Thursday, March 24, 2016

Timeless Truths: What Christians believe about… #3-Atonement

11. What Christians believe about… #3-Atonement
March 24, 2016
All Scripture quotations are from the NIV.

Atonement addresses the question, “Why did Christ die?”

The answer includes reparation for sins and reconciliation in our relationship with Christ. Ultimately, the goal for all Christians is to live in the right place in our relationship with God and with humanity.

Sin separates humanity from God and from others. Two major schools of Protestantism define sin quite differently.

  • Calvinism: Sin is missing the mark. Humanity tries to hit the mark but misses God’s target.
  • Wesleyanism: Sin is a willful transgression against God. My background is in Wesleyanism.
Forgiveness of sin is mandatory for a right relationship with God.
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:22b-23

All of us need our sins forgiven. Fortunately, forgiveness is given to all of us.
and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus [this is forgiveness]. Romans 3:24

Atonement theologically speaks of God's acting in human history to re-establish the original relationship between God and man by dealing with sin. To atone means to make amends--to repair a wrong done. Biblically, it means to remove the guilt of man. The Old Testament atonements offered by the high priest were temporary and foreshadowed the real and final atonement made by Jesus. Jesus atoned for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). This atonement is received by faith (Rom. 5:1, Eph. 2:8-9).
[Each person] is a sinner (Rom. 5:8) and cannot atone for [herself/]himself. Therefore, it was the love of the Father that sent Jesus (1 John 4:10) to die in our place (1 Pet. 3:18) for our sins (1 Pet. 2:24). Because of the atonement, our fellowship with God is restored (Rom. 5:10).

Because of the atonement of Christ—His conquering of death through His resurrection…

  • We can have the original relationship God intended to have with humanity restored. For this to be completed, each one must ask for forgiveness.
  • Once we receive forgiveness, we are ambassadors of God’s forgiveness. We should be constantly forgiving.
  • Mercy and justice often clash à forgiveness isn’t always easy. But, Christ says we are to forgive as we have been forgiven.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14
  • The Apostle Paul puts it like this:
Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive one another, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done [this is the atonement]. Ephesians 4:32
  • Ultimately, forgiveness is marked and defined by Love & Life.
  • God’s love moved Him to forgive us. So, we don’t live for ourselves—we live for Christ.
  • Our lives are not about us. They are about Christ.
  • God’s love gives us life, which we are to give to those around us.
  • Forgiveness has to do with life, not death. Forgiveness provides life now… We don’t need to wait for eternity!

Thanks to Rev. Scott Peterson for the central teachings used in this blog.

Next Thursday's Timeless Truths Series: What Christians believe about… #4-The Resurrection (Part 1)
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