It may truly be said that Adam purchased our misery and corruption, bought death for us, and sold us into slavery under the world, the flesh, and the devil. However, this is only so because man has inherited the inward working of his fallen nature and the worldly life it produces. In the same sense, and in the same degree, Jesus is truly our price, our ransom, and atonement because His sufferings, death, burial, and resurrection have made it possible for us to now receive the inward working of His Divine nature and the Heavenly life it produces. Jesus is the great sacrifice for sin because He, as a man, through His sufferings and death, overcame the fallen nature and thereby made it possible for the fallen nature to be overcome in us. He is our atonement because, by His resurrection, we may partake of His life and nature which atones, or satisfies righteousness, by producing selfless love, humility, patience, total resignation to God, and peace in our soul.
Just as man is a slave to sin and abiding in death when the nature and life of Adam are working in him to produce unrighteousness, we have victory over sin and death when the nature and life of Jesus are working in us to produce the fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, Jesus is the atonement of our sins when and by His living in us, we have victory over our sinful nature. The scriptures testify to this saying that Jesus, “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people….that He might deliver us from this present evil world…from the curse of the law…from the power of Satan…from the wrath to come” (Titus 2:14, Galatians 1:4 & 3:13, Acts 26:16-18, 1Thessalonians 1:10). The whole truth of the matter is this; Christ given for us is neither more nor less than Christ given into us. He is in no other sense our full, perfect, and sufficient atonement than as His Spirit and nature are born and formed in us. Just as Adam is truly our defilement, impurity, and spiritual death by his birth in us, so Jesus is our atonement, purification, and eternal life by the rebirth of His life within us. Therefore, as Adam purchased death for us, in the exact same degree, and in the same sense, Jesus purchased life for us. The whole nature, the sole end, and full effectiveness of all that Jesus did and suffered for us can easily be seen by an honest consideration of the following verses — “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” and “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil”(1Corinthians 15:22 & 1John 3:8). From the beginning to the end of Christ’s atoning work, no other power is ascribed to it, nothing else is intended, as an appeaser of wrath, but the destruction of all that is in man which comes from the devil — no other merits, or value, or infinite worth than that of its sufficiency to resurrect the Divine Life in human nature that had been extinguished in Adam.
It has been sufficiently proven, through our teaching titled ‘The Heavenly Life’, that God had no need to be reconciled to fallen man, but that fallen man had need to be reconciled to God, Who never was, nor ever has been anything else to fallen man but love; and that love in God, not wrath in God, brought forth the whole blueprint for His plan of redemption. This is why the scriptures do not say that Jesus came to procure the Divine favor for us in order to pacify any wrath in God toward us. No, in fact, the opposite is true — “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2Corinthians 5:18-19). All the mystery of our redemption proclaims nothing but the love of God toward fallen man. It was the love of God that could not behold the misery of fallen man without demanding and calling for his salvation. It was love, not wrath, that wanted to have full satisfaction done to it, and such a love as could not be satisfied until the Divine life was fully restored to fallen man by the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
The sacrifice and atonement of Jesus does indeed satisfy, or fulfill, righteousness and justice but not in God. It fulfills the righteousness that belongs to man and ought to be in him. Righteousness, wherever it is to be, is what it is. It has no mercy in itself; it will not lower its standards; it is inflexible and rigid; its demands are unstoppable; prayers, offerings, and entreaties have no effect upon it; it will have nothing but itself, nor will it ever cease from its demands or take anything in lieu of them as a satisfaction. Consequently, “without holiness”, the scripture says, “no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). This is what is meant by righteousness being rigid; it can not compromise because all its demands are righteous and good and therefore must be satisfied or fulfilled. It has its absolute demands upon man because he was created righteous and has lost that original righteousness which he ought to have kept in its first purity. This is the only righteousness, or justice, that Jesus came to satisfy or atone — not by giving some highly valued thing as a satisfaction in lieu of its demands, but by raising up again, in all human nature, that holiness or righteousness which originally belonged to it. To satisfy righteousness means neither more nor less than to fulfill it, and therefore it can not be satisfied in any being but by a restoration of the righteousness it has lost. This is the only way by which Jesus takes away the sins of the world. Namely, by restoring to man his lost righteousness. For this end Jesus gave Himself for the church “that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).This is the one righteousness which Jesus came into the world to satisfy by first fulfilling it in Himself and then enabling man to fulfill it by a new birth from Him.
