrange for him: rather it is for us to acknowledge that our wisdom is insufficient on such a subject and that we should come humbly to Jehovah to hear from his Word whatever he may be pleased to inform us respecting his purposes. 
-2- As a matter of fact only those who approach the question from this standpoint need expect to see the truth or to “comprehend with all saints the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God.” — Ephesians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 2:12

(32) God has been pleased, however, to reveal to us some of his reasons for arranging his plan as we see it. He assures us of his full wisdom and power to manage every feature of his own work according to his own good pleasure, assuring us that he knows the end from the beginning, and that the end will fully justify every step that he has taken. His Word, no less than observation, shows us that during all these six thousand years the world has been getting a lesson respecting the exceeding sinfulness of sin and its wages of sorrow and death. His Word assures us also that during the next age, the Millennium, the whole world will be brought to a knowledge of the way of righteousness and love and peace, and will see the divine law in practical operation, and witness its beneficent results in all those who will come into harmony with the great Mediator.

(33) Thus mankind learns the lesson of evil and its consequences first in the present life, and the lesson of righteousness and its blessed results under divine providence, in the Millennium; and when thus fully equipped with knowledge on both sides of the question and instructed by the Royal Priesthood, (the completed and glorified elect Gospel Church), mankind will be ready for the tests, that will be applied by the Lord Jesus, under which the obedient and faithful will be granted full perfection and eternal life, and the disobedient and incorrigible will “be destroyed from amongst the people.” — Acts 3:22,23

“IF YOU ARE CHRIST’S,
THEN YOU ARE ABRAHAM’S SEED AND HEIRS”

(34) Another matter, really the key to the whole question which we are discussing, is revealed in God’s Word, viz., that in the divine purpose the promised “Seed of Abraham” that should perform the great work of blessing all the families of the earth (Genesis 12:3; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Romans 4:13,16; Galatians 3:8,16,29), is to be one, in the sense of one kind, but not in the sense of one person — that is to say, that the seed of Abraham will consist of all who believe the promise in faith (Luke 20:37,38; Romans 4:3,13,16; Galatians 3:6; Hebrews 11:13,17,39); in this Christian age, it thus includes all who belong to Christ. — Galatians 3:7,29.

(35) This Gospel age intervening between the time of the great sin offering and the time when the blessing of earth’s billions will commence, God has set apart for the work of selecting or electing the seed of Abraham who are to bless all the families of the earth. The scriptures speak of those being selected as the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), “the church” (Acts 2:47; 5:11; 20:28 — King James Version), the “little flock,” (Luke 12:32) the “royal priesthood,” (1 Peter 2:9) the spiritual “children of Israel” “by faith,” (Revelation 7:4; Romans 4:16) “heirs of God” (Romans 8:17) and “sons of God.” (Galatians 3:26) The salvation provided for these heirs and sons of God is higher than that which God purposes for the world in general, as they all, if faithful, receive an inheritance in the kingdom. But an even greater purpose is also revealed in selecting these heirs of God, and that is the selection of “joint-heirs” with Christ. (Romans 8:17) The ones who receive joint-heirship receive the highest rewards in the kingdom. The selecting of these heirs and “joint-heirs” and trying them and proving them, fitting them and polishing them for service in the Kingdom, and it is to these, as the Apostle Peter declares, God has given “exceeding great and precious promises [far beyond any promises given to any other of his creatures] that by these [promises] we might become partakers of the divine [Strong’s Greek #2304 – godlike] nature [Strong’s #5449 – growth],”* and receive the inheritance of the kingdom in order to bless all the families of the earth.
==========
*See our study on The Divine Nature

(36) This true view of the calling and election of the Church is another feature of the Gospel — the true “good news (gospel) of great joy which will be to all the people.” (Luke 2:10) If it is splendid, good news to know that ultimately all families of the earth are to be blessed with opportunities for salvation through the Christ, it is still an additional feature to the good news to know that God has invited us to become members of the Christ company, “members in particular of the body of Christ.” — 1 Corinthians 12:27.

(37) This is the true Gospel, the one we find set forth in the Scriptures, set forth by Paul himself, and of which he was not ashamed. This Gospel shows the character of our Creator in a most wonderful light, — his Wisdom, able to discern the end from the beginning (Acts 15:18; Isaiah 46:9,10); his Power, able to accomplish that which he pleases (Isaiah 55:11); his Justice, squaring every feature of the plan from first to last (Acts 15:18), according to the most absolute features of righteousness (Psalm 145:17; Revelation 15:3); his Love, whose lengths and breadths and heights and depths we have not yet been able to explore (Romans 11:33); a love which sympathizes with his creatures in their fallen estate (John 3:16,17; 12:47,48); a love which provided a Savior, and “who is the Savior of all men” (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:10); a love which prompted that Savior to give his life as our ransom price (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; Romans 5:8; 1 Timothy 2:5,6); a love which met all the requirements of divine justice for us (Romans 6:18); a love which still pursues mankind, and in this Gospel age calls many to heirship as sons that they may share in blessing the world in the kingdom age. — Romans 8:14

(38) “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God.” (1 John 3:1) This divine love, still pursuing its original plan for man’s salvation, will use the “elect” glorified house of sons, of which Christ Jesus is the Head (Ephesians 1:22), in blessing all families of the earth with full opportunity of knowledge and full assistance up the highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8) that so many as will may attain to the restoration of all that was lost in Adam by coming back into harmony with God through the great Mediator. — Acts 3:19-23

NONE NEED BE ASHAMED OF THE TRUE GOSPEL

(39) Surely of this Gospel we are not ashamed, “for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16) It has in our hearts a transforming and renewing power, a sanctifying power which no error could possibly have, and which all the theories of eternal torment have never equaled and never will. Let us more and more “show forth the praises of our God, who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light,” by renouncing all God-dishonoring creeds and theories, and instead hold forth the Word of life, and witness the good confession — the “good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” — 1 Peter 2:9; Colossians 1:13; Luke 2:10 (KJV)

(40) All who will declare the true Gospel will need to be well shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (gentleness, patience, meekness) for, strange to say, they will find bitter opposition from professed servants of Christ who have been blinded and prejudiced by Satan’s misrepresentations of the Gospel, — by which he seeks to drive from Jehovah all who have a remnant of reason in their religious thinking. (Ephesians 6:13-18; Galatians 5:22,23; 2 Timothy 3:12; John 15:20; 1 Peter 5:8) All who have ears to hear, and who do hear the true Gospel, will quickly distinguish it from the miserable counterfeits which for so long have passed current among God’s people. (Matthew 11:15; 13:9,16) Let all such remember that ability to hear is an evidence of divine favor in this regard, and let them not be ashamed, but glorify God on this behalf. (1 Peter 4:16) Let such remember, also, that their acceptance of truth as due, in the face of unpopularity, is a part of their testing. (Revelation 2:10; 1 Peter 1:7) Jehovah puts his plan, his Word, as his representative, saying — He that is ashamed of me and my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with his holy angels. — Mark 8:38.

