The `Solidarity' view of the Atonement
The New Testament Scriptures – and in particular the book of Hebrews reflect the manner in which the Hebrew people thought – which was totally unlike how the western mind thinks. Whereas we tend to think in terms of individuality, they tended to think in terms of the individual comprising a part of an entire unit, which comprised the summary affection of God’s grace. For instance, the following text reveals that Christ views His people as a Father views a Son:
`When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.' (Hosea 11: 1.)
The apostle Paul affirms that each individual member is a part of the corporate body – the Church; and when the individual suffers, then the relationship of the entire corporate body of the Church suffers as well:
`That there should be no division in the body; but that the members should have the whereas same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now all of you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.' (1 Cor. 12: 25 - 27.)
This thought permeates the New Testament and supports the idea that Christ is the Husband, the Church His bride, and He and His Church are to be one, just as He and His Father are one:
`Holy Father, keep through thine own name those thou has given me, that they may be one, as we are one . . . . . Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they may be one: as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me.’ (John 17:11, 20 – 21.)
Just as Christ is in the Father, and desires that we be in Him, so also in the Old Testament the High Priest was a type of Christ, and the people were also reckoned to be in Him, for in His human incarnation Christ became the second representative man; the second Adam, and all men are reckoned as either being in Adam, the first representative man of the entire race who sinned, or Christ, who was the second representative Man of the entire race who didn't sin:
`Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him [Christ] that was to come” (Rom: 5:14).
Just as all men were reckoned as being `in’ the High Priest (and more specifically during the Day of Judgement, or `yom kippur’, the Day of Atonement); so also are we reckoned as being ‘in’ our High Priest :
`The representative character of the High Priest should be stressed. Adam was the representative man. When he sinned, the world sinned, and death passed upon all men. (Rom. 5: 12). “By one man’s offence death reigned; . . . . . by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (verses 17 – 19).' (`The Sanctuary Service’, M.L, Andreason, 1937, p. 54.)
The germinal seeds of the idea of the `in Christ' motif was first presented to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church by a young doctor of medicine by the name of E.J. Waggoner during the Minneapolis General Conference Sermons in 1888. A young preacher by the name of A.T. Jones had joined forces with Waggoner three years earlier, when he and Waggoner became co-editors of `Signs of the Times', which was an evangelistic periodical which focussed upon eschatology. The sermons which the two men gave were of a similar tenure and complimented each other. One of Waggoner’s presentations was the Book of Romans, and found below is an excerpt of his commentary of the parenthesis found in Romans 5: 12 – 21.
The Conclusion: It will be noticed that the twelfth verse begins a proposition that is not completed. Verses 13-17 are parenthetical; we must pass on to the eighteenth verse to find the conclusion. But as the mind would naturally lose the first part of the statement on account of the long parenthesis, the apostle repeats the substance of it, so that we may perceive the force of the conclusion. So the first part of verse 18 is parallel to verse 12. “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men to condemnation.” The conclusion is, “Even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
The Reign of Death: “Death reigned from Adam to Moses.” That does not imply that death did not reign just as much afterwards. But the point is that Moses stands for the giving of the law; “for the law was given by Moses.” John 1:17. Now since death reigns through sin, and sin is not imputed when there is no law, it is evident from the statement that “death reigned from Adam to Moses,” that the law was in the world just as much before Sinai as it was afterwards. “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” 1 Corinthians 15:56. There can be no sin imputed when there is no law; but wherever there is sin, there death reigns.
Adam a Figure: Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come. How is Adam a figure of Him that was to come, namely, Christ? Just as the following verses indicate, that is, Adam was a figure of Christ in that his action involved many besides himself. It is evident that Adam could not give his descendants any higher nature than he had himself, so Adam's sin made it inevitable that all his descendants should be born with sinful natures. Sentence of death, however, does not pass on them for that, but because they have sinned.
A Figure by Contrast: Adam is a figure of Christ, but only by contrast. Not as the offense, so also is the free gift. Through the offense of one many are dead; but through the righteousness of One, many receive life. The judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ. There is contrast all the way through. Everything that came through Adam's fall is undone in Christ; or, better still, all that was lost in Adam is restored in Christ.
