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ESCAPE FROM CONDEMNATION
We got into condemnation without our choice, but cannot get out of it without our choice, but the conditions for escape are so simple and easy that all shall be without excuse. It is simply „Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
But to believe on him means more than at first appears, perhaps. It does not mean that men shall simply believe that such a man lived and died, nor even that, in addition, he rose again and is now highly exalted; nor that, in addition to these, he was a good man who set an excellent example. Nay, it means more. The names here given indicate it—Lord, and Jesus, and Christ. The belief which releases from condemnation sees him as Lord, or Master and Ruler. It sees him also as Jesus, Saviour, Deliverer, for such is the significance of the word. It sees him also as the Christ, the one anointed as Jehovah’s representative.
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Believers only have yet, in any sense, escaped the condemnation [damnation] that is on the world. „There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1.)
Christians frequently say to worldly people, „If you don’t stop your course and reform, you will be lost,” and receive the reply, „We are as good and honorable as many you think will be saved,” and the entire argument is wasted and the truth obscured. Let the world know that it is lost—is „condemned already,” and that Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost to make a way of escape from the condemnation already upon mankind. Show them the necessity of the ransom given and the real and blessed results of that ransom obtainable by faith in the Lamb of God, and it will have a convincing effect.
But does some one enquire, What! have believers actually escaped what the world is still under? We reply, They have escaped the excommunication, condemnation, which came upon man, and now they have access to God and „fellowship with the Father,” things from which the sinner was debarred as soon as the penalty went into execution. Thus we, who had been far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Eph. 2:13.) Our access is not complete yet, for outward manifestations of God’s favor are not yet granted, only that which is by faith. But this is precious, and the other will shortly be ours.
Another result of the ransom, another part of the condemnation which believers escape, is death. We now by faith only realize on the strength of God’s word and the evidence before us that Jesus bore the penalty of our sins in his death, and on the strength of the reconciliation already effected, as one of its results, BELIEVE and realize that we are passed from death unto life. Eventually this blessing shall be realized in full when we are perfected and like our Lord in glory. To this escape from condemnation we may invite all in the name of our Lord Jesus and through the merit of his sacrifice.
But do some enquire, If belief is essential to escape from condemnation, how will it be with those who have died without faith or knowledge of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus? If belief must precede escape, does it not seem that such have no hope?
We answer: Your difficulty arises from too narrow a view of the escape from death. You use it as though it meant to raise from the tomb, as for instance, Lazarus, Jarius’ daughter and others, but its use in Scripture is more comprehensive, viz., a full, complete escape from all the penalty of sin; this would include the removal of pain, sickness, etc., as incidents to death and excommunication from God. The „widow of Nain’s son” was raised, but not to perfection of life; he did not escape the condemnation; hence was still liable to pain and sickness, and again passed into Adamic death.*
*It is evident that those „raised” from the tomb, when they returned to it a few years after, did not experience the „second death.” Yet, if they had been FULLY lifted out of the first, it would have been a „second death.” This proves that RESURRECTION, or a complete recovery from Adamic death, means a full release from all its power, a bringing back or restitution to original perfection.
But in the Millennial Age all the world is to be „raised” in like manner, and brought to a knowledge of the truth, and will thus reach a basis for faith, by the exercise of which they may escape completely from the condemnation, and come into the full perfection of being and communion enjoyed by Adam before sin.
Thus, it is evident from God’s plan that all men shall be brought to a position where faith in the ransom will be possible, and it is equally clear that none will be covered by its „propitiation” who do not recognize and acknowledge it, for no man cometh unto [into communion and fellowship with] the Father but by Jesus.
— November, 1884 —