What is the Gospel? - Lesson 6

The Atonement

In this lesson, you will explore the concept of atonement, its importance in Christianity, and various theories attempting to explain it, including the Ransom, Satisfaction, Moral Influence, Christus Victor, and Penal Substitution theories. You will examine the biblical basis for atonement through Old and New Testament references, deepening your understanding of the doctrine. Furthermore, you will discover the practical implications of atonement, such as personal salvation, reconciliation with God, and the transformation of believers.
Marc Cortez
What is the Gospel?
Lesson 6
Watching Now
The Atonement

TH106-06: The Atonement

I. The Nature of Atonement

A. Definition

B. Importance in Christianity

II. Theories of Atonement

A. Ransom Theory

B. Satisfaction Theory

C. Moral Influence Theory

D. Christus Victor Theory

E. Penal Substitution Theory

III. Biblical Basis for Atonement

A. Old Testament References

B. New Testament References

IV. Practical Implications of Atonement

A. Personal Salvation

B. Reconciliation with God

C. Transformation of Believers

  • Through this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the gospel's significance, its historical context, essential components, and implications for Christian life and relationships.
  • Through this lesson, you'll understand the importance of Creation, the biblical account in Genesis, the Fall's consequences, and the Gospel's role in restoring creation.
  • By studying this lesson, you learn about the biblical perspective on sin, its origins, effects on human nature and society, and the restorative power of the Gospel message.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into God's faithfulness in both the Old and New Testaments, from covenant relationships with Israel to the fulfillment of promises in Jesus Christ, guiding your life and encouraging others.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Jesus as the Messiah, His fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, and the profound impact of His life and ministry on humanity's salvation.
  • Through this lesson, you gain a thorough understanding of the atonement, its theories, biblical basis, and practical implications for personal salvation and spiritual growth.
  • In this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the Gospel, its power in salvation, and its implications in your life, emphasizing the balance between God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
  • Through this lesson, you'll learn how the Gospel shapes all aspects of life, from personal relationships to societal issues, and fosters spiritual growth, ultimately guiding your approach to evangelism and social justice.
  • This lesson equips you to recognize and address challenges to the gospel, including pluralism, relativism, and secularism, and offers biblical guidance for defending your faith.
  • Through this lesson, you learn effective strategies for communicating the Gospel, addressing objections, and building bridges between your message and your audience.

This course is designed to help believers reconsider their understanding of the Gospel. What is the Gospel? How is the Gospel related to the eternal plan of God? What does the Gospel mean to each believer today? Dr. Cortez answers these and other critical questions.

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What Is the Gospel?

Dr. Marc Cortez
What is the Gospel?
The Atonement
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:01] The following lecture is provided by biblical training. More information is available at WW w dot Biblical training dot org. Over the last couple of lessons, we've really been exploring the fact that God promised one who would come and address this mess that we have made out of shallow because God had a plan, God had a purpose, God had a purpose for his people in his creation as a blessing everywhere to His glory. And yet that plan was broken. It was fractured when humanity chose to rebel against his plan and fall into sin. But what we've been reflecting on together is that God remained faithful to His plans and his purposes in his people, and promised throughout, beginning in Genesis 315, all the way through the Old Testament, God promised that one would come, and He promised that one would come and He would be the king who would rule over his creation. He would be the Redeemer who would lead his people out of bondage. He would be the servant who would meet his people in their deepest needs and help them to realize the purposes that God had for them. He would be the priest who would represent the people to God, represent God to the people healing the breach that divides the gods. People might have their sins dealt with. They God's people might be restored to Him. That God's people might again be His image bearers in creation, manifesting His glory everywhere. So God promised that that one will come and then we'll reflect it together. The tremendous news, not only that that one will come, but that that one has come and that God has sent that one, His Messiah, Jesus Christ, into the world. And then when He came, he brought those blessings with him.

