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Posts tagged ‘Atonement’

To follow Christ

Matthew 16:24 (TS2009)
24 Then יהושע said to His taught ones, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his stake, and follow Me.

AND FOLLOW ME:

“Of the three things enjoined, the last is a vital thing: to follow. The other two are utterly essential because through the essential you achieve that which is vital. The reason is this. You can approve, and not follow. You can applaud and not follow. You can understand and preach, without following. You can defend the Truth pugnaciously, without following. You can tire yourself out on busy works – without following.. The central thing is the denial of self. It is utterly radical. Denial of self is the inward thing. Taking up the cross daily is the external manifestation of the inward condition. To talk of it is not to realize it. To write about it is not to achieve it. The use of the word ‘daily’ emphasizes that it is not just a theory but something that is real and practical; facing squarely every new circumstance; confronting bravely every impediment; grasping joyfully every new opportunity. In practice it means giving unhindered access to the Master into every chamber and esp into every dark corner. To think of that possibility might make us feel ashamed but at the same time it may do us good” (GD).

“The sentiment that Christ’s righteousness alone is to be the basis of our acceptance, is one of the countless and pernicious corruptions of clerical theology. It doubtless originated in the misapplication of a certain element of apostolic truth, namely that which informs us that all are under sin, and that our salvation is not of works; but through the righteousness of faith that is in Christ. Men have long ceased to perceive that this principle applies only to unjustified sinners, and not to those who have been placed in a justified or forgiven position, through the obedience of faith. Christ is righteousness for sinners in this sense, that God offers to forgive them for Christ’s sake, and to grant them a coheirship with Christ, of what Christ, as a manifestation of God, has achieved for himself. But when sinners become saints, they come into relation to a new principle. They are responsible to him as servants to a master, and he will judge them according to their works” (SC 164).

“The cross is the symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of the human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said goodbye to his friends. He was not coming back. He was not going out to have his life redirected. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing. It slew all of the man completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. it struck swift and hard and when it had finished its work the man was no more. That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of man is false to the Bible and cruel to the soul of the hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world. It intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our life up on to a higher plane. We leave it at a cross. The grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die. That is the beginning of the gospel” (AWT).

“To give my life for Christ appears glorious. To pour myself out for others.. to pay the ultimate price of martyrdom – ‘I’ll do it. I’m ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory.’

“We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking a $1,000 bill and laying it on the table – ‘Here’s my life, Lord. I’m giving it all.’ But the reality for most of us is that he sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $1,000 for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there. Listen to the neighbor kid’s troubles instead of saying, ‘Get lost.’ Go to a committee meeting. Give a cup of water to a shaky old man in a nursing home.

“Usually giving our life to Christ isn’t glorious. It’s done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at a time. It would be easy to go out in a flash of glory; it’s harder to live the Christian life little by little over the long haul” (F Craddock).

I think it wouldn’t be going too far to say that there IS a discernible reason for every commandment which we are given.. and that that reason leads, without too much delay or detour, right back to the Atonement.

Christ’s sacrifice is not just about blood, and sweat, and tears.. and it is not just about the cross on that dreadful, but wonderful, day.

It is – and we all know this! – about the life he lived every day, every hour, before he arrived, finally, at that cross. Because it was his own unique life, built up day by day, with the building blocks of a thousand moments of ten thousand days, that made his cross meaningful.

Thousands of Jewish men died on thousands of Roman crosses across the length and breadth of Israel. But only one man died a sacrificial, atoning death on a cross. Because he was the perfect sacrifice, without spot or blemish.

So Christ’s sacrifice is really about a life of many choices, each one in one way or another a choice to deny himself, and his own will, and to serve his Father, and his Father’s will.

A lifetime of choices made the final choice – of the cross itself – a choice of cosmic significance.. a choice which resonates to this day, and echoes in our lives.

The essence of sacrifice is denial of self. And if we choose Christ and his cross, then we are also choosing denial of self.. as a way of life. It is the hardest choice we can make, but it is the most rewarding. Allowed to work in our lives, that commitment and that choice will change us.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his life? Or what can a man give in exchange for his life?’ ” (Mat 16:24-26).

We could run down a list of Christ’s commandments, and the commandments passed along by the apostles as well, and ask:

‘How does this relate to the Atonement?’

And in every case, I venture to suggest, we shall find the answer – and the meaningful example for us, of HOW to keep the commandment, and WHY we should keep it – in the “living sacrifice” of Christ.

Do we wonder why we are commanded this, for example?:

“Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Mat 5:39-42).

Well, of course, reason enough to do this – or (let’s be honest) to try very, very hard – is that Christ has commanded it. But was it just an otherwise pointless requirement plucked out of the air:

‘Let’s test them with this one, while we are at it’?

Of course not. We are told not to resist evil because Christ did not resist evil. And Christ did not resist evil because he had committed himself, wholeheartedly, to his Father who would ultimately judge rightly (1Pe 2:23). If we believe that that final judgment of our Father is sure and certain and righteous, then what does it matter if evil ones misuse us today, or tomorrow, or all the rest of our lives? God will set it right. What does it matter if we lose our coat, or our time, or our creature comforts – the loss of those things which we might hold dear will only reinforce to our minds the one thing that we MUST hold MOST dear – which no thief or bully or evil circumstance can take away from us:

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?.. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Rom 8:31-32; Rom 8:35).

