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Atonement: The Dividing Line

If you thought like I do that the Church might be gone in the next few months or years what would you want to tell people?  I've thought long and hard about this and I keep coming back to the Gospel.  Ultimately, all of our Christianity, biblical knowledge, and prophecy study is worthless if we don't believe the Good News.

The Apostle Paul made clear that Jesus' literal resurrection is what gives our faith its power.  If Jesus did not rise again then we are still dead in our sins and hopeless - our faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).  Yet while it is the resurrection that gives our faith its power, it is the atonement of Christ that gives our faith its substance (Galatians 2:20-3:29; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 21, 23, 2:2, 15:3).

What is the Atonement?  It is when Christ died for our sins just as 1 Corinthians 15:3 says.  He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) and bore our sin itself on the cross (1 Peter 2:24).  As the final atoning sacrifice for sin Jesus became the perfect and final fulfillment of all the sacrificial types and shadows in the Old Testament (Hebrews 1:3, 10:11-12; Colossians 2:16-17; 1 John 2:2).  Paul calls belief in the Atonement "of first importance" in the Christian faith.

"Jesus died for our sins" sounds like elementary Christian knowledge, right?  When I share this belief with people I usually get a yawn or a "yeah, yeah, got it" in response.  Yet even though it is such a simple and foundational doctrine, it is attacked, ridiculed, and twisted more than any other Christian belief.  If you've studied Church history you'll quickly recognize that it is differing views of the Atonement that are the root cause for most denominational splits.

People have always wondered why Christianity has so many sects and divisions - probably more than every other world religion combined.  If Christianity is true why is there so much division and how do you know which denomination is right?

This question used to bug me, but now I see through it to the truth.  The reason Christianity has more divisions and sects than any other religion is because Christianity is the genuine article.  You don't counterfeit fake currency - you only counterfeit the genuine.  If you want to steal, kill, and destroy as the enemy does (John 10:10), you won't get anywhere by counterfeiting what is already fake (Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, etc) - hence why those religions only have a handful of formal divisions.  If you want to create confusion and chaos and lead people away from the truth then you have to counterfeit the truth itself and that is exactly what satan has done.  He has sown discord and fear in the Body of Christ and sown tares among the wheat.  The wheat and the tares are mixed together throughout all denominations, which is why I am a firm proponent of the doctrine of the Invisible Church:

The invisible church or church invisible is a theological concept of an "invisible" body of the elect who are known only to God, in contrast to the "visible church"—that is, the institutional body on earth which preaches the gospel and administers the sacraments. Every member of the invisible church is saved, while the visible church contains some individuals who are saved and others who are unsaved. According to this view, Bible passages such as Matthew 7:21-27, Matthew 13:24-30, and Matthew 24:29-51 speak about this distinction.

Now that I've been teaching for several years, I've come to realize that the Atonement is the dividing line within Christianity.  It is belief in or lack of belief in the Atonement that divides the truly saved from those who merely profess faith (James 2:14).

Proponents of works-righteousness within Christianity as well as unbelievers in other religions reject true Christianity in the same way: they reject the Atonement and therefore they reject the Gospel.  And not only them, but also those within Christianity who have twisted God's grace into universalism or as mere toleration of varying beliefs and behaviors.

The Gospel is extremely simple and can be summarized as follows:

Christ died
For our sins
Was buried
Rose again
Appeared to many

You can even distill it down to just the three parts that you need to believe for salvation:

Christ died
For our sins
Rose again

If you personally believe and accept this Good News then you're in.  You've made it aboard the Ark.  The Holy Spirit has come and indwelt you and your own spirit has been made new.  When Christ appears again your body will be made new, as well.

Notice also that the Gospel as defined in 1 Corinthians 15 is not just belief in "Jesus".  It is belief in "Christ".  Romans 10 adds "Lord".  It is one thing to believe that a Jewish man named Jesus lived and died two thousand years ago.  It is another thing to believe that Jewish man is the Anointed One sent by God to be your personal Savior and Lord.

