What is the Atonement?


The atonement is the work of Jesus through his perfect life and substitutionary death where he earned salvation for all who will believe in him.  Jesus’ atoning work expresses in perfect harmony the love of God (John 3:16) and the justice of God (Romans 3:25-26).

Atonement: God’s Love and Justice

Whenever you start talking about the atonement the conversation can quickly fall into debate over matters such as “extent.”  While that is a worthy subject to consider it serves us better at this moment to focus on the grand fact that atonement exists.  Atonement didn’t need to exists.  God didn’t need to atone for anyone’s sins.  It wasn’t required that God provide payment for sin and satisfaction for wrath from human sin.  The atonement exists because God’s love and justice exist and he chose to act on that love and justice. Jesus, as the God-man, is the only one who could suffer and die for our sins.

Real Righteousness:

Another sometimes overlooked facet of the atonement is what some call the “active” obedience of Christ.  This refers to Jesus’ perfect life.  The “righteousness” that comes through faith in Christ is a real righteousness (Philippians 3: 9).  It is the perfect and sinless righteous life of Jesus.  Therefore, all who are in Christ share in Christ’s righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Jesus Bore Our Sins:

An aspect of the atonement that defies my attempts to fully grasp and understand is the non-physical suffering Jesus endured when he became the payment for sin.  I’m not sure what it fully means that Jesus took upon himself the wrath of God for the full payment of sin.  We do get a picture of God’s wrath for sin when we read about eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire.  If those accounts are descriptive of God’s wrath for sin, and Jesus took that wrath for me, I have much for which to be thankful to God in Christ!

What About You?

Perhaps the best question to ask after reading about the atonement is, “Has Christ atoned for your sin?”  The atonement is a grand doctrine but only for those have been delivered from God’s wrath by grace through faith in Jesus.  If you have not found deliverance from your sin in the atoning work of Jesus, repent and believe in him today and be saved!

Let’s Chat:

Our first Men’s Fellowship will occur this Saturday, November 8 at Panera Bread at Wiregrass from 9am-11am.  I hope you can join us.  If you plan on attending leave a comment below so we can be sure to have enough seating. If you haven’t been able to keep up with reading the book don’t let that keep you away.  Men, I hope you are able to join us as we seek to encourage each other’s faith by talking about God’s great character.

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