I was reflecting on some of the discussions that we had on the boards regarding atonement, and was reading mu notes and my journal. The question was if I thought that the term was not understood or defined well in Christian circles. I believe the concept of atonement is at the forefront of the discussion- All the time we hear the message of the Gospel that “Jesus died to free us from being slaves to sin.” “He paid the price for a sinful world; the price was His passion, his torture and death on the cross, so we did not have to pay that price.” That is atonement, yet it makes the word seem like an understatement! It isn’t like he went to a cashier to pay to get us out on bail. He became human, lived amongst us, and took our punishment-literally being torn apart.
The Price Paid
Originally the release out of slavery for a price is the best definition I could find. The price that Christ paid for us to be free from the slavery of sin- was the passion, the beatings, the playing into evil’s hands and nails driven through his hands and feet. His murder was the price for our freedom. His atonement paid for our sins-past, present and future.
Everything we do
God expects the sinner to grow by reading his word, studying what He loves, and hating what He hates. We need to continue to practice Christ’s love and to obey the command ” Love your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the greatest commandment and it speaks to the unity of our community. A person who is in love with God is a person who seeks after God in everything they do.
A Logical Equation
I loved the illustrations on Sanctification = obedience to God, Transformation = the process of growing in Christ and then Glorification is our final destination. In the study of threes this week to seek the mind of the father through obedience, to follow the heart of the son through his work and example, and then be moved to action by the Holy Spirit is the way to grow. As we do we throw off the old man or woman and we are compelled to do and be what God wants us to be in full obedience.
In the process of sanctification we are called to be His own. Like the Israelites God chooses us and at the same time it is a wonder if God doesn’t call all of us. In the parables of Jesus it is understood that He doesn’t want anyone to perish, however- He also knows that many do not hear the call and He is not surprised by that. In the Parable of the Seeds, Jesus tells His disciples: “Though seeing they do not see; though hearing they do not hear or understand.” Matthew 13:13.
Who do you Care About?
This is a powerful message form Christ Himself and it is one that makes me grieve. People whom I really care about, brothers, parents, colleagues and friends have heard the call in their lives but worship academia, or their craft, the media, or their gift, talent or field. They don’t recognize The Sower as the one who sowed that very gift or talent and called them to Himself!
Do we really Hear and See Him?
The Lord quotes Isaiah to illustrate the point of sanctification and those who are called and those who reject the very message from God: “You will be ever hearing, but never understanding; You will be ever seeing, but never perceiving. For the people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears; and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” Matthew 13: 14.
But for we who are sanctified who hear the call Jesus makes a promise:
“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” (Morris)
So when we are called to the Supper into the community from Christ’s Sacrifice. He paid the ransom that the evil one held us by and now we are called to His supper. Christ was our substitute, our Lamb of God. He replaced the sacrifice, the animal sacrifice and took our place at the Cross. He freely accepted the role, the self-sacrifice- served up for our sin. I do not say served-up flippantly at all. When Jesus said “I came to serve,” the true meaning was to be the substitution, selfless, saving substitution, this brand of service is. It is a rare substitution that God gives us a foreshadowing of as Abraham took his son Isaac to the Mountain and was obedient to sacrifice his son for the God He loved. He lifted the knife and was called from the ultimate sacrifice. Christ was the ultimate sacrifice for all time! His assignment was to come to earth, live a sinless life, relate to the people and take the nails for humankind’s sin. That is the Grace that saves, a wretch like you and me.
Public Enemy Number 1
Paul writes that we were enemies of God and then came Jesus. Many of us have declared war on God at one time or another. Jesus was the one who took our case as combatants, and reconciled us advocating who we are in Him. We are saved by his life, by His Cross, and through His Resurrection. (Paraphrasing Romans 5:10-11) Jesus allows us to have a relationship that we can redeem under the big tent of the cross! This is why we can live in community in fellowship with others who have experienced this Amazing Love. (Grenz Stanley)