On Atonement

The fact that even one human being has been saved from eternal damnation is an act of mercy by God. Man has devised untold numbers of religions and philosophies to save himself from the punishment for sin he knows he deserves. In contrast, the one true God — Yahweh, has graciously made His way for a man to be delivered from hell (John 14:6).

You may have heard that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified on a Roman execution device called a cross. Did you know He Himself chose to suffer this cruel death? Jesus is called the “Lamb of God” slain from before the foundation of the world. In other words, the Godhead in community (a.k.a. the Trinity) counseled with one another before the creation to provide a means for sinful man to be reconciled to God by a blood sacrifice. This is called, “atonement” which is the state of man being at one or at peace with God. There is life in the blood. When blood is poured out of a body, life departs the creature. The absence of life is called, “death.”

The death of the body is familiar to us, but the second death is not seen so readily. The second death is the death of the soul — the invisible, animating spirit in human beings. The body decays in death, but the soul is transported to eternity where God judges each soul individually. The soul is either redeemed and delivered to heaven, or it has not been bought for a price.

To be redeemed means the sinful soul has been salvaged from the eternal trash heap. The smoldering stench of burning souls, amidst everlasting darkness was vividly described by Jesus as a place where the worm does not die — meaning the soul is conscious! Why does such horror exist?

This is the just penalty for sins committed against God. It is not for man to assess; but rather, it is God’s righteous judgment, for He is the judge of the law He established and presented to Moses. Thus, we are all condemned by the inherited sin of Adam and by our own practice of lawlessness.

With justice and because of love, God provided the full payment for sinners to be declared “not guilty” at the bar of perfect righteousness…but how does the holiness of God mingle with the rebellion of man? The answer is found in a man who is God; or rather, we might say in the God who took on flesh by becoming a man. In this, the eternal Son of God brought sinless holiness into bodily form and the angel declared to the virgin girl that His name is called, “Jesus” meaning “Yahweh saves.” His name reveals His purpose. God sent His Son to pay the penalty for sin so man could be saved from eternal punishment.

The death of Jesus, who is also called Messiah or Christ, on the appointed day outside the camp of Israel was bloody. The innocent Lamb of God was slaughtered as a scapegoat for others. His sacrifice was vicarious and acceptable to God because it was once offered for the sins of all who figuratively “came under or were sprinkled by His blood.” His life unto death, a ransom for many souls, brought those who were dead in their trespasses and sins unto new life. The wrath of God against sinful souls was redirected to the sinless Son of Man on the cross. He was crushed for our iniquities, pierced for our transgressions, and by His scourging we are healed as the Lord caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Jesus.

Who is the “all” for which sin was washed away? Who has been freed from the penalty of death because of her bondage to sin? Who in separation from God has been atoned with God? Christ died for us (Rom 5:8) when Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us (Gal 3:13). For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21; c/f Gal 1:4; Eph 1:7). Jesus prayed for us who believe in Him through our word (Jn 17:20). He prayed for those of us who God the Father had given Him (Jn 17:19), and then He gave Himself over to death for her (Eph 5:25). Who is she that Jesus loved so much?

“She” is Christ’s church for whom the accuser can no longer bring a charge of sin (Rom 8:33–34). The reason is God has imputed to these elect people who trust in His name — Jesus’ righteousness (right standing before God). We were enemies reconciled to God by the death of His Son (Rom 5:10). We believe, as a result of our position “in Christ.” Our allegiance is to our Beloved who bought us with an extreme price, demonstrating His love toward us even while we demonstrated rebellion toward Him. He won us when He chose us (Eph 1:3); predestined us to adoption (Eph 1:5); forgave our sins (Eph 1:7); sealed the deal for us by promising an eternal inheritance by coming to live in our hearts (Eph 1:13–14). We are the betrothed of Jesus Christ. We are His bride to be — awaiting His promised arrival to bring us to our wedding feast known as the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7–10).

Yes, Christ died for me and for us, the redeemed of the Lord. Can you believe it? You will believe it if you are with Him and in Him, and if He is with you and in you. And God’s Spirit in us, who together are called the bride, says, “Amen. Come Lord Jesus (Rev. 22:17, 20).”

David Norczyk

Lakewood, California

July 11, 2021

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher