Thursday 20 March 2014

Ingedients for understanding the Atonement of Jesus Christ


I have not reached a satisfactory understanding of the Atonement, but I think I perceive some of the necessary ingredients.

1. Jesus was Jehovah

Christ is the Jehovah of the Old Testament - which means he created the earth and everything in it - he set-up the situation which Men inhabit.

This was in accordance with his Father's plan - a plan which culminated in Christ's incarnation and entering the world he himself made, as the Man Jesus of Nazareth (presumably, temporarily handing-over the Lordship of this world to his Father); and led to the Atonement where he became our saviour - after which Christ resumed his Lordship of this world.


2. We were saved by Christ in the sense of saved from an eternity as disembodied witless spirits (in Sheol) and enabled to have eternal life, in resurrected bodies, living in Heaven with Jesus himself as His siblings (potentially also with our 'families', however that term is defined).


3. But how did the Atonement 'work'?

Christ was the scapegoat, who took our sins upon himself. He did this voluntarily, from love - and it seems to have happened (in Time) in the Garden of Gethsemane and on The Cross.

What happened?

In a once for all act, Christ accepted all the sins of the world ever.

But that was not the end of the matter. We were saved potentially, but only potentially - something more was needed from each person for the process to be completed - each person must make the choice to accept salvation.


What does this salvation entail?

We, each of us, must put-our-sins-onto Christ - analogously as sins were put-onto the scapegoat (before he was driven into the wilderness) or onto the sacrificial lamb.

This is repentance; because to put our sins onto Christ we must first acknowledge that they were indeed sins; and by the putting-upon we acknowledge and trust the Lordship and necessity of Christ - and that our salvation is only by Him.

It is His love for us which made him want this and made this process possible, and it is our love for Him which makes the process Good, when it is done with gratitude, sorrow and compassion - then joy.



August said...

1. I have seen a suggestion from the Eastern Orthodox that any Old Testament reference to God actually appearing in the world was Jesus Christ. He is also called the Word through which everything is created. It makes sense, because He always was. He had His thirty-three years in time on Earth, but is otherwise not subject to time.

2. I think we are saved, first and foremost, from the futility of this painful existential problem. We can struggle, only to fail, grow old, and die, never achieving perfection. Jesus bridges the abyss and we have the promise that our struggle will not be in vain, even if we do die, we will be resurrected.

3. The word sin supposedly means 'to miss the mark.' We have to be aware of and acknowledge this mark missing- otherwise we will not aim true and our struggle will be in vain. Also, my mind is suddenly occupied with 'Christ is the mark.'

Jasper said...

I'm confused. Christ = Jehovah = the creator of this world. But Christ is not the same as His Father, since the Father takes over as lord when Christ is down here. Does that mean that Jehovah is somehow dependent on, or at least different from, some more ultimate or primordial creator god? Are there multiple gods in this version of Christianity? I just can't understand, though I would like to...

Bruce Charlton said...

@Jasper - it is confusing to me too

steve said...

It is confusing because it is not true. The Bible is in total harmony. Once you start taking something out of context or changing something to fix your opinion, it make the whole word of God invalid. Folks who subscribe to this type of thinking are, without conscious, rewriting the scripture. Instead of bringing their thinking in harmony with the scriptures, they do the opposite.

It is all about them, their seminaries, their thoughts on religion, their universities, their monuments, their speaking tours and debate. They love to hear themselves talk.

Bruce Charlton said...

@steve - I'm not sure what you are saying is not true - are you saying that Jehovah (the God of the Old Testament) is NOT Jesus?

Because pretty much all the theologians I can find, of several traditions (including evangelical Protestants who wrote my ESV study Bible) seem to say that He is.

I feel I just have to accept it, even though I always used-to think Jehovah was God the Father.

steve said...

Who Jehovah is was never a problem for the Israelites. It was not a problem for the Christianized Jews. This whole concept that you are accepting did not come into existence until the 3rd and 4th century. So, where was it until then????

Wouldn't it make sense that something so critical and basic to our worship to God be made crystal clear with Jesus. Just think about. Jesus was carrying the hope for all of mankind. He did not have to live up to the task. He could have sided with the angel called the Devil like so many other angels. If Jesus was truly Jehovah, God Almighty, wouldn't he stated it. How hard would it had been for him to just say it. There are so many references in the Hebrew Scriptures where Jehovah identifies himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God had no problem saying who he was. And he stating his identity was not exclusive to just the nation of Israel.

But when Jesus comes on the seen, he never states that he is God Almighty. He states a lot of other things that imperfect man want to believe something different. But Jesus himself never claims to be God. In fact, Jesus refers to himself as being sent. Who sent him if he is God. Jesus was raising people from the dead, curing the sick, teaching in way never heard or seen and prophesying. But so did others, in the Hebrew and Greek scriptures. Moses did some of the same thing. Elisha, Elijah, Samuel, Solomon are just a few who did extraordinary things. But who did they attribute their abilities? Just like Jesus, they gave thanks to Jehovah God. And yet, no body is trying to make any of them God Almighty.

Imperfect mankind had been influence by demonic forces to create, nurture and maintain a theology about their creator, that is founded on a lie. People have taken Jehovah's perfect word for mankind and the instruction manual for salvation and adulterated it to the point of confusion and debates. A little over 300 years before the Apostle John dies and not one issue up until the 3rd and 4th century as yo who person of God!!! Not one!!!!


The genesis of the Triune belief for Christianity developed in 325 CE at the Council of Nicaea. This was about three centuries after the death of the Christ. It was a heated debate between Arius with his supporters and Athanasius with his supporters. In the end, Emperor Constantine ended the debate by siding with Athanasius.

Check it out for yourself.....