The atonement can be defined as the ensemble of the work that our Lord, Jesus Christ, did in His life and death to earn our salvation. In this sense, atonement consists of the saving benefits that we obtain from Christ’s life and his dying and paying for our sins on the cross. In the last two weeks, the global Christian body remembered and celebrated the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. This often is matched by a renewal of the hope that our Lord and our redemption in Christ is eternal. And while our faith during this period gets strengthened through the outpouring of grace and the Holy Spirit, our faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively begs for an intellectual assessment of the Biblical accounts regarding the atonement and associated claims. This is even more encouraged and emphasized in Scripture as we are urged to study to show ourselves approved for the work of the Gospel. We therefore cannot overemphasize our need for an ever-appreciating knowledge of doctrines in Scripture; first, to build ourselves and our relationship with God, and second, to be effective tools for advancing the spread of sound doctrine. Thus, considering these and the ever‑increasingly hostile and anti-Christian culture being adopted around us, we need to go back to the Scripture to fully grasp and be grounded in the teachings concerning the atonement.
We may contemplate the questions:
- Given His omnipotence, couldn’t God have just declared our salvation?
- What is the cause and the nature of the atonement?
- Was it necessary for Christ to live among us and to die?
- What are the saving benefits of Christ’s life?
- What happened when He died and how did He rise from the dead?
These questions are valid, and that is why answers are provided directly or indirectly in Scripture. Something about the character of God makes the atonement necessary: the love and justice of God. The love and justice of God are His eternal attributes, and the atonement is the one and only plan of God concerning the redemption of His elects. Make no mistakes, for we are not saved by the moral example of the eternal covenant; we are not saved by the saving intents of the eternal covenant; we are saved because of the blood of the eternal covenant. The unfolding of the redemption agenda of God as we see in Scripture was planned in perfect harmony and unity within the Godhead, with specific tasks apportioned the members of the Trinity. Nothing happened by chance or improvisation.
Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 presents a summary of the Gospel account regarding the death and resurrection of Christ. According to the majority of new testament scholars, this account meets all the standards of historicity. Scholars however sometimes disagree on—or are agnostic about—the explanation: whether it is supernatural or not. Among Christians, while different opinions exist regarding the sequence of events that took place between His death and resurrection, the consensus is that the resurrection was a supernatural event wroth by God. God miraculously raised Jesus from the dead. As this is supported by so many earlier prophetic declarations and other signs and wonders in Scripture, the contemporary Christian body finds itself divided over the nature and extent of the miraculous today. This begs the need for a Scripture-based understanding of miracles.
- What are miracles?
- What do we know from Scripture about Miracles?
- What about the numerous claims of miracles today?
- What is the difference between the views held in continuationism and cessationism?
These issues constitute the focus of our sermon this coming Sunday, April 23, 2017, at IBCZ. Please come and join us in fellowship and worship, and as we explore this topic drawing from the wealth of revelation in Scripture.
Tohnyui Ndinyanka Fabrice