Brother Beebe: - Our brother Raymond was not mistaken in supposing that his ideas would not all be received, by the readers of the Signs. I think he labours under a mistake relative to that union which constitutes the oneness of Christ and His people, and probably relative to the idea intended to be conveyed when we speak of the substitution of Christ. I will propose for his consideration what appears to me to be the Scriptural doctrine of the union of Christ and His church.
Instead of that nominal union which many talk of, which is produced by the creature's believing - the Scriptures speak of a real oneness. "Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one," is the Scripture testimony (Heb.2:11) and so I believe. I cannot conceive how the spotless Lamb of God could be made to bleed, or bleeding, how His blood could, sanctify or cleanse from their sins any of the family of Adam unless such a union previously existed between Him and them as made their sins, of right, chargeable to Him; and His suffering of death and enduring of the curse, accounted as done by them. Instead of this union being founded in Christ's assumption of human nature; the Scriptures speak of His taking flesh and blood as a consequence of His relation to children who were partakers thereof. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; &c." What children? Those of whom Christ says, "Behold I and the children which God hath given me." See Heb.2:14,13.
Instead of this oneness being a union of feeling or views, the Scriptures speak of it as a oneness of life. Hear the Apostles; "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God, when Christ, who is your life shall appear &c." Col.3:3,4. This life which is one in the Head and in the body, was in the only begotten of the Father, from the beginning; for in Him was that life which is the light of men. John 1:4, compared with vs.14. Hence as it was said of Adam - Gen.5:1,2 - "In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him. Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created;" so it must have been with Christ, when He was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, and brought forth when there were no depths (Prov.8:23,24); He must have been brought forth a perfect Christ, head and body, He and His bride in Him. Hence His people were chosen in Him, (not into Him) before the foundation of the world; and they were created in Christ Jesus unto good works and as Christ - not as the essential Word, He is the Beginning of the creation of God (Eph.1:4; 2:10 & Rev.3:14). Christ was thus another or second Adam, not of the earth, earthy, but the Lord from heaven; not a living soul merely, but a quickening spirit. I Cor.15:45,48. Again as Eve when produced from the original creation in Adam, was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh; so the church in her quickened members, being born again, born of the Spirit, they are manifested as members of Christ's body; and are of His flesh and of His bones, spiritually. See Gen.2:23 & Eph.5:30. Thus Adam both as a husband and a head was a figure of Him that was to come.
As is the distinction between the two Heads - the first man and the second man, so is the distinction between the two lives brought forth severally in the distinct heads; consequently, so is the distinction between the bonds of union by which each Head is united with its body and members. The one bond is earthly, the other is spiritual; the one commenced in time and is dissolved in time, the other commenced in eternity, and therefore unchanged by time, will be eternal.
The one head, Adam, being created under the law, and his posterity in him, they as servants are driven by the terrors of the Law. The other Head, Christ, as the Son of the Father, was set up and His posterity in Him, under the everlasting covenant, that is ordered in all things and sure, they are therefore as sons loved with an everlasting love, and with loving kindness are they drawn. Again, as the members of Adam's family, or of the creation in him, are made manifest as such by being born after the flesh; so the members of Christ's body can be manifested only by being born again of the Spirit. They are by this brought into personal existence as new creations and are now personified by their new life. Hence says Christ speaking of His disciples, "They are not of the world even as I am not of the world." John 17:16; and says Paul, "Now if I do that, I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." Rom.7:20. See also I John 3:9 & 5:18.
As the posterity of Adam came into existence under the curse of the law as having been in him when he fell; so the posterity of Christ in their new birth, are born into the blessings of the new Covenant, as well as those exceeding great and precious promises given them in Christ as that full provision for their deliverance from under the law; therefore they receive not the spirit of bondage again to fear, but they receive the spirit of adoption whereby they cry, Abba, Father. Thus much in relation to the union of Christ's people with Him.