Much More: This might be taken as the key-note of this chapter. Not only is everything that is lost in Adam restored in Christ, but much more. If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.’ (E.J. Waggoner, 1888 General Conference Sermons.)
As Waggoner's understanding of this theology grew, so also did his presentations become more sharply defined. The following is an excerpt of the 1891 General Conference Sermons, in which he is again commenting on Romans 5: 12 – 21:
`So Adam died, and because of that, every man born into the world is a sinner, and the sentence of death is passed upon him. Judgment has passed upon all men to condemnation, and there is not a man in this world but has been under the condemnation of death. The only way that he can get free from that condemnation and that death is through Christ, who died for him and who, in His own body, bore our sins upon the cross. He bore the penalty of the law, and suffered the condemnation of the law for us, not for Himself, for He was sinless. `But of Him [the Father] are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made to us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption
"As by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin . . . even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." What is the free gift? It is the free gift by grace and it appertained unto many. The work of Adam plunged man into sin; the work of Christ brings men out of sin. One man's single offense plunged many into many offenses, but the one man's obedience gathers the many offenses of many men and brings them out from beneath the condemnation of those offenses.
Then the free gift is the righteousness of Christ. How do we get the righteousness of Christ? We cannot separate the righteousness of Christ from Christ Himself. Therefore in order for men to get the righteousness of Christ, they must have the life of Christ. So the free gift comes upon all men who are justified by the life of Christ. Justification is life. It is the life of Christ. "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, even so by the obedience of one many shall be made righteous." These are simple and positive statements. No good can come to man by questioning them. He only reaps barrenness to his soul. Let us accept them and believe them.
"The free gift came upon all men to justification of life." Are all men going to be justified? All men might if they would, but says Christ, "Ye will not come to me that ye might have life." All are dead in trespasses and sins. The grace of God that brings salvation hath appeared unto all men. It comes right within the reach of all men, and those who do not get it are those who do not want it.’ (E.J. Waggoner, 1891 Conference Sessions.)
The `good news' of Waggoner and Jones' presentations, was that it is easy to be saved and hard to be lost, for the Good Shepherd is actively in search of His lost sheep, for He has descended all the way down from the lofty heights of heaven to find us. As Jones put it:
'It has always been Satan's deception, and has always been the working of his power, to get men, to think that Christ is as far away as it is possible to put Him. The farther away men put Christ, even those who profess to believe in Him, the better the Devil is satisfied . . . Is Christ away off still? No; He is "not far from every one of us." . . . And as certainly as you get a definition of "not far," you have the word "near." He is near to everybody, to us; and He always has been.' (`1895 General Conference Bulletin', p. 478.)
If we are to study Waggoner's slant on Romans 5: 12 - 21, we should also put it in the perspective of Christ experiencing the `second death' for the penitent.
Cursed is he who is hung on a tree . . .
Waggoner and Jones believed that Christ became the Second Representative Man of the entire race. Essentially, what Adam did in the garden of Eden, which was bring the sentence of condemnation upon the entire race, Christ has undone at the Cross at Calvary. Unfortunately, so-called `Historic Adventism' sees this as universalism, when in fact this is a misunderstanding of what Scripture teaches in a quite literal sense. For although verse 18 states that ` Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation'; thus meaning that all men were subject to condemnation because of Adam's sin, the last half of this same verse then informs us that ` even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life'. Note that the verse says `all men', and not `some men', or those who are lucky enough or clever enough to find an elusive God Who is forever playing hide and seek with us. No. The verse says all men. Clearly, not all will be saved, for just as justification is a free gift, in order to benefit from it, we must first receive it, and there are many who refuse the righteousness of Christ and the salvation which He lovingly wishes to give to those who will not refuse Him.
Thus, at Calvary, He who knew no sin became sin for us, for on the cross Christ became a `curse' for us, for `cursed is he who is hung on a tree':
`For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, "Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" . . . . Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, "Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree": that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles [non-Jews] through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.' (Galatians 3: 10, 13, 14.)
