Tyler-Longview Central Ecclesia
A Christadelphian Statement
on The Atonement
1. That the word `sin' is used in two principal acceptations in the Scripture.
a. It signifies in the first place `the transgression of law' (eg. Lev 6:2; Jam 4:17). Sin in its first acceptation is a moral issue.
b. In the second definition `sin' represents that physical principle of the animal nature which is the cause of all its diseases, death, and resolution into dust (2Cor 5:21; 1Pe 2:24). It is that which has the power of death (Heb 2:14). This `sin' is a physical issue that does not impute moral or legal guilt. [The false logic that suggests that it imputes moral or legal guilt, would by parity of reasoning conclude that the inheritance of death carried with it legal or moral guilt - a patently false conclusion.]
2. That the Edenic sentence of death, muth temuth (Gen 2:17) was not a sentence to be consummated in a moment, as when a man is shot or guillotined. The death threatened was the result, or finishing, of a certain process; which is very clearly indicated in the original Hebrew. The sentence, then, as a whole reads thus-“In the day of thy eating from it dying thou shalt die” (EI, p. 69). From this, it is evident, that Adam was to be subjected to a process, but not to an endless process; but to one which should commence with the transgression, and end with his death and resolution into dust. (Gen 3:19)
3. That all who are born of a woman (Job 14:1-4) are born under the physical and hereditary `law of sin and death' (Rom 5:12, 7:23; 1Co 15:22). That `the law of sin and death' is a single law (Rom 8:2) and cannot be separated. That to be mortal is not only to be under “the shadow of death”, but to have that which has the power of death (Heb 2:14). Conversely, sin when it is finished bringeth forth death (Jam 1:15). To destroy (Heb 2:14; 1Co 15:53-54) that having `the power of death,' is to abolish this physical law of sin and death, and instead thereof, to substitute the physical 'law of the spirit of life,' by which the same body would be changed in its constitution, and live for ever. (Rom 6:23)
4. That the Mosaic law condemned transgression (Rom 7:7) and the transgressor (eg. Num. 15:32-35; Deu 13:6-9) but it could not condemn the nature (diabolos), `for all have sinned' (Rom 3:23), and therefore any condemnation meted out was “a just recompense of reward” (Heb 2:2). What the law could not do, in that it was weak because of the flesh (for “when the commandment came, sin revived” - Rom 7:9) God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. If the death of a transgressor would have sufficed, then Adam and Eve might have been put to death at once, and raised to live again. But this was not according to the divine wisdom. The great principle to be compassed was the condemnation of sin in sinful flesh, innocent of actual transgression.
5. The Mosaic institutions were a figure for the time then present, but could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience (Heb 10:2, Heb 9:9, 7:11) because the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins (Heb 10:4). God having prepared some better thing for us: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (Joh 1:29)
6. Therefore when Messiah cometh into the world he saith Mosaic sacrifices thou wouldst not, but “a body hast thou prepared for me” (Heb 10:5). God, in a figure, “laid on” Christ “the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:6). As 1Pe 2:24 tells us, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body”. These expressions were fulfilled in Christ being “made of a woman, made under the law” (Galatians 4:4). “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin” (2Co 5:21). The physical nature or body of Christ was “made like unto his brethren” (Heb 2:17). “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same” (Heb 2:14), taking “on him the seed of Abraham” (Heb 2:16). Sinful flesh being the hereditary nature of the Lord Jesus, He was a fit and proper sacrifice for sin; especially as he was innocent of transgression (1Pe 2:22) having been obedient in all things.
7. As to his character, Christ was the Deity manifest in flesh (1Ti 3:16; Isa 40:3; Joh 14:7, 9; Heb 1:3). He was “tried in all points like as we, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15).
8. That after living a life of perfect obedience his work culminated in a sacrificial offering for the redemption of himself and for his people as the anti-typical High Priest of Israel. (Heb 5:3, 7:27, 8:3, 9:7-9).
