Chapter 9: THE LIFE, DEATH,

AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST


Seventh-day Adventists Believe...

In Christ's life of perfect obedience to God's will, His

suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only

means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith

accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole

creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of

the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the

righteousness of God's law and the graciousness of His

character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our

forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and

expiatory, reconciling and transforming. The resurrection of

Christ proclaims God's triumph over the forces of evil, and

for those who accept the atonement assures their final

victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of

Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth

will bow.--Fundamental Beliefs,9

 

THE LIFE, DEATH, AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

An open door leads into the center of the universe,

heaven. A voice calls "Come in and see what goes on here!"

In the Spirit, the apostle John looks into the throne room

of God.

A dazzling emerald rainbow encircles the central throne,

and lightning, thunder, and voices issue from it.

Dignitaries--arrayed in white garments and wearing golden

crowns--are seated on lesser thrones. As a doxology fills

the air, the elders prostrate themselves in adoration,

casting their golden crowns before the throne.

An angel, bearing a scroll sealed with seven seals,

cries: "`Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its

seals?'" (Rev. 5:2). With dismay John sees that no one in

heaven or earth is worthy to open the scroll. His dismay

turns to weeping until one of the elders consoles: "`Do not

weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of

David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its

seven seals'" (Rev. 5:5).

Looking again to the majestic throne, John sees a Lamb

that had been slain but now is alive and empowered with the

Spirit. As this lowly Lamb takes the scroll the living

creatures and elders strike up a new anthem: "`You are

worthy to take the scroll and to break open its seals. For

you were killed, and by your sacrificial death you bought

for God people from every tribe, language, nation, and race.

You have made them a kingdom of priests to serve our God,

and they shall rule on the earth'" (Rev. 5:9,10, TEV). Every

created being in heaven and on earth joins their song:

"`Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits

on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!'"

(Rev. 5:13).

What is so important about this scroll? It records the

rescue of the human race from its enslavement to Satan and

portrays the ultimate victory of God over sin. It reveals a

salvation so perfect that those captive to sin can be

released from their prison house of doom simply through

their choice. Long before His birth in Bethlehem the Lamb

cried out: "`Behold, I come; in the scroll of the Book it is

written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your

law is within my heart'" (Ps. 40:7,8; cf. Heb. 10:7). It was

the coming of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the

world that effected the redemption of humanity (Rev. 13:8).

God's Saving Grace

The Scriptures reveal a God who has an overwhelming

concern for the salvation of humanity. The members of the

Godhead are allied in the work of bringing people back into

a union with their Creator. Jesus highlighted God's saving

love, saying, "`For God so loved the world that He gave His

only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not

perish but have everlasting life'" (John 3:16).

The Scriptures declare that "God is love" (1 John 4:8). He

reaches out to humanity "`with an everlasting love'" (Jer.

31:3). The God who extends the invitation to salvation is

all-powerful, but His love necessitates His permitting each

person to have freedom of choice in responding (Rev.

3:20,21). Coercion, a method contrary to His character, can

have no part in His strategy.

The Divine Initiative

When Adam and Eve sinned, God took the initiative in

searching for them. The guilty pair, hearing the sound of

their Creator, did not run joyfully to meet Him as they had

done before. Instead, they hid. But God did not abandon

them. Ever so persistently He called, "Where are you?"

With deep sorrow, God outlined the consequences of their

disobedience--the pain, the difficulties that they would

encounter. Yet in their absolutely hopeless situation He

revealed a wonderful plan promising ultimate victory over

sin and death (Gen. 3:15).

Grace or Justice?

Later, following Israel's apostasy at Sinai, the Lord

revealed His benevolent-but-just character to Moses,

proclaiming, "`The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and

gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and

truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and

transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty,

visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and

the children's children to the third and the fourth

generation'" (Ex. 34:6,7).

God's character reveals a unique blending of grace and

justice, of a willingness to forgive and an unwillingness to

clear the guilty. Only in the person of Christ can we

understand how these qualities of character can be

reconciled to each other.

To Forgive or to Punish?

During the times of Israel's apostasy, God often pleaded

longingly for His people to acknowledge their iniquity and

return to Him (Jer. 3:12-14). But they spurned His gracious

invitations (Jer. 5:3). An unrepentant attitude that mocks

forgiveness makes punishment inevitable (Ps. 7:12).