(41) The call still goes forth, then, to “repent, and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 2:38) If you are not already a disciple of Jesus, are you ready to count the cost of being a disciple of Christ? (Luke 14:25-35) Are you willing to give yourself in full devotion to Jesus and his Godin appreciation of what he has done for you? (Romans 5:8; Ephesians 1:6-8) Then go to God in prayer and tell him of your desire to turn away from all that he hates and your heart’s desire to serve him through Jesus. — Hebrews 13:21.

Presented by Ronald R. Day, Sr., Restoration Light Bible Study Services (ResLight, RlBible). Much of the above has been adapted from a sermon by Charles Taze Russell

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Did Jesus Die for Those Condemned to the Second Death?

Many fail to distinguish between the condemnation in Adam, resulting in the condition of sheol/hades, and the condemnation of the second death, represented by the "Lake of Fire."  Some believe that Jesus' sacrificial death for sin also includes those who are condemned to the "second death." (Or  they fail to recognize the second death as being a second condemnation.) While Jesus' sacrifice does indeed save everyone who is dying in Adam from that death in Adam, we do not agree, however, that anyone is rescued from the "second death", except that in the sense that one may be rescued from coming under the condemnation of the second death. That is, one can be taking steps that could lead to the condemnation of the second death, and be rescued from taking to those steps before actually receiving the condemnation of the second death. Jesus' sacrifice, however, does not cover anyone who has actually become under the condemnation of the second death. Once one is given the additional sentence of the second death, there is no sacrifice for such. -- Hebrews 10:26.

One needs to realize that mankind in general is not under the condemnation of the second death. The condemnation upon man through Adam is the death in Adam (1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:15-19). This condemnation was not eternal roasting in a place of fiery torture, nor was it what some like call "spiritual death," but it is a condemnation that resulted in physical death. Jesus is not roasting or suffering for eternity to pay the price for sin; he is not now suffering an eternal spiritual death; rather he physically died for our sins. (1 Corinthians 15:3) Thus, the wages of sin is physical death, and the benefits of that ransom applied is regarding human life. It was human life that was lost, and it is human life that is rescued. (1 Corinthians 15:21,22) It was from the death in Adam, which death results in the oblivious condition of hades/sheol (Ecclesiastes 9:5), that Jesus physically died to rescue mankind from. (1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:6,8,15-19) It is from death and hades, not the second death, that mankind is rescued from. -- Hosea 13:14; Revelation 20:13.

No human can come under the condemnation of the second death, except that he first be "made alive" from the death in Adam. The overall application of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus belongs, not in this age, but the age to come, in the regeneration (Matthew 19:28), when the whole world will be made alive in the resurrection day. --John 5:28,29; 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24; John 12:47,48; Acts 24:15.
The world in general will be brought back to life in the last day here on earth for the final judgment. (John 12:47,48; Isaiah 2:2-4) Jehovah comes to judge the people on the physical earth by means of Jesus. -- Psalm 96:13; 98:9; Acts 17:31.

However, one can be reckoned -- counted -- as justified and made alive in this age through faith in the blood of Jesus, accounting the powers of the age to come as already upon him. -- Romans 3:21,22,24; 4:5,17,24,25; 6:11,13; Ephesians 2:1,5; Colossians 2:13; Hebrews 6:5.

Nevertheless, in this age, even one who has not been counted as alive by faith will be made alive in the age to come, and what he does in this age can affect his ability to escape from coming under the judgment of Gehenna (the second death) in the age to come. -- Matthew 5:22; 10:15; 11:22,24; 12:32; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:12,14; 12:10.

The Christian believer, however, in this age, until he has overcome, until he has put on incorruption (1 Corinthians 15:54), until he has attained the goal of perfection of faith and love (Philippians 3:12.14; Colossians 1:28; 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; Hebrews 6:1; James 1:4; 2 Peter 1:4-19; 1 John 4:17), is in danger of being harmed by the second death (Revelation 2:11) if he turns to willful sin, since there is no more sacrifice for sin. -- Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:18,26,27,29.

Thus, once one comes under the condemnation of the second death, there is no more hope for such. They are without life forever. There is no more sacrifice for sin, and the ransom sacrifice of Jesus does not cover those under that condemnation.

In the age to come, the unbelievers will be released from hades, because Christ went to hades, paying the wages of sin, so that all in hades may be released. These will be raised in the resurrection of judgment.  (John 5:28,29; 12:47,48; Revelation 20:13) They are released from the condemnation in Adam by means of Jesus' sacrifice. They are not judged again to receive their former condemnation, but are judged by means of the things that are written in the books that are opened to them at that time, according to their works. (Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 7:10; Revelation 20:12) Those who fail to put on incorruption at that time (1 Corinthians 15:54) will come under a new condemnation, that is, the second death. No, they are never rescued from that condemnation, since there is no more offering for sin. They are devoured in the second death. (Revelation 20:9; Hebrews 10:27) It is then that the prophecy will come true: "The wicked will be no more. Yes, though you look for his place, he isn't there." -- Psalm 37:10.


On the other hand, after the judgment day, the sheep will inherit the kingdom, the peaceful dominion, that was prepared for mankind from the foundation of the world (Genesis 1:26,28; Psalm 8:5-8; Matthew 25:34; Hebrews 2:6-8), as it was meant for mankind, incorruptible physical life on the earth, and they will live forever in peace upon the earth. -- Psalm 37:11,20; Isaiah 11:6-9; 25:8 (1 Corinthians 15:54); Matthew 5:5; 25:46; Revelation 20:1-4.