9. That in the sacrifice of Christ,
a. God's righteousness was declared (Rom 3:25-26)
b. God condemned sin in the flesh (Joh 12:31; Rom 8:3; Joh 3:14), and thereby justified (Rom 3:26) His forbearance with and forgiveness of sinners (Rom 3:25). God's supremacy having been vindicated (Rom 3:26; Joh 12:28, 21:19), a foundation has been laid (1Co 3:11) on which He can offer forgiveness (1Jo 1:9) without the compromise of His wisdom and righteousness. He does not offer it, or allow it, apart from submission to the declaration of His righteousness in Christ crucified (Joh 3:15, 36; Joh 5:24, 39; Rom 3:26, 30; Col 2:12). There must be the most humble identification with that declaration. (Rom 3:25-26)
10. These things could not have been accomplished in Christ if his nature was destitute of that physical principle, styled, `Sin in the flesh' (Rom 8:3; 1Jo 4:3; Heb 2:14). Decree the immaculateness of the body prepared for the Spirit (Psalm 40:6; Heb 10:5), and the `mystery of the Christ' is destroyed, and the gospel of the kingdom ceases to be the power of God for salvation to those that believe it. (Rom 1:16; 2Co 11:4; Gal 1:6-7; Gal 3:3; Rom 10:3)
11. The word 'atonement' in Hebrew signifies 'to cover', and therefore has application to Christ, as well as to others. But we not only need physical redemption from mortality, we also require the forgiveness of actual sins committed. It cannot be disputed that the term `atonement' has been used in Christadelphian literature for nearly 150 years to indicate both physical covering as well as forgiveness.
12. The statement that Christ did these things `for us' has blinded many to the fact that he did them `for himself' first (Heb 5:7, 13:20) - without which, he could not have done them for us, for it was by doing them for himself that He did them for us. He did them for us only as we may become part of him, in merging our individualities in him by taking part in his death, and putting on his name and sharing his life afterwards. He is, as it were, a new centre of healthy life, in which we must become incorporate before we can be saved. (Heb 5:9; Matt 16:24; Joh 17:22; 1Ti 3:16)
13. That Christ is the anti-typical altar (Heb 13:10), the anti-typical laver, the anti-typical High Priest (Heb 9:11), the anti-typical mercyseat (Rom 3:25, Heb 9:5), the “antitypical everything” as brother Roberts described him in The Law of Moses, p. 170-172.
14. We believe that the phrases such as “atonement for nature” and “sacrifice for nature” are non-specific and elastic phrases that suggest a mechanical operation in God's plan of redemption and should not be used. [The phrases do not appear to occur in any early Christadelphian literature till the late 1890's and early 1900's. Though their origin is unclear, they appear to have been widely used by clean-flesh teachers of the early 1900's as an excuse for rejecting the 2nd acceptation of the word `sin'.]
Doctrinal Errors We Categorically Reject
1. “That `sin in the flesh,' or sin as a metaphor”, is “considered as a moral thing.” (A.D. Strickler, OOD, p. 83)
2. That Christ literally bore our personal transgressions in his body (H. Fry, EPC, p. 41, A.D. Strickler, OOD p. 64)
3. That Christ's offering was a substitutionary sacrifice for man. (Harry Fry EPC p. 47; Allen D. Strickler OOD, p. 25, 46)
4. That Christ suffered `the punishment due to or for sin' (A.D. Strickler, OOD, p. 46, 98 et al.).
5. That the word `atonement' is only used in the Bible in relation to `moral' issues. `Where there is no forgiveness there is no atonement' (A.D. Strickler, OOD, p. 25) `What had the altar done that it required to be atoned for?' (J. Bell, The Shield, August 1919)
6. That the Bible does not teach that the physical principle of sin will be removed from the body in the change to immortality. (A.D. Strickler, OOD, p. 43).
7. That Christ's sacrifice was a continuation of the ritual and ceremonial symbolism of the Mosaic sacrifices except with a human sacrificial victim (H. Fry, EPC, p. 26, 39, 40; A.D. Strickler, OOD, p. 46, 64)
8. That obedience alone, in the absence of a sacrificial death, would redeem Christ. (E. Turney, H. Fry, EPC, p. 33)
9. That defilement under the law was limited to `a moral connotation'.
10. That the Mosaic Law, termed in 2nd Cor 3:9 `the ministration of condemnation', did not condemn transgression or those who had transgressed.
11. That the Mosaic patterns and shadows are a contrast with Christ and not typical of Christ's redeeming work. That the Mosaic Law was a `contrast' `of good things to come'. (A.D. Strickler, OOD, p. 93.)
12. That we are legally defiled by birth and that baptism removes legal defilement (JJ Andrew, BOC, p. 17).
13. That moral guilt (from Adam or any other) was literally or symbolically placed upon Christ at his death. (H. Fry, A.D. Strickler)
14. That a legal sentence or legal guilt (from Adam or any other) was literally or symbolically placed upon Christ at his death (JJ Andrew)
15. That the Edenic sentence was `a violent death' (JJ Andrew, BOC p.1, 5, 7; T. Williams, A Rallying Point #5, The Advocate, March 1896) and that this sentence was carried out upon Christ.