Though God is merciful, He cannot forgive those who cling

to sin (Jer. 5:7). Pardon has a purpose. God wants to change

sinners into saints: "Let the wicked forsake his way, and

the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the

Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He

will abundantly pardon" (Isa. 55:7). His message of

salvation clearly sounds throughout the world: "`Look to Me,

and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and

there is no other'" (Isa. 45:22).

God's Wrath Against Sin

The original transgression created in the human mind a

disposition of enmity against God (Col. 1:21). Consequently

we deserve the displeasure of God, who is "a consuming fire"

against sin (Heb. 12:29; cf. Hab. 1:13). The solemn truth is

that "all have sinned" (Rom. 3:23), all are "by nature

children of wrath" (Eph. 2:3; cf. 5:6) and subject to death

"for the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23).

Divine wrath is what Scripture calls God's reaction to

sin and unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). Deliberate rejection of

God's revealed will--His law--provokes His righteous anger

or wrath (2 Kings 17:16-18; 2 Chron. 36:16). G.E. Ladd

wrote, "Men are ethically sinful; and when God counts their

trespasses against them, he must view them as sinners, as

enemies, as the objects of the divine wrath; for it is an

ethical and religious necessity that the holiness of God

manifests itself in wrath against sin."(*1) Yet at the same

time, God yearns to save the rebellious world. While He

hates every sin, He has a loving concern for every sinner.

The Human Response

God's dealings with Israel culminated in the ministry of

Jesus Christ, who gave the clearest insight into "the

exceeding riches" of divine grace (Eph. 2:7). Said John, "We

beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the

Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). "Christ

Jesus," Paul wrote, has become "for us wisdom from God--and

righteousness and sanctification and redemption--that, as it

is written, `He who glories, let him glory in the Lord'" (1

Cor. 1:30,31). Who therefore can despise "the riches of His

goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering?" No wonder Paul

points out that it is "the goodness of God" that leads to

repentance (Rom. 2:4).

Even the human response to God's offer of salvation does

not originate with human beings, but with God. Our faith is

but a gift of God (Rom. 12:3); as is our repentance (Acts

5:31). Our love arises in response to God's love (1 John

4:19). We cannot save ourselves from Satan, sin, suffering,

and death. Our own righteousness is like filthy rags (Isa.

64:6). "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great

love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in

trespasses, made us alive together with Christ....For by

grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of

yourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone

should boast" (Eph. 2:4,5,8,9).

Christ's Ministry of Reconciliation

The good news is that "God was in Christ reconciling the

world to Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). His reconciliation restores

the relationship between God and the human race. The text

points out that this process reconciles sinners to God, not

God to sinners. The key in leading sinners back to God is

Jesus Christ. God's plan of reconciliation is a marvel of

divine condescension. He had every right to let humanity

perish.

As we have already noted, it was God who took the

initiative in restoring the broken relationship between

humanity and Himself. "When we were enemies," Paul said,

"we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son"

(Rom. 5:10). Consequently "we also rejoice in God through

our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the

reconciliation" (Rom. 5:11).

The process of reconciliation has been associated with

the term atonement. "The English word `atonement' originally

meant `at-one-ment,' that is, a state of being `at one,' or

in agreement. Accordingly `atonement' denoted harmony of a

relationship, and when there had been estrangement this

harmony would be the result of a process of reconciliation.

Understood in terms of its original meaning, `atonement'

properly denotes a state of reconciliation that terminated a

state of estrangement."(*2)

Many Christians limit the term atonement exclusively to

the redeeming effects of Christ's incarnation, suffering,

and death. In the sanctuary services, however, atonement not

only involved the killing of the sacrificial lamb but also

included the priestly ministering of its shed blood in the

sanctuary itself (cf. Lev. 4:20,26,35; 16:15-18,32,33).