Revelation 20:14 - Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:15 - If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.


Some have claimed this is not speaking of the person as being thrown into the lake of fire, but rather than it is sin and evil that thrown into the lake of fire. Thus they claim that absolutely everyone will live for eternity, and no one will be eternally destroyed.

While the book of Revelation is symbolic, what is actually stated does not warrant such a conclusion. The scripture does not say that it is simply sin and evil that is thrown into the lake of fire. One has to come up with a lot beyond what is written to force such an idea into what is stated. It is speaking of those, who after having receiving the knowledge of the truth, then willfully join forces with Satan against God and His Son. The fact that the new creature, before having overcome in having developed perfection of faith, can be harmed by the second death (Revelation 2:11) shows that it is speaking of persons, nor just principles of sin and evil.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ezekiel 18:20,21 and The Condemnation in Adam

One claims that it is the consequence of Adams sin we suffer but we are not guilty of his sin. Ezekiel 18:20.21 is given as proof. We are asked how we explain this.

We need to 'rightly divide the word of truth' (2 Timothy 2:15, King James Version), else one can get matter confused. Indeed, many of the so-called "contradictions" many people see in the Bible is due to the fact that they fail to rightly divide what is being said, and thus they get scriptures tangled together that seem to be contradictory. We will here endeavor to try to untangle the confusion step-by-step. The truth seeker should take time out to examine all presented and humbly pray for God's spirit for help in understanding what is presented.

First, we need to realize that Ezekiel 18:20,21 is referring to those under the Law Covenant, providing a picture of the coming judgment day. Second, we need to understand that the children of Israel were already under the condemnation of death through Adam before the Law Covenant had been given, along with all the world of mankind. Thus, Paul wrote: "For until the law, sin was in the world; but sin is not charged when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those whose sins weren't like Adam's disobedience." -- Romans 5:13,14, World English.

Thus, we need to realize that from Adam up until the Law, all were already dying, although they were not necessarily dying due to personal sin, for we read that "sin is not charged when there is no law." Paul then explains that "by the trepass of the one the many died." Those who died before the Law had been given were thus dying due the trepass of Adam, even though their sins were not due to disobedience of any specific law, as was Adam's. (Genesis 2:16,17) Thus, while individual sin was not charged upon those who died from Adam until the Law, they were counted, or made, sinners due to Adam's sin, as Paul continues to show. -- Romans 5:17-19.

Since all of Adam's decendants are "made sinners" due to Adam's sin, all do indeed share in the guilt of that sin, else there would be no death of embryos, infants, and babies who have never committed any personal sin for which to be condemned. When Adam and Eve disobeyed the just law given to them, through that disobedience mankind came to be condemned to death, and became, by nature children of disobedience, children of God's wrath. (Romans 5:12-19; Ephesians 2:2,6) Having become corrupted, crooked, none of mankind could make straight - justified - that which God had made crooked. - Ecclesiastes 1:15; 7:13.

The Law Covenant through Moses was given to the Israelites with the promise that if anyone could obey that Law, he could live by means of that Law. (Leviticus 18:5; Nehemiah 9:29; Ezekiel 20:11,13,21) Jesus spoke of this as recorded in Luke 10:27,28, and Paul wrote about this in Romans 10:5; Galatians 3:12. In other words, if anyone could obey that Law, he would have been justified by the Law, and would no longer be under the condemnation of death in Adam. None of Adam's descendants, however, gained life under the Law; no man can could make himself straight, justified, by means of obedience to the Law. -- Acts 13:39; Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16; 3:11.

However, by condemning all in the one man Adam, God could remain just and yet justify mankind (Romans 3:26) by means of the sacrifice of another sinless man for Adam and all who are dying in Adam. (1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:14) This is the basis of Jesus' paying a debt, a ransom, to God for all. (1 Timothy 2:5,6) When Adam sinned, Adam and all his descendants became in "debt" due to sin; this can be illustrated by a man's own judicial system. If John owes Bill $1,000, and John cannot pay the debt, someone else could pay the debt for John. So if a third party, Peter, paid the debt to Bill for John, John would then be acquitted of any debt owed to Bill. In effect, this is what Jesus did, he came and paid the wages for sin (Romans 6:23) for Adam and all who are dying in Adam (Romans 5:12-19), although he himself was not a sinner. Thus, we should all be glad that all mankind are made sinners in Adam, for it is only by this means that we are provided a means of salvation from death. If any were to die outside of the condemnation, then there would be no sacrifice for their death, since there is only one sacrifice given for sin.

However, getting back to Ezekiel 18, those under the Law Covenant could be put to death for violation of many of its laws. Such a death would have been the death in Adam; others who did not commit a sin that would bring an execution of death under the Law were permitted to live their temporal life, but still eventually died due to Adam's sin. If Ezekiel 18:9 is viewed as saying that one is justified and will live for eternity as a result of doing what is stated in Ezekiel 18:5-8, then we know that no one has obtained such a justification, otherwise we would see Jews today who are thousands of years of age walking around, never committing one violation of the Law Covenant. Paul tells us that no one has been justified by the Law. (Romans 3:20; 8:3; Galatians 2:16,21; 3:11,21; 5:4) Under that law, however, a son could not be put to death for the sin of the Father, nor could the Father be put to death for the sin of the son. Each would die for his own sin. Those who did commit sin that required execution were to be put to death, while others who did not commit such a sin were permitted to continue living.

None of this conflicts with the condemnation of all through Adam, nor with the ransom sacrifice of Jesus for all who are condemned in Adam. -- Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6.

For more related to this, see our studies:

How God's Son Condemned Sin the Flesh
http://ransomforall.blogspot.com/2016/12/rom8-3.html
Divine Economy in the Ransom
http://ransomforall.blogspot.com/2017/05/economy.html
Jesus' Sacrifice for Sin
http://ransomforall.blogspot.com/2017/05/sacrifice.html
The Seed of David
http://ransomforall.blogspot.com/2017/05/seeddavid.html

1 Peter 3:18, Romans 8:8,9 and Jesus' Sacrifice for Sin

1 Peter 3:18 - Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. -- Young’s Literal.

Romans 8:8 Those who are in the flesh can't please God.
Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man doesn't have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.

