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Full Atonement—Can it Be?

The reason the church is here today and meets on the first day of the week traces all the way back to the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). The Lord’s church began on the day of the first fruits offering [wheat harvest]. It was when the day of Pentecost had “fully come” the Spirit of God was manifested declaring “This is that” (2:16) which the prophet Joel spake, “I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh” (v.17). It was on the first day of the week, instituting the commitment of the first day to God and replacing the old practice of the last [seventh-sabbath] day. It is reported that as many as a million people could have been present in Jerusalem on this popular feast day, and many heard the preaching of the gospel with many, many more hearing about the events of that day. Christians have thrilled at the thought of 3,000 souls responding to the Lord’s invitation, and it is thrilling to consider what that must have been like. A new institution established that day in Jerusalem—the Lord’s church (Matt. 16:18).

It should be noted that the great response came as a result of preaching (I Cor. 1:21). The Holy Spirit was present and miracles happened, but God chose preaching to “save them that believe.” This was the first large gathering of people in Jerusalem after the passover, and God chose this time to inaugurate His spiritual kingdom, the church. Many came from distant places for the annual day of offering and celebration, and of that number many gathered to hear the Apostles speak in their tongue “the wonderful words of God” (Acts 2:8-11). A lot of things could have been done on this occasion to announce the beginning of the Lord’s church. A great sporting event, a dramatic presentation, a great celebrity orator, all of which brethren have tried through the years to generate a crowd. The Heavenly Father did none of the above. He chose a fisherman by the name of Peter, a preacher of the Gospel, to declare the message of the risen Christ. “Peter standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice” (v.14). Preaching was the method used to herald the gospel message of a risen Savior and remission of sin.

The message was familiar to those paying attention for John the baptizer had been preaching repentance and baptism for the remission of sin as the forerunning messenger of Jesus (Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3). It was a new application of the familiar message. New because in Christ, God’s plan for man’s redemption had been accomplished, so that now in baptism sin was forgiven, man could enter a covenant relationship with the Godhead by obedience; baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit for the remission of sin.

A risen Savior has paid your price! (I Cor. 15:12-19), so that sin from all ages has now been atoned. This is just as the prophets foretold, all done by the foreknowledge of God (v. 23). God raised Him up and “loosed the pains of death” (v. 24). Their hero king David was dead and his remains still with them, but not Jesus—He was raised to sit at the right hand of God (v. 33). “This same Jesus, whom you have crucified,” God has made “both Lord and Christ” (v. 36) [both king and priest (re: Zech. 6:13)]. Good news! There’s something you can do (Acts 2:38) to remove your sin.

Full atonement—can it be? Yes, even if guilty of killing the son of God (Acts 2:41, 47). Saved by the grace of God through obedience to Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9).

David Hill


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