Atonement

In Sun­day School, we have been exam­in­ing the huge words that define what we believe. #7 was Atonement.

What is the atonement?

Come read the best def­i­n­i­tion I’ve read on the sub­ject of Christ’s mak­ing man “at-one-ment” with him. The ital­i­cized one is mem­o­riz­able and great for meditating.

Think slowly through these lines and see your Sav­ior dying for you to buy a new life for you.

The bib­li­cal gospel of atone­ment is of God sat­is­fy­ing him­self by sub­sti­tut­ing him­self for us.
The cross was not a com­mer­cial bar­gain with the devil, let alone one that tricked and trapped him: nor an exact equiv­a­lent, a quid pro quo to sat­isfy a code of honor or tech­ni­cal point of law; nor a com­pul­sory sub­mis­sion by God to some moral author­ity above him from which he could not oth­er­wise escape; nor a pun­ish­ment of a meek Christ by a harsh and puni­tive Father; nor a pro­cure­ment of sal­va­tion by a lov­ing Christ from a mean and reluc­tant Father; nor an action of the Father which bypassed Christ as Mediator.

Instead, the right­eous, lov­ing Father hum­bled him­self to become in and through his only Son flesh, sin and a curse for us, in order to redeem us with­out com­pro­mis­ing his own char­ac­ter. The the­o­log­i­cal words sat­is­fac­tion and sub­sti­tu­tion need to be care­fully defined and safe­guarded, but they can­not in any cir­cum­stance be given up.

The bib­li­cal gospel of atone­ment is of God sat­is­fy­ing him­self by sub­sti­tut­ing him­self for us.

The con­cept of sub­sti­tu­tion may be said, then, to lie at the heart of both sin and sal­va­tion. For the essence of sin is man sub­sti­tut­ing him­self for God, while the essence of sal­va­tion is God sub­sti­tut­ing him­self for man. Man asserts him­self against God and puts him­self where only God deserves to be; God sac­ri­fices him­self for man and puts him­self where only man deserves to be. Man claims pre­rog­a­tives that belong to God alone; God accepts penal­ties that belong to man alone.

John Stott, The Cross of Christ. (158–159)

May we live in the atone­ment with our God!  For the love of Christ con­straineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not hence­forth live unto them­selves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (2 Corinthi­ans 5:14–15)

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