Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dimensions of the Atonement of Christ

As a follow up to the previous post, and in an effort to again publish some notes from my class, here is a concise list of what happens in Christ’s atonement for us.  Although not exhaustive, these items represent the basics of Christian thought on what takes place in the penal substitution view (see previous post) of the atonement of Christ.

1. The need for a sacrifice

God cannot simply overlook man’s sin, nor can He just forgive man without requiring that payment be made or punishment be given for sin.

2. The payment of a penalty

This is done in order to regain favor with, or even appease, God.  His anger against sin, or wrath, can be satisfied only by the execution of His justice.

3. The substitution of Jesus (for us)

The atonement is a sacrifice offered in place of the sinner.  Thus the sacrifice bears the sinner’s guilt.

4. The application of righteousness

God has taken away the guilt of believers, but He has also imputed to them the righteousness of Christ.

5. The reconciliation of a relationship

Although apart from Christ we had been God’s enemies because of sin, now with Christ we have been reconciled and have new life.