I will now briefly notice this union with Adam, &c. Whilst they were thus set up in Christ, and as such loved with an everlasting love, it was the pleasure of the Father that they should be partakers of flesh and blood, and therefore as rational creatures they were created in a natural head, Adam, and under the law; were in common with all his posterity, left to fall in him, and became subject to the curse of the law. While they were thus a part of the same fallen family of Adam involved in the same condemnation, they by the eternal purpose of God were distinguished from the rest of the human family - and were from the beginning chosen unto salvation; and predestinated unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, and were given to Christ as His portion, as it is written: the Lord's portion is His people, Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. It was also necessary in order to their being brought into liberty as sons and receive the spirit of adoption, that they should be redeemed from under the law and also to be slain by it, that their union to it might be dissolved. For all this provision was made in the everlasting Covenant and the accomplishment thereof assigned to the Son and to the Holy Spirit in their respective offices. Their redemption could alone be accomplished by one who could fulfill the demands of the law and make it honorable in their behalf, and consequently alone by one who could be acknowledged by Divine Justice as standing in their law place. Christ being their Brother, their Head, their Husband in the everlasting Covenant, and in relation to the life therein set up, the right of redemption belonged to Him, and being not Himself under the law, He could take their law place and obey in their behalf, and be so accepted by Divine justice.
One leading idea more, relative to this subject I wish distinctly noticed, namely: that it was not as the children of Christ, but as the children of Adam that the elect were subject to the law, had sinned against it, &c. It was then as the children of Adam alone, that they needed deliverance from the curse of the law, justification from its demands and a dissolution of their relation to it.
If our Brother Raymond would duly reflect on the different relations the elect sustain to the distinct Heads, he would I think abandon the stand he took in his letter published in the 9th number of the Signs. He speaks of substitution as involving a separation between Christ and His people. Do not the Scriptures teach a manifest separation in this respect? Was Christ created with His people in Adam? If so He is but a creature and a branch of a fallen stock. Or was He as the Head of His people set up under the law? If so the inheritance coming through Him is but earthly and must fail. On the other hand, Christ being the elder Brother of His people in the everlasting Covenant, it was His province to interpose Himself as their Redeemer that the law might not remain a barrier to their being put in possession of the inheritance bequeathed in the better Testament. Hence it is said, He was made sin, or rather, a sin offering, for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him - and being made a curse for us. II Cor.5:21 & Gal.3:13. If I know anything of the use of words the doctrine of these texts is the doctrine of substitution; and the word for is used, in them, in the sense of instead of. He being made a curse for us; for what purpose? To deliver us from the curse of the law. Did He not then endure that curse which He would deliver His people from? And would they not have suffered the curse, if He had not borne it? What is this, but His bearing it in their stead? And what can that be, but substitution? Again, we are told that Christ laid down His life for the sheep . Now if He did not lay down His life in the place of the sheep, how will we find an atonement in the death of Christ? And how will we find a ransom in it? If He laid down His life for us in any other sense than as suffering that punishment which was due to our transgressions then there was no ransom price in the death of Christ; for a ransom is an equivalent rendered for the demand against those to be ransomed, and consequently involves substitution.
Brother Raymond challenges proof from the Scriptures, that God's children were ever appointed unto wrath. That God's children were as the children of Adam, under the curse of the law, and children of wrath, even as others, we are prepared to prove from the Scriptures of Truth. But there was no need of God's appointing any man, save the man Christ Jesus, unto wrath; for left to themselves the wrath of God would assuredly abide upon them. See John 3:36.
Brother R. seems throughout his letter, if I understand him, to suppose that the children of God were never viewed in any other relation, than in their relation to Christ. If this were true I would venture to say that God never viewed them as sinners; for they never sinned in Christ, nor with that life which they derived from Christ as a Head.
Once more; He remarks that it is a day full of substitutions, I grant it. But to me there is a very important difference between men's presuming to substitute human systems instead of God's revealed truth, human ceremonies, instead of God's ordinances, and human schemes instead of that order and plan which God has established in His word; I say there is a great difference between this substitution of men, and God's substituting His Son as a ransom for those who had been given Him. And those who are the fondest of these human substitutions, are the ones who by their substituted systems, do away the substitution of Christ in the law place of His people. Most of these new substitutions are the offspring of Fullerism and its twin sister Hopkinsianism, and both of these systems virtually, if not formally, deny the proper substitution of Christ.
Brother Raymond will of course act his own pleasure in writing again on this subject. But I hope if he does, he will be led to take a stand in support of the doctrine which is according to godliness. And I hesitate not to say that if he is what I hope he is, one taught of the Lord, he would never have found peace for his burdened soul had he not by faith discovered the Lord Jesus as having been as completely substituted in his law place as was the ram caught in the thicket, in the place of Isaac. He will then write in union with the doctrine which the Signs are pledged to support.
Centreville, Fairfax County, Virginia,
May 13, 1833.
From:SIGNS of the TIMES: Vol.1 (1833)
Select Works of Elder Samuel Trott
pgs. 39 - 43