Question: From the Divine point of view, is there any legal merit in the Church’s sacrifice, either individually or collectively, and if so, will it be used in any way to atone for the sins of the world?
Answer: The Church had no legal merit according to the flesh. Upon accepting Jesus as Savior, the believer received a tentative imputation of Christ’s human merit, granting tentative justification and upon consecration received an actual imputation of Christ’s human merit, granting vitalized justification. So, it was Christ’s merit that gave them a standing with God. Immediately after consecration, these individuals were spirit-begotten, and thus became new creatures.
As to whether the Church’s sufferings add to the ransom-sacrifice, the answer is no. The Scriptures are plain in declaring that it is Jesus’ ransom or human merit alone which will atone for the Adamic sin of the world, as well as all sins that are attributable to Adamic sin. John the Baptist proclaimed this truth when he said of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1: 29). Also, the Apostle John writing of Jesus in 1 John 2: 2 states, “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Jesus’ merit alone is sufficient to atone for the sins of the world; the sin-offering element of the Church’s sacrifice is not needed. “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell” – that the full credit of the redemptive work should thus be in Him (Colossians 1: 19). As 1 Corinthians 8: 6 expresses it, “To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”