The claim is sometimes made that "in the flesh" and "in the spirit" of 1 Peter 3:18 contrasts the fleshly, carnal, or sinful way of life with that of the spiritual, godly way of life. Romans 8:8,9 is referred to as support of this.

Peter states regarding Jesus’ sacrifice that Jesus suffered for sins once, in that he was put to death in the flesh. If the thought is to apply Romans 8:8,9 to what Peter stated in 1 Peter 3:18, the logical conclusion would be that the sacrifice that Jesus gave for sin was was that he died toward walking in the sinful flesh. (Romans 8:3) However, as was stated, Jesus’ flesh was not sinful. Peter said that Jesus was righteous, that is, he was not of the crooked, unrighteous, generation that has come through Adam. -- Genesis 3:17-20; Ecclesiastes 1:2,13-15; 7:13; Romans 5:12-19; 8:20-22; Philippians 2:15.

This is supported by what Peter had stated earlier in that same letter (1 Peter 1:18,19):

You were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, the blood of Christ.

Peter is indeed talking about the actual sacrifice of Jesus’ flesh with its blood.

Romans 8:8,9 refers to walking in accordance with the sinful flesh versus walking in accordance with the spirit. It is contrasting the new creation in Christ with the old creation, the sons of disobedience. Jesus’ flesh, of course, was not sinful, although he came in the likeness of sinful flesh and, although he suffered as though he were a sinner, he proved that a sinless man can be remain obedient, by which obedience he condemned sin in the flesh. Jesus’ obedience, in itself, was the sacrifice that Peter wrote of in 1 Peter 3:18.

It says nothing about being either a spirit being or a human being. The son of God are first reckoned, not as having spiritual bodies, but as having bodies of flesh. Jesus’ sacrifice only restores man to what Adam lost; Adam did not lose a celestial, spiritual body; he lost a terrestrial, earthly, physical body. When Adam disobeyed, all of his offspring are counted in God’s sight in that disobedience. It would take another man, having a sinless body of flesh as Adam possessed before Adam sinned, a man outside of the condemnation in Adam, who could offset the condemnation of the human race that has about by mean’s Adam’s disobedience.

See:
Raised in the Spirit
Jesus Died a Human Being, Raised a Spirit Being
The Manner of the Resurrection

In Romans 8, it speaks of these as the sons of God; these sons of God were once of those sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-10), but they are made alive (reckoned / counted / imputed / considered [Strong’s #3049] justified and as alive -- Romans 4:3-24; 6:11) as new creatures [sons of God] in Christ (Romans 8:16,19) through faith in Jesus. (Galatian 3:26) Jesus, however, was never such a son of disobedience; his birth into this world was not under the condemnation of Adam, since it was God who had especially prepared Jesus’ body of flesh. (Matthew 1:20; Hebrews 10:5)

Those who walk after the flesh have their minds set on things of the flesh – the things seen; those regenerated as sons of God are to walk after the spirit and to have their minds set on the things of the spirit — that which is not visible, but seen by the eye of faith. The regenerated son of God is walking in the spirit, not walking in the sinful flesh, as the apostles says, “if the spirit [mind, disposition] of God dwells in [stays within] you,” in contradistinction to living to the flesh, and having sin dwelling in us. (Romans 7:17,20) The disposition (spirit) of Christ in the believer would mean that they would be following the likeness of the spirit that he has, as sons of God.

Jesus’ sacrifice was not that he stopped walking in the sinful flesh, for his flesh was never sinful, although he did take upon himself the likeness of sinful flesh, in that he suffered to pay the wages of sin as though he were a sinner. If Jesus’ sacrifice was that he stopped walking in the sinful flesh, that would mean that his flesh was sinful, and such a sacrifice would have been meaningless to pay the wages of sin. -- 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:6,8,12-19; 6:23;

The condemnation in Adam would have been eternal had Jesus not paid the wages of sin for Adam and the human race dying in Adam. Jesus’ sacrifice -- once given over to his God -- could not be taken back. Jesus did indeed sacrifice for eternity his human body of flesh (which was prepared by God -- Hebrews 10:5) with its blood, and presented that sacrifice to his God in heaven after his ascension, thus it was important for Peter to show that Jesus is no longer flesh and blood with the terrestrial glory (1 Corinthians 15:40) that is lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:9), but that he now has the celestial glory of a spirit being, which he states is above the angels. -- Luke 22:19; John 6:51; Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:24-26; 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18,22.

So what did Jesus sacrifice for our sin? Was it not his flesh? (John 6:51) Was it not his human blood and body? (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19,20; Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25; 5:9; 1 Corinthians 11:24,25; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14,20; Hebrews 9:12,14; 10:10; 1 Peter 1:18,19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5; 7:14) Was it not his human soul? -- Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45 (Many translations render the Greek word for "soul" as "life" in some of these verses).

As a human, Jesus is dead forever; this has to be, else the Jesus never completed the sacrifice to pay the wages of sin. (Romans 6:23) It should be plain by comparison of scripture that this is what is meant when Peter said Jesus died in the flesh, but was made alive in the spirit. He is no longer flesh, having a terrestrial glory a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:9), since he has sacrificed his human flesh forever; he is now a spirit being highly exalted above the angels.

This is not to say that Jesus walked after the flesh while he was in the days of his flesh. (Hebrews 5:7), since he certainly was led, and he followed perfectly, God’s holy spirit (Ephesians 4:30) all the days of his flesh. (Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1,14; Acts 10:38; 2 Corinthians 5:21) His walking in according with the Holy Spirit of his God was not, however, the suffering for sins that Peter spoke of. (1 Peter 3:18) Jesus maintained the human crown of glory unblemished by sin throughout the entire days of his flesh, else he could not have tasted death for all of mankind. -- Romans 5:12-19; Hebrews 2:9.

I would rather follow the Biblical position regarding the resurrection of the dead rather than the “historic” position, which is not in harmony with the basis of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus as revealed in the Bible.

Divine Economy in the Ransom

There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time." -- 1 Timothy 2:5,6.

