Nature of the Atonement Term Paper

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¶ … atonement of Jesus Christ, and how it was achieved, what happened during atonement and how it ended. The paper shall also look upon whether human beings were saved by the atonement of Jesus Christ, the Son of God?

According to Christian faith and the Scriptures, the Son of God, or the Second person in the Holy Trinity, became man and came to the Earth to live among man. What was the purpose of this, and what did He hope to achieve by coming to live among mankind? This is what First Timothy has to say, that Jesus Christ came to the Earth again in order to 'live among sinners, and save them'. The question is this, how did Christ manage to accomplish the Salvation that He gives to the sinners among human kind? Apostle Paul in (1 Cor- 15:3) states that Christ in fact, died for our sins, and He died on the Cross, just to save the numerous sinners. What, exactly did Jesus Christ do at the time of His death? It is well understood that Jesus Christ died for our Salvation, and God was able to demonstrate and display His love for us by this selfless act wherein Christ was nailed to the Cross, and tortured. To ignore the Doctrines and the Scriptures that explain exactly what happened and why they happened is to state that you prefer to ignore the fact that God loves you, and also that God saved you from sin. In fact, it would be a downright insult to God to state that you do not care what He did, and how he did it, and how He saved humankind. It is for this main reason hat one must attempt to seek a greater and an in-depth understanding of the death of Christ, and the events that preceded it and followed it. Therefore, one must start at the beginning if one were to comprehend the great love of God for humans, and examine what exactly happened when Christ died on the Cross. (a Nature of the Atonement, a Look at what Christ did when He died)

The first thing to examine, among others, is substitution, then expiation, and then propitiation, then reconciliation, then redemption, and finally, resurrection. All the six concepts deal with a separate aspect of the numerous sins committed by man on earth, and each of the concepts will deal with one particular sin at a time. However, before delving into these concepts, it is important to understand the relationship between 'justification' and 'atonement'. In Christianity, a very important doctrine is 'justification', and it is actually seen as a legal act of God, and at the very moment when we do believe in Christ our Savior, and that God would be able to save us from all our sins, and also that we would be clothed in the cloak of righteousness that Jesus Christ generates in us, and, in the process, declares our own righteousness too. Therefore, it can be stated that justification brings out two very important truths about what Christ did, and these are, that Christ not only had to pay and atone for the various sins that we have committed by breaking God's laws, but also that Christ had to obey the laws of God perfectly, just for humankind. Thus, it is very obvious that Christ saved man not only by His death and by His subsequent Resurrection, but also by the fact that He actually lived in this Earth along with us, and lived a life wherein He obeyed God se very perfectly that God, in attempting to justify humankind, was able to impute the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This righteousness that Christ was able to generate and earn for humans is often referred to as the 'active obedience', and God not only imputes Christ's righteousness into us, but also forgives us our various sins, and this was made possible only because of the death of Christ. This is called 'passive obedience', and it is through this that God is able to negate our unrighteousness. (a Nature of the Atonement, a Look at what Christ did when He died)

It is now time to ask ourselves this important question: Did Jesus Christ make salvation possible at the Cross where He died? Was Salvation possible at all by His death, or was it real? Did this act of Christ make atonement possible for us, and what happened? or, did salvation become possible only when we started to believe? Starting with 'Sacrifice', let us examine what the Old Testament states about the term 'sacrifice', and how it would help in the interpretation of the death of Christ. According to the Old Testament, Christ not only expiated our guilt but also managed to purge away all the sins of man. Hebrews 9:14 states that Christ's sacrifice was real, and permanent and complete. 'Substitution' according to the Old Testament, was what sacrifice was about, and the Genesis 2:17, Romans 6: 23, state that an animal was killed in their place, that is, substituted, and our sins deserve death. However, God was able to atone for the sins that had been committed by human kind by the death of the animal that had been offered and substituted in our place, and this also meant that the sins of the offeror were imputed on to the offered and eventually it had to bear the death penalty. According to the 1 Corinthians 15:3; Romans 5:8, the death of Christ also was substitutionary, and this brings to mind another important question, if Christ died for all our sins, by the method of substitution, then does it mean that we all would still have to die for our various sins? (the Nature of the Atonement: Definite Atonement)

Now let us get to the question of 'expiation'. After learning about substitution, the next issue is expiation, and this means the complete and total of all our guilt and sins, in other words, the sins and the guilt of human kind were imputed onto Christ, and this also means that our sins were expiated or transferred onto Jesus Christ. God was able to transfer the various sins of man to Christ, and when Christ died, our legal guilt was absolved. This also means that God regarded Christ as being responsible or, in other words, legally guilty, for the sins that we as human beings had committed on the earth. Therefore, Jesus Christ was given the burden of all our sins, but he was not given the pollution and the corruption of them. The concept of expiation is generally found in the Scriptures, and the Second Corinthians 5:21 states that God made Jesus Christ, who actually knew no sin, to be sin on behalf of humans, and it was through this process that we could become justified and righteous in the eyes of God. Therefore, it is clear how closely substitution and expiation are related, as seen in this fact: Christ was our substitute, and all our various sins were transferred to our substitute, Jesus Christ, and when this happened, Christ had to suffer and die, and by this, all His righteousness happened to be transferred onto us. Therefore, it can be said that Jesus Christ takes away all our sins; he expiates them. (a Nature of the Atonement, a Look at what Christ did when He died)

The basic truth of expiation is that Jesus Christ was sinless, and this is what made the process of expiation so very successful and so efficiently accomplished. The fact is that it would have been impossible for Christ to have successfully expiated all our sins, if he had sins of His own to deal with, and in that case, He would not have been able to cope and deal with all our burden of guilt, as he was able to do at the time of His death, if in fact He had His own guilt to deal with and understand. Therefore, it is obvious that Christ's sacrificial death on the Cross effectively removed all our sins as well as all our guilt. The next step to be understood is 'propitiation'. Propitiation is nothing but a sacrifice that would be able to withstand God's wrath up until the end, and then finally turn the very wrath into something that would be favorable to us. The difference between expiation and propitiation is that whereas expiation refers to the complete removal of our various sins, propitiation refers to the removal of God's wrath and anger. God is generally angry and wrathful because of the important reason that we indeed contradict His Holiness on account of our behavior and our sins. In fact, the anger that God has because of our sins and because of our guilt is called God's wrath. (a Nature of the Atonement, a Look at what Christ did when He died)

The phrase that says that 'God hates the sin but loves the sinner' is not at all true, because,… [end of preview; READ MORE]

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