LEGAL AND ACTUAL CANCELLATION OF SIN
BECAUSE the entire race of Adam was in him when he was sentenced, it was condemned with him; and during the six thousand years since, it has been unable, on account of weakness, frailty, sin, to extricate itself from this Divine condemnation. God has provided the Redeemer for the very purpose of lifting the death-penalty upon mankind because of the disobedience of Adam, in order that as condemnation has passed upon all because of the disobedience of one, so justification to life, through the obedience of one, might pass upon all.--Romans 5:18,19.
More than eighteen hundred years ago our Lord laid down the Ransom-price for man's life. During the interim, the Church has been called from amongst mankind and permitted to become sharers with Him in His sacrificial death, that they might afterwards share in His glory. When the last member shall have passed beyond the veil, and the great High Priest shall have been completed-- Jesus the Head and the Church His Body--then Christ will present His merit for the sins of the whole world. Divine Justice will accept this merit. With this acceptance, the sins of the whole world will be canceled in [R5240 : page 151] a legal sense, just as those of the Church are now. When we come into the Divinely appointed relationship with the Lord, there is no condemnation to us who are thus in Christ Jesus.--Romans 8:1.
At the end of the Gospel Age, when the Ransom-price shall have been applied for the world, and shall have been accepted by the Father, the whole world will be placed in the hands of Jesus Christ. Then, through The Christ as the Mediator, the New Covenant will go into operation, the terms and conditions of which will be open to all mankind--for it will contain blessings for all.
Nevertheless, there will be something for men to do in order to avail themselves of the blessings of this Covenant. As it is God's part to make such a Covenant, so during the thousand years of Christ's reign it will be the part of humanity to accept the terms and come into harmony with God through its requirements. Gradually mankind will come up, all who will, to the standard of everlasting life, but those who refuse to respond will die the Second Death.
From this point of view, we see that it will require the entire thousand years of Christ's reign to accomplish fully the work of the antitypical Atonement Day--making all mankind at-one with God. The work of At-one-ment includes the satisfaction of Justice, not only at the beginning of the Millennial Age, but throughout the Millennium. This is shown in the type of the inauguration of the Law Covenant. Moses sprinkled the blood first upon the tables of the Law, and then upon all the people. As the work of sprinkling the people was a task that undoubtedly took a long time to accomplish, so the antitypical sprinkling of mankind will require many years.
A COMING SETTLEMENT FOR SIN
The answer to the question, Will mankind come forth from the tomb free from condemnation? depends largely upon the point of view. They will come forth free from Divine condemnation, for all of the condemnation which came upon them through heredity will have been satisfied by the Ransom-price paid by Christ for Adam and all of his race. And for other sins than those of heredity there will have been a settlement--at the end of the Gospel Age. The Scriptures indicate that of this present generation God will require all the righteous blood shed from the time of Abel down to the present. Hence for wilful sin there will be satisfaction rendered through a great time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time.--Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21.
A type of this trouble is seen in that which came upon the Jewish nation at the end of the Jewish Age. (Matthew 23:34-36.) In the Revelation, we find an illustration of this coming satisfaction, for injustice perpetrated. We read, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." (Revelation 6:10,11.) That Day of Vengeance is about at the door of Christendom.
From all this it is evident that Divine Justice does not intend to terminate fully the adjustment of accounts until there is a full ledger of Justice, so to speak. From that [R5240 : page 152] time forward, each one will be responsible for the weaknesses and blemishes of his own conduct.--Jer. 31:29,30.
RESPONSIBILITY ACCORDING TO ABILITY
Mankind will not be accountable for the violation of a perfect standard, but each will be held responsible in proportion to his own knowledge and ability. During the Millennium, the rule will be such as would now be considered just in a well regulated family. The stronger child is given the heavier burden to carry. So it will be during the coming Age. Each one will be accountable for what he can bear. He will not be held responsible for perfection and condemned for inability to reach it, but will be judged according to his ability.
During the thousand years, each individual will make progress to the extent that he shall endeavor to comply with the regulations of the Kingdom. But before he can do this, he must enter into the New Covenant and formally purpose to be one who will come into line with the requirements of the great King and His Assistants. If he fails to do this, he will be considered an outlaw, and at a hundred years old he will be destroyed as a sinner. (Isaiah 65:20.) The weaknesses upon him will not be regarded as sin, except as all imperfection is sin. But no one will be held responsible for more than he is able to do, nor will he be condemned for what he is not able to perform.
Under the Millennial Kingdom, mankind will be dealt with, not individually, as with the Church of this Age, but collectively, as with the Jewish nation. Individual relationship with the Father will not be possible until the end of the thousand years--until Messiah shall have put down all imperfection and shall have lifted mankind up out of sin and death conditions into perfection as human beings. Then He will deliver the Kingdom over to the Father, and will no longer stand between humanity and Divine Justice. --I Corinthians 15:24.
The Scriptures show, however, that before the Heavenly Father will receive the restored race of mankind, He will give them a very crucial test by permitting some wonderfully deceiving influence to go abroad in the world. This influence proceeds from "the dragon, that old serpent, which is called the Devil and Satan." By that time every one will know right from wrong. The test, therefore, will be to determine whether those who know right will practise wrong. Consequently the Lord will prove them, as He did Father Adam and Mother Eve, to demonstrate whether they are as loyal to Him as they should be.--Revelation 20:7-10.
Those who fail in any of the tests of obedience will be judged unworthy of everlasting life, and will be destroyed. Those who prove themselves worthy of everlasting life will receive it. Of that time the Apostle Paul says, "The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." (Romans 8:21.) All the members of the groaning race of mankind, who will be obedient, will be delivered from sin and death conditions into the full liberty of the sons of God--such as Adam enjoyed before his fall. They will have the knowledge which he lacked, and will pass the test which he failed to pass.