In the Hebraic economy, if you were `hung on a tree' outside the camp, you were accursed of God, for He would not hear your prayers for forgiveness, and you were consigned to die; which is to say you were consigned to die the `second death', which is the eternal death which all who are subject to condemnation will suffer:
`He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death . . . . And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death . . . . Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.' (Revelation 2: 11, 20: 14, 20: 6.)
This is the death which Christ died on behalf of you and me, for only one such as He, Who is divinity blended with humanity, can possess the divine credentials which are necessary to provide a full atonement for sin, and thus satisfy the judicial equity of the law. As He bore the sins of the world, the unity which Christ had with the Father from eternity became broken, and the Father withdrew His Spirit from Him, for the Father cannot behold sin. Thus, the sins of the world literally crushed the life out of Him, for He could not see through the portals of the tomb, and relied solely on the promises which were made in Scripture that on the third day He would be raised by the Spirit of His Father.
During His entire earthly ministry as the divine Son of God, He had laid aside His divinity and was tempted as we are, yet without sin. So it was on the cross. He could have come down from the cross and have left us dead in our sins, but in this, He would sinned. Instead, , He suffered as a man so that He might have no advantage over us in overcoming sin, and died the `second death' on behalf of those who would receive Him; thus providing a divine atonement for sin.
`So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.' (John 19: 30 NKJV.)
Did Christ truly die the `second death' for us on the cross? In order for Christ to provide a complete atonement for sin, the answer must be yes, for although divinity cannot die, it can be laid aside, for Christ laid aside His divinity during His entire ministry, except for the instances where He used it so that others might benefit, such as when He raised Lazarus from the dead, and when He forgave sin. All of the gospel writers testify that He `gave up the ghost' (or Spirit), which thus indicates that when He died, His Holy Spirit returned to the Father from whence it first came, at which on the third day, the Father resurrected His lifeless body, at which this same Spirit resurrected Him from the pit, for being sinless, the bonds of the grave could not hold Him. Paul affirms this in his letter to the Romans:
`But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also retore life in your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.' (Romans 8: 11)
As the foundation of Trinitarian doctrine is the natural immortality of the soul, then it is impossible for Trinitarians to perceive this fact, for not only is the soul regarded as immortal (which renders the `second death' as meaningless), but the Holy Spirit is regarded as a mysterious Third Person of the Godhead. Thus the Trinitarian Spirit is not the Spirit of Christ, Christ cannot suffer the `second death' for our sins, and His Spirit cannot return to the Father from whence it came, while Christ sleeps in the grave for three days before being resurrected by `the Spirit of Him' - our Father! Trinitarianism instead implies that we are saved by Christ's suffering on the cross and as Catholicism is based upon faith plus works equates to salvation because sin is regarded as being transmitted to us from Adam as a genetic inheritance, then sin is what we are and we have no hope of ever possibly being saved by Christ unless we do good works that are meritorious in our salvation. Trinitarianism and the `daughter doctrines' of this Babylonian abomination is indeed blasphemy and an insult to the Father and His Christ.
On the cross, Christ became the sin of the entire world and crucified it `in the sarx' at Calvary (which is my flesh and your flesh), so that the condemnation of the `second death' which was pronounced upon the entire race `in Adam’ has been reversed, so that the entire race has been pardoned and put on probation `in Christ'. It is then up to each individual to choose whether they receive Christ into their heart, as prompted by His Holy Spirit, or not - and thus choose whether they will remain in the condemnation that is `in Adam'. This is surely good news, for this testifies that we do not need to go in search of our Saviour, for He is the `good shepherd' who constantly pursues the lost sheep of His flock and has already found us! The fact that you are reading this right now testifies to this! The apostle Paul then concludes that:
`Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.' (Romans 5: 20, 21.)
