BIBLICAL FULFILLMENT
Atonement
I am Jessie Mills, Ph.D.
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ATONEMENT 

            {1} Article 1.  What Acts 2:21 does not teach?

            {2} Article 2.  What Acts 2:21 does teach?

            {1} Article 1, Men in various religions allow that, all which is necessary for salvation is to call upon the name of the Lord. This comes from the sermon that Peter preached on the first Pentecost after the death of Christ. “ And it shall be that every one who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved, Acts 2:21.

            Gen. 4:26, Men began to call upon the name of the Lord.

            Gen. 13:4, Abraham called upon the name of the Lord.

            Gen. 26:25, Isaac called upon the name of the Lord.

It is certainly true that Peter opened his mouth and the Holy Spirit spoke through him, or it could be said that the Holy Spirit gave Peter the utterances of what he should preach on that day Acts, 2:4 “ And the Holy Spirit was giving them utterances”. So really it was the Holy Spirit who said the following. “ And it shall be that every one who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”

            Since this doctrine is becoming more universal, and reaches out to the younger generation, giving them a short cut to salvation, it becomes more attractive to the younger generation.  It is no short cut at all it is total blasphemy. Old men in the Old Testament which is sometimes listed, or given as proof text to the doctrine, that one can be saved simply calling upon the name of the Lord, is no proof at all. Read all the subject which these men are referred too, and one will find that these men were already in a righteous state, beside all that, these men were preparing the alter to worship their God. It is total ignorance to use such passages to try and prove that just because one calls upon the name of the Lord, that he is a sinful being, and is calling for salvation.

            Allow me to give you a biblical account, that just perhaps you might understand. Acts 9:1-18, this gives an account of a man that God chose to carry the gospel to the Gentiles, he was a sinner, the man was Saul, and he had orders from the Chief Priest to murder the Christians. Verse 3 suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground, and he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? And he said, “Who art thou Lord?” And He said I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but rise and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do. Verse 9, and he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Verse 11, for behold he is praying. Verse 18, he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptized.

            Now I ask the question, if Saul, later called Paul the Apostle could not pray and receive salvation in three days and nights, then how can people today be so dumb as to think that all one must do to be saved is pray the sinners prayer, and the Lord will come into your heart and save you. There is no Atonement forthcoming.

            Paul in defense to his own people gives his personal account of his salvation Acts 22:16, “ And now why do you delay? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling upon the Lord.”

            Calling upon the name of the Lord comes after hearing the gospel, believing the gospel, repenting, confessing with the mouth that Jesus is the Son of God, being baptized in water and spirit for the forgiveness of sins.

            I am still in Peter’s sermon, Peter moves from Acts 2:21, and continues his sermon to the Jews who were guilty of putting the Son of God to death, he is speaking to Jews exclusively, no Gentiles, he has just finished quoting the prophet Joel, now Peter directs the message that he received from the Holy Spirit to the Jews, and his purpose is to convict them of murder yet all that he says is directed exclusively to the Jews present. So, in verse 37 they have heard all that they can stand; their heart is burdened; they are overloaded with guilt, so they have heard the gospel of Christ preached up to this point; they have heard, they have believed, and so they cry out ‘MEN AND BRETHREN WHAT SHALL WE DO? — Can you just hear Peter saying come up to the alter and repeat the sinners prayer? No Peter said verse 38, Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:21 just does not teach salvation by simply calling upon His name.

            Again it’s like Paul he thought he could pray his way through salvation and receive the atonement for his sins. But Paul was wrong. Paul said to the Galatians 1:6, 7:I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him, for a different gospel, which is really not another. Mark 6:16, ”he who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”

            Acts 8:26-39, the Ethiopian Eunuch was reading Isaiah chapter fifty three, which foretells the future Messiah, Phillip joins himself to the chariot, and asks if the Eunuch understood what he was reading, the reply was, how can I unless some man teach me, so Phillip began at the same scripture and taught him Christ and the gospel; when they came to a certain body of water the Eunuch said see here is water what hinders me to be baptized, and Phillip said if you believe you may; they both went down into the water, and when they came up out of the water the spirit of the Lord snatched away Phillip.

