Atonement is a theological term in which many Christians who are not studying their Bibles deeply are not well familiar of this. And today, I’m going to share this very important subject in the Bible. This is important simply because it is centered on Christ – It’s about His redemptive plan, redemptive act and redemptive work. This is important because it has something to do with our salvation and sanctification. This is basic or fundamental doctrines of the Bible. This is something that we really need to know the most!
Actually, it was originally two words—at one (mo)ment, and it was made up by Bible translators. They were trying to capture the idea of reconciling the broken relationship between God and man. And if you think about it, it carries that idea pretty well. When a man and a woman are happily married, we say they are of one flesh. At the same time, a perfect relationship between man and God would be an “at one” relationship. But that relationship was broken. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, mankind’s relationship with God was no longer at one. We now have a sin nature that has been passed down to us from Adam. And because of that sin nature, we all sin. So not only is mankind as a whole not “at one” with God… none of us as individuals is “at one” with God. The Bible puts it this way, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And the sad thing is, in and of ourselves, there is nothing we can do about it. There is nothing we can do about it, because the only cure for sin is death. Back in the garden, God told Adam that if he sinned by eating the fruit, he would surely die. But Adam and Eve didn’t die when they ate of the fruit.
Why? Because God offered a substitute. In Genesis 3:21, God killed an animal and clothed them in its skin. He shed the blood as an atonement for their sin and covered them with the substitute’s pure, sinless carcass. The animal died so they wouldn’t have to. The animal atoned for their sin. The animal shed its blood so their relationship could be at one with God again. Hebrews 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. So all through the Old Testament, we see sacrifice after sacrifice after sacrifice. Millions of gallons of animal blood was poured out as an attempt to atone for the people’s sins. But all that blood pointed to one thing. It pointed to the need for a more perfect sacrifice. The writer to the Hebrews puts it like this in 10:3-4: “But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Then he gives the answer in the second part of verse 9-10: “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ THE ATONEMENT
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
“And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans 5:8-11 (NKJV)
ATONEMENT: “reconciliation”; “the reconciliation of God and man through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.” (Webster) “That which produces this reconciliation, as well as the satisfaction or propitiation effected through the expiatory sacrifice designed to have that effect.” The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible.
I. THE NECESSITY OF THE ATONEMENT
The Condition of Man Required It:
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
II. THE NATURE OF THE ATONEMENT:
1. Achieved Through the Shedding of Blood
“And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22
Also: “ For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11
2. Required the Sacrifice of The Innocent for the Guilty:
“Your lamb shall be with without blemish…” Exodus 12:5 Also: “Then shall he kill the goat of the sin-offering that is for the people: and bring his blood within the veil (Holy of Holies) and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and in front of the mercy seat.” Leviticus 16:15
3. Perfectly and Completely Fulfilled in the Lord Jesus:
“The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming to him and said: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29.
III. THE EXTENT OF THE ATONEMENT
1. The Old Testament Types of Christ Had to Be Offered Once a Year…Every Year!
“Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance.” Hebrews 9:6-7 (NKJV)
2. The Atonement Made By Christ Was Done Once And For All Eternity!
“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:11-12 (NKJV)
“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.” Hebrews 7:25-28 (NKJV)