Does Christ save us Vicariously? | Original Sin | Calvinism

By the beginning of the fourth century the early Church felt the need to state in doctrinal form the

plan of salvation and how that was expressed in the inter-relationship of the Father and the Son, so that she might be unified in her approach to combating the heresies which were flooding the Church at this time. The First Ecumenical council, which first formulated the doctrine of the Trinity and is more commonly known as the First Council of Nicea, stated in doctrinal form the relationship of the Son to the Father. It was commissioned by the Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 A.D; and was finalised at the Council of Consantinople in 381 A.D, at which the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Father and Son came to be stated in doctrinal form. It was not until over one hundred years later, in 451 A.D. that the Chalcedonian Creed was ratified; which states the orthodox view of the manner in which the incarnate Christ was made manifest to humanity. This creed was based upon the confessions of Athanasius, who also formulated the Nicene Creed. He was recognized as a `Doctor of the Church' in 1568 by Pope St. Pius V; which is a title given by the Catholic Church to individuals whom they regard as having contributed to the dogma of the Catholic Church. It is from the writings of Athanasius and in particular `On the Incarnation' that the doctrine known as vicarious substitution is derived. This doctrine teaches that Christ became our substitute for the punishment which is metered out to us for our sins, by vicariously suffering on the cross for us and is regarded as orthodox by Catholics and the majority of the Protestant Churches. The three most commonly held positions of this doctrine are known as the ransom theory of the atonement, the satisfaction view of the atonement, and penal substitution, which is a variation of the satisfaction view of the atonement. The Ransom Theory of the Atonement The ransom theory of the atonement is believed to be the first major theory of the atonement and was held by the majority of the early Church Fathers until about the twelfth century. For this reason it is also known as `The Patristic Theory’. It can be principally found in the works of Origen (c 185 – 254); one of the early Church fathers and is primarily based upon two sets of Scripture, 1 Timothy 2: 5-6, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men— the testimony given in its proper time", and Mark 10:45, which reads "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many". Origen believed that as a result of sin, Christ gave His soul to the Devil as a ransom which was paid to him, in lieu of the human soul being claimed by him. "But to whom did He [Jesus] give His soul as a ransom for many? Surely not to God. Could it, then, be to the Evil One? For he had us in his power, until the ransom for us should be given to him, even the life (or soul) of Jesus, since he (the Evil One) had been deceived, and led to suppose that he was capable of mastering that soul, and he did not see that to hold Him involved a trial of strength greater than he was equal to. Therefore also death, though he thought he had prevailed against Him, no longer lords over Him, He (Christ) having become free among the dead and stronger than the power of death, and so much stronger than death that all who will amongst those who are mastered by death may also follow Him

death no longer prevailing against them. For every one who is with Jesus is unassailable by death." (`Commentary on Matthew XVI, 8’; Aulen, op. cit., p. 49. In footnote 13, Aulen says, "Translation from Rashdall, p. 259. where the Greek is printed in full.") According to this theory, although Satan was deceived by Christ, justice was still satisfied and we were freed from the clutches of the Devil. Although the ransom theory of the atonement still remains the official position of the Eastern Orthodox Church, it receives little support from Christian Churches in general. St. Anselm and the Satisfaction view of the Atonement Not all Church Fathers supported the Ransom Theory of the atonement. One of the most notable exceptions was Athanasius, who was largely responsible for formulating the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds. Although it is primarily from Athanasius’ recorded writings on the incarnation of Christ that the Church eventually formulated the doctrine of `vicarious substitution’, the Ransom Theory of the Atonement was generally regarded as the orthodox view until the eleventh century, when St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (1033 – 1109) asked: `And as to what you say of His coming to fight the devil, with what sense dare you bring this forward? Does not God’s omnipotence reign everywhere? How then, for the conquest of the devil, must God needs come down from heaven?’ (`Cur Deus Homos’; or “Why God was made man”’, St. Anselm, this translation printed by John Henry and James Parker, London, 1865; p. 10.) Anselm figured that as the Devil caused the fall in the first place by tempting Adam and Eve to sin, then why should a ransom be paid to the Devil at all, particularly when the Devil would not seek justice, but would instead to seek to torment the sinner? `But the devil never merited any right to punish him [Adam], nay, he would do this with the greater degree of injustice in that he was not drawn to it by any love of justice, but was impelled by the spirit of malice. . . . In fact, as in a good angel there is no unrighteousness whatsoever, so in an evil angel there is no righteousness at all. There was therefore in the devil no righteous cause why God should not for the deliverance of man put forth His strength against him.’ (Anselm, pp. 12, 14.) Anselm instead developed the idea that we are in debt to God because in sinning against God we have robbed Him of honour which is due to Him and He should therefore be recompensed: `Nothing is less tolerable in the order of things, than that a creature should rob the Creator of the honour which is due to Him and not repay Him that which is due to Him.’ (`Anselm’, p. 32.) He believed that if the honour were not `repaid’, then punishment should follow:

`It is necessary, then, either that the honour taken from Him should be repaid, or that punishment should follow; otherwise God would either not be just to Himself, or else would be impotent to exact either demand; which is too horrible to imagine.’ (Anselm, p. 33.) But as we are unable to satisfy this debt, satisfaction was made by Christ in our stead. In substituting His death for our own, He repays the debt we have incurred with merit `which excels all the sins of men’. `If, then, to give life is to accept death; as the giving of this life excels all the sins of men, so also does the accepting death *of Christ+.’ (Anselm, p. 86.) He also believed that although Christ’s death is more than sufficient to provide merit for all the sins of men; this does not fully recompense the offended honour of God, as it is we, not Christ, who have sinned. Therefore it is our duty to provide satisfaction to Him, by the means of making restitution to Him, by restoring to Him more than that of which we have robbed Him: `Moreover, as long as he [the sinner]does not pay that of which he robbed Him, he continues in his fault; and it is not enough to only restore to God only what he has taken away, but he ought also, to make amends for the insult done to God, to restore more than he took away. . . . . .So, therefore is everyone who sins bound to pay back the honour of which he has robbed God; and this is the satisfaction which every sinner is bound to make to God.’ (Anselm, pp. 27, 28.) Thus, when theologians speak of making satisfaction to God, they do not imply that Christ’s death on the cross in some way pleases or gratifies the Father; but instead declare that justice can only be provided by the process of making restitution for that which has been offended, or broken. So it is in this framework that Anselm believed that it is fitting that the Devil should be allowed to punish man for his sins if satisfaction is not made to God: `Man, indeed, deserved to be punished, and by none more fitly than by him at whose persuasion he had consented to sin . . . . . For man either of his own free will exhibits that subjection to God which is due to Him, whether by not sinning, or making amends for his sin; or else God subjects him to himself by tormenting him against his will, and by this means shows Himself to be his Lord, which the same man refuses of his own will to acknowledge.’ (Anselm, pp. 12, 33, 34.) Anselm believed that in order for honour be restored to God when we sin, `it is necessary that every sin must be followed either by satisfaction or punishment.’ (Anselm, p. 36.) But for those who did not willingly make sufficient restitution for the insult done to the honour of God, then this punishment would be an eternal punishment:

`For those who know nothing of the punishment of sin, and they who behold continually its eternal punishment, cannot be equally worthy of praise by standing in the truth . . . . Hold it therefore, as a most certain truth, that without satisfaction, i.e., without a willing payment of the debt, God cannot let the sinner go unpunished; nor can the sinner attain to blessedness, even such as he had before he sinned; for if it were so, man would be restored even such as he was before his sin.’ (Anselm, pp. 38, 42.) Anselm believed that unless satisfaction was made to God - i.e the sinner willingly made restitution to the debt owed to honour God, then the sinner would be punished eternally, for `God cannot let the sinner go unpunished' and be restored to a state in which it was if he had never sinned. St. Thomas Aquinas and the Satisfaction view of the Atonement St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225 - 1274) refined Anselms theology in `Summa Theologica’, which formed the basis of the Catholic perception of the atonement and was affirmed during the Council of Trent in the 16th century. Aquinas differed from Anselm by believing that instead of a debt of honour that is owed to God when we sin, it is instead a debt of moral injustice; thus concluding that a moral response to sin is to punish the sinner. Instead of allowing the Devil to become the instrument of God’s wrath, `Satisfactory Punishment’ draws upon Christ’s merit through the sacraments of the Church and pays the moral debt that is owed to God as `a remedy for the avoidance of sin’. `Satisfactory punishment has a twofold purpose, viz. to pay the debt, and avoidance of sin.’ (Gal. 3:28).’ (The “Summa Theologica” of St. Thomas Aquinas. Art. 2. Supp. Q. 13 a. 1. Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Second and Revised Edition, 1920.) The remedy for the avoidance of sin is through paying penance: `But satisfaction is commanded (Luke 3:8) "Bring forth . . . fruits worthy of penance." Therefore it is possible to make satisfaction to God. Further, God is more merciful than any man. But it is possible to make satisfaction to a man. Therefore it is possible to make satisfaction to God. Further, there is due satisfaction when the punishment balances the fault, since "justice is the same as counterpassion," as the Pythagoreans said. [Aristotle, Ethic. v, 5; Cf. II-II, 61, 4+.’ (Aquinas, Art. 1. Supp. Q. 13 a. 5.) While Ansell had developed the idea that `. . . the giving of this life [of Christ] excels all the sins of men' (Anselm, p. 86), Aquinas further refined this idea by postulating that this merit which `excels all sins of men' is stored in a `Treasury of Merit’; from which the sinner might purchase `indulgences’; which are a form of pre-paid `insurance’ which is credited to our `account’ in case we commit `venial’, or non-mortal sins. Aquinas also believed that selfinflicted punishment, such as self-flagellation merited grace in this `Treasury of Merit’, as long as it equalled, or excelled the pleasure contained in the committed sin.

`Now punishment may equal the pleasure contained in a sin committed. Therefore satisfaction can be made to God.’ (`Summa Theologica’, Art. 1. Supp. Q. 13 a. 5.) Of course, if the self-inflicted punishment excelled the pleasure contained in the sin committed, this merit could be accredited to ones `Treasury of Merit’ and thereby avoid future sins in the form of indulgences. Penal Substitution This idea of justly punishing men for their sins led to Jean (John) Calvin (1509 – 1564), the French reformist theologian to rebel against the concept of salvation through the sacraments of the Church, by forming the doctrine of penal substitution. He believed that the individual may approach Christ by faith, Who substitutes for the punishment which is due to us; thus appeasing the wrath of God so that mercy and the grace of Jesus can then accredited to the sinner. But as Christ already knows who are His, then only the `elect’ are predestined to be saved and it is impossible for them to fall out of salvation. It typically
presents God the Father as the wrathful God of the Old Testament, and Christ as the God of Love and peace in the New Testament, and is prone to lending itself to antinomianism, which is the belief that it matters not what you do, for you will still be saved - a doctrine which is largely responsible for the worldly behaviour which is prevalent in Protestant Churches today. The Reformed theology of Calvin teaches that it is God who has initiated salvation in the form of the atonement; thus irresistibly drawing the sinner to Him; rather than the Son appeasing the Father through His `superabundant merit’, as Aquinas taught. However, where Reformed theology, or Calvinism did not depart from Aquinas' theology, is upon Aquinas' conception of the `nature' of man, which he termed `original sin', and is derived from Romans 5: 12, which states: `Just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all have sinned.' (Rom. 5:12.) Calvinism teaches that as a result of the fall, the `nature' of man is totally depraved, thus meaning that doctrines which teach that man has free will deny the atonement of Christ and are therefore regarded as heresy. According to the doctrine of `original sin', no man has a measure of `preventing (or prevenient) grace' which has been conferred to him by the Holy Spirit and is thus sufficient for salvation; as Jacob Arminius (1560 - 1609) declared in his `Five articles of the Remonstrants' against Calvinism (1610) , for no man has some good in him which has been untouched by Adam's fall from grace and thus guides them in making a `good' decision to follow God. According to Aquinas' doctrine of `original sin', this is impossible, as the nature of man is totally depraved, thus resulting in man being unable of his own accord to choose right instead of wrong; which thus necessitates that it is only by the influence of the Holy Spirit that man can do right, for if one is to rely upon the `free will' of man to do right, he is completely incapable of doing anything but evil. Therefore if one is to say that man has free will in choosing Christ, then therefore his works are accounted as having merit in his salvation, for man has initiated the first move in his salvation, and thus denies the work of grace in his salvation; which is thus a denial of the saving power of Christ. Furthermore, if one is to

say that the prevenient grace of God is given to all men, then this is universalism, which teaches that ultimately all men will be saved. Clearly, the Scriptures indicate that this is a fallacy. While reformed theology eventually formed the basis of Protestant Churches which hold to the Westminster Confession as the basis of their belief - to say that all Protestant Churches believe that only the elect can be saved is a misnomer. Unfortunately, none of these positions adequately reflect the `agape', or love of Christ, for all of these positions are ultimately derived from St. Augustine's doctrine of `original sin', which was heavily influenced by the Greek Platonic conception of God, which is to say that He is both ineffable and unknowable, and thus completely transcends human affairs. Therefore we must go in search of Him so that we might find Him, and purify our souls so that they might return to the One from which they originated in the first place. As Platonic philosophy is also dualistic in nature, one component of Platonic philosophy which heavily influenced the inception of the early Church and ne-Platonists such as Augustine, was the belief that the material plane of existence is basically evil and corrupt, and is a hindrance to the soul which yearns to break free from it: ` Like Jerome for his part, Augustine vigorously attacked the idea, inherited from Neoplatonism . . . . that the body is a jail assigned to punish it for a sin prior to incorporation. Adam's sin had not resulted in the human soul falling in the body, but in debilitating the body, rendering it mortal and passing this weakness and mortality on to his descendants.' (`Saint Augustine', S. Lancei, 2002, p. 410.) Yet Augustine did not break free completely from the Neo-Platonism of his youth, as this is apparent in the manner in which he framed the doctrine of `original sin'. St. Augustine and `original sin' St. Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430), first developed the doctrine of `original sin' in a logical and comprehensive format, and was eventually rewarded with the honorific `Doctor Gratiae' (Doctor of Grace) in 1298 A.D. Augustine was heavily influenced by Manicheanism and neo-Platonism, which declares that everything which is of this material plane of existence is so far removed from the Onein-all pantheistic god, that all things which are tethered to this plane of existence have lost all knowledge (gnosis)of their True, or Realistic (divine) Self. As the body is believed to be essentially evil, it therefore weighs down the soul, which yearns to break free from the confines of the body which corrupts it with its material essence. Augustine's neo-Platonism compelled him to believe that the fall so hopelessly corrupted the souls of men, that man is incapable of making the `good' decision of choosing God. Therefore: `Since Adam transmits death to his children by way of generation when he begets them mortal, it by generation that he transmits sin . . . (`Online Catholic Encyclopedia', art. `Original Sin in Scripture' & `The Nature of Original Sin' http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11312a.htm.) In other words, Adam's sin is transmitted to us by genetic inheritance, thus making it impossible for us to ever overcome sin, for sin is the very essence of our mortal being. It eventually led to the idea of paying penance in the form of indulgences to the `Treasury of Merit', so that we can avoid sinning in the future, paying penance for the souls that are suffering in purgatory, so the agony the endure in the flames of hell might be lessened, the belief that the sacrifice of Christ, plus the doing of good