            To teach people that all you have to do is believe, and pray for Christ to come into your heart, is for sure the next thing to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which there is no recovery. It is unspeakably sad that the atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the most wonderful event that has ever happened, or will happen—should have been made the occasion of contention and much controversy as it has. This affords an awful example of human depravity. The more so, that throughout the centuries of this Christian era some of the hottest theological battles have been waged over the vital truth of the atonement.

Speaking generally, only two views or interpretations of the cross have received much favor among the professed people of God; the one, which affirmed that the atonement was affected to make certain the salvation of all who believe and meet the requirements of atonement The other which supposed that atonement was made in order to make possible the salvation of men, regardless of their spiritual condition. To the latter it must be said, that it is indefinite and intangible and is a sorrowful failure. Further it does not meet God’s demand for justice, for with God every sin must be requited, therefore one must meet God’s requirements for atonement, if this were not true it would lead, unavoidably to a defeated and disappointed Savior.

            This theory is neither confirmed by the Old Testament or the new. The idea of being saved by only one action, namely “Calling upon the name of the Lord,” is in my opinion gross error.  We are told by the proponents of this doctrine, that the sin question was settled at the cross. We are also told by men that are looked upon as the champions of Church doctrine, that all the sins of all men from the cross forward was laid upon the crucified Christ, that to receive pardon for sins, the sinner has only to call upon the name of Christ. None of the other demands of justice has need to be met, namely, hearing the gospel taught, believing, repenting, confession of faith that Christ is the Son of God, being baptized for the forgiveness of ones sins.

            We are further told, that at the cross Jesus done as much for the one who do not meet the demands of justice, as He did for those who do meet the demands of justice. We are further told, that the only grievance that God has against any man, is his refusal to believe in Christ. This makes an issue between God and the world, it is not the sin question, and it is the Son question.

            Within the past twenty years more and more has been propounded upon this subject, the new age movement was not the first, and the newly introduced change agents, the Mega Churches; they have grown leaps and bounds: there is a reason, first their teachers is young to middle aged men who has been trained in the arts of persuasion and mind control. Young people especially are attracted to this method of teaching, and entertainment that goes along with the above.

            Atonement: Webster says is a satisfaction predicated upon reconciliation, or an agreement. The Bible is very clear for one who would believe the agreement. The agreement is that he will repent of past sins, confess that Christ is the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary, and now Lord and King. Be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit Acts 2:38. Acts 2:38, also teaches that forgiveness of sins comes after baptism, not at the point of belief.

The proponents of this theory says, that all the sins of all men from the cross forward was laid upon Christ. I do not find the word “forward” in the context of this subject; it is an added word, which makes atonement limited to only those who come after the cross. That leaves all those from Adam to the cross out of God’s plan. The event of the cross includes more than Christ taking the sins of man upon Himself. He also came to redeem those righteous spirits from bondage Heb. 2:14. It was the death upon the cross that would accomplish redemption. Redemption meant that Christ would have to pay the ransom price to Satan in order to redeem the departed spirits, this was one of His chief purposes 1 John 3:8. But we must notice that the sins of the ancients were not forgiven; they were rolled forward until the death of Christ. So, we have a second problem. The first was that the word “forward” is not used in the context of this subject, the second being that if Christ came to rescue only from the cross forward, God forgot to include the ancients in His plan for salvation, even after He preached the gospel to Abraham, Gal. 3:8! So, they have not been forgiven yet! Absurd.

Notice Matt. 12:31, If ALL the sins of all men were laid upon Jesus at the cross, how could He say,” the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven?”

John 8:21, Jesus speaking to the crowd said,” He said therefore again to them, I go away, and you shall seek Me, and shall die in your sin.”