[00:02:10] He brought the blessings of the kingdom, He brought the spirit. He came as the king and the priest and the redeemer and the mediator, that that one who will come with all those tremendous blessings that God promised, that one has come. And He brought those blessings with him. He offered those blessings to the world, that one descended into the darkness and offered the blessings of the kingdom. The one who will come has come, and that is tremendous news. But then we reflected also on the terrible reality that when that one who will come came, we rejected him. When the Son of God descended into the darkness, when he came as the light into the darkness, the darkness rejected him. We spurned him. We killed him because the darkness did not love him. We chose to love our brokenness. We chose to love being in the shadow. On the shadow side of Shalom. We rejected him and we continue to reject him. We continue to resist him. We continue to love the darkness and we reflected together what a terrible reality that is as we continue to destroy and desecrate God's good plans and his good purposes. So really, where we had gotten together at the end of the last lesson was the good news that the one who will come has come. And then unfortunately, the bad news that we rejected him and we killed him and we continue to reject him. But once again, we remember that this story is not about us. The story is about God. And this story really hinges on the fact that God knew what he was doing all along. As we rejected and scorned and despised and killed the Messiah, the one that God had promised. Even as we were doing those very things, God had a plan.

[00:04:28] God knew what He was doing. And in our rejection of the Messiah, the good news is that God was accomplishing His purposes. God knew what He was doing, and He used our very rejection of the light to bring about the culmination, the climax of this story. So the good news as we move into this next part of the story, the good news is that God has a plan. According to Ephesians one four, God chose His people in Jesus before the foundation of the world. From the very beginning of time, God has had a plan and He knew. Exactly how this was all going to unfold. He knew that we would reject the Messiah. He knew that we would love the darkness more than the light. And he determined to use that for his purposes from before the foundation of the world. If we reflect again on First Corinthians Chapter 15, we looked at this summary of the Gospel way back in our first lesson together. Paul says, For I delivered to you as a first importance. What I also received that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures that He was buried, that he was raised in the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. She got told us that he had a plan. The Scriptures remember, here is the Old Testament. And throughout the Old Testament, God was explaining to us what He was about. God revealed to us that this one who would come, would be spurned and despised and rejected. God had a plan and he even communicated that plan to us. So the good news in this part of the story begins with the fact that God knew what he was doing. The question remains for us to ask what was God doing? What was God doing in the death of Jesus? Well, the answer is he was doing an awful lot.

[00:06:38] As a matter of fact, he was doing so much in the death of Jesus that we can't possibly hope to even adequately summarize all of it in just this short session that we have together. But I'd like to take us through and highlight a few really important things that God was doing when Jesus died, when we killed Jesus. The first thing that God was doing is that he was making peace. God was making peace through the death of Jesus Christ. He was bringing about reconciliation. You may have heard the term atonement as a term used to describe the cross. It really atonement means bringing two people together and reconciling them to one another. So if we think back to an analogy that I used in an earlier lesson when I came home and spoke angrily to my wife so that the relationship was severed between us and so that there is alienation between my wife and I. Atonement is when something happens to reconcile us so that we come together and we have that relationship that we want to have. That's atonement, that's reconciliation, because we need to remember through all of this that when we sin against God, when we act against the purposes of the holy and sovereign God of the universe. Remember, alienation happens because when we sin, God gets angry. The wrath of God against sin is real. If we reflect back on Romans chapter one, verse 18, Paul tells us that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people. God's wrath revealed when people act against him. And that is as it should be when people act against God, when people violate God's holiness, his plans and his purposes. When people shatter shalom and really destroy that which is best for us.