And suppose the “cross” we are called to bear at this very moment is not the loss of property, or health, or loved ones.. the terrible losses that Job, for example, bore? Suppose the “cross” we are called to bear at this very moment is.. simply.. the harsh word spoken to us, or the little slight we experience, or the brief delay because some driver cut us off in traffic, or the tiny barb that pricks our pride?

Maybe the “cross” that we are called to bear, right now, is not the great mountain of difficulty that looms in front of us.. but the little grain of sand in our shoe!

How do we respond? Do we give harsh word for harsh word, little grumble for silly slight, little whispered curse for minor inconvenience? Do we recoil at the least threat to our pride, or the least questioning of our intelligence, or our strength, or our goodness, or our wisdom?

Or.. do we recall that “even Christ did not please himself” (Rom 15:3)? And do we therefore “turn the other cheek” to the little slap, the little needle, the little attack – even if, and especially if, it comes from a brother or sister?

If we do, and when we do, then we are “living the atonement” in our lives.

Through fits and starts, and stops and blind alleys, sometimes failing but sometimes succeeding, we are learning to be, even in the small things of our lives, “living sacrifices” (Rom 12:1-2).

But the trouble with “living sacrifices” is that – as one writer put it

– “they keep crawling down off the altar”.

°°°

Lord, help me to hold on to your altar, and “die a little bit” every day, so that I might show forth your death until you return.

°°°

Agora on New Testament readings

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Preceding

Meaning of Sacrifice

We are redeemed; we are “bought with a price”

More than just a man with authority of speaking

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

Matthew 9:32-34 – How others look at the blind, speechless and demoniac being healed

Matthew 9:35-38 – Looking at Jesus our shepherd

Matthew 10:24-31 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Do Not Fear – Preach!

Matthew 10:32-39 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: I Came to Cause Division

Matthew 12:46-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Family of Messiah

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 16:13-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Building a Hades-Proof Congregation

Matthew 16:21-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Think God’s Thoughts

Matthew 16:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Disciple Must Disown Self

Demanding signs or denying yourself

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Additional reading

  1. John 4 exhortation: The one that broke the mould
  2. Lost senses or a clear focus on the one at the stake
  3. Biblical Yeshua/ Jesus or Another European Greco- Roman Jesus ??
  4. The Atonement in Type and Antitype 1 Sacrifices and High Priests
  5. Many were made sinners through one man and justified by one man
  6. Faith coming by hearing and sent preacher gift from God
  7. Redemption #3 The imperfect animal sacrifice
  8. Redemption #4 The Passover Lamb
  9. Redemption #5 The perfect sacrifice
  10. Redemption #6 Partaking his sacrifice
  11. Redemption #7 Christ alive in the faithful
  12. A perfect life, obedient death, and glorious resurrection
  13. To sacrifice our being for Christ
  14. Not everyone in the churches of Christ are “ungodly”
  15. Vision blurred by cumulative burden of divisions
  16. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  17. Who are you going to reach out to today
  18. Wanting to live in Christ’s city

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Related

  1. The Journey Begins
  2. Cut the Ballast!
  3. January 23, 2018: “Denial”
  4. Sent Into A Hostile World
  5. Take up our crosses and follow him
  6. 7 Traits Godly Women Must Have Before Meeting Mr. Right
  7. The Christian’ willingness to follow Christ
  8. Follower of Christ
  9. Don’t Follow Me
  10. Follow the Son
  11. You are Called.
  12. When Life Gets Dark and Dreary – 1 Nephi 8:3-11
  13. Christ Is The Light Of The World.
  14. Our lord’s way – our way is the way of the cross
  15. Take Up Your Cross And Follow Christ
  16. Behold the Lamb of God
  17. Why The Phrase “God Can Only Judge Me” is Toxic to the Soul

Meaning of Sacrifice

“Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.”

The doctrine of atonement involved in this scriptural principle is one of the most important and in some respects one of the most difficult of all the primary truths connected with the Gospel. Nowhere else is it so easy for men to get out of their depth, and there is no other subject that proves so tempting.

There is certainly danger that vital truths affecting the sacrifice of Christ may be called in question or may be obscured by wrong teaching on this subject. There is far more danger that a destructive strife of words should arise through men getting out of their mental depth in an effort to measure the mind of God. Dr. Thomas once remarked that the elementary truths regarding redemption were few and simple and no reason could be given for them beyond “the fact that God wills them”. If a candidate for baptism revealed a sound knowledge of these simple truths and of this simple explanation of them, we should not dare to “forbid water”. Suppose that having rendered a satisfactory confession of faith on all other first principles the candidate said:

“I believe that God required a perfect sacrifice before He could forgive sin, and that He provided the One capable of rendering that sacrifice. He sent forth His Son, the Lord Jesus, made of a woman, made in all points like his brethren, tempted in all points as we are, but by virtue of his divine parentage so superior to us morally that he was able to render the perfect sacrifice required and thus to secure redemption for himself from sin-stricken human nature and both forgiveness and redemption for those who come to God through him in the way appointed.”

