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ACCORDING to the Bible presentation our Lord died for the sins of the whole world when He gave His life as an offset for Father Adam's life, which had been forfeited because of sin. The death of our Savior will be sufficient for the whole world, because the whole world are sharers in Adam's penalty by heredity. The merit of Christ's death, sufficient for the sins of Adam and for the sins of the whole world, has not yet been applied, or paid over, either for Adam or for the world. It has merely been put into the Father's hands, without application for anybody.
The Scriptures show us for what purpose the application is to be made; namely, that after our Lord's Second coming and the setting up of His Kingdom He will apply, for the full satisfaction and requirements of Divine Justice, the entire merit of His sacrifice on behalf of Adam and his race. The full penalty of original sin will thus be paid, the race of Adam will be released from that condemnation, and forthwith the work of Restitution will proceed. Meantime, while waiting for the application of the blood to the world, the Father imputes that merit of Christ on behalf of the Church.
In thinking of this subject, this word impute should be considered. To impute is not to give. To give Christ's merit would mean to make it applicable to Adam and all the race. Jesus is not ready yet to give it to Adam and all the race; for to release Adam and his race just now from the present conditions would not be the best plan.
In commercial usage the word imputation has a similar thought of endorsement. If a man endorses a note for a thousand dollars, he does not give even one penny, but he imputes the value of the money. This transaction illustrates the work of imputing merit to the Church. The Church is not qualified to enter into a sacrifice with God. God is unwilling to receive as a sacrifice anything that is imperfect. But Jesus, having a credit in the hands of God, imputes a share of that merit to those who present themselves in consecration. On the strength of that merit, He becomes a surety, or guarantor, to those who wish to become His disciples. No more than this would be necessary; for their consecration is to sacrifice, and they need merely to sacrifice what they have. Since our Lord imputes of His merit to the Church, which offsets what they have not, whatever they are lacking by reason of heredity, when they shall have finished their contract this merit will be released, just as when the note is paid, the endorser is free.
Our Lord Jesus becomes the Guarantor, or Endorser, or Imputer, of His merit to all who make a consecration to God. This includes not only the Little Flock, but also the Great Company, who will be partly faithful and who will need this imputation to complete their Covenant; it also includes those who later become wilfully unfaithful and will go into the Second Death. When all these things shall have been accomplished, then this merit of Christ, having been fully released from all this imputation, will be applied in full measure to the sealing of the New Covenant, of which Christ is the Mediator. Then His Kingdom will be the Mediatorial Government for the blessing and uplift of the world.
The proposition made to the followers of Christ is that they will lay down their human lives sacrificially, just as Jesus did His—in whatever way God's providence may mark out for them. But those who present themselves to God in consecration are members of the sinner race of Adam. God properly declines to deal with these repentant sinners thus. He says, Your lives are already under condemnation; already they are three-fourths gone; in any event, you could not present more than one-fourth of the sacrifice that is absolutely required. However, God's Plan has provided that Jesus can become Surety for those who desire to become His footstep followers in sacrifice. On His account their sacrifices are accepted as a part of His sacrifice, that they may also share in His glory.
The philosophy of the matter is this: Jesus already has in the Heavenly Father's hands—that is in the hands of Justice—a meritorious credit to the value of His human life, which He laid down sacrificially in obedience to the Divine wish. That sacrifice, sufficient for Adam and every member of his family, is waiting in God's hands to be applied in due time—at the time appointed for the beginning of Christ's Millennial Reign for the blessing, uplifting, Restitution, of the world. A certain portion of that blessing or merit of Christ is due to come to each member of Adam's race in Restitution. A certain portion, therefore, would in due time apply to those of Adam's children who, having now forsaken sin, become members of Christ by consecrating to death.
As the Advocate for those who desire to become His followers, Jesus appropriates, or imputes, to them merit which is to His credit in God's account. That imputation is equivalent to the Restitution blessing which otherwise they would have received during the Millennium. This imputed merit, equal to all their imperfection, is, therefore, said to justify these from all sin, from all condemnation. Thus justified by faith these are accepted by God, and their sacrifices accepted of Him as part and parcel of their Redeemer's sacrifice.
Not until all the merit of Christ thus imputed to the various persons who have made consecration during this Gospel Age shall have been released will the full merit of Christ's sacrifice be available for actual Restitution for Adam and all of his race. The portion of merit imputed to each individual follower of Christ is released when that follower dies, because the imputation was merely to permit the sacrifice of the offerer to be acceptable to God. The offerer first gave up his earthly hopes and prospects—the Restitution privileges secured by Jesus for all men. That much he sacrificed instantly at the moment of his consecration, and so disposed of it. His consecration, however, includes all that remains of his talents and powers, vitality and strength, even unto death. Our Redeemer's endorsement for the Church acts as an embargo on the ransom-price which must be paid to Justice as a whole to secure for man restitution privileges.
To make an illustration: Suppose that A had deposited a million dollars in the bank, intending it for a specific purpose at a stated time. Meantime some of his friends are needing money or credit. A says to the banker, I do not wish to disturb the million dollars which I have on deposit; but on the strength of its being in your possession, you will be very pleased, I am sure, to extend credit to some of my friends if I endorse their notes. The banker of course would say, Yes. The endorsed notes would be discounted, and A would be liable to the full amount of these notes if they were not paid at maturity. There would, therefore, be an embargo upon his million dollars' credit, to the extent those notes were not paid. But when all the notes were paid, the million dollars [R5661 : page 104] would be as free from obligation as if those notes had not been made and A's credit had not been imputed to anybody.
So it is with us who become Christ's disciples. Jesus endorses our notes. He becomes our Surety that we will fulfil our engagement, that we will lay down our lives. Until our lives are laid down, this imputation constitutes an embargo on Christ's merit which is in reservation to be applied on behalf of the world. But just as each one of us dies, all imputation of merit in behalf of that one is at an end, because his contract is fulfilled. In the case of those who do not lay down their lives willingly as per covenant, Jesus, as the Endorser, will, nevertheless, see to it that they lay down their lives; some of them in the great Time of Trouble will come through great tribulation, and their death will bring them also some measure of blessing; others will die the Second Death.