Archive for the 'atonement' Category


One of the terms that is frequently used among believers is “forgiveness”. Basically, most believers are aware that each person can receive the forgiveness of his sins, through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Another term, which is also used fairly often, is “atonement”. Most believers have heard that term as well – however, many people think that atonement is exactly the same thing as forgiveness. In other words, many people believe that the terms “forgiveness” and “atonement” are synonyms.

Of course, there are some similarities between those two terms in Scripture. In particular, both forgiveness and atonement have to do with sin – i.e., they both deal with sins that people have committed. However, that does not necessarily indicate that the meanings of those two terms are identical.


One of the terms that is often mentioned in Christian churches is grace. In particular, that term is often used in the context of salvation. Most churches tend to define grace as “unmerited kindness”, or “unmerited favor” – and by that, they mean that Christians have not earned salvation. That is, since we are all sinners, we do not “merit” salvation – and as a result, we are all dependent upon God’s grace to be saved.

Of course, it is certainly true that none of us “deserve” salvation, due to our sins. That, in turn, means that we are all dependent on grace for salvation. Here is one of the most well-known Scriptural passages, which confirms that concept:


One item that is familiar to many Christians is the concept of “the book of life”. It is rather interesting that the book of life is so well known; given that there are very few references in Scripture to it. In fact, in most English translations, the phrase “book of life” only occurs eight times Scripture – one occurrence in Psalms, one in Philippians, and six in Revelation.

The book of life is essentially a metaphor, which refers to the people who will be saved. For example, consider the following passage:

Revelation 20:14-15 (ESV):

Why did Jesus die?  Although a skeptic might argue Jesus was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when he angered the wrong people, those of us who believe in Jesus’ resurrection cannot let ourselves off the hook so easily.  If God’s resurrection proves that Jesus was His anointed one—the Messiah—then, of course, God could have intervened to prevent Jesus’ torturous and bloody demise, but He didn’t.  Peter put it this way in the first public statement about Jesus’ death, “This man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men” (Acts 2:23).  Thus, Jesus’ crucifixion was God’s plan all along.  Why?  God must have had some purpose—an immensely important one—to allow His Son to suffer so greatly at the hands of his enemies.  One’s answer to this question is their theory of “atonement.”

Presented by John Obelenus at the One God Conference, Seattle WA June 1st 2008, commentary by Sean Finnegan. Click here to listen.

John seeks to deal with two major issues related to Jesus’ death for our sins: (1) the notion that God identifies with us through the incarnation and atonement (2) a flawed understanding of penal substitution.

Click here to listen to Jesus and Atonement delivered by John Obelenus, Apr 28th 2008, Atlanta Georgia. Commentary by Sean Finnegan.

John’s big idea is summarized in this statement, “We must make sense of Jesus’ crucifixion in light of his ministry, and his ministry in light of his crucifixion.”

    His outline followed these points

  1. Jesus’ ministry defined by Isaiah
  2. Substitution from Isaiah
  3. Jesus’ actions as substitution
  4. Jesus’ claims about power in light of atonement
  5. Jesus’ authority challenge leads to trial
  6. Crucifixion as substitution
  7. Resurrection
  8. Conclusion

Jesus’ self understanding of his ministry is founded upon Isaiah 61 (as reflected both in his first sermon (Lk 4) and in his response to John the Baptist’s inquiry (Mt 11).

Thought this was creative.