Should we dare to forbid baptism because the candidate was unable to explain why God required a perfect sacrifice, or why He demanded the shedding of blood before sins could be remitted?

If we are quite agreed that an understanding of these simple elements is sufficient for one to enter the Covenant, surely it is a tragedy if brethren become divided simply through the effort to see further. It may be even worse than a tragedy, for it sometimes leads to destructive strife in which extremes act and re-act upon each other, the disputants getting further and further out of their depth, while the vital duties of life are neglected. We would not suggest for a moment that being agreed on the simple and elementary truths we should be content to go no further. Certainly we must push on and gain all the knowledge of divine things that is possible. Discussion of such matters may be very helpful if conducted by brethren who have grasped the more elementary teaching of the Word regarding human conduct. This, however, is certainly a subject in which we do well to be swift to hear and slow to speak; we may venture to suggest, still slower to write. So much sin lies at the door of the man who invented printing.

It may be helpful to take note of the main causes that have led brethren astray when they have tried to probe deeply into the doctrine of atonement. We may then be on our guard at least against these particular dangers.

One cause has been through the tendency to confuse the shadow with the substance. Brethren have reasoned that the types of the law suggested such and such necessities and the sacrifice of Christ had to conform. The truth is, of course, exactly the other way. The work of Christ was the very central feature of the divine purpose and all the shadows of the law had to conform to it. The Apostle in writing to the Hebrews, truly reasons from the types forward to Christ, but he makes it plain that Christ is the substance. We recognize the writings of the Apostles as of precisely the same authority as the Old Testament Scriptures. We do well therefore to take their plainest language as our guide and see that our understanding of types and symbols falls into line.

A second cause of confusion is the tendency to seek an explanation according to a human conception of logic and legality. Many years ago we had to point out that while human laws might often have effects far removed from the intention of the law makers, this could never be the case with the laws of God. We cannot recognize any distinction between the divine law and the divine will. When God makes a law it is the expression of His will for the time to which it applies, and it is made with a full knowledge of all its effects (see Acts 15 : 18).

“that have been known for ages.” (Acts 15:18 NIV)

We can hardly suppose that any brother would ever dispute this proposition; but some have reasoned as if they never thought of such an idea. We do well therefore to remind each other of this simple truth, which forbids us to make any distinction between legal necessities and the divine will.

A third cause of confusion has been through the persistent use of phrases that are sometimes misleading. Some staunch brethren in upholding the truth that Christ bore our sin-stricken nature have used language suggestive of an automatic cleansing by death. We could easily have rival camps in this matter, disputants on each side being totally unconscious of the ambiguity of their own language but too acutely conscious of the worst interpretations that could be put on the language of opponents.

Earnest brethren and sisters, anxious to hold the truth, have sometimes been perplexed and almost distracted in the strife of words, beyond their power to understand. The havoc that such strife may cause is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that one of the most capable men we ever had among us, in his efforts for legal logic ended by teaching justification for sin without faith, and we were all slow to realize the full enormity of the position. I well remember the surprise and even consternation of one of his supporters when he was first shown this feature of the case.

Even now there is the same disposition towards legal reasoning regarding types and shadows with the clear principles of Scripture neglected. Although disputants would deny the charge, it is a fact that some of them persistently lose sight of the fact that all things in God’s dealings with this world centre round Christ. The reason that all things under the law were cleansed by the offering of blood, was that all things in the age to come will be through the sacrifice of Christ. In reasoning with Jews it might be necessary to invert the argument, but we who are privileged to know the substance of God’s great purpose must never lose sight of it.

What is the literal truth revealed in the New Testament as to the meaning of sacrifice? It is that God forgives sins and offers eternal life on the basis of the perfect sacrifice effected by Christ in his life and death. Whatever figurative or partly figurative language the Bible may use, this is the real meaning. Washed in his blood, our sins laid upon him, a bearing of our sins in his own body, the purchase of his blood, the ransom, his being delivered for our offences, the just for the unjust-all such expressions must be understood in harmony with the literal truth that God forgives. Transgressions of the divine law can only be put away by the forgiveness and forbearance of God. Physical uncleanness of nature can only be put away by the power of God. The sacrifice of Christ is the divinely appointed basis in which God in mercy and forbearance offers forgiveness and redemption to sinners (Rom. 3 : 23-4, 4 : 7; Eph. 1 : 7; Col. 1 : 14; 1 John 1 : 9, 2 : 12).

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23 NIV)

“”Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” (Romans 4:7 NIV)

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7 NIV)

“in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:14 NIV)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NIV)

“I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.” (1 John 2:12 NIV)

If we desire to probe further and ask the question why did God require such a sacrifice as the basis of the forgiveness offered to humanity, we shall never find any answer through the various interpretations of the law or by talk of the penalty due to sin. Divine law is simply an expression of divine will. It was not the will of God that man should sin, but it was the will of God that man should be a free agent and that death should be the wage of sin. It was the will of God that the human race having been defiled by sin should have no access to His holy presence except on the basis of a perfect sacrifice.

