"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last" says our Creator and Savior, and rightly so, because "God made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands... He gives to all life, and breath, and all things" (Rev. 22:13; Acts 17:24). But Lucifer is also an "alpha" in the sense that he originated sin (John 8:44). So deceptive are his ways that an innumerable host of holy angels fell, and then God's newly created earth. Satan intensely studies how to destroy, especially the very elect at the close of earth's history. He has years of practice and reserves the greatest deception until now. Let us call Lucifer's last hoax the "omega"--his grand finale.
Although the Bible tells us little of Satan's techniques in heaven, his most successful method is similar to the infamous and fatal statements: "All the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them," and, "You shall surely not die" (Numbers 16:3; Genesis 3:4). Satan's omega for his final assault is very similar, only now he finds the greatest success by misrepresenting Christ's sacrifice. Lucifer convinces honest and sincere people they are saved while committing known sins. Similar to the medieval practice of paying indulgenses to the church in advance for sins you may commit in the future, Lucifer's omega lulls Christians into an "always-saved" stupor. This false security encourages spiritual slothfulness and stifles Christian growth. To speak against this travesty is considered an insult against heaven and Christ's atonement, as indicated by one writer: "To say that Christians can lose salvation [by sinning] is to say that the blood of Christ was inadequate to perfect for all time [sic.] those whom God has sanctified" (Stanley, C. Eternal Security, Can You Be Sure?. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990: 154). If "in Jesus" Christians, are completely justified at Calvary by the "unfallen Adam", and can be saved while committing known sins, then there is no need for the investigative judgment to determine guilt and degree of punishment; no call for God's people to come out of Babylon; and no condemnation for those receiving the mark of the beast. Frightening, isn't it? The omega eliminates the need for God's final warning to humanity (Revelation 14:6-12). This teaching encourages a renouncing of fundamental beliefs; books of a new order are being written as intellectual philosophy is introduced, and the binding claims of God's law, including the Sabbath's sanctity, is lightly regarded (White, Selected Messages, book 1, 204, 205).
"The wisdom of this world is foolishness with
God" (1 Corinthians 3:9), and our Lord is well prepared to meet Lucifer's
omega. His counterattack is so simple because it uses scriptures
you have read many, many, times, without realizing their significance.
As surely as mankind is condemned through Adam's sin, of which they had
no part, mankind is likewise justified by Christ's righteousness, of which
we also have no part. Christ's sacrifice at Calvary certainly does
justify us from condemnation of sins we did not knowingly
commit and, as indicated in the sacrificial system, for unknown
sins for all mankind, "for the native born [Jew] or a stranger
[Gentile]" (Romans 5: 18,19; Numbers 15: 27-29).1
And when you discover you have sinned in ignorance, Jesus'
blood freely pardons you. No penance, confession, or repentance, was necessary--Jesus,
our substitute, offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice and died for you.
Jesus expressed it this way: "If you were blind, you would
have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin
remains" (John 9:41). If the sins that remain were committed in
ignorance, they could be forgiven by Christ's sacrifice 2,000 years ago,
but for willful sins that remain, you become the guilty party
in crucifying Christ.
Once a person transgresses the law after having a knowledge of sin, it requires more than Jesus' original sacrifice by the deluded priests. The apostles were fully aware that for premeditated, presumptuous, willful sins, transgressors were not forgiven in the Old Testament sanctuary service. They knew that "if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins"--sinners "crucify Christ again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.... and [have] insulted the Spirit of grace" (Hebrews 6:6; 10:26,29).
By looking at the Old Testament sacrificial system it is easy to discover that Jesus' sacrifice only forgave sins committed in ignorance (Leviticus 4:2, 13, 22, 27; 5:15, 17, 18, 24, 26; Numbers 15: 22,24-29). The New King James Version aptly translates this: "He offered for himself and for the people's sins committed in ignorance" (Hebrews 9:7). After discovering his unintentional sin, the sinner merely offered the required sacrifice and was justified without confession or repentance--as our Substitute, Christ suffered the sinner's penalty. Just like the Lord's instructions to Moses, we need only speak to the smitten Rock and receive justifying "living water" (Numbers 20:1-12). "Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many", " For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Heb. 9: 28, Rom. 11:29). That is good news--Jesus has forgiven our sins committed in ignorance.
But after a transgressor knew God's requirements and sinned, that sacrificial offering did not justify "presumptuous" transgression, "Because he has despised the word of the LORD, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off [killed]; his guilt shall be upon him" (Numbers 15:30,31). That statement was followed with the death sentence for one desecrating the Sabbath (verses 32-36). These texts show that Jesus' death 2,000 years ago does not completely vindicate premeditated sins--it also requires our spiritual death.
When we sin willfully, we "strike the Rock" a second time and deserve to die the "second death" of Revelation 20:6 with the wicked in the "lake of fire". Just like Adam's sin caused the death of humanity and Jesus, your premeditated sin caused the premeditated death of Jesus. Guilty of murder, you must die. But Jesus allows presumptuous sinners an opportunity to die a death of sorrow in advance with Him through confession and repentance. That is why Jesus said: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again (of water and the spirit), he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3,5). To be born again we must die the death of repentance and that prepares the way for God to, we might say, "nourish" us with His flesh and blood to be "born again."
