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Questions On Our Lord's Life-Rights
SPIRIT LIFE-RIGHTS NOT SACRIFICED
QUESTION.--What rights did our Lord possess when He was a spirit-being,
before He became a man, and what became of those rights when He became a man?
Answer.--Our Lord was rich and for our sakes became
poor (2 Cor. 8:9) by exchanging the heavenly rights and perfection for the earthly rights and perfection. This exchange was not a sacrifice [not an offering];
for it was the man Christ Jesus who became a ransom. There is no
statement in the Scriptures that He sacrificed any pre-human rights. He
did, however, resign these for the "joy that was set before Him."--Heb. 12:2.
The rights that man needs are earthly rights, human rights; and it is those rights that Jesus redeems through giving His earthly life sacrificially. As a spirit being He could not have sacrificed the
rights of a spirit being; for there were no spirit beings condemned to death. It was the man Adam whom He was to redeem. "Since by man came death, by man comes also the resurrection of the dead. For as all
in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive."--I Cor. 15:21,22.
RANSOM-PRICE FURNISHED AT CALVARY
Question.--What did our Lord accomplish at Calvary?
Answer.--The laying down of life on the part of our
Lord did not ransom the race, as we have shown, but it furnished
the ransom-price which is to EFFECT THE RELEASE of humanity, in
God's due time and order; He gave Himself an antilutron [a corresponding
price]."-- I Tim. 2:5,6.
Our Lord's sacrifice, His willing resignation of His life to death, was
meritorious in the Divine sight and was rewarded by the Father's giving Him a new
life on a higher plane. The new life was started in His begetting at
and was completed in His resurrection. This right to earthly life,
not having been forfeited by sin, still belongs to our Lord. This earthly life-right He purposed to give to Justice as an offset [counterbalance, or
equivalent] for the sin of one man, which involved the race. He was put
to death a flesh-soul. He was rewarded as a spirit-soul. He has
the right to His flesh-soul yet, to appropriate for Adam and his
race, sealing for them the New Covenant.
THE MERIT AND THE LIFE-RIGHT
Question.--How shall we distinguish between the merit of Christ which He will appropriate for the sins of the world, and the life-right of Christ which He will give for the sins of the world? Answer.--Our
Lord's righteousness on the human plane of course appertained to
Him while He was a man. He has no righteousness as a man now. He
has merely the credit of that righteousness in the Father's sight, in
the sight of Justice, constituting a merit which is to be appropriated to the world in due time, but which is loaned to the Church during the
The human life-rights Jesus had need for up to the moment He died. In
dying He committed them to the Father, according to the Father's arrangement. He
said, "The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11.) When a man, those life-rights were
His to use; but He does not need them now; for He has better rights. But He has
a right to human life, which He does not need personally--but
which He needs in order to give for the world of mankind, that
they may have life everlasting if they will.
The Lord is to be viewed from the standpoint of His own personality. First
of all, He was a spirit-being; secondly, He was made flesh--holy, harmless,
undefiled, separate from sinners; thirdly, for permitting the earthly
life to be taken from Him, God rewarded Him personally with a high
God has arranged that this glorious Personage shall do certain things
for the world of mankind. The power to do these things lies in
the fact that He still has a right to earthly life, which He does
not need. He holds it over to give to the world in the Millennial
Age, gradually, as they will come into harmony with the terms of the New
Covenant. He imputes now a share of that value to such as desire to
become His members--to cover their blemishes and make their sacrifices
acceptable to the Father.
Christ's merit was in doing the will of the Father. That
merit the Father rewarded with the new nature on the other side of the veil. And,
of course, that merit still persists; and He will always have, in
God's sight, a personal merit, irrespective of anything that He may
do for mankind. Therefore we cannot suppose that He would give
away His merit; in that case He would be left without merit. But having
obtained His reward, He has a right to human life, which is so recognized by
God. And this constitutes a thing of merit in God's sight--a value for the
redemption of Adam and his children--his purchase-price, so to speak. This He is to use for the world shortly and this He is now imputing to us.
THE IMPUTATION OF CHRIST'S MERIT
Question.--What is meant by the expression, "Christ's imputed merit"?
Answer.--When speaking of Christ's imputed merit we
should keep distinctly in mind that He has a personal merit, a righteousness
of His own, which He has never given away. He needs His own
righteousness. In this sense of the word He could not give us His
righteousness, without being bereft of righteousness. The same would be true of
His life-right. He has a right to life; but it is not that right to life
which He imputes to us; for He needs it Himself. He needs His
own personal merit.
