FORGIVENESS VS. EXPIATION
QUESTION.--In relation to sins partly wilful, are stripes given for the portion of wilfulness? And when the sin is expiated, is it then canceled?
Answer.--Our Lord died for the sin of Adam--for just the one original sin, and all sins which grew out of that original sin. This sin of Adam affected the body, mind and morals of all the race. Therefore we each have not only our own inherited imperfections to contend with, but also the imperfections of all those around us.
From the time that any one is begotten of the Holy Spirit all things become new. The members of the Little Flock class have no record whatever of condemnation against them; all that condemnation is completely eliminated. The imputation of Christ's merit to their flesh made them perfect in God's sight, and they were brought forth as New Creatures.
These New Creatures have entered into a Covenant with God to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. In the present time, as the Apostle says, we have this treasure of the new nature in an earthen vessel; that is, we have it under unfavorable conditions. We have also besetments from those around us and from the Adversary to oppose us. All sins, then, that are the result of these adverse conditions, and to which our will does not consent, are coverable by the merit of Christ. If any of these New Creatures unwittingly do that which is contrary to the Divine will, they need not remain in a condemned condition. The Word instructs us that we should go immediately to the Throne of Heavenly Grace and obtain mercy and forgiveness, and help for every time of need.
But suppose that the sin is not merely one of temptation --suppose there is a measure of wilfulness or a measure of slackness, so that the child of God is thus far responsible, what then? We answer that he may still go to the Throne of Heavenly Grace, and the portion of his sin which was unwilling will be covered by the merit of Christ. Whatever portion of the sin is wilful is deserving of punishment, stripes; and these stripes he will surely get. The Father will not allow His children to wander away without help. The stripes complete the expiation of that sin; and it will be canceled from the record. Justice has no longer any charge against him.
But the Scriptures clearly tell us that if any consecrated child of God should sin with full wilfulness there would be no forgiveness whatever for that sin, and it could not be expiated by stripes. The penalty would be death--the Second Death. If he sins with no wilfulness, in full ignorance, entirely without intention, the sin is entirely forgivable, by application for the merit of the precious blood. If he sins with partial ignorance and partial wilfulness, there is a portion that would be forgiven and a portion that must be expiated.
The Apostle Paul declares that if we would judge ourselves we should not be judged of the Lord; but that when we are judged of the Lord we are chastened, that we may not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:31,32.) And this chastening that comes upon us is the proper penalty for our degree of wilfulness. The object of the Lord in meting out this chastisement is that we shall learn the needed lesson, and be more watchful.
CHILDREN OF THE FIRST, OR THE SECOND ADAM?
Question.--Whose children will the world be when they awake in the Morning of the New Dispensation-- the children of Adam, or the children of Christ, the Second Adam?
Answer.--We understand that they will still be the children of Adam. When we think of our Lord as the Life-giver of the world, we should remember that He is the Life-giver only to those who come unto the Father through Him. When the masses of mankind awaken in the next Age, they will not have undergone any change which would lift them out of Adam and condemnation to death, into Christ and justification of life.
The New Covenant which God will seal with the precious blood of Christ is to be a Covenant primarily with Israel--to those Jews who are His people, to those who will accept Christ. The faithful Israelites who will accept the Lord and the Covenant relationship through the Mediator which is thus inaugurated for their benefit, will, as soon as they do this, come under the blessings of this Covenant. But mankind in general, who will not yet have come to a position of acceptance of the Mediator, will still be in the same attitude of today--aliens, strangers, foreigners. The work of the Church during that time is described in Revelation 22:17, "And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come." But none will begin to live until they partake of the Water of Life.
The world of mankind now go down into death as strangers, aliens from God, and it will be for them after their awakening to avail themselves of the privileges of that time. The Apostle John declares, "He that hath the Son hath life." Those who are awakened will not have this life, not having come into relationship with Christ. His relationship to them during the next Age will evidently be that of a benevolent Ruler, who is willing to enlighten them, to adopt them, if they will, as children, and who is willing to bring them up to the condition where they may have life everlasting. It will take the entire thousand years to fully perfect the race--to bring them up to perfection.
"Tell the whole world these blessed tidings;
Speak of the time of rest that nears;
Tell the oppressed of every nation,
'Jubilee lasts a thousand years!'"
The Lord Jesus will become the Father of all, just as soon as they comply with the required terms. He will give them, first, enlightenment and knowledge. Then if they use this knowledge, light and opportunity, and desire to come into harmony with Him, He will receive them as His children, and grant them the blessings under the New Covenant.
We recall the Scripture which says that the Law shall go forth from Mt. Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. "And many people shall go and say, come ye, and let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths." [R5428 : page 95]
These people represent the world in general outside of those who have accepted the terms of the Covenant. It represents them as learning a lesson and desiring to come into harmony with God. They say one to another, Let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord's House, and let us walk in His paths. Not until they do this will the Mediator recognize them in any sense of the word, nor will they be on probation for everlasting life. As soon as they are ready to walk in the way of holiness, they will be counted as His children.