works are meritorious in one's salvation, for Christ is too impotent to save us, and we must do good works to make up the difference. Augustine's doctrine of `original sin' is derived from a rather narrow interpretation of Romans 5: 12, which states that: `Wherefore, as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all that all have sinned. . . The following passage further explains this doctrine: `(2) Adam by his fault transmitted to us not only death but also sin, "for as by the disobedience of one man (i.e., all men) were made sinners (Romans 5: 19) . . .' (3) Moreover, the Apostle did not affirm that all men, in imitation of Adam, are mortal on account of their actual sins; since children who die before coming to the use of reason have never committed such sins; but he expressly affirms the contrary in the fourteenth verse: "But death reigned", not only over those who imitated Adam, but "even over them also have not sinned after the similitude of the transgression of Adam." Adam's sin, therefore, is the sole cause of death for the entire human race . . . We know that several of the Latin Fathers understood the words "in whom all have sinned", to mean, all have sinned in Adam . . . one man has transmitted to the whole human race not only the death of the body, which is the punishment of sin, but even sin itself, which is the death of the soul. Therefore . . . original sin is "the death of the soul", it is the privation of sanctifying grace.' (ibid.) The studious reader will note that the `a priori' belief of the `natural immortality of the soul' necessitates that the `death' spoken of here refers solely to the death which we suffer when we reach the end of this mortal coil, for "the death of the soul" can only refer to the soul being cut off from any hope of salvation forever, while nevertheless burning in endless torment in the fires of hell, for reason that it is impossible for the soul to die. Unfortunately, Augustine's bent toward Manicheanism and neo-Platonism compelled him to ignore the rest of the text, which is summarised in verses 18 and 19, and is in fact completely opposed to the doctrine of `original sin' which Augustine formulated, for this is how the text reads when the summary is included: `Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned . . .Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one many shall be made righteous.' (Romans 5: 12, 18, 19.) Notice carefully that the apostle Paul quite clearly tells us that by the `offence’ of one - that is Adam; judgment was passed upon all men and all men were condemned by the law. Now, if that were all that he were telling us, then this would be ample justification for the doctrine of `original sin', and instead of the Gospel being good news, it instead becomes bad news, for according to Augustine's doctrine of `original sin', we would be condemned with little hope of salvation, for in Augustine's view of salvation, if Christ were to take upon Himself `flesh' which is in fact regarded by Catholic theology as sin, then Christ would be a sinner by default, for Greek logic determines that the flesh of fallen man is hopelessly corrupt by genetic inheritance, which thus necessitates that therefore Christ must vicariously assume sinless flesh; which effectively quarantines His divinity from being tempted

to sin - for temptation is in itself is accorded to be sin! Therefore Christ is declared to have assumed what is known in theological terms as the pre-lapsarian, or sinless flesh which Adam had before the fall. Thus Christ is made to be entirely unlike us, and is placed so far beyond our human experience, that we need the assistance of a Priest so that we may find Him. Moreover, that most famous Scripture which was uttered by the `beloved disciple’ clearly teaches that `God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son’ to us! If Christ was truly given to us, then He has come all the way down from the lofty heights of heaven so that He might meet us where we need Him; that is in `flesh’ that was tempted to sin - for the doctrines of `original sin' and `vicarious atonement' go hand in hand - if one is to believe in one doctrine, one invariably believes in the other as well, simply because Augustine's Platonism determined that he must believe that Adam's sin is transmitted to us, and Christ must be quarantined from having this sin transmitted to Him by taking upon Himself the `sinless flesh' of Adam before the fall - which is flesh which cannot be corrupted by the material plane of existence in which we dwell; for the Greek philosophers viewed matter as inherently evil and therefore corrupt. This in turn led to a host of other doctrines, such as the doctrine of the `Immaculate Conception', which teaches that when Mary, the mother of Jesus was conceived, at the moment of her conception, `original sin' was not transmitted to her: `The ancient writer of De Nativate Christi, found in St. Cyrprian's works, says: Because (Mary) being "very different from the rest of mankind human nature, but not sin, communicated itself to her.' (`The Glories of the Catholic Church: The Catholic Christian Vol. 1, Challoner, Brann & Shea, 1895, p. 172.) Obviously, as this `human nature' of Mary was totally unlike ours, it must have been `like' the human nature of Adam before He fell - and that same `human' nature was then passed on genetically from Mary to Christ. `We affirm that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word of God . . . . by being born of the virgin, thus taking to himself from her maternal womb a human nature of the same substance as hers. As far as the sublime mystery of the incarnation can be reflected in the natural order, the blessed Virgin, under the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, by communicating to the Second Person of the adorable Trinity, as mothers do, a true human nature of the same substance with her own, is thereby really and truly his mother.' (`Faith of our Fathers', Cardinal Gibbons, 1917, p. 137.) Thus we find that this `true human nature' which was transmitted from Mary to Christ is so unlike ours, that it has no real bearing on our humanity at all, for we are not sinless, like Adam was when he communed with God in the Garden of Eden. For Christ was no actor merely wailing his lines, as the doctrine of vicarious substitution teaches - for although law permits men to be pardoned from their crimes, no law on earth will allow an innocent man to substitute his life for another, for reason that his innocence of the crime merits no punishment - which is at odds with what is taught by the doctrine of `vicarius substitution', which would be regarded as unlawful in any court of Law. So it is with Christ. If Christ were to merely assume the flesh of Adam before he sinned, then this flesh would not be subject to condemnation and it would be unlawful for Christ to substitute His `sinless' flesh for our fallen flesh. But if in being tempted to sin, He yet remained sinless, while at the very same time defeating sin `in the flesh', for `in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren' (Hebrews 2: 17), then that `flesh' of which He is `made' of is our flesh, and as our flesh is subject to the condemnation of the law, then He was `made' to be that which the

very law condemns - which is then lawful, for that kind of flesh is subject to the condemnation of the law - and it is that kind of flesh, which is my flesh and your flesh which He crucified on the cross. `For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.' (Romans 8: 3.) Thus, being made in the `likeness' of sinful flesh, Christ voluntarily brought Himself under the condemnation of the law, so that at Calvary, He did not make a mockery of the law by merely substituting His perfect life for our sinful lives, but on the cross literally became the sin of the entire world. But here we must exercise a word of caution, for Christ was `made' in the likeness of `sinful flesh'; which does not imply that he was born with a sinful mind, as Augustine would have thought that these passages of Scripture infer. For the second chapter of Ephesians emphasizes that the first man (Adam) at first had the mind of God, but when he first sinned, he forsook it and took upon himself the mind of Satan. Thus, when Satan first sinned, he began to exhibit a mind of selfishness, which is contrasted with Christ; whose mind is complete selflessness. The first exhibits the mind of `Eros'; which is the word which the Greek philosophers used to describe the character of God, while the second exhibits the mind of `Agape'; which was a little known Greek word which the disciples of Christ infused with new meaning, and used it to describe the love of Christ. They refused to say that `God is Eros', and instead declared that `God is Agape'; for Plato's God of Eros was so entirely divorced from the affairs of fallen man, that therefore we must go in search of him to find him; and only the clever are lucky enough to find him in the place where he might be found. Thus, the Greek philosophers based their conception of how society should be modelled upon their conception of God, and accordingly believed that only those who have already proven that they are good, are worth saving. Thus salvation became an arduous process, in which few ever realized their True (or realistic) Self - and thus achieved salvation by their own efforts. Yet the conception of `Agape' which Christ taught to the disciples was so breath-takingly differently to that which was believed in the Greco-Roman world, that the disciples taught that while the Greeks believed that the greatest form of love is demonstrated by a man laying down his life for his friends, the Christian God (Jesus) taught by His own actions - that one Man lay down His life at Calvary, for those who are enemies to Him, for God loves the unlovable: `For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet possibly for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 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. (Romans 5:6-10) Indeed, when we consider how the incarnate Christ demonstrated the `agape' of God to the world, John the Revelator , the `beloved disciple of Christ' begins his Gospel with an emphasis that differs from the other three writers of the Gospel, for he specifically focuses upon Christ Himself tabernacling among us in a `tent' of human flesh: `The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth' (John 1: 14.)

