The Sacrifice of Christ has accomplished two things
1 Sin has been condemned
2 The promises have been confirmed, Romans 8v3 & 15v8
THEREFORE WE CAN GAIN ETERNAL LIFE & INHERIT THE PROMISES WHEN JESUS CHRIST RETURNS TO SET UP THE KINGDOM
It will also be useful (after reading this page) to link to 'baptism' .
When sin entered the world and death by sin, there was no way by which man could redeem himself. God however has revealed a plan whereby sin will be taken away and righteousness established, so that the human race will ultimately be restored to the Divine favor. This involves providing His own Son, made of a woman by His holy spirit power. Jesus would be able to live a sinless life and become a sacrifice for sin. Because He did no sin, He was raised from the dead on the third day.
God accepts those who identify themselves with this representative man by a belief of the Truth and baptism into Him (i.e. Jesus Christ). See under 'Index' or follow this link to 'judge' (page 2 - "in Adam" and "in Christ"). Cp Ephesians 1v10. Only in this way can we share in what God in Christ has achieved.
Now that the way to eternal life has been made open, the promises, which involve an eternal inheritance, can be fulfilled. Jesus Christ, as the promised "seed" in all 3 promises, has, by His sacrifice, made their fulfilment sure. When He returns from heaven, He will select His co-inheritors. They will comprise all who have committed themselves totally to God in Christ, and who have remained faithful to their calling, whatever the cost.
The Truth is made up of various facets, and the basic fundamentals that we highlight on this site are all interrelated. It is impossible to reject any of these truths without undermining the whole. It is similar to a building where one or more of the foundations may be missing, or otherwise is shown to be inadequate. The integrity of the whole structure is compromised.
In our examination of various false ideas on the Sacrifice of Christ this will be found to be the case. Should we find that the word of God teaches something opposed to what may have been learnt by tradition, let us accept the words of the prophet - "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" - Isaiah 8v20. The Apostle Paul wrote - "the holy scriptures...ARE ABLE to make us WISE UNTO SALVATION through faith which is in Christ Jesus" - 2nd Timothy 3v15.
Concerning the totality of basic doctrines, look under 'Index' or follow this link to 'statement'.
It is our intention to examine in more detail some of the false ideas extant concerning the Sacrifice of Christ. As an introduction to this examination we look briefly here at what effect the false idea of "the trinity" would have upon the truth of that sacrifice. It will also be useful to look under 'Index' or follow these links to 'God' & 'spirit'. Let us ask the question, should we believe in a non-existent Jesus, a person self-evidently NOT a representative man, but a superior being, can this possibly be acceptable? Indeed, how could such an imaginary being fit the description of Jesus in Hebrews 4v15 - "in all point tempted like as we are, yet without sin"?
And when we realise that this horrible caricature of the Divine plan of salvation has its origin in paganism, surely the sooner we consign it to the dustbin of history, the sooner we individually can have hope of the sanctification for which Jesus prayed -
"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" - John 17v17. Part of that truth is contained in v3 - "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" i.e. "sent from God", as was John the Baptist, John 1v6, or Isaiah the prophet, Isaiah 6v5-10. See also the words of Paul re "another Jesus", 2nd Corinthians 11v1-4. Below we shall examine other false teachings re the Sacrifice of Christ, which also totally negate & destroy the truth of this vital subject.
TRUTH VERSUS ERROR ON THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
The hallmark of all heretical teachings is that in some way they they present the Lord's sacrificial death as substitutionary, and not representative. The truth is that Jesus needed saving from the results of sin at the beginning, because He was born of a woman. His sin-cursed nature, equally with the nature of those whom He came to save, needed to be condemned by a sinless sacrifice.
It is however equally important to realise that no-one is accounted as "guilty" in a moral or legal sense because of the sin in Eden - (the "church" teaching of 'original sin'). Contrast Ezekiel 18v20. These two extremes are alike error. They illustrate the principle outlined in our 'Appeal' letter - link to 'appeal' or go via 'Index'. Because He was the Son of God, Jesus committed no sin, something which no-one born of two human parents could achieve.
God therefore raised Him from the dead and He now is an immortal man, and a mediator through whom we can approach God. Romans 8v3; 2nd Corinthians 5v21; Colossians 2v15mg; Hebrews 2v14; 7v27; 9v11,12,22-28; 13v20; 1st Peter 2v24; Acts 2v22-36; Romans 3v19-28; 5v6-21; 1st Corinthians 15v20-28; Hebrews 4v15; 1st Timothy 2v5.
