The atonement of Christ refers to His passive obedience on the cross–He willingly gave His life as a sacrifice for our sin. Our sins were atoned for because of Christ’s work on the cross.
The purpose of the atonement is to provide a way for humans to be reconciled to God. The result of the atonement impacts our earthly life as well as our eternal life.
This article unpacks the purpose and result of the atonement in words any Christian can understand. If you have struggled with any of the following issues, it would serve you well to learn more about the work of Christ on the cross: ongoing sin, unbelief, shame, condemnation, lifelong sin patterns, guilt, fear, easily tempted.
A good homework assignment would be to write out all the verses mentioned in this article and begin memorizing them. If you are discipling someone, make this one of their assignments. Don’t forget the questions at the end.
This article can change your life.Do not slack away from this article because it talks about a theological term–the atonement. Embrace it. Learn what it means and let the work of Christ impact your life.
The atonement releases us from sin
Everyone has sinned against God, who is just and righteous. A penalty must be paid for our sins. God would no longer be just if He let a rule-breaker off without a penalty being paid.
If someone throws a rock and breaks a window, the cost to repair the window has to be paid by someone. According to James 1:15 we know the penalty for sin is death.
Of course we know our sin against God is much greater than a broken window. God is perfectly Holy (1 Peter 1:16), pure and hates sin. We get a better understanding of His holiness in Exodus 33:20.
Moses was speaking to God and requested to see God’s face. God said no human could see His face and live. Because God is Holy, He cannot be in the presence of sin–His wrath against sin would destroy anything sinful.
In order for us to be with God, a penalty for our sin must be paid and something has to be done about God’s wrath. Instead of us bearing these penalties, God in His mercy chose to pay the penalty Himself, for those who believe in Christ