16. That at baptism we literally `pass out of Adam' (JJ Andrew BOC p. 30; T.Williams, Rectification, p. 36).
17. That at baptism we are literally freed from `the law of sin and death' (JJ Andrew, BOC p. 28-29; T. Williams, An Open Letter, p. 135, Adamic Condemnation, p. 6)
18. That baptism is for `original sin' (JJ Andrew BOC, p. 8; T. Williams, The Advocate, Jan. 1895).
19. That having `sin in the flesh' causes alienation from God or that Christ was ever alienated from God (JJ Andrew, Res. Resp. Debate).
20. That inheritance of the hereditary sin nature imputes moral guilt. That we are morally defiled by birth.
21. Doctrinal expositions of the atonement that are drawn from apostate Christianity's commentaries such as the United Bible Society Handbooks &c. [TLC Notes: See Titus 1:11; Isa 8:19-20]
EPC=Harry Fry's Echoes of Past Controversies
OOD=Allen D. Strickler's Out of Darkness
BOC=JJ Andrew's Blood of the Covenant
Addendum: Historical References
Note: The following quotations are not provided as proof texts of the Doctrinal Affirmations. For proofs, see the Scripture references provided in the first part of the statement. These quotes are provided only to show that the Doctrinal Affirmations are wholly consistent with original Christadelphian teaching.
"Since the purification (Num. 19:9) related to the removal of 'sin' contracted through death, it is apparent that cleansing and atonement are required even when a personal transgression is not committed. This is an important aspect of the offering in relation to Christ. He offered for himself, but not because he was a personal transgressor or because he was alienated from his Father, but because he was defiled by the uncleanness associated with human nature and death." (Ron Abel & Rod Ghent, Studies in the Atonement, 1973, p. 21)
"That there was a sense in which he must offer for himself would appear from the fact that Aaron had so to do before he offered for the people; and Jesus is the antitype. If it should be said that this was a necessary preparation in Aaron's case, it might be asked, was there no necessary preparation in Christ's case? There was; and the Scriptures give the reason. We get a clue in the words of Peter: 'who his own self bare our sins in his own body on a tree' (1 Peter 2:24). He was there as a representative, partaking of the nature that was common to all - a nature under sentence of death because of sin.” (Bro. John Carter, Letter to the Hebrews, p.83 3rd edition)
"The word 'atonement' in its Hebrew connotation signifies 'to cover', and therefore has application to Christ, as well as to others who in addition to the need of physical redemption from mortality, also required the forgiveness of actual sins committed." (Bro. H. P. Mansfield, Leviticus Expositor, p. 45)
“Christ required redemption from adamic nature equally with his brethren, and the mode of redemption which God had ordained was a perfect obedience culminating in a sacrificial death." (Bro. Robert Roberts, The Christadelphian, 1895, p. 262)
“First, then, as a matter of words and meanings, it must be remarked that whereas the word "atonement" occurs but once in the New Testament (A.V., and not at all in the text of the R.V.), it occurs frequently in the Old Testament, and is there the representative of the Hebrew verb kahphar (literally to cover) and its derivatives. In Gen. 6:14 God said to Noah, "Make thee an ark of gopher wood ... and thou shalt pitch it within and without with pitch". Here the verb is kahphar and the noun kopher, because pitch was the covering substance with which the ark was waterproofed. Kopher is also translated ransom, satisfaction; and in a bad sense, bribe. Kippooreem, plural, is translated atonement, atonements, and the yom hakkippurim, the great "Day of Atonement" (Lev. 16), is memorialized to this day among the Jews. The radical idea then of "atone" in the Old Testament is to cover.” (C.C. Walker, The Atonement, Atonement in the Old Testament)
“the Altar prefigured the Lord Jesus Christ. Contact with him through baptism constitutes us `holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling' (Heb. 3:1). As the altar had to be cleansed, atoned for, anointed and sanctified, and as it typed the Lord Jesus, it is obvious that he was involved in his own sacrifice.” (HP Mansfield, The Atonement, The Power of the Altar, p. 185, 186)
"Therefore Christ, although free from personal transgression, had to offer for himself, as for others, because upon him were laid 'the iniquities of us all' (Isa. 53)." (H.P. Mansfield, The Atonement, p. 235)
“That burnt-offering should be required in the absence of particular offence shows that our unclean state as the death-doomed children of Adam itself unfits us for approach to the Deity apart from the recognition and acknowledgment of which the burnt-offering was the form required and supplied. It was “because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel,” as well as “because of their transgressions in all their sins, that atonement was required for even the tabernacle of the congregation” (Lev. 16:16)
“The type involved in complete burning is self-manifest: it is consumption of sin-nature. This is the great promise and prophecy and requirement of every form of the truth: the destruction of the body of sin (Rom. 6:6). It was destroyed in Christ's crucifixion-the “one great offering”-we ceremonially share that in our baptism: “crucified with Christ,” “baptised unto his death.” We morally participate in it in putting the old man to death in “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts:” and the hope before us is the prospect of becoming subject to such a physical change as will consume mortal nature and change it into the glorious nature of the Spirit.” (Robert Roberts, The Christadelphian, 1897, p. 260)