If ALL the sins of all men were laid upon Christ at the cross, why did the Apostle Paul {under the Holy Spirit} write, “For this ye know that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ?” Eph. 5:5.

1 Thess. 2:8-12, and for this reason God will send a deluding influence upon them so they might believe what is false. In order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth. I submit to the reader that Acts 2:21, taken out of Peters sermon alone cannot save any one. Such teaching amounts to denying the Holy Spirit who spoke to Peter, and gave utterances for Peter to speak, Acts 2:4.

ARTICLE 2, What Acts 2:21 does teach.

Sin violates the ground of union, which the personal creature has, by nature, with the holy God. The act of sin begets the state of sin, the state confirms and repeats the act. The doctrine of the atonement treats of the mediation necessary for restoring the union between God and man, which has been lost by sin. Therefore, atonement must ever be a fundamental doctrine in Christianity.

In Christianity it manifestly occupies this central position, for the Christian doctrine of the atonement. It is the explanation of its great historic fact, the embodiment in one person of Divine and human natures in perfect agreement. In the person of Christ, God and man are atoned: He is their atonement.

So fundamental is the doctrine of the atonement in Christianity that it does not, like many doctrines; form a ground of distinction among the different bodies in which the Christian world has been divided, because of unbelief. The divided world must come to know that God drew up the whole plan for man, God said what He wanted to say, and He meant what He said; for in God there is no variation, or shifting shadow. Therefore, God said it I believe it.

I believe it, is the subject, Acts 2:21, and it shall be, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I believe that this statement is true, however, taking this quoted statement alone and making it a doctrine is gross error. You cannot take this verse out of the complete sermon, the reason is that the Holy Spirit gave this utterance to Peter, and verse 21 is only a part of the instructions leading to salvation, and the atonement. There are guidelines that one must follow in order to receive salvation. The New Testament, is the Manual to follow, the road map to salvation, it is a book of rules, and instructions. As we follow all the instructions in this sermon, we find that the people heard the gospel of Christ, these were the ones who cried out crucify him, these were the ones that Peter’s sermon was directed to, In hearing the gospel plan, and it preached in their hearts they knew that they were guilty of the death of one Jesus Christ; they were convicted, because of the act of hearing the truth; they believed, this was the second act of God’s plan.

This people heard, which is the first requirement. They believed, which is the second requirement, at this point they cried out saying,” Brethren what shall we do.” At this point Peter begins to inform them what they must do to fill the requirements demanded by God. Acts 2: 38, “ And peter said to them, repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “ Acts 2:21 has its place in the plan of salvation and the atonement of sins. But, it has no value, and no instruction when removed out of its proper context. What Acts 2: 21 does for the convert is to teach him that belief alone cannot save. Rather when taken out of context it destroys.

            To the Christian it teaches us to study the entire subject, before using any part of a prescribed subject. In this case Peter begins to preach in Acts 2:14, now his subject ends in Acts 2:47, so no part of his sermon can be lifted out of the whole, and be made a doctrine which would satisfy mankind. It is being done, but God has not authorized it, rather we have rules to follow, 1 Cor. 4:6,” That in us you might learn not to exceed that which is written.”               

May we consider Matt. 7:7-8, “ Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.” Suppose this three time loser in prison, tells you that he does not need your baptism, that Christ said to him that all he has to do is ask in the name of Christ, and he will receive. Well if this is taken literally, we cannot deny that Christ indeed said this,

But again we must ask who was Christ speaking to, when he made this statement. For sure Christ did not intend for His statement to be misused by a sinner in such way. So it is with Acts 2:21. Something that is promised to the righteous will be fulfilled, but the sinner must be converted and become as a little child before he can lay claim to Matt. 7:7-8.

Judaism---Christianity---Acts 2:21.

Since Judaism was still active in Jerusalem, and its covenant not yet replaced by the spiritual covenant of Jer 31:13, Heb. 8:13. We have a pressing need to study some things in Judaism that will point us to the fulfillment of God’s Scheme of redemption. God’s plan for salvation, the atonement, all this fits into the plan of God, and so Acts 2:21 becomes a very important part of God’s plan, the requirements, rules, regulations cannot be separated. God will not waver.

