9. Christ’s Atonement

By John Thiel, Audio: Christ’s Atonement

We have sought to understand giving God the glory so that we can worship Him who made heaven and earth in spirit and in truth with reference to the everlasting gospel.  In our current study entitled ‘Christ’s Atonement’ we explore another component of God’s grace in providing the healing antidote for a fallen sin-sick race.  In His manifold grace toward us God pledged us the facility of His Son Jesus Christ that by His death we might be redeemed and that by His life we might be reconciled or made at one with the Father. We will learn in all practical reality how to apply the healing remedy of the atonement to re-create our mind anew.

Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

It is the discovery of the Godhead and the deep appreciation that we are to worship Him as the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost that enables us to behold His perfect character and worship Him in spirit and in truth.  As we make this our meditation, a deep sense of our own deplorable condition comes upon us.  We try to do the right but in every man’s nature there is a bent to evil which left unaided he cannot overcome.  It would take a direct intervention from God for us to attain to a condition of His holiness.  How then does God intervene to help us overcome our sinful nature?  The answer lies in the facilities that the Godhead has pledged for the benefit and restoration of the humanity.  The first person of the Godhead took upon himself the role of the Father – He played a role model for us to reach to – a perfect Ancient of Days whom we may become like.  The second person of the Godhead became a Son here on earth to give us the example of the training that God has to give to His children. The third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit became the one who applies the inward workings of the Father and the Son within us. Hopefully in our last study we became aware of our deplorable condition from which we are to be saved and through this realisation we would be compelled but not in a negative sense to solicit aid from the great heavenly physician.

The Remedy

What is the remedy that this Godhead needs to render to us as a remedy for our sin-sick condition?

The atonement of Christ is not a mere skillful way to have our sins pardoned; it is a divine remedy for the cure of transgression and the restoration of spiritual health. It is the Heaven-ordained means by which the righteousness of Christ may be not only be upon us but in our hearts and characters (Letter 406, 1906).  {6BC 1074.2}

The atonement of Christ is the divine remedy for the cure of transgression and the restoration of spiritual health.

How Do We Administer The Remedy?

The answer is we take it just as we would any other remedy – we apply it and take it. That’s the remedy of the atonement.  We first need to understand what the atonement is before we can apply it.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

11 And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

In the margin the word atonement is transcribed as reconciliation.  Reconciliation occurs between two parties when they engage in the mending of a rift.  In our last study ‘The Fall of Man’ we identified that a rift had taken place between God and man.

Genesis 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they [were] naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou?

10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I [was] naked; and I hid myself.

The wonderful unity that was once in place between God and man became severed.  A rift was created through one man’s sin.

Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear.

He still comes to us and still hears us.

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.

While we were yet enemies, afraid and running away in fear of God, God called a truce to mend the rift and reconcile humanity back to Himself.

Colossians 1:19 For it pleased [the Father] that in him [Jesus] should all fulness dwell;

20 And, having made peace, [a truce], through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile,

[to atone], all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.

21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.

In our mind God was an enemy, but through Jesus He wants to show us the reconciliation process.  Where does this process begin?

Colossians 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Observe verse 21, “and you that were sometime alienated” Where does this separation, alienation and perception of God as an enemy take place?  In your mind.  This is where the rift takes place – in the mind by wicked works. Through that activity it was the mind of man that regarded God as his enemy to fear because God was a perceptibly more powerful foe. This is why Adam and Eve chose to flee instead of fight. But God showed himself in no wise to be their enemy.  Was He the enemy? Did He want them to die because they had segregated themselves from Him? He says in the day you eat thereof you will surely die because this is what is going to happen – you will fall into this terrible attitude towards me but my attitude towards you hasn’t changed.

Ezekiel 33:10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins [be] upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?

11 Say unto them, [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

God’s Attitude towards Sinners

While we were yet sinners and enemies toward God in our mind, God sent His only son to atone for us.  This is God’s attitude toward sinners.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that was His enemy, that he gave his only begotten Son, He placed Christ’s atonement into our proximity because He does not show Himself to be an enemy.

He came and loved us and gave us His Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish because He does not want the death of the wicked but he wants them to have everlasting life.

The Lord God through Jesus Christ holds out His hand all the day long in invitation to the sinful and fallen. He will receive all. He welcomes all. It is His glory to pardon the chief of sinners. He will take the prey from the mighty, He will deliver the captive, He will pluck the brand from the burning. He will lower the golden chain of His mercy to the lowest depths of human wretchedness, and lift up the debased soul contaminated with sin.  {MH 161.3}

Every human being is the object of loving interest to Him who gave His life that He might bring men back to God. Souls guilty and helpless, liable to be destroyed by the arts and snares of Satan, are cared for as a shepherd cares for the sheep of his flock.  {MH 162.1}

2 Corinthians 5:18,19 And all things [are] of God,

He is the one, not us. Everything that has to be done for our redemption is all from God,

2 Corinthians 5:18 who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

We are the ones who were estranged from God and yet He commends His love to us.  God is the one who provides Jesus Christ and then gives to us an activity, the ministry of reconciliation.  He gives us this activity so that we who are so estranged from Him may be engaged in an activity of reconciliation and of atonement.  God doesn’t need to appease His heart toward us – it is man who needs to appease and change his heart towards God.

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.

