Many believe that so long as Jesus died for their sins, and they believe this, they are saved. Many see sanctification as a result or fruit of that salvation, as if sanctification isn’t a part of the good news of the gospel, or isn’t essential to our salvation. I would strongly state that sanctification isn’t an optional extra. It isn’t an “add-on” to the gospel app to enhance it and make it more attractive or easier to use.
That Christ died for me, a sinner, and that on account of the precious blood offered in my stead, I am accounted righteous before a holy God, is indeed a wonderfully marvelous thing. That such is at least part of the gospel is without doubt…but is it complete? Does that guarantee my eternal destiny to be in heaven or the new earth?
All the condemnation and penalty for my sins or transgressions have been met at the cross. I am now justified. Praise God! But…and this is a very big BUT, such does NOT complete the atonement. Unless atonement is made, I may as well die in my sins, and/or live as a heathen. Because atonement was not made at the cross. Although it is taught, that atonement was made and finished at the cross when the Lamb of God died, and although much of the Christian world believes this is the case, and possibly including some reading this, the acceptance and popularity of such a concept does not make it any more true, unless someone can find support for it in scripture.
Here are some very important, nay, essential factors to consider.
1. If the atonement was made at the cross of Calvary, by whom was it made? I ask this because throughout scripture we are informed that atonement is the work of a priest…are we to assume that Caiaphas or some of his cronies officiated there as priests? No, they were not offering Christ as atonement…they were wickedly murdering him as were the Roman soldiers.
2. Further to the above, the slaying of the lamb did not make atonement, because at no time did the priest slay the victim…it was always the sinner. The sinner would confess his sins over the animal, transferring his sins to the animal, then cut its throat. See Leviticus 4:1-4; 13-15 etc. After this, the priest took the blood into the sanctuary to make atonement. Levit. 4:5-12;16-21.
3. Christ was/is even now the appointed High Priest to make atonement, but could not officiate in such a capacity until after His resurrection. Certainly there is no evidence that He did such a thing while on earth.
4. The atonement was always made in the sanctuary….Calvary was not such a place….Calvary was “outside the gate”.
5. According to Hebrews 8:4 Christ could not make the atonement while on earth, because He could not be a priest while on earth, not being born into the house of Levi. The Levitical priesthood was an earthly function, the heavenly priesthood like that of Melchizedek, a heavenly/divine function.
6. Thus whatever nature atonement was, could not be accomplished by Jesus until after His ascension and entry into the heavenly sanctuary described in Hebrews, where with His own blood He now ministers as our High Priest in making atonement for us.
Thus the gospel we must share, teach, and preach on must be the full gospel in its entirety. No part or portion can be left out as if an optional extra. Only with the full gospel taught is the power of the gospel manifest in bearing fruits of righteousness in those who by nature are still sinners, but who are being transformed by the renewing of their minds into the image of Christ.
Only those who have been fully justified…fully sanctified…will be fully glorified. That is the full gospel.