"This sin condition being the hereditary nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, he was a fit and proper sacrifice for sin, or the condemnation of sin in the flesh, especially as he was "innocent of the great transgression." His righteousness sustained him, and his flesh did rest in hope" of a resurrection from the dead; but his body being as unclean as the bodies of those he died for, he himself must of necessity have somewhat to offer, as an atonement for himself, and this offering he accomplished by pouring out his soul unto death (Isa. 53:12). The Scriptures say: "It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22). " - FJ
“The common view which disconnects Christ from the operation of his own sacrifice would have required that Moses should have left the altar and the book of the law unsprinkled. These were parts of what Paul terms "the patterns of things in the heavens", concerning which he remarks that it was necessary they should be purified with the sacrifices ordained. The application of this to Christ as the antitype he makes instantly; "but (it was necessary that) the heavenly things themselves (should be purified) with better sacrifices than these" (Heb. 9:23). The phrase "the heavenly things" is an expression covering all the high, holy and exalted things of which the Mosaic pattern was but a foreshadowing. They are all comprehended in Christ, who is the nucleus from which all will be developed, the foundation on which all will be built. The statement is therefore a declaration that it was necessary that Christ should first of all be purified with better sacrifices than the Mosaic: "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place"; "not into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Heb. 9:12, 23-24).” R. Roberts, The Law of Moses
"Paul's statement (Heb. 7:27) is that Jesus did ONCE what the typical high priest did daily. What was that? 'Offered first for his own sins and then for the people's'. It follows that there must be a sense in which Jesus offered for himself also, a sense which is apparent when it is recognized that he was under adamic condemnation, inhering [to be inherent or innate in] his flesh." (Bro. Robert Roberts, The Christadelphian, 1873, p. 405)
“What is to be understood by `the Deity justified by the Spirit,' in 1 Tim. 3:16?To be `justified by Spirit' is the second item of the ` great mystery of godliness.' The flesh in or through which the Deity was manifested was, for the brief space of thirty-three years, inferior to the angelic nature, which is Spirit. It had been `purified' by the sprinkling of its own blood on the cross; it came forth from the tomb an earthy body, which, in order to become Spirit, and so `equal to the angels,' had to be `justified', `rectified', `made perfect,' or quickened, `by Spirit.' (See answer to No. 35.) The flesh of manifestation, justified by Spirit, is styled by Paul in Rom. 1:4, pneuma hagiosunes, `Spirit of holiness', or spirit-nature, which is essentially holy. The Jesus-Body was `justified by spirit' on being raised from the earthy nature to the Divine, by ascending to the Father on the third day (see answers to Nos. 24, 25, 26, 22; Heb 2:7, 9) and, forty days afterwards, was received up again in glory. -(1 Tim. 3:16, John 17:5; 3:13.) “ (John Thomas, Catechesis, #51)
“He had to be cleansed from flesh-nature and clothed upon with Spirit-nature, and this was effected through his offering.” (HP Mansfield, The Power of the Altar)
Two Acceptations of Sin
“The word sin is used in two principal acceptations in the Scripture. It signifies in the first place, `the transgression of law;' and in the next, it represents that physical principle of the animal nature, which is the cause of all its diseases, death, and resolution into dust. It is that in the flesh `which has the power of death,' and it is called sin, because the development, or fixation of this evil in the flesh was the result of transgression. Inasmuch as this evil principle pervades every part of the flesh, the animal nature is styled `sinful flesh,' that is, flesh full of sin; so that sin, in the sacred style, came to stand for the substance called man. In human flesh `dwells no good thing' (Rom. vii.18-17); and all the evil a man does is the result of this principle dwelling in him. Operating upon the brain, it excites the `propensities,' and these set the `intellect' and `sentiments' to work. The propensities are blind, and so are the intellect and sentiments in a purely natural state; when, therefore, the latter operate under the sole impulse of the propensities, `the understanding is darkened through ignorance, because of the blindness of the heart' (Eph. Iv. 18). The nature of the lower animals is as full of this physical evil principle as the nature of man; though it cannot be styled sin with the same expressiveness, because it does not possess them as the result of their own transgression; the name, however, does not alter the nature of the thing.” (J. Thomas, Elpis Israel, p. 127)
"This perishing body is 'sin,' and left to perish because of 'sin.' Sin, in its application to the body, stands for all its constituents and laws. The power of death is in its very constitution, so that the law of its nature is styled 'the Law of Sin and Death.' In the combination of the elements of the law, the power of death resides, so that 'to destroy that having the power of death,' is to abolish this physical law of sin and death, and instead thereof, to substitute the physical 'law of the spirit of life,' by which the same body would be changed in its constitution, and live for ever.
