Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
On January 1, 1863, the president of the United States took a bold step. He issued his Emancipation Proclamation that legally freed every slave being held within the states that were in rebellion against the Federal government.
Some 40 years later a wise writer grasped the idea that Lincoln's Proclamation was an analogy that illustrated what Christ accomplished on His cross. She wrote: "With His own blood He [Christ] has signed the emancipation papers of the race." The Revised English Bible translates what Paul said that in essence is the same analogy: "The judicial action, following on the one offence [of Adam], resulted in a verdict of condemnation [slavery], but the act of grace [of Christ], following on so many misdeeds, resulted in a verdict of acquittal. ... It follows, then, that as the result of one misdeed was condemnation for all people, so the result of one righteous act is acquittal and life for all" (Rom. 5:16, 18). (All responsible translations say essentially the same.)
All Lincoln could do was issue the Proclamation (which he had a perfect right to do as military Commander in Chief of the nation). But no slave would experience freedom unless (a) he heard the news, (b) believed it, and (c) acted upon his belief and told his slave-master "goodbye." So Christ reversed for "all people" the "judicial verdict of condemnation" that came upon them "in Adam," and instead proclaimed His "judicial ... verdict of acquittal" for the same "all people." This is why God can treat everyone as though he were innocent!
Christ has truly borne "the iniquity of us all," died "everyone's" second death. God is reconciled to the sinful human race; now He begs us, "Be reconciled to God" (cf. Heb. 2:9; 2 Cor. 5:18-20). And in His closing work as our great High Priest, Christ is seeking to complete that reconciliation in the hearts of all who will believe and appreciate what He accomplished as "the Lamb" of Revelation.
That work of reconciliation in human hearts is spoken of as "the final atonement," which results in a people who "follow the Lamb wherever He goes" (Rev. 14:4, 5). Be one of them!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 15, 2000.
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