The ransom is the very center of all the New Testament teachings, the general touchstone by which we may determine what is truth and what is not truth in respect to every feature of the divine plan. The ransom may be likened to the hub of a wheel, from which various spokes radiate in every direction to a general periphery, or circumference. In the great plan of God for human salvation, the ransom constitutes the very central feature, and from it radiate all the doctrines which end in the fullness and completeness of that divine plan. Indeed, from whatever viewpoint we look at this subject, it is both beautiful and consistent.

Yet, for many of us, there was a time when it would have seemed strange that there could be any necessity for a ransom; for we had not then come to understand our great Heavenly Father's character and plan. At that time we would have been inclined to say, "Oh no! God would never in any sense of the word have a plan or program which would necessitate the shedding of blood! He would not wish to have any one die for the wrong doings of another! Such a proposition would be unjust." But in so expressing ourselves we would be reasoning falsely; and this is just what many earnest people are doing today. Many thoughtful people are saying, "I do not believe in this idea of a necessity for a human sacrifice." Nevertheless, this thought of a ransom is found throughout the Scriptures; and when we get the right conception of the subject from the Bible viewpoint, we see such a wonderful beauty, such a wonderful consistency, in this whole matter that we are amazed, and long for the time when all the world shall see it.

Different phases of God's Plan strike different individuals amongst his children in slightly different ways. Some are more attracted by one particular, and others by another. What we wish to particularly focus on in this study is the wonderful element of economy exhibited by our Heavenly Father, who apparently never wastes anything. So, also, with our Lord Jesus. After he had, by divine power, fed thousands from a few loaves and fishes, he instructed his disciples to gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost. (John 6:12.) Surely this injunction must have seemed strange to them. Why would the Master, who had power to create on so large a scale, be so careful about the fragments? Doubtless, too, every scientist has marveled at the divine economy in nature, where all things are balanced, and merely change their form as they pass from one condition to another -- whether from solid to liquid or from liquid to gas, etc. Apparently, God has a principle of perpetual motion in nature, by which nothing is lost, but reappears in another form.

ECONOMY SHOWN IN RESPECT TO REDEMPTION

This divine quality of economy is manifested even in the great plan for human salvation. Once our minds grasp this thought, we may exclaim:  "Wonderful! Nobody but our Heavenly Father Himself would have thought about this principle!" Many of us have been blessed with parents who have endeavored to raise us in a Christian manner, and may have the advantage of understanding, to some degree, about the fall of man and original sin. Although we have been taught wrong conceptions as to what constitutes the penalty of sin, nevertheless, even before comprehending the ransom for all, we may have had some of the scriptural facts -- that our first parents were created upright (just, not in need of being justified -- Ecclesiastes 7:29] and God placed in a perfect environment in Eden (Genesis 2:8), that they had sinned and had come under God's curse, and that somehow the result was that all our race was still under that curse, even though we may have been taught the curse was some form of eternal conscious suffering. As we come the study the Bible more closely, however, we begin to understand that the penalty of sin is death -- not life in any condition; understanding this may, however, still not result in full appreciation of the economy of the ransom sacrifice. The question arises that, if there is to be a redemption, how could one human being die for an entire condemned race of sinners; it may seem to us that such a proposition is not reasonable. To answer this, man has sought out many imaginative answers. Many have claimed that Jesus is God, and that since he was God he could suffer in payment for absolutely all sins. Such often seem to have the view that in the three and a half years of his ministry, and especially during the short time on the day of his crucifixion, our Lord Jesus suffered as much as all the human family would have suffered throughout all history. We should note, however, that there is nothing at all in the Holy Bible that makes such a claim. Neither Jesus, nor any of his apostles ever made such a claim, and if we actually stop to think about this, the more unreasonable this claim appears to be. On the other hand, once one learns the meaning and application of the word "ransom" in the Bible, we find this subject ceases to be a mystery.

A PRICE THAT CORRESPONDS

A careful study of the word Ransom with the aid of an unabridged concordance brings to light the fact that the Greek word thus rendered -- often transliterated as antilutron -- means an offsetting price, a price that corresponds. Any one can study the matter out for himself by means of using Strong's or in Young's Concordance. If one submits his thoughts to what the scriptures say, that one will gradually begin to get the correct idea that our Lord, as the man Jesus Christ, gave himself a ransom, a corresponding price, for all mankind. (1 Timothy 2:5,6) Then we can better understand the apostle's words, "As by a man came death, by a man came also the resurrection from the dead." (1 Cor. 15:21.) There was one man who sinned -- Adam, who brought the death penalty upon all his posterity. There was one man who died, the just for the unjust -- Christ Jesus. Thus we have the corresponding-price. But many of us may been taught that there are three persons in the Godhead, that our Lord Jesus was the second of these, and yet that God cannot die. We may be told told that, being God, our Lord could not really die -- that his body alone died. Actually, if this idea is applied to many scriptures, we only get further confusion. It would have it that the death of God would be necessary to pay for the "infinite sin" mankind, but that at the same time, God cannot die. They end up contradicting their own conclusions about God suffering for the infinite sin of mankind by saying that it was only human being, Jesus, who died, and not Jesus, the God-being, who died. To do this, they add to the scripture the "hypostatic union" or "dual natures of Jesus" dogmas, and yet even such does not do away the with self-contradiction of stating that only God Himself could pay the price of "infinite sin". If we lay aside man's dogma, and study the Bible alone apart from such dogma, we can begin to clear our heads from all the nonsense and confusion which has crept into the Church due the Apostasy, and we can begin to see that the doctrine of the Trinity is not found in the Holy Bible at all. Then we can fully appreciate that our lord is the Son of God, as He Himself had declared, "the Beginning of the creation of God." (Revelation 3:14; Colossians 1:15.) We can then appreciate that the word "ransom" as used in the Bible regarding our redemption does not call for a God to be offered up to God in order to redeem a man, nor could a spirit being of any rank do so; for there could be no correspondency between them. Finally, we can then perceived that whoever would redeem man must himself be a man -- the full equivalent of the man who sinned. This thought will further aid us to understand all that the Bible said about our Lord's having left the Heavenly glory and becoming a man. -- Philippians 2:6-11; 2 Corinthians 8:9; John 1:14.

