Grace & Truth Chapel
131 Fardale Avenue ~ Mahwah, New Jersey
Phone 201-327-6226 ~ E-mail

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"Accepted in Christ" (posted February 2, 2002)

He shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.     Leviticus 1:4

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.     Ephesians 2:13

The act of laying on of hands [by an offerer upon an offering] was expressive of full identification. By that significant act, the offerer and the offering became one; and this oneness, in the case of the burnt offering, secured for the offerer all the acceptableness of his offering.

The application of this to Christ and the believer sets forth a truth of the most precious nature, and one largely developed in the New Testament; namely, the believer's everlasting identification with, and acceptance in, Christ. "As He is, so are we, in this world." "We are in Him that is true" (1 John 4:17; 1 John 5:20).

Nothing, in any measure, short of this could avail. The man who is not in Christ is in his sins. There is no middle ground. You must be either in Christ or out of Him. There is no such thing as being partly in Christ. If there is a single hair's-breadth between you and Christ, you are in an actual state of wrath and condemnation. But, on the other hand, if you are in Him, then are you "as He is" before God, and so accounted in the presence of infinite holiness. Such is the plain teaching of the Word of God.

"You are complete in Him"--"accepted in the Beloved"--"members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones." "He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit" (Colossians 2:10; Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 5:30; 1 Corinthians 6:17). Now, it is not possible that the Head can be in one degree of acceptance and the members in another. No; the Head and the members are one. God counts them one; and, therefore, they are one.

This truth is, at once, the ground of the loftiest confidence, and of the most profound humility. It imparts the fullest assurance of "boldness in the day of judgment," inasmuch as it is not possible that ought can be laid to the charge of Him with whom we are united. It imparts the deep sense of our own nothingness, inasmuch as our union with Christ is founded upon the death of nature and the utter abolition of all its claims and pretensions.

Since, therefore, the Head and the members are viewed in the same position of infinite favour and acceptance, before God, it is perfectly evident that all the members stand in one acceptance, in one salvation, in one life, in one righteousness. There are no degrees in justification. The babe in Christ stands in the same justification as the saint of fifty years' experience. The one is in Christ, and so is the other; and this, as it is the only ground of life, so it is the only ground of justification.

But, further, there is no such thing as progress in justification. The believer is not more justified today than he was yesterday; nor will he be more justified tomorrow than he is today; yea, a soul who is "in Christ Jesus" is as completely justified as if he were before the throne. He is "complete in Christ." He is "as" Christ. He is, on Christ's own authority, "clean every whit" (John 13:10). What more could he be, at this side of the glory? He may, and--if he walks in the Spirit--will, make progress in the sense and enjoyment of this glorious reality; but, as to the thing itself, the moment he, by the power of the Holy Ghost, believed the gospel, he passed from a positive state of unrighteousness and condemnation into a positive state of righteousness and acceptance.

All this is based upon the divine perfectness of Christ's work; just as, in the case of the burnt offering, the worshipper's acceptance was based upon the acceptableness of his offering. It was not a question of what he was, but simply of what the sacrifice was. "It shall be accepted for him, to make atonement for him."

C. H. Mackintosh

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