[00:09:10] God should be wrath of God should respond in wrath when people act against him and really the best interests of everyone else. Wrath is the right response there. And there is such a thing as righteous wrath, justified wrath, godly anger. If I look out in the world and I see an unrighteousness, an unjust act being committed, if I see someone being mugged, as it were, and beaten, I should be wrathful. I should be angry at the brokenness and the sin, the flagrant violation of human dignity. The offense against God. I should be wrathful when I see sin committed. How much more should God be? Wrathful at the sin of humanity. So we need to remember when we sin, we alienate ourselves from God because He's angry about it and righteously so. The wrath of God against sin is real. And the wrath of God against sin needs to be dealt with. Sometimes we hear people talk about, Well, so God's angry against sin. Sure. Well, he should just let it go. God should just forgive people and let the sin go and not be angry anymore. Oh, really? Is that the just is it the righteous thing to do? Is that the loving thing to do? Think back to the situation I described with my two daughters in an earlier lesson where Leah has laid out all her toys and she has created her little toy shalom on the family room floor. And my younger daughter comes in, rampages through the family room and destroys all of it so that my older daughter is upset. And I come in and let's assume that I have previously told my younger daughter not to destroy Leah's toys when she has set them up like that. And my younger daughter has done so anyway.

[00:11:28] I should be angry. I should be angry because she has gone against what I have asked her to do. She has really broken the relationship with Leah. She has made a mess out of the family room. Now, granted, I can cut her some slack being only three, but I still should be angry. Should I just let it go? They say, Oh, okay. All is forgiven. No. I should allow myself to be angry, though, in a loving way, in anger that leads me to discipline and anger that leads me to help her learn and grow and develop in anger that leads me to hold her accountable. As much as you can hold a three year old accountable. When you were righteously angry, you shouldn't just let it go. If I'm angry when I see someone mugging another person, should I just let it go? Well, certainly not. I should act to see that justice is done. When God is angry, to see sin in the world. Should he just let it go? Should he allow Shalom to be destroyed? Should he allow all of us to continue to go forward in our brokenness and our sinfulness and our depravity? Certainly not. We should not want God to let his wrath go. We should want God to respond in his wrath because it's to our benefit that he does so. So God's wrath is revealed from heaven against all sin. And we should want him to, because we want this in to be addressed. We want the brokenness to be fixed. We want things to be as God designed them to be. So God's wrath is real. We have been separated from him and the wrath needs to be addressed. It needs to be satisfied. And the tremendous news is that Jesus is the one who satisfies God's wrath.

[00:13:34] Reading Romans 325 that God put Jesus forward as a propitious ation by his blood propitious ation. It's one of those kind of fancy words that we use to describe really big concepts. And the big concept that we have in mind here is that God is angry and Jesus is the one who comes and satisfies His anger. Jesus is the one who comes and takes our punishment so that the wrath of God might be satisfied. And Jesus is the one who comes in, restores our relationship to the Father, satisfying the wrath of the Father so that the relationship might be reestablished, that we may be reconnected to the father. He is the perpetuation, the one through whom all of this takes place. First, John 410 says the same in This is the love. Not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the perpetuation for our sins. Jesus is the one who brings about the perpetuation. Now, it's important that we be careful here. We don't want to set up a story as though we have on the one side God, the father who's really angry. And on the other side, God, the son who's really loving. And God the son does the loving thing to satisfy the nasty, angry God, the Father. He again read the verse, and this is love. Not that we love God, but God loved us. God, the Father, God, the Son, God, the Holy Spirit loved us so much that He didn't want to keep being angry with us, but he recognized that something had to be done about sin. To satisfy his wrath so that relationship might be restored. So Jesus is the one in accordance and in cooperation, in agreement with the Father and the Spirit who satisfies the wrath of God to bring about reconciliation.