 So in Judaism, man stood above nature, in conscious relation to a personal God, whose written law exhibits the requirements of his relationship with man—requirements which were never met, and which only makes him fearfully conscious of the ever widening breach between him and God.

Thus the law awakened the sense of guilt and the desire for atonement, as a desire that could never be satisfied. The never ceasing demands of these ever-unfilled requirements were constantly acknowledged by its whole sacrificial cults, which expressed the hidden mystery of Jewish hope, and prophetically pointed to its future manifestation.

            A type and shadow of the atoning blood of Christ is prophetically seen in Lev. 16:21-22, and Lev. 17:11. And the idea both of the suffering and the deliverance of many by the sins and virtues of one, was common to all the ancients, the idea of the suffering and vicarious Messiah, plainly declared in the writings of the prophets, Luke 24:44-46, Isa. Ch 53, Psalm Ch 22.

            And not entirely hidden from the more thoughtful contemporaries was the mystery which would be revealed by Christ and His Apostles, Luke 2:34, John 1:29, in the New Testament Christ is ever where exhibited as one sent from God for the salvation of mankind, John 3:16-17; and the condition, on the part of man, of his obtaining this salvation, we read of the requirements of repentance, faith, and confession Matt. 3:7-8, Matt. 4:17, 5:3-11, 6:12, Mark 16:16, Luke 5:11, while on the part of God, as conditioning and mediating his forgiveness of sins, we have hopefully exhibited the life of Christ upon earth conceived of as embracing the featured of atonement to Israel And mankind Rom. 4:25, 8:34, but more especially His death as a ransom for our sins Matt. 20: 28, 26:28.

            As a vicarious sacrifice 1 Pet. 1:18-19, 2 Cor. 5:21, by which we are redeemed from the bondage of sin 1 Tim. 2:6, Gal. 3:13, 2 Pet. 2:17. Christ is therefore the mediator between God and man 1. Tim 2:5, having made peace through the blood of His cross Col. 1:20. The propitiation of our sins 1 John 2:2, 4:10, And our high Priest offered Himself a sacrifice to reconcile us to God, 2 Cor. 5:17-21, Heb. 2:17, 5:1-9, 9:28.

            The doctrine of atonement is best seen when man is reconciled to God by repentance and reforming his life. Only from an act of man changing his disposition, and not from an act of God changing His relation to man. His reconciliation with God. God is in Himself ever the same from all eternity; man alone has to assume a new relation; as soon as he does, he is immediately reconciled; by this act of his will, he is one with God. Only in man’s moral state is there any obstacle to his reconciliation. This greatest and holiest accomplishment, the reconciliation of man with God, is achieved by an act of his will.

            In the above Address of Judaism, I have used Judaism to show that an intricate study of the Old Testament, and its types, patterns. And shadows will reveal reference Scripture to the New Testament, which In turn will show a better understanding of what Christ said in Matt. 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets; but I did no come to abolish, but to fulfill.”

            Thus we can come to only one conclusion, that the Old Testament was a road map, a manual, that would lead us to Christ in the New Testament, and the fulfillment of reality, all the types, patterns, and shadows are fulfilled. Without total fulfillment of the types, patterns, and shadows, we have no Atonement, no Salvation; we are still under the Law of Moses! Absurd.

IN MY RESEARCH I FIND IN THE WORKS OF ATHANASIUS TO BE HELPFUL IN OUR STUDY OF ATONEMENT.

            Athanasis was but a youth, while the Elder of the Lord’s Church in Egypt superintended his education with a view of him entering the Christian ministry. As soon as he had reached the proper age, was elected to the office of Deacon, He was appointed a member of the first General council at Nice, in which he distinguished himself by his erudition and eloquence. Since his birth in 296, Athanasis became a strict adherence to the Apostles Doctrine. Because of this Athanasis was banished from his office four different times, within twenty years, but was installed in the Primacy by the clergy and people.