And it is the will of God that we should respond to the gracious invitation and be saved on the basis He has provided (1 Thess. 5 : 9). If we ask why God required such a sacrifice, we must seek a moral explanation. It is no answer to quote the law which expresses His will.

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9 NIV)

Guided by Scripture we can find a moral explanation that satisfies every demand that the intelligence can make. The perfect sacrifice was required that the flesh might be effectively repudiated, that sin might be conquered and condemned, that the righteousness and holiness of God might be declared, and that sinful man should be humbled without a particle of ground for boasting being left to him (Rom. 3 : 23-27, 8:3; Eph. 2 : 1-9).

“23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.” (Romans 3:23-27 NIV)

“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,” (Romans 8:3 NIV)

“1  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no-one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:1-9 NIV)

God made it clear even in ancient times that humanity could not approach to Him at all except with humble faith and on the basis of blood shedding. He gave a law that emphasized the sinfulness and helplessness of His people (Rom. 8 : 15, 5 : 20).

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”” (Romans 8:15 NIV)

“through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2 NIV)

He made it clear that when sins were put away by sacrifice they were really forgiven (Lev. 4 : 20, 26, 31, 35).

“and do with this bull just as he did with the bull for the sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.” (Leviticus 4:20 NIV)

“He shall burn all the fat on the altar as he burned the fat of the fellowship offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for the man’s sin, and he will be forgiven.” (Leviticus 4:26 NIV)

“He shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. In this way the priest will make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven.” (Leviticus 4:31 NIV)

“He shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the lamb of the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar on top of the offerings made to the LORD by fire. In this way the priest will make atonement for him for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven.” (Leviticus 4:35 NIV)

He promised a deliverer who should “make an end of sin”, and “bring in everlasting righteousness” (Dan. 9). When the fullness of time was come He revealed that scheme of love into which even the angels had desired to look. He made selection of a virgin of the house of Israel and produced from her one who should be strong for the great work required. So the flesh was repudiated even in the birth of Christ, sin was conquered and condemned in every act of his life, and finally he freely rendered the last obedience even unto death that he might be raised from the dead to immortality and glory as the captain of our salvation-made perfect through suffering (Heb. 2 : 10).

“In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (Hebrews 2:10 NIV)

To him much was given and of him much was required. The lights and shadows inseparable from the formation of a character needed to be intense in the probation of our great Captain. He worked out his perfection and salvation by the strength God gave him, and thus through him God opened the way of life for us. Here is the sin nature that had produced only helpless sinners, controlled, condemned and finally put away by the strong Son of God in his perfect obedience of life and death. On this basis humanity can approach the holiness of the Creator and men of faith though sinners can be exalted to the divine. On this basis of the sin nature conquered, repudiated and condemned by the one God made strong for Himself, God forgives. That is the real meaning of atonement.

It is hardly possible to imagine anyone who had ever caught even the most fleeting glimpse of this vision turning back to the pitiful speculations of men as to supposed legal necessities. There are those in the world who think that the real body of Christ never rose, but remains eternally dead as the price due to God or the punishment due to sin! It would be difficult to make any comment on such an idea while preserving the language of decorum. The brethren are doubtless proof against such monstrous teaching. Let them keep far from the narrow reasoning that leads in that direction. The New Testament describes the sacrifice of Christ in plain and literal language. Let us interpret all figures and symbols by reference to the plain statements. God-who knows the end from the beginning, who does according to His will, but who “cannot deny Himself” God provided the means for condemning and overcoming sins on the basis of which He with much forbearance forgives those who please Him by their faith.

Much controversy has been caused by the question as to whether Christ offered for his own cleansing. It has been largely a war of words, due on the one hand to a fear of saying or subscribing to anything derogatory to Christ and on the other hand perhaps a tendency to relapse into the old exaggeration of “original sin”. There ought not to be a minute’s difficulty in dealing with the question and securing agreement.

When we speak of “sin” in the flesh we use the phrase just as the Apostle used it in Romans 7. Obviously it is a derived or secondary sense of the word, for the primary meaning of sin is transgression of divine law. It is a similar extension of meaning to that of the word “death” for poison when they said, “there is death in the pot”. The Apostle speaks of a law in his members which wars against the laws of God and leads to transgression. He calls this physical weakness “sin” in the flesh or “sin” that dwelleth in me. It is the diabolos in human nature, the natural desires of the flesh which, if they are allowed to “conceive”, “bring forth sin”. We need not argue as to whether there is such a law. We all know it only too well. We are born with it and if we give way to any sin we correspondingly strengthen the evil desire in that direction and thus make “sin” in the flesh more active. To suppose that an extraordinarily pure and righteous man would feel this weakness less than others is a huge mistake. The truth is the other way. It is the thoroughly fleshly man who is unconscious of the sinful law in his members and who probably would not understand what the Apostle meant. The man with the highest ideals and the most spiritual mind will feel the struggle most. To suggest that Christ was tempted in all points as we are and yet without this law of sin in his members is to proclaim a complete contradiction. It is like saying, “Except that he was not tempted at all!” Suggestions from without are no temptation to us if they do not appeal to something within. Christ bore just this same denied nature that we bear or he could not have been tempted as we are and therefore could not have condemned and conquered sin. Christ bore this quality in the flesh, but he never allowed it to conceive even to the point of sinful thought. Therein was the most terrific struggle and the most portentous victory of all human experience. It is easy to understand that with his ideals, and his standards of rectitude, the weakness of the flesh would be so distressing that even the most startling language of the Psalms is comprehensible.