Listen carefully to what I'm saying here.  I'm not saying that if you make a profession of faith one time in your life that you're saved.  I'm also not saying that if you have been baptized by water or have gone down to the front of a church during an altar call or said a "sinner's prayer" that you're saved.  None of those works have any power to save you.  I said if you believe.  "Believe" is a present active tense verb.  Look up John 3:16 in the raw biblical Greek.  You'll see right away that "believing" is a present active participle.  In other words, only Jesus has the power to save you and His blood is the means of your salvation, but to acquire that salvation you must believe until the end:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

And, 'But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.'
- Hebrews 10:38

We like to pick on liberal Christianity and rightfully so, for that group calls good "evil" and evil "good", twists and maligns God's Word, and denies the necessity of the Gospel.  In so doing, they promote homosexuality, abortion, and every form of licentiousness as acceptable behavior to God. They also teach varying degrees of universalism since they've rejected the need for atonement.

But don't forget the other extreme: the hordes of Christians-in-name-only who give lip service to Christ and appear righteous on the outside, but never really believed or accepted the Good News.  A few of these are even well known in the Bible prophecy community.  Their standard for salvation is something other than Christ and Him crucified and so, unbeknownst to them, they are in just as dire a spiritual situation as are those outside of Christianity.  They believe in themselves, their performance, and their own "good deeds", not realizing that they are full of hypocrisy, pride, and self-righteousness.

Whitewashed tombs.

This group even makes sport of twisting the very Scriptures that speak against them in judgment:

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, 'I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing', not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
- Revelation 3:15-18

You hypocrites: this is not speaking about those Believers who aren't doing enough, performing enough, giving enough, serving enough, or are too worldly in your eyes, etc.  This is about you who would be justified by works of the law rather than by faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 5:4).  This is about you who would mix law and grace (Romans 11:6) putting a burden on peoples' shoulders that neither you nor they can carry (Matthew 23:4).  The salvation-by-works crowd doesn't recognize their poor, pitiable, naked, and shameful state.  They think they are rich and in need of nothing, not realizing that it is God who provides what they are sorely lacking - namely Christ's righteousness that could cover their great shame.  This is why Jesus closes His message to the Laodicean church with an invitation:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
- Revelation 3:20

Believers are permanently sealed until the day of redemption and have nothing to fear (John 6:39-40, Ephesians 4:30, Romans 8:1-4, 1 John 5:13), but unbelievers have never known God, hence why Jesus asks them to let Him come in.  There are the obvious unbelievers who don't name the Name of Christ and then there are the less obvious ones that sometimes sit on the pew next to you and pride themselves on their religiosity.  Salvation costs nothing but your pride, so please, for the sake of your souls, repent.

Likewise, the self-righteous twist Matthew 7 into condemnation of Christians who "aren't good enough", when the passage is really speaking to the self-righteous themselves:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
- Matthew 7:21-23

These people who name God's Name offer their own works as satisfaction, but like Cain who offered the fruit of his labor as an offering, they will be rejected.  What is the will of Jesus' Father in Heaven?

Then they said to him, 'What must we do, to be doing the works of God?'  Jesus answered them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.'
- John 6:28-29

In summary, liberal "Christians" and works-righteousness "Christians" reject the Gospel in the same exact way: they deny their personal need for Christ's atoning sacrifice.

Turn back and board the Ark.  Time is up.  Today is the day of salvation.  Repent.

For further study:












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  1. And I add my Amen and Amen.

  2. This looks like a good place to toss out my favorite Bible verse!

    In whom we have redemption, through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

    Ephesians 1:7

    Great post! Thank you.

    1. Thank you Gary! He certainly did poured Himself out on the ground for us!

      [Col 1:14 KJV] In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:
      [Col 1:20 KJV] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.

      Here is a Biblical Doctrine of Blood Atonement youtube video. This guy does a good job of white boarding it out so that the Atonement really makes sense. My family really enjoyed it and it has been such a blessing to understand this better.

