What is atonement and why does it matter?
While the world was created good and orderly, it fell into disarray due to our failure to trust God’s word. The earth felt the weight of shattered trust between us and our loving creator. But ever since, God has been on a rescue mission to bring beauty, truth, and goodness back into his creation as he increasingly merges heaven and earth. He chose a humble people, the Israelites, to steward his promises so that they might eventually welcome Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Through his life and death on a cross, anyone may enter into a saving relationship with God and be rescued from sin and all of its devastating consequences on our world. In Jesus, God chose to deal with the sin problem personally.
But how does this work, exactly? That is the topic of atonement—how people are made at-one with God again. In this video, Josh McNall introduces the topic and begins to outline several questions that emerge as we grapple with the significance of the good news of Jesus. 1) What does it mean to say that Jesus died for our sins, and how can an innocent person pay the penalty for the guilty? 2) Why can’t God simply forgive sins rather than require a sacrifice? 3) How does the devil factor in to the work of Jesus’s atonement, and why does the devil’s work still often prevail? 4) How did Jesus conquer death on our behalf, and why does it still have powerful effects in our world? 5) If we are to imitate the self-sacrificing love of Jesus, what implications does this have for victims of sin, violence, and abuse?
Why should we study the doctrine of atonement? Simply put, the goal is worship. It’s not that we might know more, or understand more clearly—as important as these are in themselves. Ultimately, the goal of understanding how Jesus saves is that our picture of God might be enlarged, and so that we might see him as he truly is.
This video from How Jesus Saves: Atonement for Ordinary People by Joshua McNall addresses this great Christian doctrine—atonement—with simplicity without sacrificing the nuance this topic demands.
- College or Young Adult Ministry
- Small groups
- Neighborhood Bible studies
- Sunday School
In these pages you will:
- Come to understand the meaning of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection
- Engage with a book that is highly readable and written in ordinary language
- Appreciate the goodness, beauty, and truth of God vis-a-vis atonement doctrine