Every intelligent being is originally created right, and just, and good by God, and has its own righteousness within itself from God. The goodness of its nature is its own law, and it has no other righteousness but that of continuing in its first state of being. No creature is subject to any pain or punishment or guilt of sin but because it has departed from its first right state and can feel the painful loss of its own first perfection. Now, fallen man, having departed from the original state of his creation, is unrighteous, evil, and full of his own misery. There is no possibility for him to be freed from his misery and pain until he is restored to his first state of perfection. This is the reason there is an absolute necessity for holiness in this life before man can enter the kingdom of heaven. The pain, misery, and wrath of fallen man is nothing else but the painful state of losing his proper righteousness, just as sickness is the painful state of one who has lost their proper health. No other righteousness, no other severe vengeance demands satisfaction, or torments the sinner, but that very righteousness which was once in him, and therefore will not allow him to have any rest or peace until it is in him again. All that Jesus does as an atonement for sin, or as a satisfaction to righteousness, is done in and to and for man, and has no other operation but that of rekindling the Divine nature in man and restoring his original righteousness. This righteousness is called the righteousness of God because it is the righteousness that man originally received from God. And therefore, since it comes from God, and has its whole nature and its power of working from God, it is justly called God’s righteousness.
I sincerely hope every reader has eyes to see that there was no righteous wrath, vindictive justice, or resentment in the Divine mind that wanted to be atoned (pacified or satisfied). It is man’s original righteousness, which was once his peace, happiness, and rest in God that has, by the fall, become his tormenter that continually exercises its good vengeance upon him until, if given place, it truly regains its first state in him. Though God is all love, there is no possibility for man to be freed from this pain, punishment, and vengeance until he regains his lost righteousness. Therefore, the doctrine of God being all love and having no wrath in Himself has nothing in it to decrease the force of those scriptures which threaten punishment to sinners, or to make them any less fearful of living and dying in sin. This doctrine is the only reason why the scriptures contain so many declarations of woe, misery, and judgments, and why all sinners must know and feel that “indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, must be upon every soul of man that does evil” (Romans 2:8-9).All these things, which the apostle elsewhere calls the terrors of the Lord, have no ground, nothing that calls for them either with regard to God or man but this one truth — that God is in Himself an infinity of love from Whom nothing but love and goodness can come forth. Since God is all love and wills nothing towards fallen man but full deliverance from the blind slavery and captivity to his earthly, beastly nature, every kind of punishment, distress, and affliction that can extinguish the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life ought to be expected from Him. To question then, how the God of love can threaten or chastise sinners is the same as asking how He can do that which is best for the sinner. It is as absurd as to ask how a good physician could give bitter medicine to his patients, or how he could order an infected limb to be cut off. Read Mark 9:43-48.
This doctrine declaring there to be no wrath in the Divine mind, but placing all wrath in the evil state of fallen nature and creature, has everything in it to prove the dreadful nature of sin and the absolute necessity of departing from it. It leaves no room for self-delusion, and puts an end to every false hope or vain seeking for relief in anything but the total extinction of sin in the heart. It does so by showing that damnation is no foreign, separate, or imposed state that is brought upon us by the will of God, but is the inborn, natural, essential state of our own disordered nature which is absolutely impossible to be anything other than our own hell, both here and hereafter, unless we cooperate with God to have all sin separated from us, and righteousness made to be our natural state by a birth of itself in us. And all this, not because God will only have it so by an arbitrary act of His sovereign will, but because man can only be happy and blessed by having his proper righteousness through being of one will and one spirit with God — “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous” (1John 3:7).