Question by one speaking against our belief:
Why do you believe in more than one atonement? Do you not know the atonement was completed at the cross?
Christ has made atonement for sin. The full and complete provisions for that atonement He provided at the cross. Christ's sacrifice was once and for all, totally sufficient. Jesus, as our high Priest is now applying that atonement to those who come to Him with contrite and humble hearts, surrendering their lives to Him.
Again, full provision for the atonement was made at the cross, however the atonement is not applied until the priest makes the atonement. The lamb does not make the atonement; the lamb only provides the blood and sacrifice by which the atonement can be made.
Several steps are required before the atonement is complete.
1. The sinner must first transfer, that is confess, his sin upon the head of the substitute. If he does not confess the sin remains upon himself.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
2. The lamb is slain. He has died because of those sins. Full provision for atonement is made.
3. The priest then makes the atonement for sinner.
Lev. 4:20, 26, 31, 35,
Lev. 5:6, 10, 13, 16, 18
Lev. 6:7 (and more) STATES THAT: - "and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them."
Our opponent states:
Well all your sins are personal are they not. They are yours and yours alone. I guess Jesus' atonement is not sufficient for your personal sins so you have to complete what he could not. Give yourself a break and let Jesus' atonement be complete for you.
Response: We are letting Jesus complete the atonement for us. It's you guys who don't want Christ to complete the atonement after the sacrifice has been made!
The provision for all to have atonement was made at the cross, the application of that atonement however is still in progress. The provision is complete and perfect. No sinner need despair that he cannot be forgiven. Yet, to be made "at one" with our Lord again, these provisions must be applied to the individual and therefore we need our heavenly high Priest to carry on the work of atonement in our behalf.
Our opponent continues:
Adventism has generated a plethora of atonement theories. Yours, T, goes along with salvation by character development.
Response: True understanding of the atonement and sanctuary doctrine is not a plethora of theories. What has happened is that a host of "strange people" who call themselves Adventists have corrupted the doctrine and brought much confusion. There are many good solid references within Adventism which carefully and logically present the subject.
Of course when we have people presenting "two atonements" "atonement without the Day of Atonement" "making our own atonement" it all starts looking like a plethora of theories. The true understanding of the sanctuary conveys the full picture of God's work dealing with sin, removing sin from the sinner, reconciling him back to God, and in the whole process demonstrating to the whole universe, not only the great love of God, but also His great justice, righteousness and infallible standards which constitute righteousness-- His law.
The opponent continues:
The previously presented theory is unique also. Jesus can't come till he completes the atonement??
Response: The previously presented "theory" is declared unique because it is the one "theory" that must be gotten rid of by the opposers of Adventism! That belief shows Christ is in the heavenly sanctuary as our High Priest completing the work of the Atonement.
Of course Jesus WILL NOT COME UNTIL HE COMPLETES THE ATONEMENT! When the atonement is completed, probation has closed.
Do you notice the whole "Jesuit" thrust here. The plan to render opposing churches "docile" to the takeover of Catholic ecumenicalism, is to bring so many confusing "theories" into the churches, so people get disgusted with doctrines and simply don't bother with any doctrinal understanding any more. Then they will be easily swept away by any emotional "celebrationistic" service.
Now our opponent comes and says THE ADVENTIST doctrine is just a theory. Then he declares we have a plethora of theories. He is one with a host of others that have covered the truth of the sanctuary with so much rubbish in the hopes that people will not find it -- for it is the very essence of truth of salvation.
Our opponent continues to quote texts by which to try to prove his point that everything was completed at the cross -- yet these very texts support the Adventist Sanctuary doctrine, not his short circuited "all was done at the cross"
The witness of the New Testament is:
God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Rom 3:25-26
Response: Here you see the stated that Christ was THE SACRIFICE of the atonement. Yes, the sacrifice is absolutely essential for any atonement to made. However, as we noted before, the priest still has to apply that atonement.
Notice how the text continues:
HE JUSTIFIES THOSE WHO HAVE FAITH IN JESUS -- in other words, the work of justification was made possible because of the sacrifice, but it is an ongoing process to them that come to Him in true faith.
Our opponent quotes Hebrews:
"After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven...."
Yes, the cross provided FOR THE PURIFICATION it does not say it automatically purified everyone. It provided the means by which purification could be applied.
Continues quote from Heb.
Both the One who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers....saying, behold I and the ones which God has given me... For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people....