“'Sin, I say, is a synonym for human nature hence the flesh is invariably regarded as unclean." (J. Thomas, Elpis Israel, Logos ed., page 130)
"By this time, I apprehend, the intelligent reader will be able to answer scripturally the question, 'What is that which has the power of death?' And he will, doubtless, agree, that it is 'the exceedingly great sinner SIN,' in the sense of 'the Law of Sin and Death' within all the posterity of Adam, without exception. This, then, is Paul's Diabolos, which he says 'has the power of death;' which 'power' he also saith is 'sin, the sting of death.'”
“`Sin' is a word in Paul's argument, which stands for `human nature,' with its affections and desires. Hence, to become sin, or for one to be `made sin' for others, (2 Cor. 5:21, ) is to become flesh and blood. This is called `sin,' or `Sin's flesh,' because it is what it is in consequence of sin, or transgression.” (John Thomas, Eureka)
"Diabolos is therefore a very fit and proper word by which to designate the law of sin and death, or sin's flesh" (J. Thomas, Eureka, vol. 1, p. 248-249)
"That in his crucifixion, Sin was condemned in the same flesh that had transgressed in Paradise, so that in the crucified body he bore the sins of his people upon the tree, that they being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness" (Eureka, Logos ed., vol. 3, p. 304, #10)
"Now, a spiritual body is as material, or substantial and tangible, a body as that which we now possess. It is a body purified from 'the law of sin and death'" (John Thomas, Elpis Israel, p. 42)
In the combination of the elements of the law, the power of death resides, so that 'to destroy that having the power of death,' is to abolish this physical law of sin and death, and instead thereof, to substitute the physical 'law of the spirit of life,' by which the same body would be changed in its constitution, and live for ever. (John Thomas, Eureka).
"What stronger proof can we need of the substantial and tangible nature of the Spiritual body? It is the animal body purified, not evaporated into gas, or vapour." (John Thomas, Elpis Israel, ch 2)
"The clear evidence of Genesis 3 is that sin had a physical reaction on creation: the serpent crawled upon crawled upon its belly; all other animal creation was cursed (v. 14--above all cattle); the woman found her sorrow and conception multiplied; the earth brought forth thorns and thistles; man was made subject to death.” (HP Mansfield, Atonement: Salvation Through the Blood of Christ Page 243).
Christ Bore Our Sins By A Figure
“Jesus died as a representative man. It is said of him that God `laid on him the iniquities of us all' (Isa. 53). How did He do this? By so begetting him that he should inherit human nature, requiring that he should conquer the evil proclivities of the flesh from day to day: proclivities which in others invariably lead to sin. Peter taught, `Who his own self bare our sins in (Gk. `en' within) his own body on the tree …' (1 Pet. 2:24).” (H.P. Mansfield, The Atonement, p. 187)
“But the difficulty with some is how to associate such an ingredient with the sinless Son of God. There ought to be no difficulty if the whole case is kept before the mind. It is not the whole case that `he was without sin': it is part of the case that he was `made sin for us' (2 Cor. 5:21); that he was made of a woman in the likeness of sinful flesh (Gal. 4:4; Rom. 8:3), and that by a figure God hath laid on him the iniquities of us all (Isa. 53:6), and that he bore our sins in his own body to the tree (1 Pet. 2:24).” (Robert Roberts, The Law of Moses)
“The impulses of sin, were in the body of the Lord as in other men, but they were neutralized, or overcome, by a mind that was in perfect attune with that of his Father. Therefore, `the sins' that the Lord `bare in his body' when he was crucified are fitly described as `our sins' because they were identical to the same impulses that in every other person result in actual transgression; and the Lord died as our representative.” - H.P. Mansfield
“In the former state, the flesh was `the filthy garments' with which the Spirit-Word was clothed (Zech. 3:3) ; `the iniquity of us all' that was laid upon him; the soul made an offering for sin' (Isa. 53:6, 10) ; but, as He now is, the filthy garments have been taken away; `his iniquity has passed from him,' and he is clothed with `change of raiment.' His flesh thus designated has been subjected to the transforming energy of the radiant power of the Eternal Spirit.” (John Thomas, Eureka, vol. 1 p. 108)
Mosaic Types and Anti-Types
"There is a significance in all these details that ought to be fatal to the loose ideas entertained in some Gentile quarters as to the death of Christ, to the effect that it was not necessary and not required except as the ... crowning act of a life of obedience. For we must never forget that all these ceremonies of the law were allegorical of the work of Christ..."Robert Roberts, The Law of Moses, p. 262
“But the sacrificial blood was applied to everything as well-Aaron and his sons included (see Lev. 8:14-15; 23-24). An atonement had to be made by the shedding and the sprinkling of blood for and upon them all (Lev. 16:33). As Paul remarks, `almost all things by the law are purged with blood' (Heb. 9:22). Now all these things were declared to be `patterns of things in the heavens', which it is admitted on all hands converge upon and have their substance in Christ. There must, therefore, be a sense in which Christ (the antitypical Aaron, the antitypical altar, the antitypical mercy-seat, the antitypical everything), must not only have been sanctified by the action of the antitypical oil of the Holy Spirit, but purged by the antitypical blood of his own sacrifice.
