Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: When and how is the Adamic sentence lifted from the Church and the world?
Answer: We will answer this question in seven steps:
(1.) The legal condemnation has rested upon the world since Adam’s disobedience, and this has led to the actual sufferings and dying of mankind. There is a difference, however, between the legal and actual “curse.” The legal curse or sentence went into force against Adam immediately after he had sinned (Romans 5: 12, 19), but the effects of that legal sentence – in pain and suffering – came upon him and his posterity gradually, and are still with them. Similarly, there will be a difference between the cancellation of the legal sentence and the rescue of man from the effects which came upon him as the result of the legal sentence.
(2.) The work of Christ, of the atonement, embraces both features – man’s release from the legal sentence of the Divine law, and subsequently his release from the actual pains and weaknesses which came upon him as a result of that Divine sentence. Our Lord’s death was a full offset to the sentence against Adam, and could have been applied at once, had that been the Divine arrangement. If so applied it would have cancelled at once the legal sentence against man, but it would have done nothing in the way of recovering him from his fallen and dead condition – that work of restitution is separate and apart from his redemption or purchase out from under the curse or legal condemnation of the law.
(3.) Instead of applying His ransom merit at once to cancel the legal penalty against the race, Jesus at His ascension presented His death-sacrifice on man’s behalf before the Father, and it became a credit on His account. But He first used it on behalf of the Gospel Church (Hebrews 9: 24), not the world. Next came the justification of the Gospel Church – not actually, but by faith, reckonedly. Believers in Jesus were reckonedly justified – reckonedly had the legal curse lifted from them (Romans 8: 1), though they actually remained under the weaknesses and difficulties of the curse. Those who consecrated themselves to God were privileged to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, with the promised reward of glory, honor and immortality (Romans 2: 7).
(4.) Colossians 1: 24 explains that the various members of the Body of Christ were to fill up a measure of the afflictions of Christ, as a part of the Sin-offering – their sacrifice being acceptable to God through and under the merit of His sacrifice (Romans 12: 1). At the completion of the Church’s sacrifice, she was glorified with her Lord in the First Resurrection. Then the Lord will apply to Justice on behalf of the whole human family the merit of His own sacrifice (1 John 2: 2), which during the Gospel Age sponsored the sacrifice of the Church, and Justice will be fully satisfied of all its legal claims against mankind.
(5.) There will then be no hindrance whatever to prevent the restitution arrangements to proceed (Acts 3: 19-23) (Psalm 2: 8) (Ephesians 1: 14).
(6.) God will provide for the world the glorified Christ – a wonderful and faithful Prophet, Priest and King – to rule, bless and uplift as many of the redeemed world as will accept His just and gracious terms (Revelation 21: 1-6: 22: 17).
(7.) Here we see the distinctions between Christ, the Redeemer, and Christ, the Life-giver. We were redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, and through the merit of that sacrifice all will be freed from the condemnation; and then as the Life-giver, He who previously redeemed will restore as many as will accept His favors, bring them back to the condition of perfection from which Adam fell – back to a condition in harmony with their Creator, and thus back to a condition of at-one-ment with God by the close of the Millennial Age (1 Corinthians 15: 22-28). All mankind will then be tested in the Little Season (Revelation 20: 7, 8), and only those who are proven worthy under that testing will inherit everlasting life on earth (Matthew 25: 34-40). All that are found unworthy will be destroyed in the Second Death.