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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The blessing of probation and the second atonement

“I will forgive, but I won’t forget!”
 
We can ask for forgiveness to those we have offended, but that doesn’t guarantee their immediate forgiveness. Is this altogether unlike God?
 
True, there are many who love to hold a grudge; and this God never does. There are many who love to fight and complain and feed on self-pity. This is wholly unlike the infinitely selfless God of love.
 
But, for them all, we have to admit that we broke their implicit trust in us. And being in the image of God, He allows for some of their unwillingness to forgive. There is some of Him in everyone’s self-defense mode against the breaking of trust. Until the sinner has passed the threshold of hating forgiveness God does not hold their lack of forgiveness against them completely. But, the moment they pass that threshold the sin of unforgiveness is on their own head.
 
But, until then we must bear up under their condemnation of our sin against us. And if we see the similarity with God’s atonement we can bear up. “Charity...beareth all things.”

 
In the Old Testament times God revealed two atonements. The first was the atonement that took place throughout the year.
 
“And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty; or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned. …and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him.” (Lev. 4:27,28,35).
 
But, even though atonement had been made for his sin and God had forgiven him, he was still on probation. He had broken the covenant of trust with God and that would not be immediately repaired. Time would be required to heal all wounds. This is reasonable of God; a probation is reasonable. We require it of others, and of Him. Why should it be unreasonable for God to require it of us, whose image comes from God?
 
Probation. Not a nice part of atonement vocabulary. Not a welcome word. Sinners don’t want God to hold their sin over their head. They don’t want to stay under God’s thumb. If they are to come to Him with repentance, they don’t want to walk under His reminders of their failure, especially if those sins were multitudinous. But, while sinners refuse to walk humbly before God, saints don’t mind it at all. Their hearts have been humbled, and they are accepted by God. They are “in Him.” They have opened the door to God and when He came in the devil had to leave and take with him all of his hard-heartedness and spitefulness toward God. God has given them a spirit from His Spirit to reside in their new hearts, His cloud sitting on their new mercy seat.
 
Saints don’t mind probation, not at all. They know that they deserve much worse than walking under God’s thumb. They enjoy His company. God has accepted them through the help of His Son, and they are also OK with needing a Mediator between them and God. They are humbled and see themselves as they really are. Therefore, they are willing to accept any terms in order to keep being accepted by the only good God on earth. After the torments that Satan put them through from this world of sin, any and every requirement of God is good in their minds. They accept the implication that goes with probation, that while they are accepted and justified (forgiven), they are not fully sanctified and acceptable to God, and still need more of His acceptance and justification (forgiveness). They can never forget what they did to hurt God and His children. Thus, they can recognize the need for further atonement. And ultimately, with patience, they will have a complete atonement.
 
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.…
And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.…
Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people,
And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail:
And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not…
and bring [the LORD’s goat’s] blood within the vail...and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness….
And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:
For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.
It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.” (Lev. 16:2,9,15,12,13,15,16,29-31).
 
Not until the end of the ceremonial year did each individual, or leader, or priest, or the congregation as a whole, receive full atonement. The Day of Atonement kept everyone in suspense, and this was not psychological abuse. Probation kept Israel genuine. The purpose of the Day of Atonement was to keep their hearts truly repentant, truly humbled, and truly forgiven.
 
Many cry out that God has changed because of the cross. They say that He has blotted out our sins already when He blotted out His Son on Calvary. And I would say that that could have been the case, and for some it was the case.
 
The early apostolic church, while the Testimony of Jesus continued with the apostles, the church was pure and their sins were blotted out. But, God foreknew a mass departure from the strong Testimony of Jesus. He sent His Testimony through Jesus to Daniel and John to reveal the apostasy of His earthly bride following after another husband, a devious and unholy husband.
 
“Yea, he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.
And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.
Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” (Dan. 8:11-14).
 
Here we see that Satan would attack the gospel and cast down the church of God. The devil would take away the powerful presentation of the wrath of God against sin and His damnation of His Son for our sakes. All the power to sanctify us through the Son’s ministering Spirit would be trodden down under the Dragon’s unholy feet. In the place of the Son he would put his own manipulative spirit, the “third person of the Godhead”.
 
Then in 1844, Christ’s power to atone fully would begin to be restored. In the restoration of the powerful Testimony of Jesus sinners would be truly condemned for their sin and see themselves as exceedingly sinful. With that special condemnation of sin they could again access Christ for a special repentance. The fruit of that special repentance would be the special blotting out of their sin. But, this sealing process would take time, for the people of God would need time to accept the powerful Testimony of Jesus. Once the Testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of Prophecy, would be received in full faith, then the blotting out of sins could happen, and also the special work of purification, as it had in the early church under the apostle’s leadership.
 
They would have the promise in full: “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 10:17), because “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them” (Heb. 10:16).
With the Law in their hearts, “the Holy Ghost  [would] also [be] a witness to [them]” (Heb. 10:15).
Their “hearts [would be] sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Heb. 10:22). “There [would be] no more offering for sin” (Heb. 10:18) because they would have “no more conscience of sins” (Heb. 10:2).
 
This is the sealing that the early church had, and it will return to the last church, the Advent movement 144,000 and the innumerable multitudes which the 144,000 garnered during the final warning and preaching of Jesus to all nations (Matthew 24:14).
 
Probation requires patience. The requirement of patience is built into probation. “But, I don’t want to wait! I want God’s full acceptance and atonement now! I don’t want to have to be purified before He can accept this sinner! I’m a pretty good person!” Good person, do you love to be corrected? But Christian, do you love the Law of God? Do you love to have your sins condemned? Do you love to have Jesus wash you? Are you ready for the great wedding of Christ and His church? Are you prepared for your own Gethsamane, to walk in the steps of your Master, and pass through the great tribulation? Are you ready for the time of trouble such as never was upon the earth? Are you ready for Inquisitions that will exceed the terrorism of the Dark Ages and the Counter-Reformation?
 
 “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” (Dan. 12:1).
 
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matt. 24:21,22).
 
Christian, do you have Christ’s robe of righteousness to shield you from the assaults of Satan, such as Christ suffered in the garden? Are you atoned for? Are you specially justified and sanctified? Through afflicting your soul, have you sent your sins ahead of you into judgment? Has God put His Law into your heart? Or does He say of you, “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7)? “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.” (Rom. 2:24). “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:23)?
 
Has He put His laws into your hearts through the writings of Ellen White, and in your minds has He written them? This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord.
 
Aren’t we glad for a time of probation in order to be specially purified before Jesus comes?

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