[00:15:26] Again, here, Paul. Back in Romans chapter five versus ten and 11, for if while we were enemies, remember enemies alienated from God and actually his enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son. Reconciliation, restoring relationship. That's the picture that we have in the painting that Rembrandt has given us of the prodigal son. Remember the story? The prodigal son, the prodigal has run off, has abandoned the father, has taken on his inheritance and is left. The family has shamed the father, broken trust with the father, broken faith with the family, and has run off to really live his life in depravity, doing whatever it is that he wants. Sound familiar? Garden of Eden relationship yet? Adam and Eve violating that trust and violating that faithfulness and running off to do what they want. So the prodigal son has abandoned the father and has gone off to do whatever he wants. Has realized the failure, has realized the brokenness that that leads to and is now returning to the father. And in the painting that Rembrandt gives us, we have that incredible image of the father embracing the son. As the prodigal son returns to the father. Reconciliation. And it's a reconciliation only made possible through Jesus Christ. So what was God doing on the cross? He was making peace. He was making peace between God and a sinful humanity through Jesus so that we might be reconciled to him and Father might embrace us again, so that we might embrace the father, so that we might be reconciled to him. The second thing that he was doing, he was healing. And we certainly know that Jesus was all about healing in this image of Jesus. We have Jesus bringing physical healing to people.

[00:17:33] One of the most common images that people, even people who don't believe in Jesus have about Jesus, is that he was a healer, that he was at work in the world helping people with their sicknesses. And we have people healing lepers and the lame and the blind and the deaf. Jesus healed people. But even more fundamentally than that, God was at work in Jesus on the cross, healing us at the deepest level. First, Peter two 4 to 24 says that Jesus himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. And it finishes by his wounds. You have been healed. The kitchen breaks us at a fundamental level. When we fall into sin, we are no longer what God wanted us to be. The Bible often describes sinful people as deceased, decaying, broken, and Jesus on the cross heals diseases, decaying and broken people so that God's people might be healthy again. In second Corinthians 318, Paul uses the language of transformation to communicate much the same idea to his. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, our being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord the Spirit as He transformed from our disease, the decaying, broken state being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ himself. Transformed from death to life healed, so that by the wounds that Jesus Christ took for us on the cross, we might be healed. God's people need healing. And in the cross, God was at work bringing that healing about. Paul even extends that further in Romans Chapter eight. We've looked at this verse previously because we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together.

[00:19:54] And not only this, but we also ourselves having the first fruits of the spirit, even we ourselves grown within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption, the son, the redemption of the body, the whole creation needs healing. Shalom has been broken. Creation all the way through, needs healing. And God, was it worth bringing that healing through the death of the Son? So what was God doing? As we were killing the Messiah? God was making peace, bringing reconciliation between himself and His people. He was healing that God's people might not be broken and disease and afflicted, crushed by sin. He was healing that we might be transformed into the image of the sun, that we might be transformed into what God had always intended us to be reconciled to. The Father healed. God was also at work rescuing his people. I love this image of Saint George slaying the dragon. It's a powerful image of God at work on the cross, rescuing his people because as we saw in one of our earlier sessions together, when we fell into sin, we fell into bondage, in bondage to sin, in bondage, to death, in bondage, to spiritual powers. God's people fell into slavery, really trapped in the state of sin and no way to free ourselves from it so enslaved to sin that the Bible says that we were dead. And in the cross through Jesus Christ. What was God doing? He was rescuing his people out of that. Think of the Exodus story again. God's people, Israel enslaved in Egypt and God coming as their rescuer, rescuing his people from that bondage. That's what God was doing on the cross for the Romans. 617 and 18. But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed.

[00:22:07] And having been freed from sin, you did become slaves again. But slaves of righteousness no longer sins, slaves, but now God's slaves in bondage to God and all of the love and all of the blessings that He has in store for us. And Colossians 113. Paul describes it as Jesus, rescuing us from the domain of darkness and transferring us into the kingdom of his beloved son. Trapped in darkness, loving the things of darkness. And God sends the son into that darkness so that he can rescue God's people out of that. And instead of living in the domain of darkness, we get to live in to the kingdom, and we're kingdom. God's purpose, says his shalom being restored. We get to live in the kingdom of his beloved son. Matthew, 2028, describes it as a ransom, just as the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many ransoming his people out of slavery so that when we see what was God doing on the cross, he was reaching out to a people in bondage and rescuing them from it so that we might be rescued out of the darkness and we might be rescued into the kingdom of his beloved son. Along with that, then God was also winning sea. God wasn't simply rescuing us. He was also winning a victory over all of our enemies. So it would be one thing to say that God rescues us out of slavery to sin. If He simply leaves the power of sin in place. It would be one thing to say that he rescues us from death. If death still holds power over us, or to rescue us from the spiritual powers that seek to hinder God's plans if they're still around and fully able to defeat God's plans.

