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How do you understand atonement

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Stryder06, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. Stryder06

    Stryder06 Check the signature

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    The question is in the title. When you consider "atonement", what do you think of in regards to all that Christ has done and is doing to save His people?
     
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  2. OldStudent

    OldStudent Junior Member

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    Though books to fill librarys have been written on salvation it seems "atonement" doesn't get a lot of play. First look at the word: at-one-ment. With that in mind read John 17. The intent of the word is to express that God and man be/become at one.

    There is value in the effort to wrap our heads around the old Day of Atonement (a time of "judgement") in the yearly Tabernacle services. The intent is not to judge for separation but to judge for who will receive "at-one-ment." Consider that the Tabernacle services were both illustrative and prophetic.

    It is apparent that there must be some form of judgement before His 2nd coming - some die, some rise to meet Him. SDA's make a unique and key contribution to Christian thought on where we are living in history. The call to at-one-ment is key to now. We need to find a way to make the opportunity prominent as an unsustainable world approaches it's gruesome end.
     
  3. PROPHECYKID

    PROPHECYKID Veteran Supporter

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    By reading your question another question came to mind. I notice that in your question is both past tense and present continuous tense.

    So I guess my question is; is atonement a one time thing, or does Jesus continue to make atonement for us?
     
  4. Cappadocious

    Cappadocious Well-Known Member

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    Same answer to the question of whether or not he's still human.
     
  5. In theology, atonement is a doctrine that describes how human beings can be reconciled to God. In Christian theology the atonement refers to the forgiving or pardoning of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which made possible the reconciliation between God and creation. Within Christianity there are, historically, three or four main theories for how such atonement might work:

    + The ransom theory/Christus Victor (which are different, but generally considered together as Patristic or "classical", to use Gustaf Aulen's nomenclature, theories, being argued that these were the traditional understandings of the early Church Fathers);

    + The moral influence theory, which Aulen considered to be developed by Peter Abelard (called by him the "idealistic" view),

    + The satisfaction theory developed by Anselm of Canterbury (called by Aulen the "scholastic" view),

    - The penal substitution theory (which is a refinement of the Anselmian satisfaction theory developed by the Protestant Reformers, especially John Calvin, and is often treated together with the satisfaction view, giving rise to the "four main types" of atonement theories - classical or patristic, scholastic, and idealistic - spoken of by Aulen).

    + The shared atonement theory, in which the atonement is spoken of as shared by all. To wit, God sustains the Universe. Therefore if Jesus was God in human form, when he died, we all died with him, and when he rose from the dead, we all rose with him.
     
  6. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    The atonement is described in the NT in a number of ways, many based on OT sacrificial language. It is commonly said that he died for us or for our sins. Despite claims to the contrary, there's not much explanation of how the atonement works, though its result is reconciling us to God. There are many Christian ideas, summarized here and in Mother of Shadows posting above: Atonement in Christianity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    I don't see any reason that we have to pick just one, I do have some ideas:

    * Jesus is at times called a ransom. However I think Christians are pushing the metaphor too hard to ask who the ransom is paid to. Two common answers have been Satan and God. I find both of these answers unacceptable.

    * My understanding of Jesus' teaching, and Rom 3:25 both imply that God can forgive us without precondition, and has done so in the past. However real reconciliation requires change in us. Thus my understanding is that the purpose of the atonement isn't to allow God to forgive us, but to regenerate us through faith, giving us new life.

    * Jesus' most explicit statement about the atonement is the Words of Institution, where he said that his blood was a covenant sacrifice, to establish the new covenant, presumably of Jer 31:31. Unfortunately there isn't general agreement about how OT sacrifices worked. My understanding is that they are basically sacraments, outward signs of the person's repentance, and of course pointers to Jesus' own death. So I understand his death as an act of repentance on behalf of his people.

