Did Christ Have To Offer Himself First?
Christ cleansed himself first, in the God-appointed way: by
neutralizing, overcoming, and eventually destroying -- in his flesh -- the
impulses of sin. His sacrifice cleanses and redeems us only as we become part of
him. These are the emphatic and consistent teachings of the pioneers, and
together they are the heart of the sacrifice of Christ. These are the central
issues that distinguish the Truth from the apostasy on this subject.
Did Christ offer as one of those needing the sacrifice? If so,
then he was -- as we teach -- truly a representative. Or did he offer merely on
behalf of others, not needing the sacrifice himself? If so, then he was -- as
the apostasy teaches -- no more than a substitute. John Thomas and Robert
Roberts are emphatic that the former is the truth, and the very heart of the
truth, concerning his sacrifice.
All animal sacrifices typified what needed to be done. Christ
was not just another type. He actually did in himself and for himself what
needed to be done: overcoming and destroying the diabolos: offering the
bloodshed sacrifice that God's wisdom had appointed for the cleansing of sin's
flesh; and breaking out of the law of sin and death that held all mankind
including himself, in bondage.
God, through Christ, now freely offers this victory to all who
completely deny themselves, and become a part of him, and enter into him. Where
they fall short of his perfect victory, his blood continually cleanses them
through repentance and prayer and God's mercy, if they are giving their utmost
in loving service to God.
Where should we stand on this vital issue? The following are
the word-for-word Scriptural teachings of John Thomas and Robert Roberts, in
question form, with references. Those who believe the Truth taught by
Christadelphians from the beginning should have no difficulty answering each
question with a 'Yes'.
[In the absence of other references, the numbers refer to
year and page numbers of The Christadelphian, for articles authored by Brother
- Was it necessary that Jesus should offer for himself for the purging of his
own nature? (1873:468).
- Was Christ's sacrifice operative on himself first
of all? (RR, LM 91).
- Did Christ offer for himself first, and only "for us"
as we may become part of him? (RR, LM 174).
- Was Christ's flesh purified by
the sprinkling of its own blood? (Catechesis, third edition, p 13).
Christ require purging from the law of sin and death by his own sacrifice?
- Was the altar-body on the tree sanctified by its shed blood?
(JT, Eur 2:224).
- If one denies the need for Christ to be purified by his own
sacrifice, does this displace him from his position, destroy the reason for his
being partaker of our common nature, and substitute the confusion of the
sectarian atonement? (1877:376).
- Is it true that God could not have
condemned sin in the flesh of Jesus if there were no sin there? (JT, Elp
- Is the diabolos that Jesus destroyed the "exceeding great sinner Sin"
in the sense of the law of sin and death within all the posterity of Adam
without exception? (Eur 1:249).
- Was the flesh of Christ the "filthy
garments" with which the Spirit-Word was clothed -- the "iniquity of us all"
that was laid on him? (Eur 1:108).
- Does "sin" in Paul's argument stand for
human nature with its affections and desires? Is to he "made sin" for others to
become flesh and blood? (Eur 1:247).
- Were our iniquities "laid on him" by
his being made of our nature? (1873:400).
- Was it necessary that Christ
should first of all be purified with better sacrifices than the Mosaic? (LM
- Was the flesh of Christ cleansed by the blood of that flesh when poured
out unto death on the tree? (Eur 2:224).
- Does an evil principle pervade
every part of human flesh, so that the animal nature is styled in Scripture
"sinful flesh", that is, "flesh full of sin"? (JT, Elp 127).
- Was Christ's
own shed blood required for his exaltation to the Divine nature?
- Did Christ have to offer for himself? (1873:405).
- Is sin in
the flesh hereditary? and is it entailed upon mankind as the consequence of
Adam's violation of the Eden law? (JT, Elp 128).
- Was Christ's flesh "flesh
of sin" in which "dwells no good thing"? (Eur 1:106).
- When God made Jesus
"to be sin" (2Co 5:21), does this mean He made him to be flesh? (Elp
- Did Christ offer for himself, first by reason of his participation in
Adamic mortality? (1873:555).
- Did the Spirit clothe Himself with weakness
and corruption -- in other words, "Sin's flesh's identity" -- that he might
destroy the diabolos? (Eur 1:246).
- Is it true that the Devil was not
destroyed OUT OF Christ: but that it was destroyed IN him? Is it true that we
have to get into Christ to get the benefit of his work? Is it true that in him
we obtain the deliverance accomplished in him? (1875:375).
- Is diabolos a
very fit and proper word to designate the law of sin and death, or sin's flesh?
- Did Christ "through the shedding of his blood enter into the
spiritual state"? (1893:139).
- Is it true that if Christ had not first
obtained eternal redemption (Heb 9:12), there would have been no hope for us,
for we attain salvation only through what he has accomplished in himself, of
which we become heirs by union with him? (1875:375).
- Was Jesus himself as
the firstborn necessarily comprised in the sacrificial work he accomplished for
his brethren? (1884:469).
- Is it true that these things ("became sin lot us",
"sin condemned in the flesh", "our sins borne in his body on the tree") could
not have been accomplished in a nature destitute of the physical principle
styled "Sin in the flesh"? (JT, 1873:361).
- Did Christ "offer for himself"?
Did he obtain eternal redemption in and for himself, as the middle voice of the
verb implies (Heb 9:12)? Was he brought from the dead through the blood of the
everlasting covenant'? (1875:139).
- Was Christ purged by the blood of his own
sacrifice? (LM 171).
- Is it true that condemnation has passed upon all men
through Adam and that it cannot be annulled without sacrifice"? (1893: Sept
- Was Jesus, though personally sinless, by constitution condemned? and
did he therefore have to offer for himself and for his brethren?