According to this Biblical usage, then, atonement can refer

to both Christ's death and His intercessory ministry in the

heavenly sanctuary. There, as High Priest, He applies the

benefits of His complete and perfect atoning sacrifice to

achieve the reconciliation of humans to God.(*3)

Vincent Taylor also observed that the doctrine of

atonement has two aspects "(a) the saving deed of Christ,

and (b) the appropriation of His work by faith, both

individual and communal. These two together constitute the

Atonement." From this insight he concluded that "atonement

is both accomplished for us and wrought in us."(*4)

This chapter focuses on the atonement as it relates to

the death of Christ. The atonement associated with His High

Priestly ministry will be discussed later (see chapter 23 of

this book).

Christ's Atoning Sacrifice

Christ's atoning sacrifice at Calvary marked the turning

point in the relationship between God and humanity. Though

there is a record of people's sins, as a result of the

reconciliation God does not count their sins against them (2

Cor. 5:19). This does not mean that God dismisses

punishment, or that sin no longer arouses His wrath. Rather,

it means that God has found a way to grant pardon to

repentant sinners while still upholding the justice of His

eternal law.

Christ's Death a Necessity

For a loving God to maintain His justice and

righteousness, the atoning death of Jesus Christ became "a

moral and legal necessity." God's "justice requires that sin

be carried to judgment. God must therefore execute judgment

on sin and thus on the sinner. In this execution the Son of

God took our place, the sinner's place, according to God's

will. The atonement was necessary because man stood under

the righteous wrath of God. Herein lies the heart of the

gospel of forgiveness of sin and the mystery of the cross of

Christ: Christ's perfect righteousness adequately satisfied

divine justice, and God is willing to accept Christ's

self-sacrifice in place of man's death."(*5)

Persons unwilling to accept the atoning blood of Christ

receive no forgiveness of sin, and are still subject to

God's wrath. Said John, "`He who believes in the Son has

everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall

not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him'"

(John 3:36).

Therefore, the cross is a demonstration of both God's

mercy and His justice. "God presented him [Christ] as a

sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did

this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance

he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--he did

it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to

be just and the one who justifies the man who has faith in

Jesus" (Rom. 3:25,26, NIV).

What Does the Atoning Sacrifice Accomplish?

It was the Father Himself who presented His Son as "a

sacrifice of atonement" (Rom. 3:25, NIV; Greek,

hilasterion), "a propitiation" (KJV, NKJV), "an expiation"

(RSV). The New Testament use of hilasterion has nothing to

do with the pagan notion of "placating an angry God" or

"appeasing a vindictive, arbitrary, and capricious God."(*6)

The text reveals that "God in His merciful will presented

Christ as the propitiation to His holy wrath on human guilt

because He accepted Christ as man's representative and the

divine Substitute to receive His judgment on sin."(*7)

From this perspective one can understand Paul's

description of Christ's death as "an offering and a

sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma" (Eph. 5:2; cf.

Gen. 8:21; Ex. 29:18; Lev. 1:9). "Christ's self-sacrifice is

pleasing to God because this sacrifice offering took away

the barrier between God and sinful man in that Christ fully

bore God's wrath on man's sin. Through Christ, God's wrath

is not turned into love but is turned away from man and

borne by Himself."(*8)

Romans 3:25 also reveals that through Christ's sacrifice

sin is expiated or purged. Expiation focuses on what the

atoning blood does to the repentant sinner. He experiences

forgiveness, removal of personal guilt, and cleansing from

sin.(*9)

Christ the Vicarious Sin-bearer

The Scriptures present Christ as the "sin-bearer" of the

human race. In profound prophetic language Isaiah stated

that "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised

for our iniquities;...and the Lord has laid on Him the

iniquity of us all....It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He

has put Him to grief,...[He was] an offering for sin,...and

He bore the sin of many" (Isa. 53:5,6,10,12; cf. Gal. 1:4).

Paul had this prophecy in mind when he said, "Christ died

for our sins according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3).

These texts point to an important concept in the plan of

salvation: The sins and guilt that have defiled us can be

transferred to our Sin-bearer, making us clean (Ps. 51:10).

The sacrificial ceremonies of the Old Testament sanctuary

revealed this role of Christ. There, the transfer of sin

from the repentant sinner to the innocent lamb symbolized

its transfer to Christ, the Sin-bearer (see chapter 4 of

this book).

What is the Role of the Blood?

The blood played a central role in the atoning sacrifices

of the sanctuary service. God made provision for the

atonement when He said, "`The life of the flesh is in the

blood, and I have given it to you...to make atonement for

your souls," (Lev. 17:11). After the killing of the animal

the priest had to apply its blood before forgiveness was

granted.