DOCTRINE OF INCARNATION UNSCRIPTURAL

The doctrine of incarnation teaches that Jesus, being God the only Most High, remained God the Most High while also became flesh, which made him having an existence as the Most High, above the angels, while at the same time that he had an existence as a man, lower than the angels. Truth-seekers may wonder if this is really what is revealed in the Bible, or is this what men had added to the Bible in order to accommodate their dogma. Many, however, use the word "incarnation" as simply meaning the time in which Jesus was in the days of his flesh, without thought of how the word is used to refer a specific doctrine. As far as the doctrine of incarnation, there is nothing in the Bible on this subject, and there is no truth in this doctrine. In the scriptures, we read that the Logos "was" THEOS, a mighty spirit being (John 1:1), before he came into the world that was made through him, and that when he came into the world, he was actually made, or became, flesh, not that he remained what he "was", and thereby assumed or added flesh to what he "was". (John 1:14) The incarnation dogma, in effect, would mean that our Lord in his prehuman existence added flesh to his what he already was, just as three angels did back in the days of Abraham. (Genesis 18:2.) The three were incarnated. They were still spirit beings, but appeared to Abraham as men, possessing bodies of flesh, and ate and talked with him. But this was not true with our Lord Jesus when he was conceived, begotten of God's Holy Spirit, in the womb of Mary. (Matthew 1:20) He who was rich became poor for man's sake (2 Corinthians 8:9) -- not that He merely pretended to be poor; not that He acted as if He were poor and so assumed an inferior body for awhile. On the contrary He "was made flesh" -- he became flesh (John 1:14) -- not assumed flesh. Do you perceive the difference? He was "the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5,6), he did not "appear to be the Man Christ Jesus." He left the glory which He had with the Father before the world was; he laid it aside; although he had the sinless terrestrial glory while he was in the days of his flesh, and never fell short of that glory by si (John 1:4,14; Romans 3:23; 1 Corinthians 15:40; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 6:5), he did not have his former celestial glory, as can be seen from John 17:5. It was only as a man, defined as possessing a glory aa little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:4,5), that he could be the "man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all." (1 Timothy 2:5,6) Thus, while in the days of his flesh, he had given up that glorious condition on the spirit plane, and exchanged his life on the spirit plane to be a human being -- a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:4,5; Hebrews 2:9), in order to be a corresponding-price equal to the man in whom the whole race has been condemned. -- Romans 5:12-19.

The Bible explains that it was a sinless man that sinned. Therefore whoever would ransom him must also be a sinless man -- a corresponding-price. No matter how great the angel, no matter how glorious the Logos, no one on a higher plane of being would do. Nor would anything below the human plane do. The finest bullock in all the world could not be a real sin-offering or actually take away sin. Nothing higher or lower than perfect humanity would atone for the sinner. A sinless man had sinned. Only a sinless man -- who could be tempted to sin -- could redeem the sinner. Thus, God provided for the sinless body of Jesus, that it could be an offering for sin. -- Psalm 40:6-8; Hebrews 10:1-10; 1 Peter 3:18.

But one may still wonder: How could this one Man Christ Jesus by this one death redeem all mankind -- Adam and his thousands of millions of children? When one's mind perceives the Scriptural teaching on this subject, one receives a wonderfully broad thought of God's Wisdom, by which He planned it all in advance, so that only one death was necessary. Then we see the marvelous economy of the Divine Plan for human salvation. Nobody but God could have thought of such beauty and symmetry. Only one man was tried at the bar of Divine Justice, and condemned to death. By the laws of heredity his condemnation came upon all his posterity, all of whom die because of his original sin. If God had tried and condemned two men or ten men or a hundred men or more, their redemption would have required an individual redeemer for each one.

THE ECONOMY OF THE DIVINE PLAN

If one believes that traditional teachings men, one may wonder why God did not give all mankind the same opportunity that He gave Adam, why all are not permitted to come into Eden and have a fair chance as Adam had. Has God been unjust in condemning all mankind for what Adam did? What joy we may have to see the beauty of the doctrine of the Ransom, for undertanding this doctrine makes the reason seem very simple. If you and I had been brought into the world under conditions similar to those under which Adam was, we would have done just as he did, for the same reason that he did -- lack of experience. We are therefore not faulting Father Adam and Mother Eve; but we are extolling our great and wise God. He was not taking any chances to see whether one out of a hundred thousand might do differently, and planning to provide a redeemer for every one who did wrong. What confusion such a plan would have wrought!

For instance, suppose that God had placed fifty perfect human beings on trial in Eden at the beginning, and that one half of them had sinned -- twenty-five sinners and an equal number of saints; and suppose that there had been provided a Paradise for the saints and the cursed condition for the sinners. Condemnation on one side of the fence, and blessing on the other -- what confusion there would be! Then when it came to the redemption of the sinners, it would require that the twenty-five saints die for the twenty-five sinners. Where would the matter have ended then? While Adam and the human race (outside of Israel) where never placed under the Law Covenant through Moses, the princple of justice given in the law has an application to the ransom: "life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot". (Deuteronomy 19:21; Exodus 21:23-25) God operates His government along the line of Justice, as the Psalmist intimates. Should some one wonder why God operates along the line of Justice rather than Love, we reply: In His great mercy God sees best to exercise absolute Justice in order that Love may operate impartially toward all. But because mankind are fallen from their original perfection God instructs us to work along the line of love; for we need to exercise mercy and to learn the great lesson of loving-kindness toward all. Let us not forget that God did not originally put man in the sinful conditions which we see all around us. The bondage of corruption which now engulfs man is the result of disobedience. (Romans 5:12-19; 8:19-22) When, during the Millennium, God shall have brought the human race back into harmony with Himself, and when every creature in Heaven and on earth shall be in full harmony with Him, all their lessons on right and wrong learned perfectly, and all able and willing to do righteously, then no one will need mercy. All will be able to meet the just requirements of God's Government, and they will not be harmed by His Divine arrangements; for God's Justice is for fair dealings toward every one of His creatures. But now we must make an allowance because our human flesh is under a sinful condition (Romans 8:3; Ecclesiastes 7:13) and all around us are likewise under this same condition. -- Psalam 89:14.