Thus the `good news' of the Gospel, is better than we think, for our Lord has given us a gospel of much more abounding grace! How much? Much more! But unfortunately the doctrine of `original sin' is regarded as orthodox theology in the majority of Christian Churches, and is but one reason why the gospel of Christ has stultified, for according to this doctrine, as sin is transmitted to me as a genetic defect, it is therefore impossible for me to ever attain victory over the sins which so easily beset me, and the `good news' of the gospel becomes a hollow farce, and implodes into a self-centred search for salvation, in which God is depicted as an arbitrary tyrant, Who is so far away from us, that the road to salvation is hard, and few are clever enough, or wise enough to ever find it. For this reason, Paul explains verse 12 of Romans chapter 5 in verses 13 to 17, which are a parenthesis of verse 12. For directly after verse 12 He suddenly checks himself and pauses, as he decides that, `This phrase requires an explanation', so he then explains this in the parenthesis, in which he says:
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the embodiment of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) (Romans 5: 13 - 17.)
It is as if Paul suddenly steps back, and declares:
"Well, that fact that all `have sinned' in Adam is not quite true, for sin is not accorded to me as sin when there is no law which condemns me to death. Nevertheless, death still reigned from when Adam first sinned, to when Moses was given the Ten Commandments. Even though men may not have been aware of the Law until it was first given to Moses, it still worked against them, thus resulting in them dying. Nevertheless, just as one sinned, that is Adam (who prefigured Christ), so also is the free gift given to all, for if by one man one sin led to the condemnation of all men, so also by another Man many offences against the Law have been abrogated by the abundance of grace, for the gift of eternal life shall reign in the giving to the sinner through the perfect life of this one Man, Jesus Christ."
This is not to say that in being covered by the perfect life of Christ, we receive `Holy Flesh' which cannot sin - which is a problem which the famous evangelist of the 19th century, John Wesley encountered in his evangelistic efforts, as some of his newly found adherents to the faith mistakenly believed that they had received an infused righteousness, and thus received the `flesh' of Christ Himself, which not only leads to antinomian (lawless) behaviour, but also tends to set one's feet upon the slippery slope of pantheism, which is identical to the New Age belief that God is in everything, and all things are a part of God. Instead, the attitude of the believer is changed, from that of wanting to do wrong, to that of wanting to do right. This results from a heart-felt appreciation of the cross and leads to genuine sanctification, where the selfless love of Christ for fallen humanity is imparted to us moment by moment, if we simply let His mind be in us (Philippians 2:5). It is a faith that works by the agape of Christ, so that by beholding Him we might be like Moses, who was a type of Christ when he came down the mountain bearing the Ten Commandments; for when he found his people dancing around the golden calf, was willing to forgo His eternal life, so that His people might be saved (Exodus 32:32). This is a type of love which turns sinners into faithful servants of Christ:
`But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because all of you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore you are no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ . . . For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love (agape).' (Galatians 4:4-6, 5:5-6)
Thus we find that if we are to look at the substitutionary aspects of the atonement at Calvary, Scripture only ever recognizes two men - Adam the first who sinned, and Adam the Second who didn't, and we are either `in Adam' and are subject to condemnation, or `in Christ', in which we are given the free gift of eternal life - if we choose to receive it. Furthermore, when Adam first sinned, he received the mind of Satan, which is the mind of selfishness. And it is only Christ who can exchange that mind of selfishness - which the Greeks called `eros', with the mind of selflessness, which the apostolic Christians called `agape'. Christ is our High Priest, and is the second representative man of the entire race. So if we are to view Romans 5: 12 -21 in the context of Messiah in His Sanctuary, what was achieved at Calvary suddenly becomes clear:
`The representative character of the high priest should be stressed. Adam was the representative man. When he sinned, the world sinned, - and death passed upon all men. (Romans 5:12) “By one man's offence death reigned; . . . by one man's disobedience many were made sinners.” Verses 17-19. So likewise Christ, being the second man and the last Adam, was the representative man. “It is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. . . . The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” 1 Corinthians 15:45-47. “As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Romans 5:18. “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Verse 19. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22. The high priest, being in a special sense a figure of Christ, was also the representative man. He stood for all Israel. He carried their burdens and sins. He bore the iniquity of all the holy things. He bore their judgment. When he sinned, Israel sinned. When he made atonement for himself, Israel was accepted.' (`The Sanctuary and its Service', M.L Andreason, p. 19.)
