The Doctrine of Atonement

The Doctrine of Atonement

Over the coming weeks, we want to share with you some of our doctrinal statements, which help shape our beliefs and values. The first is the doctrine of atonement. We believe that Jesus Christ willingly gave up his life to atone for the sins of the world, rose again on the third day, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

Christ's Atoning Work

As a prophet, Jesus, who is the Word, proclaimed revelation from the Father (John 8:26-28; 15:15), foretold the future (Matt. 24:3-35; Luke 19:41-44), and spoke with unique authority (Matt. 7:28-29; 13:54-57).  As our great high priest Jesus once and for all (Heb. 10:14) vicariously offered Himself as the unblemished sacrifice for sins (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:11-15) and is interceding for His own (Heb. 4:14-16).  Jesus is anointed king, ruling in the hearts of believers (Luke 17:21; Col. 1:13) and providentially ruling over creation and humanity in general (Phil. 2:9-11; Col. 1:17).  He will be ruling king at His second coming and rule over His millennial kingdom and into eternity (1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 20:4, 6).

Christ's work of atonement finds its cause in God's good pleasure and will (Is. 53:10; Eph. 1:5, 9; Col. 1:19-20), springing from God's holiness, love and justice (Rom. 3:25-26).  Christ's death was substitutionary and vicarious:  He suffered the same penalty we should have suffered in our stead (Isa. 53:5-6; John 1:29; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24).  Jesus' sacrificial death was a ransom to redeem His own from sin (Is. 61:1; Matt. 20:28; 1 Pet. 1:18).  The Father and the Son partnered together, both agonizing, to perform the propitiatory sacrifice to appease the wrath of the Father and the Son (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2; Rev. 1:5; 6:14), objectively reconciling God to His sin alienated creation (Rom. 5:10-11; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Col. 1:20-22).  He triumphed over the forces of darkness (John 12:31; 1 Cor. 15:24; Col. 2:15) and is the example for our life (Phil. 2:1-4; 1 Pet. 2:21; 1 John 4:9-11). His atonement revealed the Father (Rom. 3:24-25; 5:8; 1 John 3:16). The intent of Christ's death is the provision of full atonement for all persons (1 Tim. 2:4, 6; Heb. 2:14; 1 John 2:2; 2 Pet. 2:1) and to make certain the salvation of all who believe (John 3:16, 36 1 Tim. 4:10; 1 John 5:10-13).

The Threefold Work of Christ

The work of Christ is commonly divided into his work as prophet, priest, and king.  As a prophet Jesus was the one promised to Israel (Deut. 18:15-20) and was the full revelation of God (John 1:18; Heb 1:1-2).  Because humanity has become alienated from God through sin (Is. 59:2) and because of God's great love for us (John 3:16) Jesus came as our priest and mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) making himself the sacrificial lamb (John 1:29; Heb 9:26) and dying on the cross in our place (Is. 53). In so doing he satisfied the just wrath of God (Ro. 1:18; John 2:2) making possible a renewed relationship with the him (Ro. 5:10-11); he freed us from our slavery to sin (Col. 1:13-14) triumphing over Satan and his demons (Col. 2:15), death and sin (1 Cor. 15:54-57); and he gave us the supreme example of humility and love (Phil. 2:1-11; 1 John 3:16). Though this atoning work is sufficient for the salvation of all people (1 Tim 2:6; Heb. 2:9) its application is limited to those who believe (Ro. 10:13; Eph 2:8). Having ascended into Heaven, he serves as our perfect High Priest forever (Heb. 8:23-25) and intercedes for his people (Ro. 8:34) as the only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).  As king he is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18), the true ruler of earthly kingdoms (Rev. 1:5), and the ruler of all creation (Eph. 1:22). Someday, all creation will bow before him (Phil. 2:10-11), he will share with the Father the office of judge (Acts 10:42; Ro. 2:16; 2 Cor. 5:1), he will rule over the millennial kingdom (Rev. 11:15) as the eternal king promised to David (2 Sam 7:12-16), and he will exercise dominion forever (Rev. 1:6; 11:15).

Christ as revealer, redeemer, and ruler

The work of Christ is threefold. He is the revealer of God, serving as the Great Prophet (Luke 13:33; John 1:14,18). He is the redeemer of mankind, reconciling people to God and interceding for them before God as their High Priest (2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:25-27). Finally, he is the ruler over God's domain, reigning as righteous King over all creation (Phil. 2:9-11; Rev. 5:9-14; 11:15).

Jesus Christ poured out Himself to death as the substitutionary atonement for the sins of the world, paying the penalty for their sin, which fulfilled the demands of God's righteousness, and His desire for mercy (Isa. 53:4-6; Rom. 3:23-25; 8:3; 1 Pet. 2:24). This atonement has made provision in general for the sins of all mankind, and yet is made efficacious in particular for the elect, those believing (John 3:16; 1 Tim 4:10; 1 John 2:2). The sacrificial death of Christ fully propitiated the wrath of God, turning away His rightful anger against a guilty offender (1 John 2:2; 4:10; Rom. 3:25). His death has provided the expiation of sin, removing the liability for punishment from sinful humans (Heb. 10:10; 13:11-12). It has provided for redemption, ransoming them from slavery to sin (Tit. 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:18-19) and for the reconciliation of those believing, a restoration of the purposed relationship between God and man (2 Cor. 5:18-20; Rom. 5:8-11).

Movement family, we hope this blesses you and helps you better connect with Christ. If you enjoyed this doctrinal statement, be on the lookout for more!

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