The New Testament reveals that the Old Testament

ceremonies for obtaining forgiveness, purification, and

reconciliation through substitutionary blood were fulfilled

in the atoning blood of Christ's Calvary sacrifice. In

contrast to the old ways, the New Testament says, "How much

more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the

eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse

our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may

serve the Living God!" (Heb. 9:14, NIV). The shedding of His

blood accomplished the expiation for sin (Rom. 3:25 RSV).

John said that because of His love, God "sent His Son to be

the propitiation [hilasmos] for our sins" (1 John 4:10;

"expiation" RSV; "an atoning sacrifice" NIV).

In summary, "God's objective act of reconciliation has

been accomplished through the propitiating and expiating

blood (self-sacrifice) of Christ Jesus, His Son. Thus God

`is both the provider and the recipient of the

reconciliation.'"(*10)

Christ the Ransom

When human beings came under the dominion of sin they

became subject to the condemnation and curse of God's law

(Rom. 6:4; Gal. 3:10-13). Slaves of sin (Rom. 6:17), subject

to death, they were unable to escape. "No man can redeem the

life of another or give to God a ransom for him (Ps. 49:7,

NIV). Only God is invested with power to redeem. "`I will

ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them

from death'" (Hosea 13:14). How did God redeem them?

Through Jesus, who testified that He "`did not come to be

served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for

many'" (Matt. 20:28, see 1 Tim. 2:6), God "purchased" the

church with "His own blood" (Acts 20:28). In Christ "we have

redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Eph.

1:7; cf. Rom. 3:24). His death was to "redeem us from every

lawless deed and purity for Himself His own special people,

zealous for good works" (Titus 2:14).

What Did The Ransom Accomplish?

Christ's death ratified God's ownership of humanity.

Said Paul, "You are not your own; you were bought at a

price" (1 Cor. 6:19,20, NIV; see also 1 Cor. 7:23).

Through His death, Christ broke the dominion of sin,

terminated the spiritual captivity, removed the condemnation

and curse of the law, and made eternal life available to all

repentant sinners. Peter said believers were redeemed from

"aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers"

(1 Peter 1:18). Paul wrote that those delivered from the

slavery of sin and its deadly fruit are now in the service

of God with its "fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting

life" (Rom. 6:22).

To ignore or deny the ransom principle would be "to lose

the very heart of the gospel of grace and to deny the

deepest motive of our gratitude to the Lamb of God."(*11)

This principle is central to the doxologies sung in the

heavenly throne room: "`You were slain, and with your blood

you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and

people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and

priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth'"

(Rev. 5:9,10, NIV).

Christ the Representative of Humanity

Both Adam and Christ--"the last Adam," or "the second

Man" (1 Cor. 15:45,47)--represent all humanity. While the

natural birth saddles each person with the results of Adam's

transgression, everyone who experiences the spiritual birth

receives the benefits of Christ's perfect life and

sacrifice. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all

shall be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22).

Adam's rebellion brought sin, condemnation, and death to

all. Christ reversed the downward trend. In His great love,

He subjected Himself to the divine judgment on sin and

became humanity's representative. His substitutionary death

provided the deliverance from the penalty of sin and the

gift of eternal life for repentant sinners (2 Cor. 5:21;

Rom. 6:23; 1 Peter 3:18).

Scripture clearly teaches the universal nature of

Christ's substitutionary death. By "the grace of God," He

experienced death for everyone (Heb. 2:9). Like Adam, all

have sinned (Rom. 5:12), therefore, everyone experiences

death--the first death. The death that Christ tasted for

everyone was the second death--the full curse of death

(Rev. 20:6; see chapter 26 of this book).

Christ's Life and Salvation

"For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God

through the death of His Son, much more, having been

reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Rom. 5:10). It

took Christ's life, as well as His death, to bridge the

chasm gouged by sin. Both are necessary and contribute to

our salvation.

What Can Christ's Perfect Life Do for Us?

Jesus lived a pure, holy, and loving life, relying

completely on God. This precious life He shares with

repentant sinners as a gift. His perfect character is

portrayed as a wedding garment (Matt. 22:11) or a robe of

righteousness (Isa. 61:10) that He gives to replace the

filthy rags of human attempts to achieve righteousness

(Isa. 64:6).