      All I can do is say that I am sorry for the things that He doesn't like and give thanks forever!
      [Psalm 30:12] That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
      [1Th 2:13] For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

      We gain life through His (life/blood):
      [Lev 17:11 KJV] For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement for the soul.

      He is my Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever, AMEN!

    2. Ephesians and Colossians... both great Scriptures. Paul knew law and grace and how to rightly divide them.

  3. Power In the Blood :
    1 Would you be free from the burden of sin?
    There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
    Would you o'er evil a victory win?
    There's wonderful power in the blood.
    There is power, power, wonder-working power
    In the blood of the Lamb.
    There is power, power, wonder-working power
    In the precious blood of the Lamb.
    2 Would you be free from your passion and pride?
    There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
    Come for a cleansing to Calvary's tide;
    There's wonderful power in the blood.[Chorus]
    3 Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
    There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
    Sin stains are lost in its life giving flow;
    There's wonderful power in the blood.[Chorus]
    4 Would you do service for Jesus your King?
    There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
    Would you live daily His praises to sing?
    There's wonderful power in the blood.[Chorus]

    1. That is one of may favorite classics. Amen and amen.

  4. Have any of you ever heard of the now passed away Ron Wyatt, who claimed to have found the Ark of the Covenant?

    He said it was likely hidden in a cave during the seige of Jerusalem, where it sat for several hundred years, before an earthquake cause a rend above it and the blood of the lamb of God poured down from the Messiah's spear pierced side, directly onto the mercy seat!

    Could he have really found it right under the crucifixion site? ... and turned it over the the Israelites, who did not want him to show evidence of the finding... I don't know, but his Noah Ark find looked real to me, so that lends credibility in my eyes.

    1. I watched the entire series of videos about this claim.
      It is so astonishing, that I could definitely see God, causing an series of events, of placement, earthquake, cracks in solid rock to make IT SO!

      But I also take the entire tale with a "grain of salt" -- because Ron's discovery happened way back in the 1980's -- and no one else has been able to repeat those discoveries.

  5. I heard that Brandon, that reminds me of mine, when I first read the bible seven years ago one year after the supernatural healing I received while in prayer for it...it was FAITH...
    The Holy Spirit had me start with the book of Revelation, then I had no idea why, but it's all so clear now.
    It was for the prophecy, for in it I would find the truth, including becoming a witness on the wall,which can be very lonely.Now with all of the Rev.12 Intel I do not think it a coincidence that I had picked this verse as my favorite, and even after finishing the bible it remains my favorite...it was picked for me. Rev.12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

    For that is all I have left,is the testimony our Father gave me, and the great humbling He put me through.

  6. In Luke 7:36-50 we have two examples of sinners. Simon the Pharisee and a woman who apparently was renown for her sin (Luke graciously omits what that sin was, so we should respect that and try not to guess). Jesus said something in his lesson to Simon that I found very interesting; in verse 47 he says, "Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

    Now very often the humblest parts of the Bible are the most profound. You see, if read it in the context of Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8-10, James 2:10, Isaiah 64:6, and especially Luke 18:9-14, you see that ANY sin is enough to condemn you to hell, and that it is a pass/fail thing, because it isn't that you sinned more or less than the next guy, it's that you have fallen short og the glory of God.

    It was a theme Jesus constantly illustrated and re-illustrated. We are all sinners, guilty of breaking the whole Law. The woman in Luke 7:36-50 was forgiven of the same degree of sin as the Pharisee was blind to in his own life. Thus the Laodiceans in Revelation 3 needed "salve for their eyes" because they thought they were righteous because of their works and wealth! They were as blind as Simon the Pharisee.

    As CS Lewis wisely stated, "Prostitutes are in no danger of finding their present life so satisfactory that they cannot turn to God: the proud, the avaricious, the self-righteous, are in that danger.”