However, the translation which reads `and dwelt among us' is not really an accurate translation, as it should read: `And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us in a tent . . . ' John wrote the Book of Revelation under divine inspiration, in which we find the rich symbology of the Sanctuary service of the Old Testament is relegated to the Sanctuary service in the New Testament, in which Christ is depicted as ministering to fallen humanity in the Heavenly Sanctuary, and intimately connects the `flesh' which Christ assumed, with this ministration to us - for Scripture teaches that Christ is near to us, even at the door of our hearts, instead of so far away that we must enlist the aid of a Priest so that we might find Him. Unfortunately though, most Christians believe that anything which pertains to the Old Testament solely pertains to the `Old Covenant of works' which was made between God and Moses and therefore no longer applies, because we are now in the `New Covenant of Grace' - which thus means that this intimate connection between the Sanctuary service depicted in the Old Testament, and the ministration of Christ which is depicted to us specifically in the Book of Hebrews and the Book of Revelation is broken, and has also been lost to humanity. For if it is true that the `Old Covenant' of works relates specifically to the Old Testament and the Jewish people of today, then why does John refer directly to the Hebraical Sanctuary of the Old Testament when he speaks of beholding `the glory of Christ as the only begotten of the Father',in a `tent' of flesh? For John is suggesting that just as it was in the Tent of the Tabernacle in which the pre-incarnate Christ revealed His glory to the Israelites as the Shekinah Presence, or Spirit of God in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle, it was in a tent of human `flesh' that Christ revealed His glory to all humanity. Other writers, such as Paul the apostle reveal that the way by which the glory of Christ is revealed to fallen man, is by saving fallen man in a `tent' of flesh which is very much like our own: `Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help them that are tempted.' (Hebrews 2: 1418) Paul is emphatic that this is the only way by which Christ could save fallen man, so that He is able to save to the uttermost all who call upon His Name, for reason that whatever is not assumed cannot be saved. According to Scripture, Christ did not take upon Himself the lofty `nature' of unfallen angels who have never experienced the temptation to sin, or the `nature' of the unfallen Adam, who stood in the Garden of Eden and communed daily with God, but was instead born into this world four thousand years later, at which time He took upon Himself a human body which had been subject to the cumulative effects of four thousand years of the degradation of sin weakening the resolve of fallen man to live in harmony with the will of God. For if Christ had taken upon Himself the `nature' of unfallen angels, or His temptation was limited to innocent infirmities such as hunger and thirst, it would have been impossible for Him to give fallen man help where we need it most - which is in `the likeness of sinful flesh'.

Therefore if Christ were to identify with His brethren, it was essential that He be made `like unto His brethren', so that we might be sure our Elder Brother has been tempted by the same temptations which we are tempted with, yet victoriously overcame them by constantly being connected with His Father by the Holy Spirit of the Father. Therefore, while the `flesh' which He assumed was assailed by the `accuser of the brethren' (the Devil) and was tempted to sin, His Divine Mind which He shared with the Father by the Holy Spirit of the Father was a bulwark of righteousness which was more than able to overcome the temptations of the devil. For this reason, in Philippians 2: 5 we are exhorted to simply let this same mind that was in Christ Jesus be in us, for that same mind is our bulwark against the sins that so easily beset us. But we cannot force His mind into our mind; to try to do so is legalism, for our selfish mind must instead die to self and instead be filled with the selflessness which is in Christ. We are to instead behold the cross and the life-changing event that transpired there, so that we might develop a heart-felt appreciation of the self-less `agape' love which the Father and Son have for us, so that our selfish mind (or `old man of sin' of sin, as Paul calls it) which is our `natural' inheritance as a result of the fall, will die to sin and is thus be crucified with Christ on the cross. Thus, as we draw closer to Christ, we no longer want to do the sins that formerly entrapped us, as Christ imparts the same `agape' love into our hearts that impelled Him to die on the cross for our sins, for by some mysterious process of alchemy that changes the desire of our hearts, `by beholding, we are changed'(2 Corinthians 3: 18) . In the original Greek, the word which John uses to describe the flesh is the Greek word `sarx'. John uses this word when He tells us that the `the word became flesh (sarx) and dwelt among us in a tent', and again when he says that: `Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God' (1 John 4: 2). It is also precisely the same word which the apostle Paul uses when he says: `Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage' (Hebrews 2: 14). Therefore the `flesh' which Paul speaks of is the same `flesh' which John speaks of, for if it were not so, he would have informed us by using an entirely different word! But he does not - he employs the word `sarx', and it was in the `sarx' that Christ was made like unto His brethren, and it was in the `sarx', that He crucified sin! John is emphatic when he stresses that anyone who teaches that Christ did not come in the `sarx' is not of God, and this is the spirit of antichrist: `And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof all of you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.' (1 John 4: 3.) During the second and third centuries Apologists such as Justyn Martyr assiduously fought against a gnostic sect called the Docetists who believed that Christ was a mere phantom who seemed to manifest Himself in flesh (original Greek; `dokeo' - to seem ; but this was merely an illusion, for they believed that it was impossible for God to manifest Himself in `flesh', without corrupting His divine nature. Ironically, men such as Justin believed that the `flesh' which Christ manifested Himself could

not be tempted to sin, and it is this belief which John regarded as antichrist. And why? Because if Christ had assumed `flesh' which had not been tempted to sin (which is the flesh of Adam before the fall), then this flesh of the sinless Adam which is mysteriously substituted for ours in the form of `vicarious substitution' cannot save us, for in order to provide a complete atonement for sin, that which is saved must first be assumed - and if Christ came in the `flesh' of Adam before the fall, then this is the only flesh which He can save, for our `flesh' is entirely different to that of a sinless Adam before he `fell' into sin!

The classic perception which adherents to the doctrine of `vicarious substitution' have is that the `flesh' which Christ substitutes equates to the `flesh' which Adam had by natural right before he fell into sin. This `sinless flesh' - or the `pre-lapsarian' nature of Christ (as theologians call it ), is the human nature which they believe Christ assumed. They believe that although the `nature' which He took upon Himself was subject to `innocent infirmities' such as thirst and hunger, He could not assume `flesh' which is like ours; that is `flesh' which is subject to being tempted to sin, as they believe that this would in itself constitute the corruption of the divinity of Christ by sin. Logically, Christ would, in essence become a sinner. They therefore formulated doctrines which ensured that His divinity was quarantined from sin by taking upon Himself `sinless flesh' which cannot be tempted by the sins of which we are all tempted of. Unfortunately, one of the problems associated with this position is that in partaking of `sinless flesh', Christ is so far removed from the trials and tribulations of humanity, Christ is unable to give fallen humanity `help' where we need it most - that is in `flesh' which is tempted to sin. Instead of being like us, He is unlike us separated from us by a vast chasm which insulates Him from experiencing our trials and tribulations, We are forced to go in search of Him, in order that we might find Him, and the Greek god of `Eros' who is entirely remote from fallen humanity is perpetuated in Christianity. Vicarius substitution presents fallen humanity with an incomplete atonement, for in presenting us with a Christ who has partaken of `sinless flesh', we are of necessity presented with a Christ whose humanity was assailed at Calvary and not His divinity, for if His divine nature were tempted to sin by avoiding the cross and leaving us to our fate, for Augustine believed that this temptation to sin would constitute sin in itself. In this position, Christ never really overcame and defeated sin at the Cross, simply because He never experienced the temptation to sin which is presented to fallen, and therefore mortal man. So although the Chalcedonian Creed teaches that Christ had two natures in His human incarnation, in reality because Christ took upon Himself `flesh' which cannot be tempted to sin, then therefore His human nature is so closely aligned to His divine nature, that it is virtually indistinguishable from it; thus leaving us with a Christ who was never tempted by sin at all and therefore only died on the cross in His humanity. But although divinity cannot die, the moral imperative of the broken law demands that Christ experiences the equivalent of a divine sacrifice; which is eternal separation from the Father, in what the Bible describes as the `second death'. (Rev. 20:12-15)

As `vicarious substitution' in its various forms teaches that Christ's divinity was quarantined from corruption, by assuming that the incarnate Christ manifested Himself in the prelapsarian nature of Adam, then in reality this theology infers that a human sacrifice was accorded to fallen man at Calvary. However, as only a divine sacrifice can satisfy the judicial equity of the law, then this doctrine cannot possibly present the crucifixion of Christ as an adequate ransom for the penalty of the broken law. For if a human offering, or sacrifice could satisfy the demands of the broken law, then my works would have merit in my salvation. The Catholic view of the atonement reflects this, in the belief that faith, plus works equate to salvation - for of itself, the blood of Christ is of insufficient merit to redeem us from our sins. Therefore we are saved by the sacraments of the Church, as well as good works, to make up the deficit. However, in the very first story in the Bible which points forward to the Redeemer at Calvary, the story of the offerings which Cain and Able provided as a sin offering to the Lord teaches us that in no way can one's `works' contribute to one's salvation. The two brothers were tested to see if they would believe the word of God, just as Adam, their father, had been tested before them. Adam had presented to them Christ as the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world', and that provision had been made for the forgiveness of sins by the shed blood of the Lamb. Abel erected an alter of sacrifice to the Lord, just as the Lord directed him, and `brought of the firstlings of his flock [of sheep] and of the fat thereof', thus looking forward in time to Calvary and recognizing the promised Saviour to come as his sin offering. Fire came down from heaven and consumed the offering, and the Lord `had respect unto Abel and his offering' (Genesis 4: 4). But the spirit of Cain manifested itself differently; it was the same spirit of pride, selfreliance, self-exultation and ultimately rebellion which was manifest when Lucifer, who was the mightiest of the angels, first sinned against the Creator. `How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north' (Isaiah 14: 12,13.) He was originally created as a beautiful creature and sang praises to God. He walked `upon the Holy Mountain of God' and stood in the very presence of the Father, holy and undefiled. Second only to Christ, he was originally the first of the two `covering cherubs' which are pictured in the Most Holy Place as overseeing the Law of God: `You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the ruby, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of your timbrels and of your pipes was prepared