In what sense, then, do we say that He will give to mankind
during the Millennial Age and impute to the Church during the Gospel
Age, a life-right and righteousness respectively. In this way: He will give to
mankind His human life-right, the merit that was His as the reward for His
obedience as the man Christ Jesus, namely the privilege, or right, to
live as a human being. That right was secured to Him by obedience to the
Law. (Rom. 10:5; Gal.
3:12.) Now He is highly exalted, a partaker of the divine nature, and
no longer needs that right to human life and the righteousness which goes
with that right. He is quite satisfied and complete in His present
condition. He has, to give to the world, by and by, the right to human life and
the righteousness which goes with that right, the merit of that earthly
sacrifice. Of this, He imputes to the Church at the present time a sufficiency
to make good for their imperfection. We are complete in Him, so that our
offering of ourselves may be, through Him, an acceptable sacrifice to God and
ACTUALLY NO LIFE-RIGHTS TO SACRIFICE
Question.--Do the under-priests sacrifice their earthly
Answer.--Since God purposes to give eternal life only to
those who are perfect, and since we of Adam's race are all imperfect,
therefore, we had no life-rights to sacrifice. But Jesus appeared as our
Advocate and purposes to help us if we are desirous of becoming followers in
His steps, and thus of being sharers with Him in His [R4905
: page 399] sacrifice, and afterwards in the glories of His Kingdom.
To enable us to do this, He purposes to make up for us a sufficiency of
His merit to compensate for all of our blemishes and defects. But we do not
present this merit imputed to us by our Lord. Our whole part is faith that our
great Advocate is able to make up for our shortcomings. He makes up that which
is imperfect, and then offers us in sacrifice; and the Father accepts the
sacrifice. Really, we never had any life-rights to sacrifice.
FAILURE RELEASES IMPUTED MERIT
Question.--In the case of one who makes utter failure and
who dies the Second Death, is the imputed merit released at the time his
failure is determined or at the time when he actually dies?
Answer.--The merit of Christ is imputed to those who
come unto the Father through Him. Those who repudiate this earthly merit of
Christ have it no longer from the moment of their repudiation; from the moment
of their rejection of the Lord; all the merit that they had is released,
forfeited, gone. This does not mean that they must die actually at that moment.
But they fall into the hands of the living God; that is out of the hands
of Mercy, into those of Justice. And we know that no one can
stand in the presence of the living God and Justice without perfection. Those
who repudiate the Ransom seem to have no longer a sense of sin. This is
illustrated by the parable of the man who takes off the "wedding
garment"; from the moment of his repudiation, no longer is it his in any
sense of the word.
LIFE-RIGHTS REPRESENTED IN NEW COVENANT
Question.--During the Millennial Age where will be the
life-rights that Jesus laid down at Calvary?
Answer.--That which we speak of as the life-right of
the great Redeemer is, we understand, that which is typified by the blood of
Atonement. According to the type, in the end of this antitypical Day of
Atonement, that blood of Atonement will be applied to Justice on behalf of the
whole world of mankind and will be accepted on their behalf--that is to say, as
the Apostle expresses it, "to make reconciliation for the sins of the
people." (Heb. 2:17.) As soon as the
people shall have been released from their death-condemnation they will be in a
position to begin to receive blessings, but not before. As the great High
Priest, our Lord undertakes, at the close of the Gospel Age, to seal with the
Blood of Atonement a New Covenant between God and the seed of Abraham, natural Israel; and He,
together with the "Church, which is His Body," undertakes to stand as
the Mediator of that Covenant. All who come into full accord with that Law will
have eternal life. Through all those years the Mediator will merely carry out
the provisions of that Covenant, [R4906 : page 399] which
promises that they shall have the privileges of Restitution. If they avail
themselves of the opportunity they shall have eternal life.
At that time, the right to human life will have passed out of the hands
of our Lord as Redeemer, and will all, thenceforth, be represented in the
Covenant itself, which guarantees all the things that God declared man should
have. The stony heart of mankind will give place to a heart of flesh; and all
who will live up to the terms of this Covenant shall have eternal life. During
the Millennial Age the New Covenant will represent the life-rights laid down by
our Lord. Whoever fails to observe that Law will receive chastisements. By this
arrangement Christ, as Mediator of the New Covenant, will for a thousand years
dispense the blessings. During this Gospel Age our Lord keeps the right to life
under His own control in order to give it to Justice as the ransom-price for
the world's sins, for the redemption of the world. As soon as He gives up this
right at the end of this Age, Justice relinquishes it, and mankind receives it,
as shown foregoing.
R-4905a : page 398 - 1911r