Now whether we take the plain language of the Apostles (Heb. 9 : 12; 10 : 20) or the prophecies and types of the law, the teaching is that all things were to be cleansed by the perfect sacrifice and that no one of Adam’s race should have access to the Most Holy place except on the basis of that sacrifice (Lev. 16 : 2-14 note seven times of sprinkling). Some have caused confusion by arguing whether Christ’s offering for himself was “only a matter of obedience to God” or whether it was something more. What do they mean? Obedience to God is carrying out the will of God. What can be required beyond this? Surely we are all agreed that Christ, “the beloved son“, “the servant in whom God delighted”, and the one who “always did his Father’s will“, needed no forgiveness. Surely we are also agreed that he needed cleansing from the sin-stricken nature in which he wrestled with and’ conquered the diabolos. There could be no forgiveness for personal sinners except on the basis of the perfect sacrifice, for this was the will of God. There could be no cleansing and immortalizing, no entry into the Most Holy by any of Adam’s race except on the basis of the same perfect sacrifice, for that also was the will of God. Christ came to do God’s will, he was obedient in all things even unto death, and so with his own blood-in other words, on the basis of his perfect offering-he entered the Most Holy “having obtained eternal redemption.”

The truth is that when brethren who are agreed as to these fundamentals still argue and suspect each other of being “unsound”, they are really in their minds raising that old question of many years ago,

“Supposing Christ had been the only one to be saved, would he still have had to die a sacrificial death?”

Everyone ought to have learned long ago that this question is not legitimate. It is asking,

“If the will of God had been totally different in one direction, would it have remained the same in another closely related matter?”

There is only one proper answer to such a question. No one knows what the will of God would have been if His purpose had been other than it is, and only a presumptuous man would claim to know.

We have to do with the purpose of God as it is and as it is revealed to us. These truths are so simple and withal so beautiful that unless brethren insist on a misleading form of words making for strife, there should be no difficulty in agreeing.

The will of God determines everything. It was the will of God that none of our sin-stricken race should enter His holy presence except on the basis of the most complete repudiation of the flesh involved in a perfect obedience even unto death. He provided the strength necessary for this great work and it was for this purpose that Christ was born. Thus through the blood of the everlasting Covenant he was brought again from the dead. With his own blood he entered the Most Holy place, having obtained eternal redemption, and we, if we are faithful, can stand at last “washed from our sins in his blood” and covered with his righteousness. All these figures meaning that God accepts, forgives and cleanses His people on the basis of the perfect life and death of His Anointed Son.

– Islip Collyer

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Preceding articles

Doopsel en bloedvergieten ter vergeving

With child and righteousness greater than the law

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  3. God’s wrath and sanctification
  4. Belief of the things that God has promised
  5. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  6. The God of hope filling us with all joy and peace
  7. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  8. Chaff and the shoot out of the stock of Jesse
  9. Jesus begotten Son of God #12 Son of God
  10. Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant
  11. The redemption of man by Christ Jesus
  12. Suffering redemptive because Jesus redeemed us from sin
  13. Redemption # 1Biblical doctrine of salvation
  14. Atonement And Fellowship 3/8
  15. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  16. To believe in the liberation of slavery and to repent
  17. United people under Christ
  18. June’s Survey – Baptism by immersion: Necessary for salvation?
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  21. Baptised sister not of higher status before God then an unbaptised young male?
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  23. Being of good courage running the race
  24. Fr Paddy Byrne finds First communions and confirmations should be delayed
  25. Why baptism really matters – e-book
  26. Uprooted Baptists their new idea of baptism
  27. January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works
  28. Religious celebrations in May 2016
  29. God’s forgotten Word 5 Lost Lawbook 4 The ‘Catholic’ church
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  31. Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news
  32. Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer
  33. Remember the day
  34. Breathing to teach
  35. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  36. Feeling-good, search for happiness and the church
  37. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church
  38. Edward Wightman
  39. A Passover for unity in God’s community

+++

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Charles Taze Russell and what he started

We would like to present some older articles published by us on the website of Bijbelvorsers Webs, the Association of Bible Scholars or Researchers an Association for Bible-study, and Biblestudents on March 4, 2011 at 5:41 am:

Charles Taze Russell and what he started.

C. T.Russell was born in 1852 (the second of five children) in Allegheny,Pennsylvania in the US. He grew up in faith with his father, got to know the Presbyterian and the Congregational Church. He investigated the philosophies of the Far East – Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism but soon concluded that these philosophies were empty, and his quest for spiritual satisfaction and peace remained unfulfilled.

Christians worldwide were for the first time ever considering the prophetic chronology of the Bible, concluding that Christ was going to return on dates calculated anywhere from 1862 through 1881 (with greater focus on the year 1868). From 1868 to 1875 a lot of Christians all over the world had come in great expectation for the return of Christ, believing that the 6,000 years from the creation of Adam were complete, and the seventh and final millennium began. Lots of preachers,determined to find the truth, went around the world to proclaim the end times.

