This is a list of the article on this website that discusses the meaning of “atonement.” The question is, how did Christ atone for our sins?
Atonement has come to mean to make amends to propitiate wrath, but when the word “atonement” was put in the first English Bible, it did not describe a process but meant to be in a state of unity: to be AT ONE. The Greek word in the Bible that is sometimes translated as “atonement” means ‘reconciliation’; to establish a friendship. It was the doctrine that presents God as angry and the death of Christ as a sacrifice to pacify God, that slowly changed the meaning of “atonement” over the course of the centuries.
If Jesus did not die to atone for our sins, we could not be saved. On this, we agree, but there is much disagreement on HOW His death atoned for the sins of God’s people. We have to define the problem which His death solved. Was it God’s anger, or the demands of Justice or was it that sin gave Satan ownership of this world?
To understand the meaning of Christ’s death, we have to consider the bigger picture. Evil originated in heaven and was transplanted to the earth. God did not reject mankind and sent prophets to earth to turn people to Him. But God did condemn Satan. Satan responded by accusing God of unfair judgment, pointing to the sins of God’s people. Satan is extremely talented, and the angels were unable to determine whether Satan is telling the truth. Christ’s sacrifice cleared up the confusion in heaven and showed the rightness of God’s judgments.
Paul used a very rich variety of metaphors and symbols, including many metaphors of salvation, such as redeemed, reconciled, justified, reconciled and made alive. We must not interpret his metaphors literally.
Why did Jesus have to die to save people? What problem did His death solve? Did He die to pacify an angry God? HOW did His death reconcile all things to God? To know why Jesus had to die, we need to understand the origin of evil, as well as Satan’s accusations.
The book of Revelation 5 is sealed because of a dispute between the angels of heaven over God’s judgments. Christ resolves this dispute through demonstrations: Firstly, by His own death, which refers to His final hours, during which He overcame Satan’s ultimate temptation. Secondly, by a demonstration of the worthiness of God’s elect. God delays Christ’s return and the implementation of His judgments until all understand that His judgments are perfect.
RELATED ARTICLES AND TALKS
- For an explanation of how the Cross validated God’s judgments, see the Disarmed the rulers and authorities in heavenly places (Col 2:15).
- The discussion of the Seven Seals explains why are we still at war; even after the cross made peace.
- War in Heaven – Revelation 12
- Origin of Evil – Where and How
- Listen to Graham Maxwell’s view of Atonement, Justification and why Christ had to die from the letter to the Galatians.
- General Table of Contents