in you in the day that you were created. You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.' (Ezekiel 28: 13-14) But Lucifer, who had been created by Christ Himself, for some mysterious reason which is known only to him, found himself desiring to be equal with Christ. The Bible states that he was created perfectly and there was no flaw in him until `iniquity', or lawlessness was found in him: `You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you.' (Ezekiel 28: 15) He thought it unfair that Christ should be exalted above him, and desired to receive the same favour from the Father which Christ received as His natural right as the only-begotten Son of God. After indulging in a spirit of self-exultation and anarchy for a season, he petitioned the Father to give to him also the favour with which Christ was endowed and elevate him to the same status. The Father tenderly informed him that although his exalted position set him first and foremost above all of the other angels, this was impossible, for he himself was created by Christ. The Scripture states that over time, his great pride in himself led him to exalt himself: `Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness.' (Ezekiel 28:17) Over time, as he began to exalt Himself as being equal with Christ, so also did he harbour a spirit of resentment and injustice in his heart and determined that: ` I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.' (Isaiah 14:14) He spread rumours among the other angels that the Law of God was arbitrary and unfair and was so designed so that He might be able to unfairly manipulate all of creation. He eventually persuaded many of the angels to join him. Eventually this discontent became manifest in open rebellion which escalated to war against the Most High. Lucifer and the angels which openly sided against him were cast down to earth. `And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.' (Rev. 12: 7-9) Although Cain erected an altar as did his brother, it was not in the spirit of gladly recognizing that sometime in the future there would come a Redeemer who would wash away his sins, so that they might be as white as snow. he instead chose the course of self-dependence and made an offering of fruit to the Lord, which was the product of his own hands.

`But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell' (Genesis 4:5). Cain was grudging in his obedience to the Lord - although he built the altar as instructed, he did not bring a slain lamb and the offering of its blood, but instead only rendered a partial obedience by producing the fruit of his own hands. Nor did he present himself before the Lord as a penitent sinner - instead of depending upon the merits of the promised Redeemer to come and recognizing that only He could atone for his sins, he instead depended upon self. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." (Hebrews 11:4) While Abel chose to recognize Christ as his Saviour, and by faith rendered obedience to God, Cain chose unbelief, rebellion and reliance upon self. The lesson of Cain and Able teaches us that to indulge in `works' is to indulge in self, with rebellion against God and His Law as the ultimate outcome. Thus the reliance upon `self' instead of God became came to be demonstrated in all religions which do not perceive that only a divine atonement, and not the `works' of one's hands, can satisfy the judicial equity of the broken law, and thus repair the breach between man and God, which has been created because of sin. Yet it is God Himself, not man who initiates the first move in the salvation of man, for: `All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.' (2 Cor. 5:18) As the Father knows that it is impossible of ourselves to rise any higher than Adam's fallen estate, for when Adam first sinned he received the mind of selfishness from the Devil, and as we are the children of Adam, in our natural estate that mind of selfishness estranges us from God; then the Father has reconciled Himself to us by providing His dear Son as the means of reconciling fallen man back to God. The various positions which are taken by the doctrine of `vicarious substitution' fail to recognize this fact, and instead provide us with an atonement which is ego-centric, and subtly reflects the faith of the god of Eros of the Greeks, by declaring `What's in it for me?; and then inferring that we have bought into a good bargain, for it is we who have initiated the first move in salvation. Thus, none of these positions on soteriology - which is the study of how Christ saves us adequately reflect the position taken by the disciples of Christ, for they miss one very important point - and that is the relationship which the High Priest had with his people - for Christ is not only our divine Saviour; but He is our High Priest as well! The `Solidarity' view of the Atonement
The New Testament Scriptures – and in particular the book of Hebrews - reflect the manner in which the Hebrew people thought – which was totally unlike the manner in which the western mind thinks. Whereas we tend to think in terms of individuality, they tended to think in terms of each individual comprising one part of a corporate whole, which comprised the summary affection of

God’s grace. . For instance, the following text reveals that Christ viewed His people as a Father views a Son: `When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.' (Hosea 11: 1.) The apostle Paul affirms that each individual member is a part of the corporate body – the Church; and when the individual suffers, then the relationship of the entire corporate body of the Church suffers as well: `That there should be no division in the body; but that the members should have the whereas same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now all of you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.' (1 Cor. 12: 25 - 27.) This thought permeates the New Testament and supports the idea that Christ is the Husband, the Church His bride, and He and His Church are to be one, just as He and His Father are one, and the apostle Paul tells us that each individual member is a part of the corporate body – the Church; and when the individual suffers, then the relationship of the entire corporate body of the Church suffers as well. (verse 25 – 27.) This thought permeates the New Testament and supports the idea that Christ is the Husband, the Church His bride, and He and His Church are to be one, just as He and His Father are one: `Holy Father, keep through thine own name those thou has given me, that they may be one, as we are one . . . . . Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they 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 has sent me.’ (John 17:11, 20 – 21.) Just as Christ is in the Father, and desires that we be in Him, so also in the Old Testament the High Priest was a type of Christ, and the people were also reckoned to be in Him, for in His human incarnation Christ became the second representative man; the second Adam, and all men are reckoned as either being in Adam, the first representative man of the entire race who sinned, or Christ, who was the second representative Man of the entire race who didn't sin: `Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him *Christ+ that was to come” (Rom: 5:14). Thus, the `Agape' love of the Father is the Channel of Blessing of unrequited grace that flows like a river independent of the Father, from the Father to the Son, and thence to us; for just as Christ is in the Father, and desires that we be in Him, so also in the Old Testament the High Priest was a representation of a type of Christ, and all Israel were reckoned to be in Him, as this following study on the High Priest of Israel demonstrates:

`THE HIGH PRIEST AS A SYMBOL The High Priest in his official capacity was not simply a man. He was an institution; he was a symbol; he was the embodiment of Israel. He bore the names of Israel in the two onyx stones “upon his two shoulders for a memorial”; he carried them in the twelve precious stones “in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart”; he bore the “judgment of the

children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.” (Ex. 28:12, 29, 30.) He thus carried Israel both on his shoulders and on his heart. On his shoulders he carried the burdens of Israel; in the breastplate, on his heart, the seat of affection and love – the mercy seat – he carried Israel. In the Urim and the Thummim – “that is, the Lights of Perfections” (verse 30, A.R.V., margin) – he bore “the judgment of the children or Israel upon his heart”; in the golden crown upon the miter inscribed with “HOLINESS TO THE LORD”, he bore the “iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts”, and that “they may be accepted before the Lord” (verses 36 – 38). The High Priest was to act for men in things pertaining to God, `to make propitiation for the sins of the people’ (Heb. 2:17). He was the mediator who ministered for the guilty. `The High Priest represented the whole people. All Israelites were reckoned as being in him. The prerogative held by him belonged to the whole of them (Ex. 19:6 – Vitringa). That the High Priest did represent the whole congregation appears, first from his bearing the tribal names on his shoulders in the onyx stones, and second, in the tribal names engraved in the twelve gems of the breastplate. The divine explanation of this double representation of Israel in the dress of the High Priest is, he `shall bear their names before Jeh upon his shoulders for a memorial (Ex. 28: 12,29). Moreover, his committing heinous sin involved the people in his guilt: `If the anointed priest shall sin so as to make the people sin.’ The anointed Priest, of course, is the High Priest. When he sinned, the people sinned. His official action was reckoned as their action. The whole nation shared in the trespass of the representative. The converse appears just as true. What he did in his official capacity, as prescribed by the Lord,was reckoned by the whole congregation: “Every High Priest . . . . is appointed for men’ (Heb. 5: 1).” – The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 4, p. 2439, art. “Priest”. The representative character of the high priest should be stressed. Adam was the representative man. When he sinned, the world sinned, and death passed upon all men. (Rom. 5:12) "By one man's offence death reigned; . . . by one man's disobedience many were made sinners." Verses 17-19. So likewise Christ, being the second man and the last Adam, was the representative man. "It is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit . . . . The first man is of earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven." 1 Cor. 15:45-47. "As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men to justification of life." Rom. 5:18. "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one many shall be made righteous." Verse 19. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Cor. 15:22. The high priest, being in a special sense a figure of Christ, was also the representative man. He stood for all Israel. He carried their burdens and sins. He bore the iniquity of all the holy things. When he sinned, Israel sinned. When he made atonement for himself, Israel was accepted.' (`The Sanctuary and its Service, M.L Andreason, 1947, pp. 53-55.)

One of the problems associated with the belief that Christ manifested Himself to humanity in `flesh' that cannot be tempted to sin (as outlined in the various positions which teach `vicarious substitution), is that these positions present us with a Saviour who is not sufficiently close enough to humanity to be able to save humanity `to the uttermost'. Yet, as we have already seen, the High Priest in the Sanctuary service of old prefigured Christ in every detail in the manner of which Christ saves us. As demonstrated so succinctly in the above text, the Sanctuary service teaches us that the High Priest so closely identified himself with his people, that `his official action was regarded as their action' - we have a Saviour Who identifies with us so closely that He is near to us, even at the door to our hearts. (Rev. 3:20) More so, if the High Priest sinned, then the entire nation of Israel was involved in his guilt. This is reflected by Christ's victorious sinless life, and His subsequent crucifixion at Calvary, for if the Devil had indeed tempted Christ to sin, we would all be `dead in our sins'; lost and without hope of a resurrection. Although these positions teach that he was afflicted by `innocent infirmities' such hunger or thirst, He cannot be tempted by sins of a carnal nature; which of course means that He could not be `made’ in the `likeness of sinful flesh’; thus leaving us with a dilemma. It fails to accurately portray the character of God! Scripture tells us in that most famous quotation from the `beloved disciple’ that `God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son’ to us (John 3:16). If Christ was truly given to us, then He has come all the way down from the lofty heights of heaven, so that He might meet us where we need Him; that is in `flesh’ that was tempted to sin. But although law permits men to be pardoned from their crimes, no law on earth will allow an innocent man to substitute his life for a murderer who is subject to the death penalty, so that the condemned man might be freed. So it is with Christ. In consenting to be `made’ in the `likeness of sinful flesh’, He brought Himself under the condemnation of the law, so that at Calvary, He might truly representative the entire race when He died on the cross and condemned sin in the flesh, so that the entire race might be pardoned. Just as surely that as `in Adam’ the entire race has been condemned; so also has `in Christ’ the entire race has been pardoned. This is surely good news! `Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5: 18, 19) Notice carefully that Paul quite clearly tells us that by the `offence’ of one (that is Adam), judgment was passed upon all men and all men were condemned by the law. Now, if that were all that he were telling us, then this would be ample justification for the doctrine of `original ‘ sin, which teaches that: `Adam by his fault transmitted to us not only death but also sin . . . . Moreover, the Apostle did not affirm that all men, in imitation of Adam, are mortal on account of their actual sins; since children who die before coming to the use of reason have never committed such sins;

but he expressly affirms the contrary in the fourteenth verse: "But death reigned", not only over those who imitated Adam, but "even over them also who have not sinned after the similitude of the transgression of Adam." Adam’s sin, therefore, is the sole cause of death for the entire human race . . . . We know that several of the Latin Fathers understood the words "in whom all have sinned", to mean, all have sinned in Adam.’ (`Catholic Encyclopedia’, art. `Original Sin In Scripture’.) Now, if this were all that Paul were telling us, then instead of the Gospel being good news, it most surely would be bad news, instead! We would be condemned, with little hope of salvation! But note next what he says, which the entire Christian world, both Catholic and Protestant has either failed to understand, or has totally ignored: ` Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: For as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Romans 5: 20, 21.) Where `sin abounded, grace much more did abound!.’ Just as `in Adam’ sin abounded and the entire race was condemned in him, because his sin determined that the entire race was now weakened to the point that all will sin; `in Christ’ grace, which is the unmerited forgiveness of sin `did much more abound!' The gospel is a message of much more abounding grace! But in order to benefit from the `free gift’ of eternal life, we must first receive it – for the free gift of eternal life can be refused. This is the unpardonable sin – refusing life from the Giver of Life Himself! `Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.’ (Rom. 5: 20.) When truly comprehended, Christianity becomes a living faith. When we first come to Christ, we merely say `Thank you, Lord’, as there is nothing we can do which can add to, or subtract from our salvation that has already been wrought for us `in' Christ! We are to instead let our heart-felt appreciation of His act of mercy allow Him to transform our impenitent hearts. Christ not only saves believers, but transforms them as well by a `faith that works by love’ (Gal. 5: 6); so that over time, those that believe in Him become more like Him in character and `naturally’ perform works that are acceptable to the Lord. Against such, there is no law of condemnation. `For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, `Know the Lord’, for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.’ (Hebrews 8: 10-12.)

Christ satisfied the positive demands of the law by not merely substituting vicariously for our sins, but in actuality `becoming’ the entire race, just as Adam did; thus reversing the sentence of condemnation that the entire race was subject to because of Adam’s sin. Sadly, though – there are many who refuse the `free gift’ of salvation and will not see eternal life, for they refuse to know God and simply let Him save them! But if the law did permit Christ to substitute His sinless nature for ours, then He could not condemn sin in `in the flesh’ and there would be no salvation from sin. Most Churches which take this position believe that although He was tempted by hunger and thirst, His `sinless flesh’ made it impossible for Him to be tempted by sin of a carnal nature. Therefore instead of being `like’ us, He becomes `unlike’ us and the very idea of defeating sin on the cross by `condemning sin in the flesh’ becomes meaningless. Christ is instead transformed into an actor merely wailing His lines in a divine tragedy, Who never truly experiences or identifies with the character (that is, the human race) whose role he is performing. Thus, if Christ were merely a `vicarious substitute’, then a human, and not a Divine sacrifice was provided for fallen man at Calvary, and a human sacrifice cannot satisfy the demands of the broken law! If God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to us, then He has consented to give Him to us completely; that is to say that Christ has come all of the way down from heaven, to give us `help’ where we need it most; in my flesh and your flesh, so that He might save us from sin. This doctrine of `vicarious substitution’ is (in its various forms) regarded as orthodox theology in almost every mainstream Christian Church which is currently in existence. The tragedy of this, is that the character of God is occluded. We don’t truly understand what really took place on the cross and as a result misapprehend the love which God has for us. Meditate upon the following verse:

`Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ (Phillipians 2: 5-8) These three verses of Phillipians may be considered as the foundation upon which all other Scripture rests, for within them lies a principle which was completely unknown to the Greek philosophers of old, and is still largely unknown today; for in our fallen estate (which is the `mind' which we have received from Adam because of his sin), we would never have perceived it unless God had revealed it to us first, as it is so completely foreign to the natural estate of all of mankind; a truth which we would otherwise fail to grasp. The central thought of this text is of unselfish love. While most people have heard of unselfish, or unconditional love, there are few who clearly understand what it really means, as they posit their conception of unselfish love as equating with God's reality of this. As a

result, the entire Christian world has a blurred view of this unselfish and unconditional love, which equates to the true character of God. The central thought of this text is that Christ did not think it `robbery' to be equal with God. Most Christians believe that this means that because Christ has existed from eternity, then therefore He did not think His equality to God as being `robbery' from Him. But the test has a much deeper meaning than this, for it enjoins the principle of unselfish love - that it is this form of love which demonstrates to us the character of God necessitated that Christ did not consider the desire of the Throne of God as something to be seized upon, or grasped at. The "Emphatic Diaglott" remarks that the original Greek word is: `"harpagmon" - being a word of very rare occurence, a great variety of translations have been given", and cites as examples: "Did not think it a matter to be earnestly desired". (Adam Clarke) Other translations render it in this way: "Did not earnestly grasp." - Kneeland. "Did not think of eagerly retaining" - Wakefied. "Did not violently strive" - Dickinson. "Thought it not a thing to be seized" - Sharpe. Perhaps the most accurate is "Did not meditate a usurpation" - Trumbull. Lucifer, or the Devil and Satan as he became known after the fall, did consider it a `usurpation' to try and violently seize upon the throne of God and call it his own, as the mind of Christ is the same mind that He shares with the Father, and this mind cannot be seized upon in a violent usurpation: `I and my Father are one’ (John 10:30). It is a mind which is completely self-less and is in direct contrast to the mind of Lucifer (or the Devil), which first manifest itself in pride of self, and is so entirely selfish, that it is completely corrupted by self-exultation! While the minds of men work to enhance their reputation, Christ emptied Himself of `self’, and was found in the fashion of men; becoming a lowly servant for all mankind. This is the mind which Scripture exhorts us to `Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus'. (Phillipians 2:5) The mind of Christ is a mind which is completely self-less. In speaking of the attributes of this `mind of Christ', Thayers Lexicon reads thus: `Who, although He bore the form of God, yet did not think that this equality with God was to be eagerly clung to or retained, but emptied himself of it so as to assume the form of a servant, in that he became like unto men and was found in fashion as a man.’ We eagerly cling to our own reputation and seek to further enhance it. It is a part of the altogether human condition for us to be self seeking and opportunistic. While the Senator seeks to be President and the Minister seeks to be Prime Minister, how many Presidents do you know of who actively leave their exalted position and become garbage collectors

instead? Yet that is what Christ did, when He left His exalted position in heaven and came to us; seeking out the refuse of mankind. Rarely does anyone ever seek a position which is lower than that which they already have and humble themselves in front of the crowd. We cling to what we have and are forever seeking to better our `selves’. Nervous is the head which wears the crown of a king. Yet Christ was completely self-less and thought not that His equality with God in heaven was a position which should be eagerly clung to and retained; so He chose to make Himself `a little lower than the angels’; making Himself of no reputation and abasing Himself for all, `tasting’ death on the cross for fallen mankind. `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. ‘(Heb. 2: 9) He could have been `made’ in the `nature’ of angels, but He could not do this, He instead took upon Himself `the seed of Abraham’. `For verily [most assuredly] he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.’ (Heb. 2:16) Unfallen angels are sinless. That is their `nature’. Their `nature’ is not unlike Adam as he was created; a perfect, sinless human being. But this is not the `nature’ which Christ took upon Himself. Scripture informs us that the `nature’ that He took upon Himself was that `of the seed of Abraham’; which is to say He took upon Himself the `nature’ of the children of Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel. Four thousand years after sin had so deteriorated and ravaged fallen humanity that man had now become a pitiful caricature of the exalted state in which Adam was first created; Christ came to save the wretched. Where the text reads that he `in all things it behoved him to be made like unto His brethren' (Heb. 2:17), the original Greek reads `ophelio', and means `that He was obligated out of necessity to be made like those whom He calls His brothers’. What an amazing thought! As there was no other way by which we might be saved, Christ was obligated out of necessity to be `made' in all points as we are, yet without sin, so that through the sufferings by which He was tempted, He is able to identify with those who call upon His righteous name, and give help to those who are tempted: `Therefore he was obligated in all things to be made like his brothers, that he might become a merciful and faithful Kohen Gadol [High Priest] in things pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.’ (Heb. 2: 17,18, Hebrew Names Version)

He identifies with us by becoming one of us - `tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin’; so that He is able to `save to the uttermost’ those who boldly come before Him, in time of need. `Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession [of faith]. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. . . . Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 4: 14,15; 7:25.) He is the second Adam; for what was done in Adam when He first sinned, was by extension done in all of mankind, for all of mankind was, figuratively speaking, in the loins of Adam when He first sinned. At Calvary, Christ reversed that which was done `in' Adam in the garden of Eden. This concept of corporate humanity being `in Adam’ and `in Christ’ as the first and second representative men is not a fanciful idea. We see this in Levi `meeting’ Melchisedek, while he was `yet in the loins of his father’, Abraham. Obviously, Levi had not yet been born when he `met’ Melchisedek. `And as I may so say, Levi also, who receives tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec, met him.’ (Heb. 7: 9, 10.) Just as in the Hebraical Sanctuary of old the ministration of the High Priest pointed forward to Christ, as our High Priest and the second representative man of the race at Calvary, so also was: `. . . .Jesus made an High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him. To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abides a priest continually. (Hebrews 6: 20 - 7: 3.) Cursed is he who is hung on a tree . . . Scripture teaches that Christ became the Second Representative Man of the entire race. Essentially, what Adam did in the garden of Eden, which was bring the sentence of condemnation upon the entire race, Christ has undone at the Cross at Calvary. Unfortunately, there are many who have misunderstood the plain sense of Scripture and view this as universalism, when in fact this is a misunderstanding of what Scripture teaches in a quite literal sense. For although verse 18 states that ` Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation'; thus meaning that all men were subject to condemnation because of Adam's sin, the last half of this same verse then informs us

that ` even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life'. Note that the verse says `all men', and not `some men', or those who are lucky enough or clever enough to find an elusive God Who is forever playing hide and seek with us. No. The verse clearly says all men! However, the text just as clearly infers that not all will be saved, for just as justification is a free gift, in order to benefit from it, we must first receive it, and there are many who refuse the righteousness of Christ and the salvation which He lovingly wishes to give to those who will not refuse Him. Thus, at Calvary, He who knew no sin became sin for us, for on the cross Christ became a `curse' for us, for `cursed is he who is hung on a tree': `For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, "Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" . . . . Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, "Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree": that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles [non-Jews] through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.' (Galatians 3: 10, 13, 14.) In the Hebraical economy, if you were `hung on a tree' outside the camp, your were accursed of God, for the heavens would be as brass - He would not hear your prayers for forgiveness, and you were consigned to die; which is to say you were consigned to die the `second death', which is the eternal death which all who are subject to condemnation will suffer: `He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death . . . . And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death . . . . Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.' (Revelation 2: 11, 20: 14, 20: 6.) This is the death which Christ died on behalf of you and me. As He bore the sins of the world, the unity which Christ had with the Father became broken, for the Father cannot behold sin. As Christ became the sin of the world, so also was the Fathers divine Presence withdrawn from Him, for the sins of the world literally crushed the life out of Him. During His entire ministry as the divine Son of God, He had laid aside His divinity and was tempted as we are, yet without sin. So it was on the cross. He could have come down from the cross and have left us dead in our sins, but this would have been sin for Him, and in laying aside His divinity for our benefit and suffering as a man, thus provided a divine atonement which was more than sufficient to atone for sin. `So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.' (John 19: 30 NKJV.)

Did Christ truly die the `second death' for us on the cross? In order for Christ to provide a complete atonement for sin, the answer must be yes, for although divinity cannot die, it can be laid aside, for the only instances in which Christ used His divinity, was when He used it to benefit others, such as when He raised Lazarus from the dead, worked miracles, and forgave sin. He never used it to benefit Himself, but instead overcame sin by the Spirit of the Father, for if He were to use his divinity to benefit Himself in overcoming sin, this would have given Him an unfair advantage over fallen man, and this would have constituted sin for Him. All the gospel writers testify that He `gave up His Spirit', which indicates that His Holy Spirit returned to the Father from whence it first came, at which on the third day, the Father resurrected His lifeless body, at which this same spirit resurrected Him from the pit, for being sinless, the bonds of the grave could not hold Him: `But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also restore life in your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.' (Rom. 8:11) Thus, in His dying breath Christ commended His Spirit to the Father, and lay truly dead in the grave, having suffered the second death for us, and on the third day, was given back His Spirit of life, and was resurrected: `And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the spirit.' (Luke 23:46) On the cross, Christ became the sin of the entire world and crucified it `in the sarx' (or flesh) at Calvary, so that the condemnation of the `second death' which was pronounced upon the entire race `in Adam’ has been reversed, so that the entire race has been pardoned and put on probation `in Christ'. It is then up to each individual to choose whether they receive Christ into their heart, as prompted by His Holy Spirit, or not - and thus choose to remain in the condemnation that is `in Adam'. This is surely good news, for this testifies that we do not need to go in search of our Saviour, for He is the `good shepherd' who constantly pursues the lost sheep of His flock and has already found us! The fact that you are reading this right now testifies to this! The apostle Paul then concludes that: `Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.' (Romans 5: 20, 21.) Thus the `good news' of the Gospel, is better than we think, for our Lord has given us a gospel of much more abounding grace! How much? Much more! For at Calvary, Christ became a `curse’ for us, and reversed the curse of death which was handed to every man, woman and child that would ever exist, simply because they are the children of Adam, and are accounted as being in the loins of Adam when he first sinned. We are not accursed because of Adam’s sin, but we are accursed because of the weakened human `nature’ which