“This conclusion is supposed to be weakened by the statement of Lev. 16:16, that the atonement for the holy place, altar, etc., was to be made `because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel and because of their transgressions in all their sins', That is, it is argued from this, that the holy things would have had no uncleanness in themselves apart from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. This must be granted, but it must also be recognized that because the children of Israel were sinful and polluted, the holy things were reckoned as having contracted defilement in having been fabricated by them and through remaining in their midst. This cannot be denied on a full survey of the testimony. They were ceremonially unclean, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and had to be cleansed by the holy oil and the sacrificial blood before they were acceptable in the Mosaic service.
Now, this is part of the Mosaic figure. There must be an antitype to it. What was it? The holy things, we know, in brief, are Christ. He must, therefore, have been the subject of a personal cleansing in the process by which he opened the way of sanctification for his people. If the typical holy things contracted defilement from connection with a sinful congregation, were not the antitypical (Christ) holy things in a similar state, through derivation on his mother's side from a sinful race? If not, how came they to need purging with his own `better sacrifice' (Heb. 9:23).” (Robert Roberts, The Law of Moses)
"Now look a little more closely at the manner in which the altar of Exodus 29:36 had to be cleansed. It was not by washing which might fittingly foreshadow baptism as you suggest, but by the shedding of blood, and that of a sin offering!... The altar was thus cleansed through the shedding of blood. Whose blood was shed to cleanse the Jesus-altar? None other than his own in spite of what the clean-flesh theorists might say." (Bro. H.P. Mansfield, The Atonement, “The Christ Altar”, Logos Publications, p. 188)
“… Christ did `once' in his death what the high priests under the law did daily, viz., offered `first for his own sins and then for the people's'. But here is all the difference between the two cases that there always is between shadow and substance. Christ's `own sins' were not like the sins of the priests; they were not sins of his own committing. He was without sin, so far as his own actions were concerned. Yet as the bearer of the sins of his people - whether `in Adam' or otherwise, he stood in the position of having these as `his own' from the effects of which he had himself first to be delivered. Consequently, he offered first for himself; he was the first delivered… But his offering for himself was also the offering for his people. The two aspects of the double typical offering were combined in one act. He had not twice to offer for himself… `He was made sin for us who knew no sin;' and does not sin require an offering?”