In spite of our human corruption, when we submit

ourselves to Christ, our heart is united with His heart, our

will is merged in His will, our mind becomes one with His

mind, our thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we

live His life. We are covered with His garment of

righteousness. When God looks at the believing, penitent

sinner He sees, not the nakedness or deformity of sin, but

the robe of righteousness formed by Christ's perfect

obedience to the law.(*12) None can be truly righteous

unless covered by this robe.

In the parable of the wedding garment the guest who

arrived in his own clothes was not cast out because of

unbelief. He had accepted the invitation to the banquet

(Matt. 22:10). But his coming was not enough. He needed the

wedding garment. Similarly, belief in the cross is not

enough. To be presentable before the King, we also need

Christ's perfect life, His righteous character.

As sinners we not only need the debt to be canceled, we

need our bank account restored. We need more than release

from prison, we need to be adopted into the family of the

King. The mediatorial ministry of the resurrected Christ has

the twofold objective of forgiving and clothing--the

application of His death and life to our life and our

standing before God. Calvary's "It is finished" marked the

completion of a perfect life and a perfect sacrifice.

Sinners need both.

The Inspiration of Christ's Life

Christ's life on earth also gave humanity a model of how

to live. Peter, for instance, recommends as an example to us

the way He responded to personal abuse (1 Peter 2:21-23). He

who was made like us, and was tempted in all points as we

are, demonstrated that those who depend on God's power have

no need to continue in sin. Christ's life provides the

assurance that we can live victoriously. Paul testified,

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"

(Phil. 4:13).

Christ's Resurrection and Salvation

"If Christ is not risen," Paul said, "then our preaching

is in vain and your faith is also vain" and "you are still

in your sins!" (1 Cor. 15:14,17). Jesus Christ was

physically resurrected (Luke 24:36-43), ascended as the

God-man to heaven, and began His crucial intercessory work

as Mediator at the right hand of God the Father (Heb. 8:1,2;

see chapter 4 of this book).

Christ's resurrection gave a meaning to the cross that

the shattered disciples could not see on crucifixion Friday.

His resurrection transformed these men into a mighty force

that changed history. The resurrection--never detached from

the crucifixion--became central to their mission. They

proclaimed the living, crucified Christ, who had triumphed

over the forces of evil. Herein lay the power of the

apostolic message.

"The resurrection of Christ," Philip Schaff wrote, "is

emphatically a test question upon which depends the truth or

falsehood of the Christian religion. It is either the

greatest miracle or the greatest delusion which history

records."(*13) Wilbur M. Smith commented, "The resurrection

of Christ is the very citadel of the Christian faith. This

is the doctrine that turned the world upside down in the

first century, that lifted Christianity preeminently above

Judaism, and the pagan religions of the Mediterranean world.

If this goes, so must almost everything else that is vital

and unique in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ: `If

Christ be not risen, then is your faith vain'

(1 Cor. 15:17)."(*14)

Christ's current ministry is rooted in His death and

resurrection. While the atoning sacrifice at Calvary was

sufficient and complete, without the resurrection we would

have no assurance that Christ had successfully finished His

divine mission on earth. That Christ has risen confirms the

reality of life beyond the grave and demonstrates the

truthfulness of God's promise of eternal life in Him.

The Results of Christ's Saving Ministry

Christ's atoning ministry affects not only the human race

but the entire universe.

Reconciliation Throughout the Universe

Paul reveals the magnitude of Christ's salvation in and

through the church: "His intent was that now, through the

church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to

the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms" (Eph.

3:10, NIV). He further asserts that it pleased God through

Christ "to reconcile all things to Himself...whether things

on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the

blood of His cross" (Col. 1:20). Paul revealed the

astounding results of this reconciliation: "At the name of

Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of

those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every

tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of

God the Father" (Phil. 2:10,11).

The Vindication of God's Law

Christ's perfect atoning sacrifice upheld the justice and

goodness or righteousness of God's holy law as well as His

gracious character. Christ's death and ransom satisfied the

demands of the law (that sin needed to be punished), while

justifying repentant sinners through His grace and mercy.

