Summary: We are not just saved, we are made at ONE with the Almighty - now let’s discover more...
Paddy Venner is Senior Pastor of Harfield Road Assembly of God in Cape Town, South Africa
Foundations of Truth Part 2
Romans 5: 1-11
The Atonement is an act that was carried out in harrowing severity on a hill called the skull outside of Jerusalem some 2000 years ago.
It was easily the greatest act of love that the world would ever know – the righteous for the unrighteous, the just for the unjust, the holy for the unholy and the Godly for the Godless.
The word ‘atonement’ literally means ‘reconciliation’, or ‘at-one-ment’, as it was the act of the atonement that made us one again with our creator after we had been separated from him by our sin.
Another meaning for the word ‘atonement’ is the word ‘to cover’ – and this was used in the Old Testament accounts of atonement – Leviticus 5: 6, 10, 13
Literally it was a case of God looking down and seeing the sin being covered by the blood of the animal.
Because the sin was covered it no longer invited the reaction of God’s wrath.
The Bible makes it clear that God took no pleasure in the sacrifice of the animal itself, but in the attitude of penitence and remorse on the part of the person bringing it.
The atonement carried out by Jesus Christ, is the heart of the gospel, the good news, and is also central to the message of the Bible
There were three main players in the act of atonement: - God the Father, God the Son, and man
The Role of God in the Atonement
In fact, when Jesus was crucified, it was the first time God’s perfect will was being done on heaven and earth simultaneously – it was an act of complete obedience
The atonement that Jesus carried out was in absolute obedience to God’s perfect will – Mark 8: 31
The atonement, some have argued, was out of character for God, as it involved allowing Jesus to die although He was innocent
This is in fact not the case, because it must be remembered that perfect obedience to God brings Him joy, and this was an act of perfect obedience by Jesus
The atonement showed God’s righteousness and love towards us
His love was being demonstrated by letting the crucifixion happen, while at the same time His justice was being meted out against sin
The atonement as not in conflict with God’s character at all, but demonstrated how love and justice can work together.
Justice dictated that there had to be punishment for the sins of man – they could not be ignored nor go unpunished – and in a perfect act of love and reconciliation God’s wrath was appeased, His commands were obeyed, His love was declared and His mercy to sinners was made abundantly clear
He was saying ‘ I have done everything I can to give you a way to get to me’
During the crucifixion, God was accepting the wages of sin and was enduring the consequences with every fibre of His being.
God, in doing son, was reconciling Himself to mankind in mercy – We received mercy when we should have received justice – don’t cry out for His justice – just thank Him for His mercy!
Why did God need a sacrifice to be made – couldn’t He just forgive unconditionally?
We must remember that God was offended by our sins in His capacity as Judge, and as Judge He requires reparations to be made. You can commit a murder and then go and plead your sorrow to the judge. He might well forgive you, but there is still a price to be paid
Except in our case Jesus paid that price, son that all we need to do is receive Him and believe Him
The Role of Jesus in the Atonement
Jesus played a three-fold role in the atonement.
1. He played the role of High Priest
Hebrews 4: 14-16; 9: 11-14, 25, 26
Jesus took on the role of the priest of old who would take in the sacrifice into the presence of God, but more than that:
2. He played the role of the sacrifice
The priests of old would bring a sacrificed animal into the presence of God, bit here we see Jesus was that sacrificed animal – John the Baptist, when He first saw Jesus, said ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’
3. He played the role of Redeemer
We were all subject to the curse of the law and the punishment it entailed – Romans 6:26 ‘the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’