we have inherited from him. It dictates that we will sin; and as the penalty of sin is death, it then follows that the law condemns us to death: ` Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.‘ (Romans 5:12) It is for this reason that Scripture states that all of humanity `have sinned’ when they were `in the loins’ of `one man’ (Adam) when sin entered the world. The degenerate `nature’ which we have `inherited’ from Adam determines that it is inevitable that all will sin, as the nature which we have `inherited’ from the fallen Adam has left us with a natural proclivity towards sinning, of which we are helpless to overcome without Christ. As soon as we are able to think independently for ourselves, we `naturally’ commit our first sin and become what the Bible speaks of as `carnally minded’, which is a mind which is `enmity’ (at war) with God, and cannot be brought under subjection to the law of God. It must instead die, as the `carnal mind’ is the sinful mind and is subject to the penalty of the law, which is death. `In order to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ (Romans 8: 6,7) It can either die with Christ and be crucified with Him at Calvary, or it can die when we do, bringing us under the curse of the law, which is the condemnation of the law – separation from God eternally in the judgement; which thus leads to the `second death’ of the wicked; of which there will be no remembrance. It will be as if they never existed. `Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.’ (Psalm 109:15.) When the apostle Paul wrote `for all have sinned’, he then stops and checks himself, takes a deep breath and then further explains his position in parenthesis: ` Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the embodiment of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.)’ (Romans 5: 12, 13, 14.) It’s as if he suddenly stops himself and says, `Well – the idea that `all sinned’ when Adam sinned; that’s not quite true, so I had best try to further explain what I mean! Even though the law existed before I became aware of it, so also did sin exist in me before I became aware of it and so therefore my sin wasn’t accounted as sin until such a time as I did become aware of it! Oh - wretched man that I am, I would not have known sin unless the law first pointed it out to me! But as sin results in the death of the sinner, therefore sin still resulted in the death of those who lived from the time of Adam until Moses, when we were

first given the Law so that we might `know’ sin. It even resulted in the death of those who had not sinned in the similitude, or likeness of Adam’s transgression, as the entire race had become subject to the condemnation of the law, even though many may have been unaware of this. And so, Adam the first who did sin became the first representative man of the entire race, prefiguring Him to come Who did not sin.’ However, it should be noted that we cannot make Christ altogether as we are. He is the sinless Son of God and no sin was found in Him. He is both divine and human; laying aside His divinity so that He might be tempted as we are. While having pity on fallen mankind and taking upon Himself our weakened human nature, never did He for a moment consent to the temptations which the Devil brought before Him and become `carnally minded’, as we are, who have sinned. Being `made’ in the likeness of `sinful flesh’ and `condemned sin in the flesh’, He nevertheless remained sinless. ` For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.’ (Romans 8: 2,3) But many recoil in profound disbelief from what the Bible plainly states as fact in regard to the human `nature’ which Christ assumed, and take the position that Christ took upon Himself the sinless `nature’ of Adam before he fell; which is to say he took upon Himself the `nature’ of the unfallen angels. Their argument is that if Christ had taken upon Himself the post-fall, or what theologians term as the post-lapsarian `nature’ of Adam, then His `nature’ would be corrupted by the taint of sin. Again, it must be pointed out that although Christ took upon our nature (that is a `nature’ which had been weakened by four thousand years of the cumulative effects of sin), He did not take upon Himself the `carnal mind’ which all men receive when they first sin. The idea that Christ cannot assume the post-lapsarian human `nature' of Adam makes the assumption that if Christ assumed a human nature which can be tempted to sin, then this human nature actually constitutes sin. It is in fact a holdover from the infiltration of Greek dualism into the early Church in the second to fourth centuries, which takes the philosophical position that the material world (and body) is evil and corrupt; for as God was considered to be immutable by the Greek philosophers, then the descent of God from heaven into the material plane of existence would constitute a change from perfection to imperfection, and would thus be a corruption of the character of God. This erroneous notion is principally set forth in the Chalcedonian and Athanasian Creeds, which expand upon the Trinitarian doctrine, by stating the human nature which Christ manifested Himself in. All Churches which are deemed orthodox, both Catholic and Protestant, profess these Creeds, and thus fail to grasp the height and depth and breadth of the `agape' love which the Father and Son have for us.

Christ `in' the Father from eternity The `in Christ' motif of Christ being the representative man of the entire race applies just as much to His relationship with the Father , as it does to fallen man. For just as all men are either `in' Christ or `in' Adam, so also is the Church `in' Christ, and Christ is `in' the Father, and the eternal life which the Son has been `given' is that same divine life of the Father: `For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself.' (John 5: 26.) The aspect of Christ being `in' the Father applies just as much to His eternal existence, as it does to all of humanity being `in' Christ as our High Priest at Calvary. Historically, Proverbs 8: 22-30 has been regarded by semi-Arians as having a `beginning', and thus designating that Christ is a true Son to the Father in His pre-incarnation: `The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, before even the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.' (Proverbs 8: 22 - 20.) These verses are also supported by John 1: 18: `No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.' (John 1: 18.) One way by which this thought is expressed, is underlined in the statement below: “The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind." ("Review & Herald", 9th July 1895, Art. ‘The Duty of the Minister and the People’) However, the problem with the traditional semi-Arian position, is that Christ is often depicted as subordinate to the Father in relation to His divinity, which creates serious problems in relation to the atonement - for semi-Arianism leaves its adherents with a natural proclivity which tends to lean toward legalism, simply because when the Saviour is accounted to be less than divine, the `example theory' of the atonement prevails, where my works are seen to have merit in my salvation. Yet God calls those things which do not exist as though they do:

`God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.' (Romans 4: 17.) This text applies just as much to the dead, as it does to those who do not yet live, for we find that this same principle is found in Hebrews 7: 9-10: `And as I may so say, Levi also, who receives tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.' (Hebrews 7: 9 - 10.) The High Priest Melchisedek was a type of Christ, for Paul describes him as being : `Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abides a priest continually.' (Hebrews 7: 3.) These are the attributes of Christ, and Paul describes Levi as meeting him while he was yet being in the loins of Abraham, his father, in very much the same way that all men are regarded as being `in' Adam when he first sinned. Thus Christ was `in' the Father from eternity, sharing in the Spirit and the mind of the Father, until so far back in the point of time, he proceeded forth from the bosom of the Father, and led a separate existence, much in the sense that Eve was taken out of the side of Adam, and thus is identified with Adam! Thus we find that the principle of solidarity applies just as much to Christ and His Father, and Christ and all of fallen humanity. For just as Christ was `in' the Father from eternity, so also were all men in the loins of Adam when he sinned, and as the second representative man of the race, so also were all men in the loins of Christ when He defeated sin at Calvary. Thus on the cross, a positive legal and forensic judgment was passed in favour of the entire race, for on the cross, the atonement of Christ satisfied the judicial equity of the law. This is then played out in each individual's life, as the question is invariably asked, `The Son, the Son, what so I do with the Son?' ; for sin was defeated at Calvary, it was not eradicated - and the eradication of sin forever takes place in Christ's ministration to us in the Second Apartment of the Sanctuary, or Most Holy Place, during the time of judgment - which is a period of time which takes place shortly before the second coming of Christ, at which the dead in Christ are resurrected from their graves, just as Lazarus was, and the faithful who are still living shall be caught up to meet with Christ in the air:
`Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.' (1 Cor. 15:51-57)

Where do you stand? With Christ, or with yourself, instead?

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