We shall now examine in more detail some erroneous teachings. These are additional to the "trinitarian" heresy above.
1. The Sacrifice of Christ was a ransom, whereby the innocent was punished, allowing the guilty to go free'.
THIS IS ERROR.
The only way this could be true would be if Jesus remained in the grave, so that others could live. We know that is not true, & not what has happened! Every one's justice would baulk at such an unrighteous idea - and Divine justice condemns it. The original words translated "ransom" carry the meaning of 'a covering', 'a redemption price', and 'to loosen, or destroy'. It is not difficult to see how Jesus Christ as "the lamb of God" has provided that covering for sin; He has figuratively paid the price of redemption for His people, including Himself (but in reality we are "justified freely"), and He has loosed the bonds of sin and death.
One writer (Robert Roberts) has summed it up thus - "(Christ's sacrifice) was righteously so done because of his physical participation in the results of Edenic transgression. His resurrection was in righteousness also; for "he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth". Forgiveness on this basis is by grace (favour) and not of debt; for the death of Christ is not the payment of our debt but the declaration of God's righteousness, on our recognition and submission to which, He is pleased to pass by our sins of His own kindness and forbearance."
It is vital that all legalistic/mechanical reasoning be discarded - only then is it possible to fully comprehend salvation in Christ.
2. The Sacrifice of Christ was of benefit for Himself, but only because it involved His final act of obedience. Although He was born of "sinful flesh", He did not need salvation through sacrifice and resurrection. THIS IS ERROR.
Books which promulgate this error include: 'Echoes of Past Controversies', 'Saved by His Life', 'Bible Basics', 'The Real Devil', 'Understanding The Atonement', 'The Relationship of Christ to His Death on the Cross', 'The Atonement - The Divine Balance'. 'The Lampstand' magazine also promotes it, and tries to re-write history to suit its own nefarious ends. Judging by its web-site 'The Christadelphian' magazine has now also fallen from the sound teaching of its first editor Robert Roberts. The above publications circulate amongst 'Central Christadelphians'. Reflecting the prevailing belief of the large majority, 'wikipedia' also sets out the same heresy as the belief of "Christadelphians". Sound Christadelphians refer to this ghastly error as "clean flesh".
Teachers of this heresy use the unscriptural terms (re human nature) "sin-prone" and "prone to sin" and "with its inclination to sin" and "with the potential to sin" etc. instead of "sinful" (Romans 8v3). (Contrast Romans 7v18 - "in my flesh dwelleth no good thing" - link to 'The Yahweh-Nissi Altar' for a graphic illustration...and we do well to take careful note of the following: "which things also we speak, not in the words that man's wisdom teacheth, but which the holy spirit teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual" - 1st Corinthians 2v13).
(*a really horrible and disgraceful example of where this leads has recently come to our notice - thoughts are attributed to the Lord which would effectively make Him a sinner).
We are commanded to "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" - 1st John 4v1. In the process we "try things that differ" - Philippians 1v10, Romans 2v18 mgs. "Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?" - Luke 12v57 - "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" - John 7v24. "The simple believeth every word, but the prudent man looketh well to his going" - Proverbs 14v15. Nowhere is the above more vital & urgent than with this subject. A careful reading of 'proverbs' - page 2 will assist.
Again, this error denies the truly representative nature of His sacrifice. It thus does away with the fact that "God...condemned sin in the flesh" and "Jesus...through death...destroyed...the devil". What was the "sin" and the "devil" "condemned" and "destroyed"? The proponents of this heresy can logically only define these terms as simply active sin, or "the works of the devil". It is true that Jesus was provided as a Saviour, but in the process He partook of the same sin-cursed mortal nature as ourselves. Although He was sinless, He needed salvation as we do from this condition. We thank God that "by his own blood he (Jesus) entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption" (the words "for us", in italics, should not appear, for the original signifies something which one does for oneself - "for us" is omitted in the Revised version etc) - Hebrews 9v12.