    The man who sits in the front row of church every Sunday in a three-piece suit, filled with pride and confidence that his works will no doubt obligate God to allow him entrance into heaven, is in far more danger of hell than the homosexual in the back row in shorts and flip-flops who knows he's a sinner whose only chance to be saved is by the sheer grace and mercy of God.

    1. "you see that ANY sin is enough to condemn you to hell, and that it is a pass/fail thing, because it isn't that you sinned more or less than the next guy, it's that you have fallen short og the glory of God.

      It was a theme Jesus constantly illustrated and re-illustrated. We are all sinners, guilty of breaking the whole Law."

      Bingo! And that summarizes the purpose of the law: to show us our great need for Christ.

  7. The Temple Institute states it know where the ark of the covenant is, I'm not sure if that is what Ron Wyatt was also speaking of. But it is likely underground in the passages beneath the temple site.


    1. Quote from site:

      "This location is recorded in our sources, and today, there are those who know exactly where this chamber is. And we know that the ark is still there, undisturbed, and waiting for the day when it will be revealed. An attempt was made some few years ago to excavate towards the direction of this chamber. This resulted in widespread Moslem unrest and rioting. They stand a great deal to lose if the Ark is revealed - for it will prove to the whole world that there really was a Holy Temple, and thus, that the Jews really do have a claim to the Temple Mount. (The official position of the Islamic Wakf, the body that governs over the Temple Mount, is that there never was a Holy Temple, and that the Jews have no rights whatsoever to the place)."


    1. Spread the message, sister in Christ. The days are few.

    2. I am shouting from the roof tops and I pray someone...anyone is listening.

  9. I accidentally realized that the Rev. 12 sign is happening just now in the sky when I started to reread Revelation several months ago, so I managed to get more information about it. Regretfully, it's really hard to find materials in Chinese (I lived in Taipei, Taiwan.) about this topic. Seems scared by the failed end-time prophecies from 1998、2012 to 2015、2016. Even in my church, no one is talking about these. I felt depressed and lonely until I found Unsealed.

    I believe there should be something to happen on 23rd, Sept. even if I don't really understand the following red dragon and the Rapture...

    Every morning when i click on Unsealed link,I just want to express my thanks to you all who share information on this site.

    1. Grateful to hear from you and am glad you find our site encouraging. Please pray for us and please pray we have godly discernment and spiritual wisdom to rightly divide the Word.

    2. Hi Gary,
      I will.
      Keep on! Your works had encouraged me, and might encourage more others around world.

  10. In the interest of factual accuracy it might be worth mentioning that, beyond general categories like pantheist vs. not pantheist, Hinduism actually has numerous divisions that can't even agree on, say, which god created the universe. Brahma is merely the most common answer. There has also been a lot of oneupmanship between the sects over the years, so that while once Indra being the king of the gods, like Zeus, was enough for supremacy, now there are people saying that while Brahma created the universe, another god created *all* the universes, and *above that* is the Krishna whom the sect worships. Most Hindus however would say that Krishna is only an incarnation of Brahma, much like that malformed calf whose birth and death was in the news recently. Incidentally, this kind of thing also makes Biblical stories look less impressive in comparison, which I suppose could be the point.

    Hinduism is not built on a rock. The more you know...

  11. Brother Gary

    Wonderful article. It's not the fruit of our labour but Christ' s sacrifice alone that can save us.
    Thank you. God bless you.

  12. Dear Gary, you wrote: 'If you personally believe and accept this Good News then you're in. You've made it aboard the Ark. The Holy Spirit has come and indwelt you...' It's not that simple. You cannot come to Christ by your own will and rational (or emotional) decision by making your own mind up. That's modern works "altar call" like theology too. Exactly this is the problem why so many professing Christians THINK themselves to be saved and are not. They claim to have 'made a decision for the gospel' to believe in Christ. There are billions of them. But that's not how it works. John 1,13 + 3,8 / Philippians 2,13

    1. Hey sister Annabel, you raise a good point, but I don't think we're saying two different things. I think we're pretty much on the same page. I added an addendum to the article - search above for "Listen carefully to what I'm saying here".

