also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now
received the atonement" (Rom. 5:11)
about and being the subject of the atoning work of God, in and through
Jesus Christ our Lord, is an occasion for great joy. The doctrine
of the Atonement should not be selected as an occasion for wrangling
and strife which, sadly, it has been down through the ages. God’s
thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not ours (Isaiah
55:8-9). So, with the deep (or high!) and difficult principles of
the Atonement, as with all the things of God, we must humble ourselves
and be teachable. Otherwise we just will not understand.
means ‘at-one ment’…(of people to God, who had before been estranged
from Him) Another word used for atonement is ‘reconciliation’, which
is used in the following places in the New Testament….2 Cor. 5:18-19
and Hebrews 2:17, whilst the related words, reconcile, reconciled
and reconciling, occur eleven (11) times.
the word ‘atonement’ is by far the word more often used in
Scripture and occurs 77 times in the Old Testament and once in the
New testament…..in Romans 5:11, as quoted above.
NEED FOR ATONEMENT:
we can ‘joy’ in ‘having received the atonement’, in being
reconciled to God, we must firstly UNDERSTAND OUR NEED of it and
then BELIEVE AND DO WHAT IS NECESSARY to be ‘at-one’ with God.
are not naturally ‘at one’ with God, for we are born ignorant of
Him, of His thoughts and ways, just as we are born ignorant of everything
else. Also, when we reach an age of being able to understand the
Bible, we are still, as the prophet Isaiah describes, "all we
like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own
way", (Isaiah 53:6). We sin by not doing what God wants
for us, but rather by doing what we want for ourselves. Unfortunately,
it is mostly our will that we want done, whilst we perhaps don’t
want to know about God’s will!
word reveals that there are two, and ONLY two things, which alienate
us, or estrange us from God and we all come to the atonement
being the subject of them both. Those two things are IGNORANCE
AND SIN, in thought and action..( Ephesians 4:18; Colossians
1:21) As we progress to adulthood, the ignorance with which we were
born becomes serious.
adults we sin, or transgress God’s laws, sometimes knowingly but
often ignorantly. SO….the FIRST STAGE IN COMING TO GOD’S ATONEMENT
IS TO KNOW AND BELIEVE GOD AND HIS WAY---by which ignorance is replaced
with knowledge. THE SECOND STAGE IS TO OBEY HIM---by which sin is
replaced with obedience. The obedience of faith is the faith
which pleases God….(Hebrews 11:6; Romans 16:26 (See studies The
Truth About Faith and, The Truth About Forgiveness).
PRINCIPLES OF THE ATONEMENT:
sinned and his sin brought ‘sin and the sentence of death’ into
the world. (Romans 5:12 Genesis 3). As Adam’s descendants, we
are all born subject to death. ( 1 Corinthians 15:21-22), and
we are all born with selfish desires which tempt us as responsible
adults, to do the sins to which we have all yielded. (James 1:13-16;
Romans 3:23) see The Truth About Sin.
"the life of the flesh is in the blood’, God has decreed
that "without the shedding of blood", or, the pouring out
of the life of the flesh, "there is no remission( of sin)".(Leviticus
17:11-14…Hebrews 9:22). In literal terms this means that God’s
way of forgiveness, and salvation for man who has sinned by serving
self, MUST BE by denying self and serving God. The
Mosaic Law taught it in a figure, and Jesus taught it literally….
"if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take
up his cross, and follow me". (Matthew 16:24)
has made the ‘obedience unto death’ of His Son, "the man Christ
Jesus", His appointed ‘covering’ for man’s sin. As Adam and
Eve must (and did) put on the ‘coats of skins’ with which
God ‘clothed them’ (Genesis 3:21), and as ‘the children
of Israel’ must offer the proscribed animal, bullock, goat,
lamb or doves, ‘without blemish’, (Leviticus ch. 4 to 8),
so, under the New Covenant, we MUST ‘put on’ the sinless
Christ, (Galatians 3:27), the "Lamb slain from the foundation
of the world’ (Revelation 13:8).
sinless, obedient Jesus is OUR EXAMPLE of how God wants us to
live, and to die, in loving service to God and to our fellow man.
(1 Peter 2:21-25)
deals with mankind under two heads, or families—Adam God’s first
son, and Jesus Christ, his only begotten son. (Romans 5:12-21).
Those "in Adam" by natural generation, both sin and die.
Those ‘in Christ by faith’, or spiritual regeneration,
both live righteously and will be raised to gain eternal life.
(1 Corinthians 15:21-23).
get out of Adam and into Christ, God requires that
we be "born again" or "born of water and the spirit"
(John 3:3-8). This rebirth commences with believing "the things
concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ." (Acts
8:12; Mark 16:15-16), then being baptised (immersed in water)
into the death of Christ for removal of sin (Romans 6), and hereafter
living faithfully (Romans 2:7).
first justified (being made right with God), then
progressively throughout life being sanctified (being cleansed
from sin) and finally, at Christ's coming, being saved from
eternal death , (given eternal life), is all by God's grace,
through our faith in Him and in His word.
denying self to serve God is God’s way for our at-one-ment
with Him, then the same way, along with serving others, is the way
to LIVE the atonement in the remainder of our lives. That
is why the two great commandments of both the Law of Moses and the
law of Christ, are given as…1. "Thou shalt love THE LORD
thy God with all thine heart, with all thy soul, ……"(Deut. 6:4;
Matt 22:37-38), and, 2. "Thou shalt love thy neighbour
as thyself" (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:39)
we ..1, know and believe God, by believing the Gospel, or
‘good news’ of His salvation, and 2, surrender to His way
by being baptised into Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and
3, live lives of love, hope and faith, THEN WE ARE
AT-ONE WITH GOD, who, "so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16), will live in
us by His spirit.
will talk to us through His Word, and we will talk to Him in prayer
and shall also walk faithfully with Him in peace and joy, awaiting
His coming kingdom and glory. We will truly know that we were redeemed
"with the precious blood of Christ". (1 Pet 1:18-22…Rev.
5:9) and we will rejoice in that knowledge, supported as it will
be by ‘faith, hope and love’. (1 Cor. 13). Our new life in
Christ, with whom we will enjoy sweet fellowship, will be like Adam
and Eve in Eden before they sinned!
LOST by Adam will become AT-ONE-MENT by, and IN Jesus Christ.
is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus…For the
law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from
the law of sin and death.". (Romans 8:1-4)
in the Lord alway: and again I say, REJOICE". (Philip. 4:4)