Again this stresses the fact that Christ's life and death were absolutely and totally essential before any real atonement could be made. But look-- NOW HE IS A FAITHFUL HIGH PRIEST MAKING THAT ATONEMENT FOR THE SINS OF THE PEOPLE. Christ died the lamb so an atonement could be made, He is NOW priest, applying that atonement for the sins of the people!
Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him...
FOR ALL WHO OBEY HIM!
When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption....for this cause he is the mediator of the new covenant that by means of His death , for the redemption of their transgressions. . .
Again we see the work of Christ, our High Priest. A work which was made possible by His sacrifice and enables Him to apply that atonement.
Our opponent quotes:
we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all....
Let's look at this in context with the other "once for all" texts. Hebrews 9:12 9:26 10:10 "By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption for us."
"He does not offer himself often..every year..but now once in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself..so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many..
"We WILL be sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
There are not two atonements. Once and for all Christ shed His blood so He could, as our High Priest enter the heavenly sanctuary and apply that blood for the atonement of all who come to Him to confess their sins and be cleansed from all unrighteousness. It is one atonement, one sacrifice, one priest applying the blood of the atonement for each repentant sinner.
Our opponent continues to quote:
But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Heb 1:3; 2:11, 17; 5: 8, 9; 9:11-12; 10:10-14
NOTE "BEING MADE HOLY" Christ made full and perfect provision for atonement with His sacrifice on Calvary, but now He is our Priest, administering that atonement.
Our opponent continues:
Jesus is not involved in some continuing atonement - that was done once and once for all time.
Response: - Sorry, but that is not what I read in Hebrews at all. Hebrews is all about Christ's priestly work in the heavenly sanctuary where He is making atonement for us with the His own precious blood that was shed ONCE and covers all the requirements of the atonement.
Our opponent continues:
You, who hold to the SDA position, should take notice that the only thing Jesus is waiting for is his enemies to be made his footstool and not some imaginary unfinished atonement that is dependent on us.
Response: One text-- misunderstood, is given as some type of proof that Christ is not doing all the things Hebrews says he is doing?
2 Peter 3.9,11-12 reads:
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise (of coming again), as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved,(the earth and the things in it) what manner of persons ought we to be? In all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and HASTENING the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?"
Our opponent continues:
Crosier started this thing with his Day Star article. His theme was that the atonement could not have begun till 1844 when Jesus supposedly went into the Most Holy Place. That is why the article, which Ellen endorsed via vision, denigrates what took place at Calvary and denies the atonement occurred at the Cross.
Actually the whole business of sin over the 6000 years is one continuous work of dealing with the rebellion and sin. Our earth is the theatre of the universe! The cross is the focus where provision was made for atonement, but full and complete "at oneness" with God when all sin is completely eradicated from the earth is not complete until it is FINISHED! And anyone trying to tell me it is finished now is totally out of touch with reality. It is not finished-- the cry of sin is swelling to an unbelievable roar upon this earth.
It only makes sense that near the END of earth's history the final work of the High Priest should commence and be completed.
Our opponent continues:
Those who hold to your position must realize of course that the real hindering factor to Jesus' coming, according to Ellen, is that there are no folk that fully reflect his character.
Response: 1 John 5.2-5 - "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God over cometh the world: and this is the victory that over cometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that over cometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"
1 John 3.2-3 - "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
REVELATION STATES IT SEVEN TIMES:
TO HIM THAT OVERCOMES will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
HE THAT OVERCOMES shall not be hurt of the second death.
TO HIM THAT OVERCOMES will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written,
HE THAT OVERCOMES, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
How does one overcome?
1 John 5.4-5 "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"
This is far more than simple intellectual acknowledgment. This faith is an active faith that changes the life and purifies it. Without Him we can do nothing, but when we open our hearts' door and let Him in, we become "new creatures, old things are passed away." Yet it is ALWAYS OUR CHOICE. Christ "knocks", He has made full provision for our salvation, yet we must respond and surrender our lives to Him.
Our opponent continues:
You folk need to get with the program and shape up - what Jesus does is dependent of you!!!!
Actually, Jesus' waiting and seeming delay is in mercy to each one of us. As the apostle Peter tells us, "He is not willing that any should perish but that all come to repentance." What our opponent is doing here is mocking God's longsuffering toward each of us.
For when the time has come -- all decisions will be final.
"The time is at hand.
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still."
"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."