A Brief Statement on the Atonement

© David H. Linden
Action International Ministries
Alberta Reformation Fellowship

The atonement is the sacrificial offering the Lord Jesus Christ made on the cross of Calvary. The only Mediator between God and man offered Himself to His Father, Who had sent Him to stand in for His people. The only way of salvation for sinful man is this provision God has made. Only Christ by His atoning work brings reconciliation between God and man. In that sacrifice Christ took our guilt on Himself, without committing sin, and underwent the wrath of God due us, when He made full payment for our sin in human flesh. By laying down His life, He bore for us the penalty our sin deserved, a penalty we would endure by ourselves were it not for Christís mediation.

His death was substitutionary and vicarious. In no other way than in human death could the justice of God be exercised against human sin. In no other object could it be endured than by a human representative. No other Person could bear such a load than God the Son.

Christís redeeming ransom secures for us remission of sins and all the blessing of God. God was reconciled by Christís perfect sacrifice, a propitiation that fully satisfied divine justice. Thus sin is removed from the believing sinnerís record; sin no longer has mastery over us; and at His appearing, sin will be removed from our experience entirely. His blood is effective to secure the salvation of all God sent Him to save. His sacrifice is over, finished, unrepeatable and successful, having accomplished His mission without human assistance. No one else can or needs to atone for sin; all attempts to do so are a rejection of Christ and His sacrifice.

The atonement is central to worship and song; to preaching, baptism and the Lordís Supper; to mission, ministry and ethics. It is fatal to reject it and a great sin to neglect what is supreme to God and the only basis of our approach to Him. In the cross, the Father and Son glorified each other, and in it we glorify both.

This saving mercy God owes to no man, yet offers to all in the gospel. He freely forgives all who will believe in His promise of salvation and trust in the Savior sent to secure it for them, Jesus Christ our Lord.