ARTICLES

An End of Sins

by David Clayton

One doctrine which I have believed in for the past thirty-two years is the doctrine of the “Final Atonement.” This is a teaching which is unique to the Seventh-day Adventist movement and is one which I believe has a solid biblical foundation. As we have focused on Righteousness by Faith over the past two years, there has been concern in some circles that our understanding of Righteousness by Faith does away with this concept of the final atonement.

If the Bible led me in this direction then I would have to accept it. But does the truth of righteousness in Christ do away with the truth of the final atonement? This is a very important question and will be our main focus in this edition of Open face.

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Recently I was reading from.Daniel 9:24 and I stated that this verse applied to the work which Christ would do. Somebody said to me, “how do you know this is speaking about Christ?” Let us look at what the verse says:

“ Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Dan 9:24)

Who is this prophecy referring to? It says, “seventy weeks are determined upon thy people.” Since Daniel's people were the Jews, then it is clear that this was talking about the Jews. I am sure this prophecy is familiar to most of us reading this article. We know that these seventy weeks referred to a period of time which God allotted to the Jews, and that this seventy weeks (which were actually 490 years) came to an end in AD 34. Adventists believe that when Stephen was stoned to death in that year, that this marked the end of the seventy weeks that God gave to the Jews in which all these things were to be fulfilled.

For many years I held to the belief that what God was saying was that during this seventy weeks period of time, the Jews were supposed to stop committing sin, to stop transgressing God's laws and to become everlastingly righteous. But as I look at the prophecy carefully today, I realize that this cannot be correct. Let us look especially at one of the things which was to happen which it was impossible for the Jews as a people to accomplish: It says that reconciliation should be made for iniquity. Look at that phrase. There is only one person in the universe who can make reconciliation for iniquity. That person is Jesus Christ. No ordinary man, no nation, no people can do this, Christ alone could fulfil this prophecy. This prophecy was speaking of the work which Christ was to do. Here again are the things which were to be done by the end of the Seventy weeks:

a. A finishing of transgression

b. An end of sins

c. Reconciliation made for iniquity

d. The bringing in of everlasting righteousness

e. The sealing up of the vision and prophecy

f. The anointing of the most holy.

Some have insisted that this verse must be speaking of the Jews and what God expected of them, rather than of the work of Christ. They reason that if these things apply to the work of Christ then they must have been fulfilled, because Christ cannot have failed. But they cannot accept that these things have already happened, and especially that an end has already been made of sins. It is easier to believe that God expected these things of the Jews, who must have failed to accomplish them, rather than to believe that Christ has already accomplished them.

Reconciliation for iniquity

But let us be faithful to what the Scripture says. There are several verses which tell us that Christ has already fulfilled the specifications of this prophecy. First of all, has Christ made reconciliation for iniquity? What are we told in Romans 5:10?

For 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. (Rom 5:10)

Notice what reconciled us to God, it was not something that you or I did. It was the death of God's son, something outside of us, and independent of our actions. Our actions, or the actions of the Jews have nothing to do with accomplishing this reconciliation. Humanity is already reconciled to God, it is something which is done and finished. It had nothing to do with what we do or how we live; it was entirely on the basis of what God's son did. We were reconciled by the death of God's son.

This truth is further emphasized in 2 Cor 5:18-19

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (2 Cor 5:18-19)

This verse is very clear; it says that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ . The next phrase says, “not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Now this word “impute” means not charging their trespasses. This is difficult for many of us to understand. Some find this very difficult to accept, even though it is stated so plainly in the Bible. But it clearly says that in His Son, God was reconciling the world to Himself.

The world was reconciled to God, the entire planet was reconciled to God by the death of Christ. If we think of it graphically, there was a wall. On one side was man, on the other was God. The name of this wall was sin , and it was a wall that stood between God and man. This wall has been destroyed. What was it that destroyed it? It was the death of Christ, the death of God's son took away this wall and put it out of the way. Jesus took our sins, not just those that we committed already but also those which we will commit in the future. Every one was paid for by Christ. If Jesus has paid for them, they cannot still be a problem to God.