George Storrs (1796–1879) one of the leaders of the Second Advent movement and affiliated with William Miller and Joshua V. Himes. He began publication of his magazine The Bible Examiner in 1843 and continued it until 1879 with a few breaks - George Storrs (1796-1879) een van de leiders van de Tweede Advent beweging en aangesloten bij William Miller en Joshua V. Himes. Hij begon met de publicatie van zijn tijdschrift The Bible Examiner in 1843 en bleef het tot 1879 met een paar pauzes publiceren

George Storrs (1796–1879) one of the leaders of the Second Advent movement and affiliated with William Miller and Joshua V. Himes. He began publication of his magazine The Bible Examiner in 1843 and continued it until 1879 with a few breaks – George Storrs (1796-1879) een van de leiders van de Tweede Advent beweging en aangesloten bij William Miller en Joshua V. Himes. Hij begon met de publicatie van zijn tijdschrift The Bible Examiner in 1843 en bleef het tot 1879 met een paar pauzes publiceren

George Stetson (1814–1879) Millerite who also wrote for George Storrs’ magazine The Herald of Life and the Coming Kingdom, and for other magazines such as The World's Crisis - George Stetson (1814–1879) Millerite die ook schreef voor George Storrs’ magazine The Herald of Life en the Coming Kingdom, en voor andere bijbelstudenten tijdschriften zoals The World's Crisis

George Stetson (1814–1879) Millerite who also wrote for George Storrs’ magazine The Herald of Life and the Coming Kingdom, and for other magazines such as The World’s Crisis – George Stetson (1814–1879) Millerite die ook schreef voor George Storrs’ magazine The Herald of Life en the Coming Kingdom, en voor andere bijbelstudenten tijdschriften zoals The World’s Crisis

Soon C.T. Russell began also to see that he was living somewhere near the close of the Gospel age, “and near the time when the Lord had declared that the wise,watching ones of his children should come to a clear knowledge of his plan.” From the years 1870 through 1875 Charles, his father Joseph, his sister Margaret, along with several other interested friends and associates, and a few other truth-seekers in Pittsburgh and Allegheny formed a class for Bible study with the well studied Millerite pastors George Storrs, and George Stetson. These studies were purposely detailed and analytical with the goal of examining every ‘jot and tittle’ of Christian doctrine, creeds and traditions in order to determine their accuracy, or to see if they were nothing but “the traditions of men”. Slowly, and step by step, they were able to separate which doctrines were Bible-based from those that were error, or mere tradition. Such detailed studies and questions of faith were common to numerous Protestant groups in the United States at this time in American history.

Charles had a time of constant growth in grace and knowledge and love of God and his Word. During this time of his Bible study, the Russells were also influenced by Adventists such as Jonas Wendell, Nelson Barbour, the Christadelphians and the Lutheran minister Joseph Seiss. In the history of Bible Students we cannot escape to see several names coming up in different denominations of today. In the nineteenth century there was a big cross-pollination. Some of Russell’s beliefs can be traced back to the very beginning of the Second Advent movement started by William Miller.

William Miller (1782-1849), American clergyman, founded a movement which involved thousands in eagerly awaiting the Second Coming of Christ. - William Miller (1782-1849), Amerikaanse dominee, stichtte een beweging die duizenden reikhalzend deden uitkijken naar de wederkomst van Christus.

William Miller (1782-1849), American clergyman, founded a movement which involved thousands in eagerly awaiting the Second Coming of Christ. – William Miller (1782-1849), Amerikaanse dominee, stichtte een beweging die duizenden reikhalzend deden uitkijken naar de wederkomst van Christus.

Because of their intensive study of the Bible, the Russell family (Charles, Margaret, and Joseph) concluded that they had finally gained a new and clearer understanding of what a Christian is called to do in laying down their earthly life in sacrifice and service to God. All three renewed their consecration (vow of dedication) and decided to be re-baptized in 1874.

In 1876 Russell sold his father’s men’s clothing tailoring store named “The Old QuakerShop” located on Federal Street in downtown Pittsburgh and used this money to use it for preaching and publication purposes.

Russell was impressed with Nelson Barbour’s “invisible presence” views on Christ’s coming and he accepted much of his chronological views. Barbour and Russell soon became partners in publishing Herald of the Morning, Pastor Russell becoming an assistant editor of the Adventist magazine.

C.T.Russell became also the co-publisher of the book, Three Worlds and The Harvest of This World (Also called, Three Worlds: Or Plan of Redemption) (1877). A doctrinal dispute between Russell and Barbour over the atonement, and that the Rapture of the saints would occur in April 1878, resulted in Russell ending his partnership with Barbour and publishing his own magazine the Zion’s Watch Tower magazine, starting in 1879. When Russell left, he took many of Barbour’s readers with him, including J.H. Paton, the Herald magazine’s other assistant editor. He continued with Barbour’s chronology of 1874 being the date of Christ’s invisible return, 1799 as the start of the time of the end and 1914 as the “end of the Gentile Times”.

