The Atonement of Christ

The Atonement of Christ for us!


“God demonstrated His love for us, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. . . now being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. . . by Whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:8-11)


There are at least 8 keys to understanding the atonement of Christ. By studying the revelation of Paul the Apostle in his letters to the churches that we can gain a real understanding of the finished work of Christ on the cross.


#1. Sacrificial


When we say that the atonement was “sacrificial,” we mean that Christ was our sacrifice. When Christ died on the cross, it was for you and me. He became our passover. If you had been the only person on the planet, Christ would have died on the cross for you. He loves you that much! The Bible says that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.


“Who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)


“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through him.” (Romans 5:9)


“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died; and he died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)


You are justified by faith in the blood of Christ. Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us. (Romans 5:9; Ephesians 5:2)


#2. Vicarious


By vicarious atonement we simply mean that Christ died on our behalf. He was our representative and we are identified with Him in his death, burial, and resurrection. I am crucified with Christ and now Christ lives His life through me in my identification with Him and in His atonement.


“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 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.” (Romans 5:6)


“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)


“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)


#3. Substitutionary


By the term “Substitutionary Atonement” we simply mean that He took your place on the cross. The gospel song that says “I should have been crucified” expresses this idea of the substitutionary work of Christ.


Christ took our place. I should have gone to the cross, but instead, Jesus went there for me. He bore our sins in His own body on the cross.


In the words of Saint Augustine, “But Christ without guilt . . . took upon Himself our punishment, in order that He might thus expiate our guilt and do away with our punishment.”


“He (Christ) died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)


Martin Luther said, “This is the mystery of the riches of divine grace for sinners, for by a wonderful exchange our sins are now not ours but Christ’s and Christ’s righteousness is not Christ’s but ours.”


#4. Penal


Penal atonement is where Christ took our curse and bore our death and our penalty for us. Christ bore the penalty for our sins. He (Christ)Who knew no sin, was made to be sin on our behalf; in order that we might become the righteousness of God in him.


“For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)


“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse forus; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)


#5. Propitiatory


By the term propitiatory atonement we simply mean the truth that Christ is our mercy seat. His blood appeases the wrath of a just and holy God. We can commune with God in the secret place because of, and only because of, the blood of Christ that is sprinkled on the mercy seat in heaven. The just wrath of God has been satisfied by the atonement of Christ on the cross.


“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood,to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God; for the showing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season:that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:24-26)


“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through him.” (Romans 5:9)


“Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (I John 4:9)


#6. Expiatory


When we call the atonement “expiatory”, we mean that our sins are covered with the blood. The Greek literally means that our sins are done away with or obliterated. As far as the east is from the west . . . Though are sins be as scarlet, we shall be made white as snow . . . by the expiatory work of Christ and His blood on the cross.


#7 Redemptive


The redemptive aspect of the atonement is where we are ransomed, or purchased, by the blood of Christ. We are not our own, we have been bought with a price. Acts 20:28 says that the Church was “purchased with his (Christ’s) own blood.” (Acts 20:28)


#8. Triumphant


The atonement of Christ is a Triumphant Atonement. Because of the atonement, we are triumphant over Satan. Jesus spoiled principalities and powers, and now God has raised us up and made us sit together with Christ in the heavenly places.


“Having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:15)


“But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus: for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:4-10)


It is only by virtue of the blood of Christ sacrificed for us on the cross that we can approach the Throne of GRACE with boldness and obtain Mercy.


Suggested Affirmation of Faith:


Through the blood of Jesus, I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil.


Through the blood of Jesus, I am delivered from the powers of darkness.


Through the blood of Jesus, I am translated into the Kingdom of God.


The precious blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, continually cleanses me from all sin. I boldly declare that my body is a temple for the Holy Spirit of God. I am redeemed, cleansed, delivered and totally set free from all the bondage of the devil, by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ.

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