Thus in the first phase of the atonement, Christ assumed the mantle of our High Priest, administering to for our sins in the First Apartment, or Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary, so that by faith the penitent sinner might crucify their `old man' of sin `in' Christ, and be sanctified by receiving His righteous life in place of their own - for at Calvary sin was defeated and unlike the many priests who by reason of death and infirmity entered into the Holy Place many times in an innumerable succession of mortal men who represented Him, Christ entered once into the Holy Place to continually administer for our sins:
`And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: but this man, because he continues [for]ever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needs not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law makes men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, makes the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.' (Hebrews 7: 23 - 28.)
Christ `in' the Father from eternity
The `in Christ' motif of Christ being the representative man of the entire race applies just as much to His relationship with the Father , as it does to fallen man. For just as all men are either `in' Christ or `in' Adam, so also is the Church `in' Christ, and Christ is `in' the Father, and the eternal life which the Son has been `given' is that same divine life of the Father:
`For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself.' (John 5: 26.)
The aspect of Christ being `in' the Father applies just as much to His eternal existence, as it does to all of humanity being `in' Christ as our High Priest at Calvary. Historically, Proverbs 8: 22-30 has been regarded by some as proof that Christ had a `beginning', and thus designating that Christ is a true Son to the Father in His pre-incarnation:
`The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, before even the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.' (Proverbs 8: 22 - 20.)
These verses are also supported by John 1: 18:
`No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.' (John 1: 18.)
Ellen White expressed the `beginning' of Christ as a literal Son to the Father in this way:
“The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind." (Ellen G. White, Review & Herald 9th July 1895 ‘The Duty of the Minister and the People’)
However, the problem with the traditional semi-Arian position, is that Christ is often seen to be as subordinate to the Father in relation to His divinity, and therefore not completely divine; which of course creates problems in relation to the atonement. Yet, God calls those things which do not exist as though they do:
`God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.' (Romans 4: 17.)
This text applies just as much to the dead, as it does to those who do not yet live, for we find that this same principle is found in Hebrews 7: 9-10:
`And as I may so say, Levi also, who receives tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.' (Hebrews 7: 9 - 10.)
The High Priest Melchisedek was a type of Christ, for Paul describes him as being :
`Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abides a priest continually.' (Hebrews 7: 3.)
These are the attributes of Christ, and Paul describes Levi as meeting him while he was yet being in the loins of Abraham, his father, in very much the same way that all men are regarded as being `in' Adam when he first sinned. Thus Christ was `in' the Father from eternity, sharing in the Spirit and the mind of the Father, until so far back in the point of time, he proceeded forth from the bosom of the Father, and led a separate existence, much in the sense that Eve was taken out of the side of Adam. Waggoner perceived the `beginning ' of Christ in this manner:
“There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the Father (John 8:42 and 1:18) but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning. But the point is that Christ is a begotten Son and not a created subject.” (E. J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness, pages 21-22, 1890)
Twenty-five years earlier the brethren had begun to see the immortality of the Father conferred upon the Son, with the same eternal life of the Father given the Son `to have life in Himself':
`"God "only hath immortality." He is the one fountain from which all life is derived. But he has given this prerogative to his Son, that he may give life to them that believe. "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man." John v, 26. Life, in the literal sense, is here intended; for he is speaking of the resurrection of the dead. In a preceding verse he says, "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will," and in a succeeding verse, "The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth." Hence it is not happiness, but life, which the Father hath in himself, and that he hath given to his Son, that he may give it to them that believe. He says, "I am the good Shepherd; the good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." Now if he did give, not merely his happiness, but his life itself, upon the cross, then it is life itself which he will give to his people. And to deny this, is to deny that Christ "died for our sins according to the Scriptures." At his appearing he will give eternal life to his sheep. Then those that are not his sheep will not have eternal life, but will be condemned to the second death. "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. vi, 23. Thus it is evident that those who do not obtain eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, will not have it, but will perish will die the second death - a death from which there is no resurrection. While the saints "put on incorruption" at the resurrection of the just, those who fail to secure an interest in Christ "shall utterly perish in their own corruption." ' ( R. F. Cottrell. RH March 15, 1864)
Thus we find that the principle of solidarity applies just as much to Christ and His Father, as it does to Christ and all of fallen humanity. For on the cross, a positive legal and forensic judgment was passed in favour of the entire race, for it is here where the atonement of Christ satisfied the judicial equity of the law. This is then played out in each individual's life, as the question is invariably asked, `What do I do with Christ?' This is where this view on the atonement upholds the Adventist conception of the Investigative Judgement, for although sin was defeated at Calvary, it was not eradicated - and the eradication of sin forever takes place in Christ's ministration to us in the Second Apartment of the Sanctuary, or Most Holy Place, during the time of judgment.