[00:24:21] None of that is true. When God rescued us, when God rescued God's people from bondage on the cross through Jesus Christ and more than on the cross in his death, in his resurrection, God won the victory against all of those enemies that sought to hinder us and hinder His purposes. That's the image that we have here in this painting of the victorious Christ rising above all of God's enemies. Rising above all of our enemies. The victorious Christ winning the Battle. Colossians 215. Paul says When Jesus had disarmed the rulers and authorities, he made a public display of them having triumphed over them. Through him, Jesus disarmed all of those spiritual powers. Granted, the spiritual powers are still at work in the world, still seeking to hinder God's plans and purposes. But they've already lost the battles already been fought. God has already won. They have already been disarmed. What was God doing in the cross? He was winning first Corinthians 15, verses 24 to 26. See? Then comes the end. Referring back, now referring forward to the end of all things. When Jesus hands over the Kingdom of God, the Father, when he has abolished all rule and all authority and all power, for he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. And the last enemy that will be abolished is death. See. Jesus is going to finish the work of putting all of God's enemies under his feet. But it's all connected to the cross in his resurrection, his life. What was God doing when Jesus came among us? He was winning the battle against all of his enemies. First Corinthians 1554. A little bit later in that same chapter. Death is swallowed up in victory. So in many ways, what we can look at what was God doing in Jesus? He was winning a victory over all of the enemies of God's people sin, death, the powers, everything that seeks to hinder God's purposes for His people.

[00:26:48] God was winning over them, even as those same enemies were at work, putting Jesus to death on the cross. We can also say along with that, that Jesus was modeling. The life of true humanity for us. Jesus was revealing to us. What does it mean to be what God wants us to be? See in this picture that we have here? It's the image of Jesus with His disciples. Jesus living a human life, the Son of God coming in, living a human life among human people, and really showing us what does it mean to be human the way God wanted us to be. What does it mean to live a human life that seeks to glorify God? What does it mean to live a human life in relationship with other humans? Jesus modeled for us what it means to be what God wanted us to be. That's really what Jesus was about doing with the disciples. Sure. Let me show you what it means to be human. Now go show other people so they can be human, too. Let me show you what it means to bear God's image in the world so that he might be glorified everywhere. Now go show other people so they too can learn how to image God in the world so that God might be glorified everywhere in the life, the death and the resurrection of Christ. God was at work modeling for us what it means to be human. According to Hebrews 12 three. Then we should seek to consider him who has endured such hostility by sinners against himself so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Consider him reflect on Christ, learn from him. Because if he can be fully human, if he can image God, if he can glorify God despite the terrible circumstances that He lived through, surely we can learn something from that.

[00:28:57] Surely we can learn what it means to be human, where we are, what it learns to image God, where we are. What it means to glorify God. Where we are as we contemplate and reflect on what Jesus modeled for us. First, Peter to 21. For you have been called for this purpose since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps. So God on the cross was at work modeling for us what it means to be human. So as we've reflected together, God was at work on the cross doing some amazing things, even as all of God's enemies, us included, were at work rejecting and despising and scorning and killing the Messiah Jesus. God was at work reconciling, healing, rescuing, winning and modeling for us. That's amazing. But none of it really makes any sense. None of it really works unless we reflect on the fact that what God was at work on the cross doing for us is he was atoning, providing sacrifice for our sins. Probably the most famous image that many people have of Jesus is Jesus hanging on the cross, the death of Christ on the cross. So we need to reflect together the fact that what God was doing as He was providing for us a sacrifice in our place. Remember Isaiah 53 six? All of us, like sheep, have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way. We have all sinned and alienated ourselves from God. We talked about the fact that on the cross God was reconciling us to himself. But how? What is it that God did that allowed Him to reconcile us to himself? We talked about the fact that God rescued us out of our bondage to sin.

