Propitiation
May 1, 2011
Reconciliation
May 5, 2011
Propitiation
May 1, 2011
Reconciliation
May 5, 2011

Atonement

Atonement

Greek: καταλλαγή

 Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary: exchange (figurative adjustment), i.e. restoration to (the divine) favor :- atonement, reconciliation (-ing).

Merriam-Webster:= 1. Agreement; concord; reconciliation, after enmity or controversy

2. Expiation; satisfaction or reparation made by giving an equivalent for an injury, or by doing or suffering that which is received in satisfaction for an offense or injury; with for.

3. In theology, the expiation of sin made by the obedience and personal sufferings of Christ.

Many have defined atonement as “at one ment”, in other words, “At one between God and man.” This harmony has only been seen in the life of Adam and Eve before the fall. Only then was man at one with God and walked in fellowship with Him in the garden. The fall changed that. God drove man from His presence due to sin and the whole issue of sin had to be dealt with in some manner.

Sacrifices evolved as the means of dealing with sins. God Himself made the first sacrifice of animals in order “to cover” Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel brought sacrifices. Abel’s sacrifice was from his flock. Abraham offered sacrifices. Job as well. The law came through Moses and further defined God’s requirements for atonement.

Although the law provided atonement for both inanimate objects such as the tent of meeting and also used offerings of non-blood items like grain, the primary means of atonement was the sacrifice of an animal and its shedding of blood. The main object of atonement was the sins of the people. The most important day was the Day of Atonement. Once a year the High priest would fulfill the requirements necessary to atone for the sins of the people. And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. (Leviticus 16:29-30 KJV)

The actions called for display everything that God apparently intended us to understand about the way he was to deal with sin. The sacrificial death of the first goat showed clearly that the offense of sin requires the punishment of death (Ezekiel 18:4). The sending of the second goat into the wilderness with the sins laid on the top of its head emphasizes that sin will be removed from the person and the community “as far as the east is from the west.” The burning of the sacrifice so that it is consumed shows the power of God over sin, destroying it so completely that it can no longer bother the person.

The King James Version only uses the word atonement once. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Romans 5:8-11 KJV) In fact, most of chapter 5 deals with the subject.

Although one word can’t define the totality of the finished work on the cross, each word adds life to the whole picture of salvation. In the New Testament, it is clear that the death of Jesus atoned for our sins. Under the law, the High Priest had to renew the reconciliation of God and His people every year. There needed to be an atonement made for the last time. Jesus would be the final sacrifice that would remove the problem of sin and restore fellowship with God on a permanent basis. While we were sinners, Christ died for our sins. Through the blood of Jesus, we have permanent reconciliation. God removed our sins and atoned for the penalty of sin. Jesus was a substitute. He was the scapegoat. Through His obedience to go to the cross, He satisfied the just requirements of the law and the penalty for sin. God provided a way. He gave His only begotten Son that we might not perish from the death penalty of our sins. He took the penalty upon Himself. In its place, He offers life everlasting to those who accept His atonement.

Jesus is our atonement. This is a work of God’s grace towards us. We can’t earn it. We don’t merit it. God provided it through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Only by grace through faith can we receive this marvelous gift. He puts us at one with God and restores our fellowship with Him.