The Atonement of Jesus Christ

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls”
(1 Peter 2:24-25)

In these words of Holy Scripture we have a clear description of the Lord Jesus Christ’s blessed atonement for sin (1 John 4:10).

He came not merely as an example but as God’s Servant to accomplish our salvation (John 4:34; John 17:4).

Here are at least six things taught from the above quoted scripture about the atonement.

1) His atonement was substitutionary, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” Our sovereign God has devised the wise means whereby He can be a just God and a Saviour (Isaiah 45:21). Jesus Christ, the Son of God took our humanity to himself that He might be an able, suitable sacrifice for the sin of His people (Romans 8:3). As the God-man He had no sin of His own, however God imputed to Christ Jesus all the sin of His covenant people. He is guilty of sin only by imputation (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18; Isaiah 53:4-7).

2) His atonement was particular, “Who his own self bare our sins.” Not all the sin of all men, not some of the sin of all men, but all of the sin of God’s elect were laid on the Redeemer. This is what the scriptures plainly reveal. The Good Shepherd laid down His life for the sheep (John 10:15).

3)His atonement was effectual, “by whose stripes you were healed.” Christ bearing our sin to the tree and on the cross He made an end of them (Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 10:14-17). His blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

4) His atonement was satisfying, “…that we, being dead to sins.” Sin and its curse no longer has a claim on the believer (Romans 8:1; Galatians 3:13; Romans 6:6-11). The death of Christ is the death of all our sin and its condemnation, satisfying to God’s justice and to the sinners need (Isaiah 53:10-11).

5) His atonement was justifying, “should live unto righteousness.” The ultimate design of Christ’s sacrifice is the glory of God. But that also includes bringing the sinner out of a state of condemnation in Adam (Romans 5:12) into a righteous state of justification in Christ by His blood and righteousness (Romans 5:9; Romans 3:24-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

6) His atonement for sin was the cause of our conversion, “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” Without His sacrifice we would have remained doomed and lost (Ephesians 2:13). However, because of His great atonement the Saviour will bring every sheep home to the Father (John 6:37-39).

By Donald Bell

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