            Athanasis was the leading ecclesiastic in the most trying times of the history of the early Christian Church. His ability, his conscientiousness, his judiciousness and wisdom, his fearlessness in the storms of opposition in change, his activity and patience, all make him out as an ornament of the age, as well as the most influential public character in matters of Christianity.

Although the Roman Catholic Church had not been established yet, the Roman government saw that there was a place within the Church for politics, which would increase the power of the empire. After the death of Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome, his son who became emperor began a conspiracy against the Church, The change agent was in power, and soon the Elders and Deacons were replaced with officials of the Roman Empire. This is when Athanasis began to have his problems, he would not agree to change in the government of the Lord’s Church, neither would he agree for change in Church doctrines. He was called before the emperor, the emperor called for his banishment.

            A special comment by the author:

            Much can be learned from the writings of ancient Christians, such as Athanasis. True it takes a lot of research to find the information you seek; but it is well worth the time. Notice at least two things found in the writings of Athanasis; they are: The idea of change in Church doctrines the idea of change in Church government. In all my research for information of the Lord’s Church, during this period of time, I find only Athanasis who stood against all odds to preserve the Apostolic teaching. That reminds me of the controversy in America only a few years ago, when one woman conspired to have prayer taken out of our schools, she won her case, walked out of the Supreme Court building, seeing no picketing against her, she asked now where is the Christians? And I ask even now who really fought against this ruling, who stood up against all odds?

            People in the Church today is responsible for the change agents, changing the requirements of Church worship to God. Its not new, the Romans started it in the covenant of Christ, first. Its been going on ever since, when lately within the last ten years have you been to a debate with such people as Max Lucado?

 Special Note, On 4/13/07 I received in my office information in regards to Athanasius it is. The earliest collected works of his festal letters, his four orations against the Arians, and his oration against the Gentiles were translated and appeared in 1600 A.D. at Heidelberg. A second translation was made by S. Parker at Oxford 1713 A.D. His treatise on the incarnation of the Word was translated by W. Whiston, London 1713 A.D. Collection of ancient monuments relating to the Trinity and incarnation, and other epistles in defense of Apostolic teaching translated by John Henry Newman, Oxford 1842 A.D.

CLOSING OBSERVATIONS:

I observe that ancient men of the past suffered and died as did Christ and the Apostles in defense of Apostolic teaching, it is to these men we today owe a debt of gratitude in regards to their love for the truth, their sacrifice, even their life.

I have noticed carefully the teaching of Athanasius in regards to the Vicarious suffering, the Atonement, the Baptism for the forgiveness of sins, the Resurrection, the Ransom price paid to Satan for the redemption of the departed spirits held by him in the Hadean world, and his firm stand on the total fulfillment of all prophecy. The Distinction he makes regarding the atonement. The atonement by the blood of Christ offered only to those who are willing to receive it on God’s terms. It is not offered to any one who will not submit to hearing, believing, repentance, confession of faith, and baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

If language can embody an opinion, it is this, that the only sacrifice of atonement, or satisfaction with which the Christian has to do, is a moral one: not the pouring out of blood upon the earth, but the living sacrifice, to do Thy will O God; in which the believer has a part as well as his Lord; about the meaning of which there can be no more question in our day than there was in the first ages. Heathen and Jewish sacrifices rather show us what the sacrifice of Christ was not, rather than what it was. They are the dim, vague, rude, almost barbarous expression of that want in the human nature; they are at the end of the old world, and at the beginning of a new one. With a contrite heart they seek forgiveness of sins through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet.  1:19, 1 Cor.  6:20.                                                                                                                                   


 

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© Copyright 2015 by Jessie Mills. All Rights Reserved by the author, Jessie E. Mills, Jr. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the prior express written permission of the publisher, except for brief quotations in critical reviews or other publications. Such quotations must be used with proper reference to their context and give appropriate credit to their authorship.