“All of which enables us to understand why the typical holy things were purified with sacrificial blood, and why the high priest, in his typical and official capacity had to be touched with blood as well as anointed with the holy oil before entering upon his work. When we say, as some in their reverence for Christ prefer to say, that the death of Christ was not for himself but only for us, they destroy all these typical analogies, and in truth, if their view could prevail, they would make it impossible that it could be for us at all' for it only operates "for us"when we unite ourselves with him in whom, as the firstborn, it had its first” (R. Roberts, The Law of Moses, The Consecration of Aaron and his sons)
“The reverence for Christ commands respect which leads some men to consider him immaculate in all senses and in no need to offer for himself, but it is not "according to knowledge", It is not consistent with the Divine objects in God "sending forth his son in the likeness of sinful flesh", All these objects blend together, but they are separable. One of them was to "condemn sin in the flesh", as Paul says (Rom. 8:8). The stumblings that have taken place over this expression are doubtless due to that other truth, that Christ did no sin, and in this sense was the "Lamb of God without spot". But the stumblings do not get rid of the expression as affirming a truth. Some would explain it as meaning the moral condemnation of sin by Christ during his life. This cannot be the meaning in view of the statement with which it is conjoined that what was done was "what the law could not do". The law condemned sin so thoroughly in the moral sense that it is called "the ministration of condemnation".Then some have suggested that it means the flesh of the sacrificial animals. This is precluded by the intimation that Christ was sent "in the likeness of sinful flesh" for the accomplishment of the work in question--the condemnation of sin in the flesh. This is, in fact, the reliable clue to the meaning. That he was sent "in the likeness of sinful flesh" for the accomplishment of the work shows that it was a work to be done in him. Some try to get away from this conclusion (and this is the popular habit) by seizing on the word "likeness"and contending that this means not the same, but only like. This contention is precluded by the use of the same term as to his manhood: "he was made in the likeness of men", He was really a man, in being in the likeness of men: and he was really sinful flesh, in being in "the likeness of sinful flesh". Paul, in Heb. 2:14-17, declares the likeness to have been in the sense of sameness: "Forasmuch as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, it became him likewise to take part of the same". The statement remains in its undiminished force that" God sent his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for (as an offering for) sin condemned sin in the flesh", It is, in fact, a complete and coherent statement of what was accomplished in the death of Christ, and a perfect explanation of the reason why he first came in the flesh, and of the reason why John the apostle insisted so strenuously on the maintenance of the doctrine that he had so come in the flesh. Possessing sinful flesh was no sin to him, who kept it under perfect control, and "did always those things that pleased the Father". At the same time, being the sinful flesh derived from the condemned transgressors of Eden, it admitted of sin being publicly condemned in him, without any collision with the claims of his personal righteousness, which were to be met by an immediate and glorious resurrection." (R. Roberts, The Law of Moses, The Consecration of Aaron and his sons)
The Basis of Forgiveness
“We find the key to this problem in the expression made use of by Paul concerning the death of Christ, in Rom. 3:21-22, "The righteousness of God without the law is manifested in Christ". Verse 25, `Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness that He might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus'. If we ponder this, we shall find it yields a complete explanation. First of all, it places forgiveness in the foreground, `through God's forbearance', which is at variance with the substitutionary idea. The substitutionary idea blots out forgiveness by suggesting that the debt in the case is paid by another. It is not so… `God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.'” (R. Roberts, The Blood of Christ)
“The doctrines of the apostasy have obliterated this principle. They teach that men have "only to believe" that Christ has paid their debts, and that they have, nothing to do but believe that Christ died for them…“it preaches the death of Christ as a "substitutionary" satisfaction of the Divine law, instead of a declaration of the righteousness of God (Rom. iii. 25) in the condemnation of sin in the flesh (Rom. viii. 3), as a basis on which the forbearance of God offers the forgiveness of all who recognize themselves "crucified with Christ" (R. Roberts, Seasons of Comfort, Reproach).
LONDON.-“…On Sunday, the 21st of May, after months of patient and careful investigation, and after the fullest opportunity offered to those who differ, to maintain their position, we resolved to discontinue fellowshipping such as believe that the descendants of Adam were not condemned to death on account of his sin, or that Jesus Christ's death was not necessary to redeem himself as well as others from that condemnation.” (The Christadelphian, July 1876, Ecclesial Intelligence)
"We have had trouble in our midst, which has resulted in division. Bro. H. [Harry] Fry publicly proclaimed the doctrine that Jesus was not in a position requiring to offer himself as a sacrifice to secure his own redemption. It was necessary to meet this error in order to maintain the purity of the Truth. After private and collective effort, which proved fruitless, it was decided to re-affirm and define our doctrinal basis of faith upon this subject... That inasmuch as the foregoing scriptural truths substantially form part of our doctrinal basis of fellowship, and are essential to 'the things concerning the Name of Jesus Christ..." (The Christadelphian, May 1898, Ecclesial Intelligence)