Paul said, "He condemned sin in the flesh, that the

righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us

who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the

Spirit" (Rom. 8:3,4).

Justification

Reconciliation becomes effective only when forgiveness is

accepted. The prodigal son was reconciled with his father

when he accepted his father's love and forgiveness.

"Those who accept by faith that God has reconciled the

world to Himself in Christ and who submit to Him will

receive from God the invaluable gift of justification with

its immediate fruit of peace with God. (Romans 5:1). No

longer the object of God's wrath, justified believers have

become the objects of God's favor. With full access to the

throne of God through Christ, they receive the power of the

Holy Spirit to break down all the barriers or dividing walls

of hostility between men, symbolized by the hostility which

exists between Jew and Gentile.

(See Ephesians 2:14-16.)"(*15)

The Futility of Salvation by Works

God's ministry of reconciliation reveals the futility of

human endeavors to obtain salvation through works of the

law. Insight into divine grace leads to the acceptance of

the justifying righteousness available through faith in

Christ. The gratitude of those who have experienced

forgiveness makes obedience a joy; works, then, are not the

ground of salvation, but its fruitage.(*16)

A New Relationship With God

Experiencing God's grace, which offers Christ's perfect

life of obedience, His righteousness, and His atoning death

as a free gift, leads to a deeper relationship with God.

Gratitude, praise, and joy arise, obedience becomes a

delight, the study of His Word a joy, and the mind a ready

dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. A new relationship

between God and the repentant sinner takes place. It is a

fellowship based on love and admiration, rather than one of

fear and obligation (cf. John 15:1-10).

The more we understand God's grace in the light of the

cross, the less self-righteousness we will feel and the more

we will realize how blessed we are. The power of the same

Holy Spirit that was operative in Christ when He rose from

the dead will transform our lives. Instead of failure, we

will experience daily victory over sin.

The Motivation for Mission

The amazing love revealed in God's ministry of

reconciliation through Jesus Christ motivates our sharing

the gospel with others. When we have experienced it

ourselves, we cannot keep secret the fact that God will not

count sin against those who accept Christ's sacrifice for

sins. We will pass on to others the moving gospel invitation

"Be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be

sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in

Him" (2 Cor. 5:20,21).

 

References

1. George E. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand

Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1974), p. 453.

2. "Atonement," SDA Bible Dictionary, rev. ed., p. 97

3. For a full discussion of this Biblical concept, see

Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine

(Washington D.C.: Review and Herald, 1957), pp. 341-355.

4. Vincent Taylor, The Cross of Christ (London: Macmillan,

1956), pp. 88,89.

5. Hans K LaRondelle, Christ Our Salvation (Mountain View,

CA: Pacific Press, 1980), pp. 25,26.

6. Raoul Dederen, "Atoning Aspects in Christ's Death," in

The Sanctuary and the Atonement, eds., Arnold V. Wallenkampf

and W. Richard Lesher, (Washington, D.C.: [Biblical Research

Institute of the General Conference of Seventh-day

Adventists], 1981), p. 295. He added: "Among the heathen

propitiation was thought of as an activity by which the

worshiper was able himself to provide that which would

induce a change of mind in the deity. He simply bribed his

god to be favorable to him. In the Scriptures

expiation-propitiation is thought of as springing from the

love of God" (ibid., p. 317).

7. LaRondelle, p. 26.

8. Ibid., pp. 26,27.

9. Dederen, p. 295

10.LaRondelle, p. 28. The quotation in this reference was

from H.G. Link and C. Brown, "Reconciliation," The New

International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Grand

Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1978), vol. 3, p. 162.

ll.LaRondelle, p. 30

12.See White, Christ's Object Lessons (Washington, D.C.:

Review and Herald, 1941), p. 312.

13.Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church (Grand

Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, l962), vol. 1, p. 173.

14.Wilbur M. Smith, "Twentieth-Century Scientists and the

Resurrection of Christ" Christianity Today, April 15, 1957,

p. 22. For arguments for the historicity of the

resurrection, see Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a

Verdict (Campus Crusade for Christ, 1972), pp. 185-274.

15.LaRondelle, pp. 32,33.

16.See Hyde, "What Christ's Life Means to Me," Adventist

Review, Nov. 6, 1986, p. 19

.