Editorial – The Atonement

On the cross of Calvary Jesus paid the price for the sins of the whole world. However, He told the angels four thousand years before this, right after Adam and Eve sinned, that “few would receive Him as the Son of God.” Early Writings, 150. By His death on the cross, Christ began the work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete. The cross was the means of atonement for the human race and by His death on the cross, the conditions of atonement were fulfilled. Christ had won the kingdom, wresting it from Satan becoming heir of all things.

Today Jesus is making an atonement for us before the Father. A review of the earthly sanctuary service in the book of Leviticus reveals that the atonement has at least three phases:

  • an atoning sacrifice (Leviticus 17:11)
  • the priest must make atonement with this blood (Leviticus 4:18–20)
  • the sinner must be cleansed (Leviticus 16:30)

This is stated in beautiful simple language by the apostle John: “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). Those who neglect this work of confession will eventually be “cut off” (see Leviticus 23:29, 30) when probation is over and the plan of salvation is complete.

“We are in the great day of atonement, and the sacred work of Christ for the people of God that is going on at the present time in the heavenly sanctuary should be our constant study.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 520.

It was to this silent, unnoticed close of human probation that Jesus looked forward to when He said, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from’ ” (Luke 13:24, 25).