God is not now applying the great salvation through Jesus to the fallen race of Adam, except for those who, through faith, become justified. The unjustified remain under the condemnation of Adam, but will have the ransom sacrifice of Jesus applied to them so that they may be raised in the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28,29; 12:47,48; Acts 24:15) If we desire to draw near to God we must lay hold upon the one who is able to save to the uttermost all who come to the Father through Him -- Christ Jesus our Redeemer. All God's mercy is exercised through Christ. God does not exercise mercy directly. He maintains the even tenor of His rule of righteousness, but makes special provision for the sinner race through Christ Jesus. Forgiveness of sin, and everything relating to repentance and reformation of life, come through our Lord Jesus Christ -- through the Ransom-price which He has provided.

HOW THIS ECONOMY OPERATES

This economical feature of the Divine Plan is a most wonderful thought. By one man's disobedience God permitted the results of that transgression to affect all of Adam's children. All mankind were involved under the original sin of the one man. "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men." (Rom. 5:12.) Then in due time God so arranged that the sin of the one man, Adam, would be met by the man Christ Jesus; that thus Adam would in due time be freed from the death penalty; and that all his children, who inherited death as well as weakness and imperfection through him, would also be amenable to this one redemption -- that the one Ransom-price was sufficient for Adam and all his posterity.

Oh, how understanding of God's plan exalts and glorifies His love for us, and His wisdom, justice and His might as the Most High. How blessed are those to whom God has given to understand this thought of God's great Wisdom manifested in His arrangement through Christ Jesus, through the Ransom. The more we meditate upon it, the more wonderful it becomes; for it is the very central feature of God's great Plan for human salvation, its very brightest spot.

RANSOM FAR-REACHING AS THE CURSE

1 Timothy 2:5,6 declares that our Lord gave Himself a Ransom-price for all. He did so for all in the sense that eventually its benefits will extend to every member of the Adamic race. The mere giving up of His life did not extend a blessing to all mankind; but the giving up of His life was the basis upon which God will permit Him in due time to establish His Millennial Kingdom and to bring in the blessings of Restitution for the whole race during the thousand years of His Reign. If it had not been for the Ransom, there could have been no Restitution. The whole race of Adam had been condemned to death in their first father. Therefore it would not have been proper for the Man Jesus to attempt to bring out from under condemnation those whom the Justice of God had sentenced to death.

Adam and his posterity were sentenced to death, not to eternal torment, as some erroneously suppose the Scriptures to teach. (Genesis 2:17; 3:17-19; Ezekiel 18:4,20; Romans 6:23.) Indeed, if the wages of sin had been eternal torment, or eternal separation from God, then Jesus would have to suffer eternal torment or eternal separation from God in order to pay the wages of sin for us. However, tefore there could be a resurrection, it was necessary that this death penalty against the race be met. As by man came death, by a man must come this cancelling of the death penalty, in order to make possible a resurrection, a raising up of the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:21,22) There is no other way by which any may have a future life. Therefore all this great Divine Plan for the blessing of the world hinges upon this basic of the program -- the Ransom. St. Paul says that the Ransom was for all. When the Apostle says that our Lord gave Himself a Ransom -- a Corresponding-price -- for ALL, his thought evidently is that this was the purpose lying behind the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. By this we do not understand that our Lord has yet made an application of His sacrifice to all; for God's due time for blessing all men has not yet come. Moreover, it would not have been appropriate for our Lord to make the application of the merit of His sacrifice in advance -- at the First Advent -- and then to come back later on -- at His Second Advent -- to deal with mankind. Therefore the whole matter is held over until the due time comes for dealing with the Adamic race. Meantime, Adam, who fell asleep thousands of years ago, and others of his posterity can await in sleep for that glorious Day when He who redeemed them shall place the merit of His sacrifice on behalf of Adam and all his race, shall make application of it, paying it over to Divine Justice, and then take over mankind as His purchased possession. Our Lord gave Himself -- gave up His life, surrendered His life -- with this end in view. This was the program set before Him -- that He -- as a sinless human being -- was to surrender Himself to death, and that this would be the basis upon which He might become the great Mediator between God and men, the great Restorer of mankind, the long-promised Seed of Abraham, to bless all the families of the earth.

WHY THE DELAY OF EIGHTEEN CENTURIES

Just here some one may ask, "Why is it that our Lord did not make application of the merit of His sacrifice at Pentecost? Why this long delay of eighteen hundred and more years before He begins this work of blessing the world?" We reply, If it had not been that God had planned to have associated with our Lord in this glorious work of blessing the families of the earth (Genesis 18:18) other members of the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16,26,27), there would have been no delay of eighteen centuries. In other words, if the Church had not been included in God's Plan, then when our Lord Jesus had risen from the dead and had ascended on High to appear in the presence of God, doubtless He would have offered the value of His sacrifice for the whole world of mankind, and at once would have taken over the Adamic race and begun His Reign for their blessing. But because this was not the Divine Plan, therefore our Lord did what He did -- He appeared in the presence of God for US, for the CHURCH, who taste of the power of the age to come (Hebrews 6:4,5; 9:4), delaying application to world to the age to come. (1 Timothy 2:5,6). Thus far, then, our Lord has appeared only for His Church. He has not as yet appeared for the world. After the Church shall have been glorified with Him, then the sons of God will be made manifest (Romans 8:19), and our Lord will appear for the world. Meantime, however, he is dealing with his Church, taking the Church class out of the world, as He said: "You are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world." (John 15:19; 17:14.) The Church, consecrated believers, having become sons of God, new creatures in Christ, have escaped the condemnation which is still on the world. (2 Peter 1:4; Romans 8:1-4.) But the world is still under condemnation. As yet our Lord has appeared only for the believer; he has not done anything for the unbeliever, except that in his death for the church and world. Although the price has been paid, it will not be applied all mankind, but will be applied "in due time."