As it has been aptly stated - "For himself that it might be for us" (Robert Roberts, 'The Law of Moses'). Robert Roberts also wrote - "What was accomplished was ACCOMPLISHED IN HIM ALONE. We come onto the foundation HE LAID. It does not appear how the Sacrifice of Christ COULD BE SCRIPTURALLY UNDERSTOOD without this being perceived. Away from this, the heathen notion of substitution is THE ONLY IDEA THAT REMAINS" - 'The Christadelphian', April 1888, inside front cover.
"It was A NECESSITY that he should offer up himself, FOR THE PURGING OF HIS OWN NATURE, first, from the uncleanness of death, that having by his own blood OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION (Hebrews ix. 12), he might be able AFTERWARDS to save to the uttermost, them that come unto God by him - Hebrews vii. 25)" - 'The Christadelphian', October 1873, page 468.
"Truly it was "for us"...but unfortunately perverted are those who suppose that because God manifest in the flesh went through all these things "for us", therefore he was not himself included in the entire operation...He offered for himself...by reason of his participation in Adamic mortality" - 'The Christadelphian', December 1873, page 555.
Another writer, W.F. Barling, has written the following: "It follows that Christ's death possessed an efficacy for himself also. This the Apostle established by an interpretation of the Tabernacle ritual. Atonement had to be made for the alter, "to cleanse it and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel" Leviticus 16:18-19. Atonement had similarly to be made for the other vessels of the Tabernacle, and even for the Tabernacle itself (verse 16), because it was in the midst of uncleanness (Hebrews 9:21). Thus where moral sin did not exist, uncleanness necessitated atonement still. But "without the shedding of blood" such "remission" or "purging" was not possible (verse 22). The Apostle tells us what this signified. "It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these (blood, water, hyssop, etc., verse 19); but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these" (verse 23).
Let the parallelism be noted.
The patterns of things in the heavens were purified, with animal blood.
The heavenly things themselves
had like wise to be purified, but
with better sacrifices.
Such purification was not in either case a purification of moral sin, but from uncleanness resulting from contact with sin. In the case of "the heavenly things themselves" (i.e. the person of Jesus), such uncleanness was removed when he "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (verse 26). "By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place" (verse 12), that is, "into heaven itself" (verse 24). Without such atonement, his physical entry into God's presence (thanks to which alone "we have access unto the Father" - Ephesians 2:18) would have been impossible".
'The Christadelphian', 1946.
Later re-printed as
'Redemption in Christ Jesus'.
Amongst other relevant quotations please note the following:
"The word sin is used in two principal acceptations in the scripture. It is that in the flesh "which has the power of death; and it is called sin, because the development, or fixation, of this evil in the flesh, was the result of transgression. Inasmuch as this evil principle pervades every part of the flesh, the animal nature is called "sinful flesh"...Sin, I say, is a synonym for human nature. Hence, the flesh is invariably regarded as unclean...Sin could not have been condemned in the body of Jesus, if it had not existed there...Sinful flesh being the hereditary nature of the Lord Jesus, he was a fit and proper sacrifice for sin…The great principle to be compassed was
THE CONDEMNATION OF SIN IN SINFUL FLESH, INNOCENT OF ACTUAL TRANSGRESSION".
John Thomas, 'Elpis Israel'.
"It pleased God to require the ceremonial condemnation of this sin-nature in the person of a righteous possessor of it, as the basis of our forgiveness";
Robert Roberts, 'The Blood of Christ'.
"Heb. 9:23...is therefore a declaration that Christ should first of all be purified with better sacrifices than the Mosaic...There must, therefore be a sense
in which Christ...must not only have been sanctified by the action by the antitypical oil of the Holy Spirit - but purged by the antitypical blood of his own sacrifice...HE WAS "PURIFIED WITH" A BETTER SACRIFICE THAN BULLS AND GOATS - VIZ., HIS OWN SACRIFICE...FROM...HIS HEREDITARY DEATH TAINT".
-Robert Roberts, 'The Law of Moses'.
During a debate, Robert Roberts was asked the following questions, to which we add the answers which he gave.
Q. "Is it not clear that Christ, as a necessity, must offer up himself for the purging of his own sin nature?".
"As a son of Adam, a son of
Abraham, a son of David, yes".
Q. "First from the uncleanness of death, that having by his own blood obtained eternal life himself, he might be able to save others?"
Q. "And he as the first one had to undergo purification through his shed blood and resurrection?".
"Certainly, I have never called that in question in the least".
'Resurrectional Responsibility Debate'
Questions 711, 712, 719.
(sin and sin-offering)
messages - page 3