    * While understanding Paul fully requires a detailed study of at least Romans and Galatians, I think his key statement on how the atonement works is Rom 6. Through our union with Christ in faith, we die to sin with his death and rise to new life with his resurrection. I believe this is consistent with the Words of institution. If Jesus' death was, as his words imply, a public act of repentance on behalf of his people, then by faith in him we repent and die to sin. The other half of Rom 6, rising with him to new life, is left implicit in the Words of Institution, but it seems a pretty clear and universal Christian understanding of the resurrection.

    * Calvin uses an interesting phrase about the atonement, which I think connects with Rom 6. He says that our union with Christ produces a "community of righteousness" through which he takes away our sin and gives us his obedience.
     
  7. Harry3142

    Harry3142 Regular Member

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    A way to better understand the word 'atonement' is to study not only the particulars of the ceremony which was performed annually on The Day of Atonement, but also why it was performed. We find it described in Leviticus 16:1-28.

    The priest selected 1 bull, 2 goats, and 1 ram for the ceremony. On The Day of Atonement the entire community gathered around the sacrificial altar, including the priest's own household. The priest sacrificed the bull, and used its blood to cleanse himself and his household of the sins which they had committed during that year. He then sacrificed one of the goats, chosen by lot, and used its blood to cleanse the community of the sins which they had committted that year.

    But the second goat was left alive. The priest placed his hands on the head of that goat, and while his hands were there he recited all of the sins which he, his household, and the community had committed during that year. This transferred those sins from them to the goat. Still alive, it was then driven into the wilderness, taking their sins with it. Afterwards, the ram was sacrificed as a burnt offering.

    Note three things: It was through the shedding of blood (the bull and one of the goats) that the priest, his household, and the community had their sins cleansed. It was through the transferring of their sins to the goat, that was then driven into the wilderness, that their sins were removed from their presence. And most importantly, that the entire ceremony was performed not to give the people the ability not to sin, but instead out of the humble admission that as people they had sinned, and therefore needed an atoning sacrifice.

    With Jesus Christ this sacrifice was perfected, as well as needing to be performed only once. Through his blood all the sins of everyone who accepts his sacrifice as efficacious to us are cleansed. On his head all the sins of those who confess that we are indeed sinners have been transferred. And all those who accept Christ's atoning sacrifice thereby admit that we are indeed sinners, and so must trust in God's infinite mercy through accepting the sacrifice of his only Son as atoning for our sins, rather than putting our trust in our ability to follow any set of laws and commandments to the extent that God would demand in order to appear before him sinless through our own efforts.
     
  8. Stryder06

    Stryder06 Check the signature

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    I believe atonment is a one time process, but this "thing" that will happen once for us is completed over time.
     
  9. Stryder06

    Stryder06 Check the signature

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    Harry for the most part you're correct here, but there are a couple of things that you have mistaken. I agree that the best way for us to understand atonement is through studying the example given by God through Israel. What we need to examine is what blood cleansed what. When we look at the text, the blood of the goat that was sprinkled on the furniture inside of the tabrenacle, and in the courtyard was used to make atonement for the sanctuary. That blood cleansed the sanctuary of the sins of Israel.

    After taking the sins and placing them on the live goat, who was then lead away, the priest washed himself and made a burnt offering with the Ram. It is a that point that scripture says the sin of the people and the high priest were atoned for (vs 32,33).
     
  10. simonthezealot

    simonthezealot have you not read,what God has spoken unto you?

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    His death on the cross was a real death for real sins applied specifically and only for His sheep.
     
  11. Stryder06

    Stryder06 Check the signature

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    What scripture did you use to come to this conclusion?
     
  12. Cribstyl

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    Atonement discrbes a completed burnt offering whereby a blood offering was offered up for sin. The fact is, God required it in order for Him to forgive or cover over sins.
     