In His prayer the night of his apprehension our Lord said: "I do not pray for the world, but for those whom you have given me; for they are Yours." (John 17:9-11.) Yet a few hours later He died for the world, and all mankind are included in what our Lord is to do -- "a Ransom for all, to be testified IN DUE TIME." But since He knew that it would be about 2,000 years before that due time would come, Jesus would not with propriety pray for those who were to blessed so far in the future. But the Father had given to our Lord the Church. The Divine purpose was that during this long period of time this class would be gathered out of the world under certain conditions, in order that they might be with the Lord and share His exaltation, might be his companions in His glory, honor and immortality. Therefore our Lord prayed for them on the night in which he was betrayed, as was right and proper. He had called His twelve Apostles, and five hundred had believed on His word. The work thus begun would continue until the full amount of the elect would have been received of Christ.

THE NEXT FEATURE OF THE DIVINE PROGRAM

The Bible assures us that in due time our Lord will pray for the world, and that he will be heard. Jesus prophetically says that Jehovah will say to him: "Ask of Me; and I shall give you the nationss for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession." (Psalm 2:7-9.) When the first feature of the work, the selection of the Church, shall have been completed, when the joint-heirs with Christ shall have passed into Heavenly glory, then will come the "due time" for the next feature of the Divine Program. Then our Lord will make application of the Ransom-price on behalf of the sins of the whole world. He will say in substance, "Father, I now appropriate for the world of mankind this value of My death as the offset to Father Adam's death. I now apply it to Adam and all his children, as their Purchase-price; And now I ask for them. I ask You to give them to me according to your promise to give me the nations -- the whole world of mankind." Then the Father will turn them over to our Lord as his purchased possession.

The fact that he who redeemed the race of Adam is to be the one to give them their trial for life everlasting, during the thousand years of his reign, is the very best guarantee that mankind will have a fair, full, complete trial, a just, reasonable, loving trial at the hands of a loving redeemer, who will do everything proper to be done in order to help them out of their weaknesses and imperfections and to bring them back to the full perfection of human nature, lost through Father Adam's original sin in Eden, but redeemed by our Lord at Calvary. That is to say, the redemption-price was laid down at Calvary; and in due time that redemption-price will be applied, or given over, surrendered to Justice in exchange for the world of mankind. Thus the ransom work will have been accomplished, the whole world taken possession of by our Lord, and He shall reign for a thousand years, the "times of restitution spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." -- Acts 3:19-23.

DIVINE METHOD OF DEALING WITH THE CHURCH

Now, we have before our minds the ransom, the necessity for it, the time when the sacrifice for sin was made, and the time when the merit of that sacrifice is to be applied for the world of mankind. But, meantime, the church receives an imputation of that merit. It is the blood of new covenant that provides to the church both justification and sanctification. (Luke 22:20; Romans 5:9; Hebrews 10:29) In being justified, we have become new creatures in Christ, sinless sons of God, as was Adam before Adam sinned; as new creatures we are reckoned as already living in the age to come, when all the present things have passed away. (Luke 3:38; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 3:26) As new creatures in this age, Paul likens the believer to a grain or seed, which grain or seed is first given, assigned, a terrestrial, physical body. 1 Corinthians 15:35-46) But our calling in this age is not so that we remain with such a body, but so that we might attain the resurrection of Christ -- that is, to not be simply be sons of God with early inheritance, as Adam, but rather to become joint-heirs with Christ, so as have in the resurrection, not a physical body, but a spiritual body, like our Lord Jesus.

The ransom sacrifice of Jesus provides only begettal to what was lost in Adam -- it does not make one a joint-heir with Christ. Paul spoke of how all who believed in Christ are sons of God, but he goes on to say that these sons are joint-heir if they joinly suffer with Christ. (Romans 8:17) In effect, if one is a joint-sacrificer with Christ, that one sacrifices the justification that he has with Christ. The Bible does not speak of this as another begettal; it is simply a transferranceo the kind of body being assigned ot the new creature. Jesus said, "He who overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne." (Revelation 3:21) This cannot mean to overcome in the sense of being justified in the blood of Christ, for Jesus never needed such. Jesus not only did disobey his God, but he proved himself to incorruptible, by which he brought life and incorruption to light for mankind. In other words, Jesus, by proving himself incorruptible, put on incorruption. Likewise, the sinless new creature, created in Christ, if he is to be such an overcomer, must not only bear the image of the sinless man, but also he must bear the image of he who is now in heaven, and put on incorruption as Jesus put on incorruption. Once the new creature has overcome and Jesus overcame, that one will no longer be subject to the second death. This means that the new creature has proven himself incorruptible, having put on incorruption, so that he might recieve immortality. But while developing as New Creatures in Christ, we need an imputation of the merit of His Sacrifice to cover our blemishes and imperfections resulting from the original sin in our flesh and transmitted to us by the law of heredity. Our Lord did not need any such imputation; for He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners," and the Father had agreed to accept such a sacrifice for Adam. Our Lord needed no one to make good for Him. He was acceptable to God as a full offset to Adam. As a reward for the work which our Lord was to accomplish for mankind the Father gave Him the promise of glory, honor and immortality -- the highest celestial glory next to that of being the Most High; and our Lord has attained it. -- 1 Corinthians 15:39-41; Philippians 2:8-11.

To those who, during this Gospel Age, will surrender their wills to God and permit their lives to go down into Death in obedience to the Divine will, the Father has promised a share with Our Lord in His glory, honor and immortality as His Bride and Joint-heir. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a Crown of Life." (Revelation 2:10) But before we can present our bodies a living sacrifice a difficulty must first be removed; for we are members of the sinner race, and God cannot recognize sinners. We have already been condemned to death in Adam. We are by nature  members of that sinner race upon whom the sentence of death already rests. Before we can offer ourselves to God something must be done to release us from the death sentence resting upon us. That something was done when our Lord had "ascended on High and appeared in the presence of God for us" -- the Church. There Jesus made an arrangement with the Father by which the merit of His sacrifice has been imputed to those who have placed their faith in the blood of Jesus.



This above is edited and adapted from the sermon by Charles Taze Russell. Nevertheless, since it is designed to represent our own thoughts, all the thoughts we have presented may not be in harmony in every detail of what Charles Taze Russell presented.  --- Ronald R. Day, Sr. (Restoration Light Bible Study Services -- ResLight, RLBible.

Related:

1 Peter 3:18 – Raised in the Spirit
Jesus Died a Human Being – Raised a Spirit Being
Jesus Saves the Whole World Condemned in Adam