God was in Christ and man ran away from him, but when Jesus was on the cross and lifted up, that very action of reconciliation drew all those that were running away from Him and were afraid of Him.  He will draw them to Himself and reconcile and atone for them.  It was His act of At-One-Ment which makes the difference to the one who feels like they are an enemy of God.

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us];

God gave to us his Son Jesus Christ so that the barrier spanning the abyss between us could be removed.  After the fall of man our minds became locked into a certain mould of thinking.  The atonement had to be powerful enough that it could alter a heavily engrained mental transaction in our mind.  In the remedial process God has given us the deep mental activity or the atonement to affect our state of mind toward him. It was already very powerful to discover that the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit are three separate persons and yet they are one.  This is one of the deep mind activities God had given us to remedy our mind.  In John 17, the at-one-ment of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost was there and displayed before us in Jesus Christ coming to this earth to achieve atonement of our mind to God.

John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

The atonement has already been gazed at and our mind has already been affected towards God.  This is the remedy to affect my mind so that I may harmonize with God.  In Ezekiel the beautiful oneness of the fabric of the heavenly intelligences is displayed right before us and the possibility of this kind of atonement may be ours through the word of reconciliation and through the commitment that God has invited us to.

Ezekiel 1:15 Now as I beheld the living creatures, here Ezekiel saw a vision of living creatures in heaven, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.

16 The appearance of the wheels and their work [was] like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work [was] as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.

17 When they went, they went upon their four sides: [and] they turned not when they went.

18 As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings [were] full of eyes round about them four.

19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.

20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither [was their] spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature [was] in the wheels.

21 When those went, [these] went; and when those stood, [these] stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature [was] in the wheels.

The above scripture is a beautiful demonstration of absolute atonement and absolute unity.  Here we have the vision of several creatures and their wheels within wheels working in such an intimate sophistry that when one creature moves, the other creatures move in harmony with it.  This is what Jesus came to reveal to mankind, that the precious unity of the Godhead makes the whole plan of God come to pass.

John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

As the Father moves, the Son moves, what the Father does, the Son does –the Son can do nothing of himself.  This is the picture of the at-one-ment and it is this oneness that God wants to affect in us who have fallen out of this unity.  It is only by beholding the renewing power of the atonement that our minds may become changed to think and move together as one.  Colossians reveals that without the application of the atonement we are in a segregated and alienated state from God and each other.  How then may the cohesive beauty of the atonement be produced in our lives?

Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled (by what means?)

22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

We are sinners and alienated. By what method are we reconciled? Where was the atonement to be impacted and achieved?  It was through the activity that was to take place in His flesh through death so that through that enactment we might be presented holy, unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off where?  In Christ Jesus, in the body of His flesh are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; in His Son, in the body of His flesh

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace;

16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

Where did He make the one new man? In Himself.  The atonement, the reconciliation was to take place in the body of His flesh. He who is the Word, the second person of the Godhead was to come and enter into an atonement with us in the body of His flesh and there in that enactment in partaking with us in the body of our flesh was the atonement, the remedy for our mind and our being to be achieved. He came so very close to us and was so at one with us that our terrible condition of sin and our fear of sin and death because of sin could be actually ingested inside of Him and combined with His God divine nature. This is the atonement and it’s beautifully expressed;

Hebrews 2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?

7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:

God and man once had a beautiful relationship in Eden.

Hebrews 2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing [that is] not put under him.

But because man fell away from God, now we see not yet all things put under him.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

He was made in the body of His flesh for the suffering of death on the cross.

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, it happened to Him for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Hebrews 2:11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified [are] all of one: the process is that they would be at one in His work, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

They were one with Him in the body of His flesh.

Hebrews 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

He became one of the brethren.

Hebrews 2:13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, – He took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

In the body of His flesh by his blood he also himself likewise took part of the same.  That’s where the atonement takes place. Jesus who is God became one with us in His flesh and blood.

Hebrews 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

16 For verily he took not on [him the nature of] angels; but he took on [him] the seed of Abraham.

Jesus in the body of His flesh and His blood became at one with us for the purpose of delivering us from the very fear that caused Adam and Eve to run away.  He partook of sinful humanity and was made to be sin for us that our minds might be affected by this process and reconciled back to God.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he [God] hath made him [Christ] [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Here is the atonement and the remedy that we are to contemplate and ingest into our mind.  Through the atoning process we are able to rediscover God’s abounding love toward us that our hearts might well up with love again. We are fallen and Jesus came to become one with us.  He was made to be sin for us so that we might be made righteous in Him.  Everything we have studied about becoming like God is to take place in Jesus Christ the man. This is the remedy for the deplorable, hopeless condition which has estranged us from God.  Understanding our fallen condition we now need to apply the binding agent of Christ Jesus in the atonement to heal our sin sick minds. In our next study entitled Jesus the Man we will continue further into the depth of the atonement to learn how it was that Jesus in the body of His flesh and through the death of the cross took upon himself our flesh and our blood to deal with our sinful condition.  May God grant us to appreciate the step by step revelation of these profound truths that only a mastermind could create and also put down in such wonderful ways in the scriptures.  May God enable us to gaze more profoundly into these realities until we study again.

Amen.

Posted on September 3, 2009, in 1st Angels Message and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. God bless you and may you shine bright in the new Jerusalem. I have found your messages on the Sanctuary uplifting. I intend to share these with your brethren, the other saints, if you dont mind.

  2. Azanda Shangase

    Thank u ari.its a wondaful eye opening study may God bless u always with more wisdom

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