GRACE FOR TODAY Radio Message #460
Pastor Don Fortner
Grace Baptist Church of Danville
2734 Old Stanford Road
Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
The word atonement is frequently used in the Old Testament in connection with the typical sacrifices of the law and making expiation of sin (Lev.1:4, 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:6, 10, 13, 16, 18; 16:6, 10, 11,16-18, 27, 30, 32-34; 17:11).
The basic meaning of the word “atonement” is “to cover". As the pitch with which the ark was covered covered Noah and his family from the flood of God’s wrath, so the blood of Christ covers God’s elect. As the blood of the paschal lamb, sprinkled upon the mercy-seat covered the broken law of God, so the blood of Christ covers and blots out our sins. As the blood upon the doors of Israel caused the Lord God, looking upon the blood, to pass by and spare the Israelites when judgment came upon Egypt, so the blood of Christ will cause the Lord God to spare chosen, redeemed sinners in the day of his wrath and judgment.
Christ, by his sacrifice, the antitype of these Old Testament types, is a covering to his people, from the curses of the law we have broken, from the wrath of God we deserved, and from avenging justice of the holy Lord God to which our sins expose us.
However, the word “atonement” is only used one time in the New Testament. We find it only in Romans 5:11. "And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
This atonement was made for us by Christ our Surety, Head and Representative. The knowledge, blessing and benefit of it, the application of it, comes to us by the Spirit of God, who takes the blood, righteousness and sacrifice of Christ, effectually applies them to us, shows us our interest in the atonement, and causes us to receive the effect of it by trusting Christ. The effect of it is joy, peace and comfort in the knowledge of redemption accomplished. Paul’s statement in Romans 5:11 three things.
1. The word here translated “atonement” properly signifies "reconciliation", and is translated that way at times. In fact, atonement and reconciliation for sin design the same thing. Both imply a satisfaction made and accepted by God for the sins of his people.
2. The word “atonement” means “at one with”. Believers are brought to be at one with God by the sin-atoning blood of Christ. As soon as you believe on the Son of God, you are at one with God, because God has reconciled you to himself by the death of Christ for you. Now, let’s consider this third aspect of Christ’s sin-atoning satisfaction.
3. Believers receive the atonement by faith. The Lord Jesus did not merely provide the possibility of atonement for his people. He accomplished it and obtained it for us. Our faith in him contributes nothing to his finished work. Faith simply receives what Christ has done. To believe on the Son of God is to receive the atonement he made and its benefits. "Therefore being justified (by his blood atonement), by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
“Complete atonement Thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate’er Thy people owed.
Nor can God’s wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in Thy righteousness
And ransomed with Thy blood!”
Have you received the atonement? Do you trust Christ alone as your all-sufficient, sin-atoning Savior. May God grant you faith in him by the operation of his grace, for Christ’s sake.