SABBATH SCHOOL INSIGHT #5
"Atonement: Purification Offering"
November 2, 2013
"For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren." Heb. 2:11
"All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Rev. 13:8
"And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." Col. 1:17
"For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins." Heb. 10:4
In order to rightly understand this week’s lesson regarding forgiveness and the defilement of sin (and thus the need for the final atonement - next week’s lesson), the purification or sin offering must be seen in the context of Jesus’s choice to fully identify himself with fallen humanity. It was His complete sacrifice as the representative of humanity (substitute and surety) which is the ultimate expression of God’s love, and thus the ultimate teaching tool to break down the walls of resistance in the heart of man and cleanse from the defilement of sin.
“Christ has not been presented in connection with the law as a faithful and merciful High Priest, who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. He has not been lifted up before the sinner as the divine sacrifice. His work as sacrifice, substitute, and surety, has been only coldly and casually dwelt upon; but this is what the sinner needs to know. It is Christ in his fullness as a sin-pardoning Saviour, that the sinner must see; for the unparalleled love of Christ, through the agency of the holy Spirit, will bring conviction and conversion to the hardened heart. It is the divine influence that is the savor of the salt in the Christian.” 1888 Materials, p. 1076.
The laying on of hands, the death of the animal, the blood manipulation, the burning of the fat, and the eating of the flesh of the animal were all for the purpose of bringing the sinner to understand how complete and far-reaching was the mercy of God in simultaneously giving His own life to humanity while bearing the pain and suffering that sin causes His own heart. They were to help the suppliant to enter into the experience of God rather than to create some change in the heart of God toward the sinner.
“The Lord provided the sanctuary service to help us see exactly what He was willing to do for us. Every animal slain by the hand of the sinner was to be a miniature Calvary. It was to reveal the deep-seated enmity the sinner held against God. It was to prove that God held nothing back, not even His Son, if by any means He could get man to see the rebellion buried so deeply in his mind. The service was to be a catalyst to melt the proud and stubborn hidden unconscious sin - the will to kill God.” D.K. Short, Then Shall the Sanctuary be Cleansed, p. 35.
What brings forgiveness to the sinner personally is the realization and acceptance that the Divine Sin-bearer has already borne away the guilt of the world, and has already been carrying his personal sins at great cost to Himself. This is what the sanctuary purification offering was to teach.
"It is therefore idle for the sinner to say that the Lord will not receive him. Why, the Lord has you; He has been carrying you all your lifetime. There never has been a heart throb, not a pulse beat, not a tingle of a nerve, that did not reveal the presence of the life of God; for all those things reveal the presence of life, and there is no life in the universe but the life of God. If there were, then there would be another God. That is the whole question in controversy-whether creatures can live separate from the Creator. They who think to save God from the disgrace of being in sinful men, do Him no honour. They are conceding all that the devil would claim. If any man can establish his ability to live an hour without the Lord's life, then he can live for ever without Him. But this no man can do, and it is the Lord's mercy that he cannot....
"All the loathsomeness of sin the Lord who hates sin was pleased to take upon Himself, that we might be freed from it. He has for ever identified Himself with humanity. Every sin that is committed by the vilest transgressor is committed with the life that God has loaned to him.... made the servant of men's passions. They are corrupters, in that they corrupt the life that God has given them. He is not responsible for a single sin, for "in Him is no sin," yet because it has been committed with His life, He assumes the responsibility. The weight of every sin is upon the Lord, and that it is no small weight is seen from the fact that it crushed the life out of the Son of God. What infinite patience, that He still continues to bear it!
"But it is loathsome to Him. With the picture of the body utterly corrupt, full of putrefying ulcers from head to foot, and you have an idea of what God is bearing. Can you wonder then that He says, "I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins?" Ah, we do not need to plead with Him, to make Him willing to cleanse us from all unrighteousness; He is most anxious to do it; it is He who pleads with us to allow Him to do it for us.
"Yes, and Christ has by Himself made purification for sins. With all the sins of the world upon Him, He gave up His life; but because He knew no sin He came forth from the grave, and so when we confess that Christ is come in our flesh, we may know that He is risen from the dead, so that He lives in us with the power of the resurrection life. As soon therefore as we make the confession, and yield completely to Him, we are freed from the bondage of sin; for God is not so in love with sin that He will retain it a second after we turn it completely over to Him. He will cast it into the depths of the sea.
"The Lord has bought our sins; they belong to Him. He has bought us, and we belong to Him. We therefore have no right to do anything with ourselves. But when we refuse to confess our sins, and at the same time to confess Christ, we are claiming the sins that are upon Him. We are retaining them, because we refuse to acknowledge that they are sins, and we go on putting more sins upon Him. Patiently He abides with us, however, literally suffering long. He has our sins, whether we acknowledge it or not; therefore it does not add one whit to His burden for us to let them rest upon Him alone, and not try to bear any of them ourselves. On the contrary, it relieves Him for us to confess our sins, and cast them entirely upon Him, for then He casts them off, and bears us alone. Before, He bore us and our sins; now He bears us freed from sin. Why not grant the Lord this favour?
"He asks us to remind Him of what He has done for us. "Let us plead together," says He. Literally, "Let us go into court together." If we will but declare the truth, we shall be justified, for the truth is that He has all our sins upon Him. All that is required of any man, in order to be saved, is that he tell the simple truth about what he sees. If we admit that God is supporting us, that we live by His life, and that consequently all our sins are upon Him, and that we are in harmony with that arrangement, then we are freed from them. So although our first father sinned, and we as a consequence were born in sin, we are made as free from them as the only begotten Son of God. What a wonderful Saviour!"
November 30, 1899 EJW, PTUK 757.
"And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn." Zechariah 12:10
May that day come soon!