AUSTRALIA "Sydney .- Albert Hall, 413, Elizabeth Street. -It is with feelings of regret that we inform you that we have been compelled to withdraw our fellowship from a large number of brethren and sisters in this city for reasons hereafter stated. As you know, an amalgamation took place, about twelve months ago, between the body meeting in Pitt Street and the body in the Albert Hall, 413, Elizabeth Street. It was believed by the majority of us that they had renounced the erroneous views that had been the means of keeping the two bodies separate for years. Some of these views were: “No sin in the flesh”; “Adam mortal before the fall”; “Christ's nature pure and undefiled in every sense”; “Christ did not need to die for himself”; “The present possession of eternal life.” It has since transpired that upon some of these questions they have not altered their views at all; and not only so, but they have succeeded in converting many of our old brethren and sisters to those views since their admittance to our body." (The Christadelphian, 1904, P. 569, Ecclesial Intelligence)
“In view of all these things, it is evident what force there is in the words with which Jesus introduced the memorial cup to the notice of his disciples: `This is the new covenant in my blood shed for the remission of the sins of many.' The new covenant or agreement, which ensures coming blessedness to the fallen sons of Adam, is in the blood of Christ and nowhere else. There can be no blessedness without covenant, because, apart from the addition of special covenant on the part of God, who only has the power to bestow blessedness, we are shut up to what we have by nature, and that is, a poor mortal body that will wear out in due course and disappear in death. And there can be no covenant without sacrifice, for so has God willed, and we can no more get past his will in this matter than we can in the constitution of heaven and earth. And there is no sacrifice but one with which we can approach God for covenant, and that is the one great sacrifice accomplished in Christ. And there is no way of becoming associated with that sacrifice but by enlightenment in the promises on which the covenant is established, and faith in the blood in which it is offered, and legal contact with that blood in baptism, which is the divinely-appointed mode of association with the death of Christ. The root of the whole matter lies first, in the greatness, and then in the goodness of God. God is a great and dreadful Majesty, to whom the earth and all flesh belong, for He has made them out of his own energy. He is not only great, but He is holy, and jealous of His supremacy. He has been disobeyed on earth, and has in consequence given us over to death; and will not be approached by us except in the manner he has appointed. But He is good, and He will forgive and bestow everlasting life if we humble ourselves and come to him in the way appointed. The way appointed is through the shed-blood of a perfectly righteous wearer of our nature, in whom sin was condemned on our account. He will forgive us if we come in this way: not because that bloodshedding pacifies him or gives him any thing or pays any debt: for then it would be no forgiveness.-But because His righteousness is declared, and His prerogative recognised, and our position acknowledged in the acceptance of the slain lamb of His appointing.
“We endorse and proclaim all these glorious things every time we take this cup into our hand and drink it, and say `Amen!' at the giving of thanks for `the new covenant in the blood of Christ shed for the remission of sins.' This breaking of bread signifies our acceptance of God's way, and is a testimony to the world that they have no hope outside of this way. We find great comfort in that way ourselves, and we would extend that comfort on the right hand and on the left. But we find many obstacles in the imaginations and high thoughts that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. (2 Cor. 10:5.) We have even earned the bitterest odium it is possible for men to bear-the reputation of being illiberal and uncharitable and narrow minded and bigoted-because we maintain the teaching of Christ and his apostles on this most vital matter. What can we do but accept the result with resignation? It is a result that has always more or less attended the testimony of the truth. It is no new thing for `the preaching of the cross' to be productive of offence. Paul speaks of it in his letters. He says, the preaching of the cross was to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness. He accepted the reproach incident to such a situation; he refused to glory in anything save the cross of our Lord Jesus. We are in the best of company when we are in the company of Paul, and we are undoubtedly in his company when we are accused by the modern Greeks (the scientists of every grade) of being behind the age and badly informed, and old fogey and sectarian; and by the Jews, of being worse than the Christians in the rigidness of our insistance on the original teachings of Christ, and by Christians, of being gloomy retrogessionists, the slaves of a dead letter, and strangers to the broad life and charity and the true spirit of the gospel. To each and all, we can but say, `We accept Christ because he rose from the dead: and we accept the apostles, because we accept Christ; and we accept the New Testament writings as the standard of truth because we accept the apostles; and we challenge you all to deny that the conclusions which we maintain are the teachings of these writings. It would be pleasant to come on to your broad platform and to join in your charitable spirit and to share your freedom from the narrownesses and restraints that undoubtedly hamper the profession of the gospel, as originally delivered, as regards the present evil world. We should have your pleasant society, and your encouraging recognition, and your advantageous patronage, and your general enjoyment of the broad fields of human culture, and pleasure, and good fellowship. But wherein should we be the gainers in the day when Christ arrives to sweep away the present order of things, and to reorganise affairs in harmony with divine principles only, and to give glorious place in his house to those only who do the will of his Father, as written in his revealed word of truth? We should have a poor staff to lean on, in a respectable world which will then dissolve in terror before his face. No: we have made Christ our portion, and for better or worse, we will accept the isolation and the odium that result from the consequential exclusivness, confident that experience, shortly to be apparent, will justify an uncompromising adherence to the written word as the only enlightened policy that can be pursued.” (Robert Roberts, The Christadelphian 1881, p. 70-75)