  13. fhansen

    fhansen Oldbie

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    Christ's entire life: words, deeds, passion, death, and resurrection is a statement that 1) sin defintively exists and is immensely wrong (sin, almost cavalierly, would even seek to rid the world of the most beautiful, perfect, precious, and worthy thing in existence) and 2) God definitively exists and loves man with a love so enormous that we can just barely begin to fathom it in spite of man's hatred and mistrust of Him. Jesus came to restore a trust (faith) that was undeservedly spurned and lost at the Fall, to set prodigal man back on a path towards the Father instead of the road he was on: exiled, lost. Atonement literally derives from three words: at-one-ment. Jesus' purpose is the restoration of a shattered relationship, reconciliation of man with God, apart from whom we can do nothing. Adam thought he didn't need God. The purpose of our lives is to learn how wrong he was. Jesus is both the object and source of the grace we need to draw us into realizing that purpose.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2013
  14. Stryder06

    Stryder06 Check the signature

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    What scriptures are you referring to that explain atonement as such?
     
  15. Cribstyl

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    I did not refer to any specific text. In both OT and NT "atonement" explains that something or someone is made right or holy by a process determined by God.

    The suffix "-ment" denotes a completed work.

    When we look at every use of "atonement" in the OT, it's; 'to make something or someone' clean, holy, or forgiven.
    God required a burnt blood offering by the Levites.

    When we looked at 'atonement' in the NT, God required the blood of His Son to atone for sins.

    1. (Exd 29:33 — Lev 14:18)
    2. (Lev 14:19 — Lev 25:9)
    3. (Num 5:8 — Rom 5:11)
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013
  16. Harry3142

    Harry3142 Regular Member

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    Stryder06-

    When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves, but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

    For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance - now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

    In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, "This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep." In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

    It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face the judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:1-28,NIV)

    Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:11-14,NIV)

    With Jesus' sacrifice the old covenant, including all the laws and commandments of Torah, were fulfilled. With this fulfilment came the new covenant, purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ himself, who shed his blood not to cleanse buildings and utensils, but to cleanse mankind of our sins:

    Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

    But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished - he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:19-26,NIV)

    So since we are no longer under the law, are we to commit sins? No, we are not. But rather than having a set of laws as our guide, we are required to go much deeper. The very motivations which lie at the root of all that we say and do must conform to what God wants of us if our faith is to be seen as genuine:

    So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

    The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish anbition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:16-26,NIV)

    The 9 motivations which are 'the fruit of the Spirit' are the borders within which all our words and actions must have their origin if they are to conform to God's will. For Christians it's not enough to do the right things; we must also do them for the right reasons. And it is only when those reasons are 'the fruit of the Spirit' working through us that our words and actions can have assurance of conforming to God's will. Their supreme importance to proper conduct is evidenced by the words which immediately follow them: "Against such things there is no law."
     
  17. simonthezealot

    simonthezealot have you not read,what God has spoken unto you?

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    Check it out... Stricken for the transgression of HIS people...
    Isa 53:8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
    that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?

    ~~~~~~~~
    justifying MANY by bearing their iniquities


    11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
    by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.




    ~~~~~~~~~
    Boring the sins of many
    Isa 53:12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
    because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
    yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Who are the many He laid it down for? the sheep not the goats...
    John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    His blood was for the ransoming of people for God. Specifically.
    Rev 5:9
    Revelation 5:9 (ESV)
    9 And they sang a new song, saying,
    “Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
    for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Again He saved HIS people, the sheep, the many not the all..


    21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”


    ~~~~~~~~~
    The sheep are...
    Eph 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    The vicarious atonement can be seen here...
    2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
    21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


    ~~~~~~~
    For real death for actual peoples actual sins.
    Colossians 2:14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    tetelestai...teleo...Paid in full!
    John 19:30 (ESV)
    30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
    ~~~~~~~~~
    Colossians 2:13-14


    13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

    ~~~~~~~~
     
  18. sunlover1

    sunlover1 Beloved, Let us love one another

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  19. bugkiller

    bugkiller Well-Known Member

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    I think of atonement as a completed task acomplished by Jesus the Christ.

    bugkiller
     
  20. bugkiller

    bugkiller Well-Known Member

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    So are you thus denying the work of Jesus the Christ as final and complete like He said?

    bugkiller
     
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