The dictionary definition of atonement is satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury or making amends. Jesus has paid the price for my missing God’s goal (sin). Jesus made atonement for me.
In dying for my sins, Jesus the Messiah fulfilled and replaced the old covenant (aka agreement or testament) sacrificial system, so that when I believe in him, I am restored to fellowship with God. The Messiah Jesus is the true high priest, who finally liberates his people from the guilt of missing God’s goal (sin), by offering himself as the supreme sacrifice.
- Throughout church history, several different views of the atonement, some true and some false, have been put forth by different individuals or denominations. One of the reasons for the various views is that both the Old and New Testaments reveal many truths about the Messiah’s atonement, making it hard, if not impossible, to find any single “theory” that fully encapsulates or explains the richness of the atonement.
- What I discover as I study the Scriptures is a rich and multifaceted picture of the atonement as the Bible puts forth many interrelated truths concerning the redemption that the Messiah has accomplished. Another contributing factor to the many different theories of the atonement is that much of what we can learn about the atonement needs to be understood from the experience and perspective of God’s people under the Old Covenant sacrificial system.
- Atonement — The Purpose of Jesus the Messiah’s death on Behalf of Others. In the old agreement (aka covenant or testament), animals were sacrificed to atone for missing God’s goal (aka sin). Jesus, the perfect Son of God, has once and for all of us shed His blood.
Hebrews 9:12–14 — And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
One great analogy for atonement is one of The Shepherd.
- John 10:11 — “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
- John 10:14–18 — “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
Jesus is my substitute for having to pay a penalty for having missed God’s goal. Jesus tasted death for me so I can have eternal life. Jesus died in my place and defeated death entirely.
- 2 Corinthians 5:15 — He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
- Hebrews 2:9 — But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
- 1 John 3:16 — We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.