When I say this, somebody is sure to ask, “are you saying that when I commit a sin it is not a problem?” I am not saying that, but I am saying that as far as God is concerned, sin cannot stand between you and Him anymore. But of course there is one thing that will make your sin, still a problem, and what is that? It is if you do not believe in what God has done for you through His son. If you cannot accept the forgiveness and the enabling that is in Christ because you remember what you have done and forget what God has done through His son, then for you, sin is still a problem. The Bible says that God is not imputing the trespasses of the world to them. It is not just the trespasses of Christians, it is the trespasses of the entire world which is not imputed unto them, God took it out of the way by the death of His son. Now our problem is that we do not believe. Our real problem is not our sin, but the fact that we cannot believe in the One who has dealt with sins already.

An end of sins

What about the prediction that He would make an end of sins, did Jesus make an end of sins by A.D. 34?

In Hebrews 9:26, speaking about Jesus it says:

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (Heb 9:26)

I say again, sin is not a problem to God, the Bible says that He took the sins of the entire world upon Himself and what did He do? He took it to the cross and He made an end of sin at the cross. What this means is that now there is a human life in which sin does not exist and this life is ours if we want it. The only condition is that we truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have only to accept what God has done for us through His son.

So it is clear that this prophecy was speaking about Jesus, not about the Jews. It only related to the Jewish nation in a secondary sense, because Jesus came from the Jews, He came from the line of Israel, but it was in Jesus that sin was brought to an end. The dominion of sin over humanity has been destroyed because Jesus has “condemned sin in the flesh,” (Rom. 8:2) that is, in human flesh. So sin has no more authority over humanity. He made reconciliation for sins, He brought in everlasting righteousness. Now there is a human life that is everlastingly righteous.

Our problem is that we have difficulty in believing that this life has been given to us; that this life is our life. But to believe it is to be set free. We need to understand that Jesus did not just die to pay a price, but He died to provide a life for us that is without sin and that is everlastingly righteous. If we can believe and receive what Christ has done, we will be free from sin. Is that not what the Bible says?

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Rom 6:14)

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (1 John 3:9)

These verses are amazing, most people are afraid to accept what they say because it makes a lie of their experience. but it is the truth of the word of God and the only reason why we do not experience it is because we cannot believe in what Christ has already done. The Bible says He would make an end of sin, and He did. And so God does not impute our trespasses unto us because Christ took them out of the way, He nailed them to the cross.

In 2 Cor 5:20, it says,

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (2 Cor 5:20)

Here we see two parties involved, there is God and there is man. There was a wall in the middle which God has taken out of the way, but what is man's problem? He will not accept what has been done. God has been reconciled to man, but what about man? Man is not reconciled to God. The barrier is entirely in man's heart, not on God's side. Sin is not a problem to God because Jesus dealt with it and He dealt with it completely and entirely.

When I understood this, I recognized that I had been fighting an enemy that was dead. I had been condemning myself for something that was not a problem to God. I realized that my problem was that I would not believe in what God has done in His Son and when I realized it, it brought a great release in my soul. I felt that a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

Many of us are under a burden of sin because we are measuring ourselves by what we do, we are seeing ourselves instead of seeing Christ, but when we see Christ and we understand what God did for us in His son, finally the weight is lifted, and we not only are free from sin's condemnation, but we find that the power of sin is also broken. Suddenly those sins no longer have the power to crush and beat us down, suddenly we find ourselves free. Now, this is what Jesus did, this is what the Bible says He did.

Restoration Ministries

Restoration Ministries is dedicated to the promotion of the truths contained in the word of God. In particular to the restoration of those truths which have been cast down to the ground and trampled underfoot by the papacy, and adopted by her daughters.

Our purpose is to motivate men and women to commit themselves wholly to the task of personal preparation for the coming of the Lord, and to the taking of the final warning message to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

Website: www.restorationministry.com

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