The Agora
Atonement Questions

Previous Index Next

Did Christ Have To Offer Himself First? (The Pioneer Viewpoint)

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.

The issue

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 Robert Roberts.]

Historical review

  1. Was it necessary that Jesus should offer for himself for the purging of his own nature? (1873:468).
  2. Was Christ's sacrifice operative on himself first of all? (RR, LM 91).
  3. Did Christ offer for himself first, and only "for us" as we may become part of him? (RR, LM 174).
  4. Was Christ's flesh purified by the sprinkling of its own blood? (Catechesis, third edition, p 13).
  5. Did Christ require purging from the law of sin and death by his own sacrifice? (1873:468).
  6. Was the altar-body on the tree sanctified by its shed blood? (JT, Eur 2:224).
  7. 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).
  8. Is it true that God could not have condemned sin in the flesh of Jesus if there were no sin there? (JT, Elp 128).
  9. 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).
  10. 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).
  11. 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).
  12. Were our iniquities "laid on him" by his being made of our nature? (1873:400).
  13. Was it necessary that Christ should first of all be purified with better sacrifices than the Mosaic? (LM 92).
  14. Was the flesh of Christ cleansed by the blood of that flesh when poured out unto death on the tree? (Eur 2:224).
  15. 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).
  16. Was Christ's own shed blood required for his exaltation to the Divine nature? (1897:63).
  17. Did Christ have to offer for himself? (1873:405).
  18. 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).
  19. Was Christ's flesh "flesh of sin" in which "dwells no good thing"? (Eur 1:106).
  20. When God made Jesus "to be sin" (2Co 5:21), does this mean He made him to be flesh? (Elp 134).
  21. Did Christ offer for himself, first by reason of his participation in Adamic mortality? (1873:555).
  22. 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).
  23. 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).
  24. Is diabolos a very fit and proper word to designate the law of sin and death, or sin's flesh? (Eur 1:249).
  25. Did Christ "through the shedding of his blood enter into the spiritual state"? (1893:139).
  26. 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).
  27. Was Jesus himself as the firstborn necessarily comprised in the sacrificial work he accomplished for his brethren? (1884:469).
  28. 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).
  29. 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).
  30. Was Christ purged by the blood of his own sacrifice? (LM 171).
  31. Is it true that condemnation has passed upon all men through Adam and that it cannot be annulled without sacrifice"? (1893: Sept cover).
  32. Was Jesus, though personally sinless, by constitution condemned? and did he therefore have to offer for himself and for his brethren? (1873:405).
Previous Index Next