In 1908 the name of their magazine was changed to The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

Russell married Maria (pronounced ‘moriah’) Frances Ackley (1850-1938 ) on March 13,1879, after merely a few months’ acquaintance. The marriage was based on a mutually agreed celibate partnership established for preaching the gospel. In 1897 they separated following disagreements over the propriety of her role in the management of Zion’s Watch Tower magazine.

In 1881 “Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society” was founded with the purpose of disseminating tracts, papers, doctrinal treatises and Bibles, and was officially chartered in 1884.

Charles devoted nearly a tenth of his fortune in publishing and distributing his first major publication, entitled “Food for Thinking Christians” in 1881. In that same year he also wrote and distributed, “Tabernacle and its Teachings”, and “Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices”. In “Food for Thinking Christians”, Russell’s zeal to throw light upon the creedal errors motivated him to tear into the error without first showing that the Bible was indeed true, and that there was truth to be found therein. This approach shivered many men well and did the rear.

Russell wanted to outline the entire Bible and God’s plan for humanity, completely free of the Roman creeds and “traditions of men” in a seven-volume set. The first volume was originally entitled “The Plan of the Ages”, later renamed “The Divine Plan of the Ages”.

The”Divine Plan of the Ages” took the opposite approach of “Food for Thinking Christians” and first showed the beauty and harmony of the Bible before attacking the creedal errors. This approach was accepted as a refreshing answer to people’s search for truth so evident from the end of the 19th century onward.

The remaining volumes of the series, originally named “Millennial Dawn” but renamed in 1904 to “Studies in the Scriptures”, are:

 

The Time is at Hand (1889)

Thy Kingdom Come (1891)

The Day of Vengeance/The Battle of Armageddon (1897)

The Atonement Between God and Men (1899)

The New Creation (1904)

 

The delayed publishing of the seventh volume eventually became a source of great anticipation and mystery among Bible Students. Following Russell’s death in 1916, a seventh volume entitled The Finished Mystery, was published in 1917 and advertised as his “posthumous work”. True to Russell’s plan, this seventh volume was a detailed interpretation of the book of Revelation, but had included interpretations of Ezekiel, and the Song of Solomon. Immediate controversy surrounded both its publishing, and contents. In a short time it was established that it was actually written and compiled by two of Russell’s former associates, Clayton J. Woodworth and George H. Fisher, and edited by Joseph Franklin Rutherford. [i]

By 1903, newspapers began printing sermons written by Pastor Russell. The success of this got perhaps in his head. Though a lot of criticism came up he became more in the picture and got more followers.

While on the one hand claiming no special “authority,” Russell clearly desired to be the “servant” in the estimation of the “household of faith.” The danger became that he started claiming to be the “mouthpiece” of God. While others before him paved the way in giving the “midnight cry,” such as Miller and Barbour, Russell believed he was finally chosen as the one in restoring true Biblical teaching. While saying everyone needed to decide for himself, etc., Russell clearly wanted everyone to”study” the Bible solely from his writings.

Frederick William Franz (1893–1992) member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses and served as president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, the legal entity used to direct the work of Jehovah's Witnesses. - Frederick William Franz (1893-1992) lid van het Regerend Lichaam van Jehovah's Getuigen en diende als president van het Wachttorengenootschap the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, de juridische entiteit gebruikt om het werk van Jehovah's Getuigen te leiden.

Frederick William Franz (1893–1992) member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and served as president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, the legal entity used to direct the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses. – Frederick William Franz (1893-1992) lid van het Regerend Lichaam van Jehovah’s Getuigen en diende als president van het Wachttorengenootschap the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, de juridische entiteit gebruikt om het werk van Jehovah’s Getuigen te leiden.

After Russell’s dead it became even worse. A leadership crisis arose surrounding the new president of the Society, Joseph Rutherford, resulting in a movement-wide schism. As many as three-quarters of the approximately 50,000 Bible Students who had been associating in 1917 had left by 1931, resulting in the formation of several groups that retained variations on the name Bible Students. The idea of the truthful slave was interpolated to the Watchtower Tract Society. Rutherford and Fred Franz (Frederick William Franz) their followers who maintained fellowship with the Watch Tower Society adopted the name Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931. They accept that the Society is provided with the only truthful slave and is the only one which has received the light from God and can show the light and right way to enter the Kingdom of God. JW‘s believe the Bible Students are still stuck on the “old light” of “Pastor” Russell and thus haven’t kept up with the latest “light” or “present truth.” Thus JW’s are no longer “Russellites” or followers of Russell as detractors have called them and they used to proudly call themselves. [ii] Russell is no longer viewed by the Watchtower Society as the “faithful and wise servant” alone serving the “meat in due season” or proper explanation of the Scriptures as they taught until 1927. [iii] They have gone back to the original view that the “servant” is a class of people, the 144,000, of which Russell was only one. The truth is still being progressively revealed to the modern “remnant” of the 144,000 who are currently leading the corporation Russell founded according the Jehovah Witnesses. Russell is viewed by JW’s today as the founder of their movement who helped revive the truth and separated them from Babylon the Great, but who taught many things that are no longer the “truth’ as the “light has grown brighter” since his day. JW’s therefore do not and are not encouraged to read Russell’s material at all, except the brief quotations provided by the Society’s writers in their current publications.