      "Sinner's prayers" and "altar calls" have no power to save anyone. They are just works - as you say.

      Present active tense, ongoing, relational, loyal belief is what allows us to be saved through Christ's blood.

      But once we add one thing to Gospel it is no longer the Gospel. The Gospel + anything = nothing. Jesus does the saving, but we must believe in Him to the end.

      The only slight thing I disagree on though is your statistic. I've studied lots of surveys, statistics, and Barna studies and there are definitely not billions of people who think they've made a decision for the gospel. In the United States, for example, recent studies show that greater than half of all self-identified Christian believe they are saved by their own works and efforts. Clearly they don't believe the Gospel. Yet, the Christians who believe they are saved apart from their works are the most theologically conservative and active members in their faith (in other words, the ones who believe in salvation through the Gospel + nothing are the ones who are the most anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, biggest tithers, most active in missions, etc). The fruit of their theology is evident.

      The Christians who are typically the least active in their faith and more politically liberal are many mainline Protestants and cultural Catholics (both of which are largely works-based). This also includes the Christian universalists, inclusionists, etc.

    2. For those that Believe!

      [Jhn 3:12 KJV] 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you [of] heavenly things?

      [Jhn 3:16 KJV] 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

      [Rom 10:9 KJV] That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

      [1Co 1:21 KJV] For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

      [2Co 4:13 KJV] 13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

      [Gal 3:22 KJV] 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

      [1Th 4:14 KJV] 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

      [2Th 1:10 KJV] 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed ) in that day.

      [1Ti 1:16 KJV] 16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

      [1Ti 4:10 KJV] 10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

      [1Jo 5:13 KJV] 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

      For those that do not Believe:
      [2Th 2:10-12 KJV] 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

      Evil Spirits Believe, but cannot be saved:
      [Jas 2:19 KJV] 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

      There are more, but here is a small listing.

    3. This subject is such a blast! Thanks Gary and Annebel! And there truly will be a "Blast" soon a "Horn Blast"!

    4. Dear Gary beloved brother: regarding "Statistics"... ;-)) think of the number of self-deluded souls not only in the US but all over the world who followed this special teaching of 'decisional regeneration' according to Charles Finney (1792-1875) which spread all over the globe quickly but he wasn't new about this either because Arminianus (born 1560) and Pelagius (4th century AD) teached similar long before. So you can come to billions very easily :D

  13. James 2:19 ...even the demons believe (intellectual ascent)....

    Not the same as acknowledging God as creator, God as LORD, Christ as the only way in and surrendering/submitting to His Lordship in your life.

    Of course none of us surrender and submit well and it is this that causes us to need to be very careful where trying to set the line.

    Faith of a mustard seed will do.

    Much debate in Christendom about what is the minimum standard for salvation. Sad really that there's so little talk of what "all in" (poured out like a drink offering as Paul said) looks like.

    Most stand on the safety of the beach with Ephesians 2:8-9 or Acts 2:38/Mark 16:16 beach umbrellas in hand, without really moving into the depths of life in Christ.

    Often I am torn apart with the overwhelming knowledge of my depravity and the unfathomable riches of His grace. When I keep my estimation of myself very low and my awe at the wonders of His love, praise just comes flowing out, my life changes, the friends around me change and joy is abundant.

    1. Sorry Greg, I disagree with you here
      (one of my pet peeves if you will -- no one uses the entire quote)

      19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

      The POINT is they believe in ONE GOD ---

      NOT that they believe in Jesus Christ -- and His accomplishments!

      Belief in God -- is NOT the same thing as believing Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God who took away our sins by His Death, Burial, and Resurrection.

      Jewish people and Muslim people believe in ONE God.

      In fact one Jewish Guy I tried to witness too .... threw in my face that Christian's worship multiple Gods -- because of their confusion with the Trinity.



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