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The Atonement as the Catalyst for Salvation

Atonement, according to the dictionary, means reconciliation. To be reconciled means to be restored to friendship or harmony (Webster, 2012). To glance at the meaning of Christ’s atonement for sins, one must first understand the necessity of needing redemption. Through mankind’s fall disobedience in the Garden of Eden, a separation occurred between man [kind] and God his creator (Genesis 3). This separation is what came to be known as sin. Sin is anything that a person says, does or even thinks that goes against God’s will (Proverbs 23:7, NIV). The only way to re-united mankind and God was to pay the debt of sin, which Paul recalculates for us to equal death (Romans 6:23, NIV). The ransom, for man’s soul which is held captive by sin, is found only in atonement through blood sacrifice (Migliore, 2004, p.184). Through the acceptance of the Golgotha sacrifice, one finds atonement for ones sins. As Christ’s blood was shed for the covering of sin’s debt, the only way to receive this gift of God is through total acceptance of it.

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The gift of Jesus’ death is eternal life (Romans 6:23, NIV), however like any other practical gift, you cannot enjoy the benefits of the gift without freely accepting it. If your favorite aunt brought you a new coat for the winter and you acknowledge that you need a coat and even say thank you for the coat yet, you never take possession of the coat, that coat is of no use to you. Likewise with Christ, the mere acknowledgement of the gift is not enough, nor is it enough to just thank God for the gift of the work of the cross. The action that catapults us into the realm of salvation is the acceptance of the gift of atonement. However, acceptance must come from each and every person individually so that the gift of Christ’s work becomes a “personal representation” and not a blanket substitute (Migliore, 2004, 185). Christ stood in our place, sat in our seat so that we would have the opportunity to be restored to our original place in the universe, in a personal relationship with God. The reconciliation of Jesus’ work opens the door wide for us to go in to God and worship and love Him. It is through our belief or better put, our acceptance of Jesus’ work that justifies us to be in relationship with God. We are justified through faith and therefore the atonement made by Christ is the catalyst for our salvation.

Elder William C. Luff

Dean of Students

School of Life Institute



Merriam-Webster’s’ Dictionary (2012) definition located at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atonement

Tyndale House Publishing (1988) Life Application Study Bible, New International Version Carol Stream Illinois

Migliore, Daniel L. (2004) Faith Seeking Understanding: An introduction to Christian Theology 2nd ed. William B. Eedermans Publishing Company

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