The Society of the Watchtower stopped publishing Russell his Studies in the Scriptures in 1928. Many Bible Students believe for the most part that the Society has become apostate as it no longer believes in many of Russell’s teachings as exposed in his Studies. As Russell warned about those who would do such a thing, the Society has gone into spiritual darkness, according to those other Bible Students. JW’s are viewed by many Bible Students as part of the Whore of Babylon and tell JW’s to “get out of her my people.”

Although the JW testify to be bible the only real research workers of truth, we fortunately can determine that there are, though be it in comparison with the traditional religions, not so many, still several people who were faithful to study the Book of books wanting to examine the Holy Scriptures and to investigate how they can be most faithful to this Word of God.

Those who severed ties with the Society formed their own groups including the Pastoral Bible Institute in 1918 (publishing The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom), the Layman’s Home Missionary Movement in 1919, and the Dawn Bible Students Association in 1929.

Moreover the former not associated Bible researchers remain still active in their Bible study and the proclamation of the Word of God.

*

Notes:

[i] http://www.pastor-russell.com/misc/bio.html

[ii] Walter Martin and Norman Klan, Jehovahof the Watchtower (Minneapolis, MN.: Bethany House Publishers), 1953, 1974,p. 41; The Golden Age, March 17, 1920, pp. 409-414.

[iii] J. F. Rutherford, The Harp ofGod (Brooklyn, NY: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society), 1921, pp. 237,239.

Dutch speaking readers at that time could find this text in Dutch on the Space of the Belgian bible Students but by the disappearance of Windows Live Spaces the article also disappeared

Nederlandstaligelezerskonden dit artikel in het Nederlands vinden op de Space van Bijbelstudenten uit België maar door het wegvallen van Windows Live Spaces hebben wij dat artikel verloren : Charles Taze Russell, een bal die veel aan het rollen bracht.

 ++

Find also:

  1. Different approach in organisation of services #1
  2. Different approach in organisation of services #2
  3. Different approach in organisation of services #3
  4. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  5. Commitment to Christian unity
  6. Parts of the body of Christ
  7. Dissolution of Bijbelvorsers (Bible scholars), Association for Bible study

+++

  • The Mustard Seed by The Church of Christ, Sangotedo (slideshare.net)
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  • November 17, 2014 – agreement (cohdailyprayer2014.wordpress.com)
    The leader relies on the mutual agreement we all have with God. He or she does not create faith or supply spiritual motivation. Christians live together in love and truth by their mutual agreement as people who are gifted with the Spirit of God. Our agreement holds us together. Agreement is a description of an action, not just a name for a document. Our ongoing, mutual dialogue in Christ forms and shapes our mutual understanding and direction. That agreement is a key factor in how much difference we make.
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    John saw her / Descending from heaven / Her latter glory / Called her New Jerusalem / Such a beautiful story / What a beautiful bride / The bride of Christ
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  • Moving Through Time: Timeline of Religion (pcr.wpengine.com)
  • In 1845-1870 AD, E.G. White established the 7th Day Adventists, a Protestant Christian denomination that believes in observing Saturday as the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week. In addition, 7th Day Adventists believe in the imminent second coming of the Jesus Christ. This movement was influenced and grew out of the Millerite movement in the United States during the 19th century.
  • In 1848 AD, Kate and Margaret Fox founded Spiritualism, a belief system that postulates the belief in spirits of the dead who have an inclination in communicating with the living through a divination system known as mediumship.
  • In 1870 AD, Charles Taze Russel founded the Jehovah Witnesses, a Christian denomination distinct from mainstream Christianity. The Jehovah’s Witnesses base their beliefs on their own biblical interpretations and even transcribed their own version of the Holy Bible. They believe that Armageddon and the establishment of New Jerusalem is imminent.
  • In 1875 AD, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Henry Olcott founded the Theosophical Society, a research and publishing institute dedicated to sharing esoteric doctrine of many spiritual traditions around the world. H.P. Blavatsky’s extensive research led to the publishing of the “magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine,” a comprehensive synthesis of ancient knowledge. The Theosophical Society aimed to form a brotherhood that did not discriminate against race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
  • In 1879 AD, Mary Baker Eddy formed a cult sect known as Christian Science (PDF), a religious practice derived from revelations given to Mary Baker Eddy and from the Bible itself. Its core texts are the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, also known as the “Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures.” Christian Science asserts that humanity and the universe coincide together as a whole in their truest essence, whereas evil and fallacies are illusory aspects of the material plane.
  • Between 1889 to 1924 AD, Myrtle Fillmore founded the Unity School of Christianity, a religious group that believes that all people are created with sacred worth. The Unity School of Christianity shares a universal love for all people, regardless of race, sex, color, ethnicity, creed, gender, political ideology, or disability.
  • In 1902 AD, Rudolf Steiner founded the Anthroposophical Society, a religious organization that postulates that an individual can comprehend an objective spiritual world through direct experience and inner development.
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