Just how a sinless, perfect, immaculate, God can dwell in, and give life to, our weakened, perverted, worthless, body is a mystery to me. Undoubtedly the possibility exists that we may fall in the future to Lucifer's suggestions, or yield to our bad habits and inbred propensities to evil. But when we give Jesus our best efforts for good and "die daily" by offering ourselves a living sacrifice, He continues to forgive and justify us with His indwelling righteousness (Romans 12:1;1 John 3:4; White, Faith and Works, 49-45). While maintaining a humble, teachable spirit, we can rest assured that "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13). For clearer understanding, let us talk further about our crucifixion with Jesus.
It is the Holy Spirit that draws us to repentance, but that entails a repentance according to godliness: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). For premeditated sins, our justification is not complete unless we symbolically suffer crucifixion with Jesus like the thief that confessed his sins on the cross. Similar to Israel's rebirth by crossing the Red Sea, we initially suffered a symbolic death through baptism and are justified by faith (Romans chapters 3, 5, 6). But, after we come into a knowledge of the truth and willfully sin, the only remedy is our spiritual death and the guilt of Jesus' death falls on us. If you were the only person in the world to sin, Christ must have died for your sin. And for that premeditated sin, like Adam's expulsion from Eden and death, divine justice likewise demands your death as a guilty murderer.
With the "old man" crucified by repentance, Christ's substitutional death qualifies you for a born again life with Him forever. Jesus gives you the option of dying with Him like the thieves. Here's how: "We say: "Jesus, I deserve to die for my presumptuous sins, but you are innocent. May I join you when you come into your kingdom?" Jesus accepts our crucifixion and faith in His sacrifice with us and says that His grace is sufficient--"You will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).
If we have, in fact, been crucified with Christ, We are truly forgiven. He who knew no sin became sin for us by accepting our guilt. Just like Christ's daily mediatorial work with the Father in heaven's Most Holy Place was symbolized by incense drifting to earth's Most Holy Place (Hebrews 10:24), our guilt is transferred by Jesus, the real high priest, who now wears clothes "dipped in blood" by our sins (Revelation 20:13), He will eventually adorn a spotless white robe when these sins are ultimately transferred to Satan, the "scape goat", during the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16: 21,22).
Does this make sense to you? Your faith is exactly like that thief that was justified by faith in Christ's substitutional death. God can not dwell in your sinful body, and your death is necessary before He can fill you with His perfection, His righteousness, and forgive your presumptuous sins. God moves us to repentance, and like the thief on the Cross, you, too, will be with Jesus in His kingdom. And the reformation in your life will display the effect of your born-again experience--"It is Christ in you, the hope of glory" working within you (Colossians 1:27). Please understand that we are only justified by faith. Jesus supplies us that faith to link us to His goodness, His grace, His justification, and His perfection. Our finest works do not earn us salvation, they are also a gift. We are only justified by faith in His death for us, and Jesus works within us, giving us each that measure of saving faith. Honoring that faith, He will do His good pleasure in us; God's grace only accepts our spiritual death with Him which is a broken and contrite heart. "He that is Christ's has crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts" (Galatians 5:24).
How wonderful God is. He has made every
provision for our salvation. As totally helpless sinners, His immaculate
grace enables us to do what we can never, ever, do for ourselves--our
best efforts will never allow us to work our way to Paradise--Jesus
is our sufficiency. Enough said? Now it is your turn!
This study is necessarily brief because you must join with holy angels and look much deeper into the great plan of salvation (1 Peter 1:2). Who among us can boldly claim they have all the answers? Not me! And who knows, we may never discover the full depths of God's perfect plan to save us and His universe. But hopefully you are now stimulated to a deeper interest, and understand why the Old Testament's sacrificial system only allowed forgiveness for sins committed in ignorance; and that one may not merely continue in presumptuous sin that God's grace may abound--"God forbid" (Romans 6:1,2).
And you should also understand what God meant when He warned Adam against willful sin: "In the day you eat of it you will surely die" (Genesis 2:17). That day Adam "crucified" self and died a spiritual death as he watched the bleeding sacrifice die that he might live (Genesis 3:20). The sacrificed animal that clothed Adam was never a superficial adorning to excuse willful sins--it embodied much more, as one author states: By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God's commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garments of His righteousness. Then the Lord looks upon us, He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah (White, Christ's Object Lesson, p 312) Anything short of complete surrender to Christ will prove your undoing because: "they that are in the flesh can not please God" (Romans 8:8).
If you are crucified with Christ, you, too, will see that your presumptuous sins were so terrible that He had to spill His blood, only this time you are guilty of driving those nails and you must suffer crucifixion with him. Contrary to Satan's omega, which says you will remain justified while committing known sin and neglecting known duties, the Real Omega invites us to the second birth; that is, to die with Him, then be born again into His righteousness. And that fits us for eternity with Him.
Copyright © November 11, 2001 by Charles Clever, all rights reserved.
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