>1987 February Vol. 3 , Num. 1
JESUS REPENTED FOR US
The First Advent Movement and message of Christ was based on the time prophecy of Dan. 9:24-27. The message was one of repentance and faith. Christ began His public ministry preaching repentance. (Mark 1:14, 15) And the Second Advent Movement with its message to God's people is the same message of repentance that Christ gave when He lived on earth. (Rev. 3:19; Acts 3:19)
The cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven cannot be finished until God's people are cleansed while living by faith in fallen nature on earth. God's will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matt. 6:10) This cleansing work cannot be accomplished without heartfelt repent-ance on the part of believers. Christ's high priestly work of atonement in the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary includes the gift of repentance to His body, the remnant church.
While our High Priest ministered on earth—the courtyard of the heavenly sanctuary—He not only preached repentance, faith and baptism, He led the way as Representative and Example for the human race.
Christ's lifetime experience in resisting and overcoming sin was corporate in its essence. His identity with the fallen human race was a corporate identity. He became the federal head of fallen humanity. His faith, repentance and baptism; his death, resurrection and ascension were for the whole human race.
When Jesus came to be baptized, John demurred. He realized he was in the presence of a purity of character which he had not witnessed before in any human being. Nevertheless Jesus insisted that John perform the rite of baptism on Himself. (Matt. 3:13-15)
"John could not understand why the only Sinless One upon the earth should ask for an ordinance implying guilt, virtually confessing, by the symbol of baptism, pollution to be washed away. . . . Christ came not confessing His own sins; but guilt was imputed to Him as the sinner's substitute. He came not to repent on His own account; but in behalf of the sinner. . . .
As their Substitute, He takes upon Him their sins, numbering Himself with the transgressors, taking the steps the sinner is required to take; and doing the work the sinner must do." (R & H 1/21/73)
"He was numbered with the transgressors." (Isa. 53:12) The word "numbered" (mene) is the same as that recorded in Dan. 5:25, 26 concerning the handwriting on the wall when Babylon was found lacking. Christ, too, was weighed in the balances of the heavenly sanctuary. Not because of any personal sin but because He took your place and mine.
Because Christ bore our "sins in his own body to the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24, margin); because Christ became our Representative, He had to take the steps we must take in conversion. These steps are "...repentance, faith and baptism." (Evang. 306)
"He took upon Himself our nature, that He might teach us how to live. In the steps which the sinner must take in conversion—repentance, faith, baptism—
He led the way. He did not repent for Himself, for He was sinless, but in behalf of men." (ST 7/31/84).
"After Christ had taken the necessary steps in repentance, conversion and faith in behalf of the human race, He went to John to be baptized of him in Jordan."
(GCB 01, 36)
Christ was (and is) the greatest teacher who ever lived. No one taught as He did because no one lived as He did. He put into practice that which He preached. And He practiced before He preached. Because He repented He could preach repentance with power.
"Christ . . . had taken the steps which every sinner must take in conversion, repentance and baptism. He Himself had no sins of which to repent and therefore He had no sins to wash away. But He was our Example in all things, and . . . must do that which He would have us do." (ST 5/27/97)
Christ was made to be sin. Because of this He felt as though He had committed sin. Many of the psalms concerning the sufferings of Christ were written with this in mind.
Bearing in Himself the sins of mankind and therefore made guilty of the sins of the whole world. This penitential psalm portrays Christ distressed in both body and mind. We see Jesus the Man of sorrows tempted to mental depression. He experienced bodily derangement caused by sin. Soul sickness caused His body to draw together convulsively into a fetal-like position. (Verses 6-8) The wrath of sin spread itself over His entire body, burning and consuming as it went.
Especially in Gethsemane He tasted "death for every man." The energies of life were yielding. Partial lifelessness came over Him. He was brought to a condition of violent dissolution. In verse 10 intense palpitation of heart is recorded concerning Him.
He is obliged to confess His guilt and to repent of His sin. He was truly sorry for His sin and guilt which He took from us. (Verse 18) The closing verses of the psalm are words of faith. He could not see through the darkness except by faith as He sighed for help. What a picture of Christ we have here! He who knew no sin or guilt and therefore needed not to repent on His own behalf, entered into our experience of sorrow for sin.
Can we not, should we not, therefore, feel sorrow for others who feel no need of repentance for themselves?
"As we see souls out of Christ, we are to put ourselves in their place and in their behalf feel repentance before God, resting not until we bring them to repentance. If we do everything we can for them and yet they do not repent, the sin lies at their door; but we are still to feel sorrow of heart because of their condition, showing them how to repent and trying to lead them step by step to Jesus Christ." (Ms. 92, 01; 7 BC 960)
Let us gaze steadfastly "Unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith" and of our repentance. "...Consider Him" . . . and receive His gift of genuine repentance which needs "not to be repented of." (Heb. 12:2, 3; Acts 5:31; 2 Cor.7: 10) Then let us, like Christ, teach from the standpoint of experience, and the more sure word of prophecy.