But salvation did not begin at Calvary, for Christ had already pledged His blood for the entire corporate body of the human race from eternity, and just as Levi was accounted as being in the loins of Adam the first when he first sinned, so also was he accounted as existing in the loins of Abraham when Abraham met Melchidedek.
When Paul states in verse 4 that `The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek’, he is quoting Psalm 110:4; which speaks of the pre-incarnate Christ. Thus, we can only conclude that in a figurative sense, when Abraham met Melchisedek, Levi, who did not yet exist, was accounted as meeting Christ Himself, as Melchisedek was a type of the first representative man – Christ our High Priest. This is the principle of solidarity; that God accounts the entire human race as residing in either Adam, the first representative man who sinned, or Christ, the second representative Man who defeated sin at Calvary.
When Adam sinned, he was placed under sentence of death – the second death. But God is gracious. Adam was spared and placed under probation, for if the judgment against sin had been carried out upon Adam immediately, the entire race would have died in him. So when Adam fell, all men were accounted as falling in him, for `wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned . . . . (Rom. 5: 12).
Now, if that were all that the Bible had to say about salvation, then the gospel would most certainly be bad news and the entire race would be hopelessly accounted as guilty of partaking of Adam’s original sin. If this were true, then Christ’s blood could never suffice in atoning for our sins and we would have to provide our own works in the hope that they would appease an angry God. The way to salvation would be difficult, and few would ever find the way. Unfortunately, this is the manner in which the `sainted’ Augustine, the `Father’ of the Catholic Church has presented salvation to millions of people thirsting for the true knowledge of the character of God. Augustine’s neo-Platonism compelled him to ignore the good news of the gospel.
So what happened when Adam was placed on probation? Christ stood at the head of the entire race, placed it on probation and pledged Himself as the second representative Man of the race, with the promise that He would `bruise the serpents head’ (Gen. 3: 15). So when the pre-incarnate Christ, our High Priest from eternity looked forward with prophetic insight which spanned four thousand years to Calvary, in which He would take Adam’s place and assume his penalty for sin, so also did He assume our penalty for sin and the entire race was accounted as dying the second death in Him; for His was a divine, not a human sacrifice – as no human sacrifice can atone for sin. For if a human sacrifice could atone for sin, then our works would have merit in our salvation.
And so we find that the good news of the gospel is found in the verses which Augustine omitted:
`Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Rom. 5: 18 – 21.)
What does verse eighteen say? That the free gift of salvation came upon only those that believe and the rest are heathen? No. It says all men! But this does not mean that all men will be saved, for salvation can be refused by refusing our Saviour; for in refusing Him we refuse the salvation which He has already wrought for us on the cross. This is indeed the `unforgivable sin' which Scripture speaks of! The persistent refusal of Christ Himself `in Spirit', when He comes as the bridegroom, `knocking at the door', will eventually lead to probation closing for those who refuse Him!
Just as `all men’ were `in Adam’ when he first sinned, so also were all men `in Christ’ at Calvary. At Calvary, a verdict of acquittal was wrought for the entire race. But it must be born in mind that the verdict of acquittal, as a positive legal and forensic judgment in favour of the entire race, placed the entire race on probation while Christ still ministered in the Holy Place. When He moved from the Holy to the Most Holy Place, His ministry then changed; the Investigative Judgement determining whether the professed Christian actually professes Christ. Those who have refused His blood sprinkled on the mercy seat, automatically subject themselves to condemnation. Thus the entire race is either `in’ Adam the first who sinned, or Adam the second, who was righteous. The glorious good news of the gospel is that it is easy to be saved and hard to be lost; for where sin abounded, grace abounded how much? Much more! (Rom. 5: 20).