Just a Little Something to Think About: the Atonement

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If we ever find ourselves wondering how many of our sins did Jesus Christ atone for, we probably need to give the matter more thought.

We’ve heard it said that once we accept Christ, either we simply don’t sin anymore, or else when we do sin, it’s very, very bad news. But John tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  I don’t see a “sell by” date on that, do you?

Think about it. Jesus Christ died on the cross in propitiation for our sins–for the sins of everyone in the world who accepts Him as Savior. He did this centuries before we were born–before we had committed any sins at all. So how can there be a cut-off point? Like, the Atonement doesn’t cover any sins committed after my 35th birthday?

No, no, no–He covers all our sins. His blood is our plea before God’s judgment seat. The penalty has already been imposed–on Him. The fine has already been paid–by Him.

Even so: even having known this good news, and believed it: even so, it’ll be a fearful thing to stand before that judgment seat.

And that’s a big something to think about.

A Parable to Remember

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Here’s a parable that ought to be remembered–especially those verses which are usually ignored.

A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return… But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. [When the nobleman returns as king, he rewards his servants who put his money to good use while he was gone, and punishes the one servant who didn’t. And then he sees to another matter.] But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

(Luke 19:12, 14, 27)

These verses came vividly to my mind yesterday, when I saw the news story about the feminists pantomiming the “abortion” of the baby Jesus: they will not have this man to reign over them. Nor are they the only ones.

God so loved the world, the world that He created, that He sent His only begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to save it. The worldly authorities of this fallen world crucified the Son–because, as they themselves confessed, they had no king but Caesar. They rejected forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, and eternal life. Like, who needs all that, when Caesar can reward you here and now? Only here and now doesn’t remain here and now for very long.

Those who will not be ruled by Jesus Christ will receive the harshest punishment that God can give: He will let them have their wish. They will not be admitted into Christ’s Kingdom, and will have the rest of eternity to wish it were otherwise. But God will have already granted their wish: no taking it back.

For them the good news is that they can humble themselves before God and ask forgiveness for their sins–and claim it, too, by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood has already purchased our forgiveness. They can be admitted into the kingdom of salvation today, for the asking.

That’s the good news, even for them–if they can only believe it.

In Front of the Heavenly Tribunal

So here he is, Dennis Bottwitz, aka “Carlos Dangle,” up in front of God’s judgment seat. He can’t see all the way up to the top, but further down there are angels to question him.

They want to know why he committed adultery, when God told him not to.

“Um, well, er… Y’see, it was the slogan that did it,” he finally says, after a lot of hommina-hommina. “Yes, the Ashley Madison Dating Service slogan. Life is Short. Have an Affair.

“It was only an advertising slogan,” the prosecuting angel says.

“Yeah, yeah, I know! Except it got me really thinking. Like, life really is short. And you got to enjoy it while you can. And it was supposed to be discreet, no one was supposed to know…”

“So you signed up? Did you really think you’d get away with it?”

“Well, gee whiz! Have a heart! I never meant to do it more than once. Just once! How was I supposed to know my life was going to be that short? One night, just one night–and the next morning, that moron in the Volt hops the curb and kills me! And next thing you know, I’m here. And you’re going to send me to Hell because I made one mistake?”

“You didn’t do it by mistake, Dennis. You did it on purpose.”

Dennis is really upset now. He can’t help shouting. “Yeah, well, so did 38 million other customers! And that’s only the names that the hackers actually got. And so did I dunno how many million guys who did it on their own without any help from Ashley Madison! Millions and millions and millions! Are you gonna send us all to Hell? Hah! There won’t be room for us down there!”

The angels exchange pitying looks and shake their heads. Poor stupid mortals. Bad enough they’re lumbered with original sin. That they should also be such idiots seems harsh.

“Dennis, have you anything to say before this court passes sentence on you?”

“Have I got anything to say? I’ll say! [Censored] What kinda raw deal is this, anyway? Nobody ever told me this crazy setup was real! I mean, who would ever think that? Angels! Heavenly court! Nobody believes this stuff! Nobody! Just try to tell anybody that it’s real. They’ll laugh in your face! I mean, holy mackerel, who thinks Hell is real?

After the “Guilty” verdict, as Dennis is taking that last, long, going-down ride in a certain kind of elevator never seen on earth, he bewails the unfairness of it all. The angelic elevator operator listens sympathetically.

“Like, how was I ever gonna beat the rap? No one cares about adultery! It’s just having an affair. Everybody does it. Most people can’t even spell ‘adultery’! No, they had it in for me, up there. They all had it in for me. I was guilty before I even took the stand. Go ahead, tell me I wasn’t! Tell me what I could’ve said to get out of this!”

The operator sighs.

“You could have said, ‘I’m sorry.'”

But by now the car has finished its descent.