[00:31:00] How what did He do that broke us out of our bondage to sin? We talked about the fact that he's healed us. How? What exactly did he do that healed us from our brokenness? In the second half of Isaiah 53 six, The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. What did he do? He sent his son to stand in our place to receive the penalty of our sins. To take that penalty from us. So that we might be reconciled to the father, so that we might be healed, so that we might be rescued, so that victory might be accomplished. So we might follow the example because we had all turned away, fallen into brokenness, unable to redeem ourselves. And God stepped into the gap and took that penalty first Peter to 24. And by and he himself bore our sins in his body on the cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. For by his wounds. You were healed. We just looked at that one. But we want to reflect not just on the healing aspect of things, but the fact that he bore our sins in his body on the cross, taking them upon himself, taking the sins of God's people upon himself, that God's people might have all of the blessings of what God was doing on the cross. Paul talks about it in Galatians Is Jesus taking the curse on himself? Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written curse. Does everyone who is hung on a tree talk about an amazing statement? The Son of God existing with God from all eternity became a curse. For us became the first one hung on a tree with all of the shame that comes from being a cursed one.

[00:33:18] The Son of God took that because he didn't want us to be cursed once anymore. Took the curse and the shame upon himself that God's people might no longer be cursed. That's an amazing truth. So it's important for us to reflect on the fact that there are great benefits in what Jesus was doing on the cross. Jesus did come as our reconciler, the peacemaker, restoring us to the Father. Jesus did come as the one who would heal us in our brokenness so that we might no longer be disease judged by sin, inked by sin. To use an earlier analogy. He healed us that we might be transformed into the image of the son. He did come to rescue us out of our bondage to all of the enemies of God. He did come to win the victory over all of God's enemies. All of our enemies. He didn't come to provide us an example. Those are the tremendous blessings. But all of them are the blessings that God gives to his people because he came as our sacrifice, because he stepped into the gap and stood in our place. God and his love chose to accept our penalty that we might receive all of those incredible blessings. So what was God doing? If we reflect back on the fact that the one will come, that one has come. And yet we killed him and we rejected him and we continue to reject him. But God was at work in all of that. God had a plan even for that rejection, because God was at work in the life and the death and the resurrection of the Messiah. What was he doing? He was doing an awful lot. He was doing an awful lot to restore his people.

[00:35:36] So that even in their brokenness, his people might again become his people, so that his people might again image him in creation as he had intended, so that his people might again be in relationship with him and with one another and with creation as he intended, so that his people might again be a blessing throughout the land as he intended. God had a plan to restore shalom. The Cross in many ways is the climax of our story, because in the life and the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. God was bringing about God was doing all that really was necessary to restore Shalom. Now, that still leaves us with a pretty important question. See, all along I've been using language like God healed us and God restored us and He rescued us and He redeemed us. What I really mean by that is that in all of these things, God was healing his people and restoring his people and rescuing his people and redeeming his people so that his people might be all that he designed them to be. The question that we haven't answered yet, How do you get to be one of those people? It sounds great to be one of God's people and receive all the blessings of the Kingdom, to be His image bearers and to experience shallow. But how do you become one of God's people? That's a question that we will begin to address in the next session. What does the gospel mean for you? What does the gospel mean for me? I emphasize at the beginning that this story wasn't about us. That the story was about God. But this story does include us. It includes you and it includes me. And the question that we want to wrestle with together in the next session is how do you get involved in this story? How do you become a child of God? Thank you for listening to this lecture.

[00:37:51] Brought to you by biblical training. Org. Feel free to make copies of this lecture to give to others, but please do not charge for these copies or alter the content in any way without permission. We invite you to visit our website at w w w dot Biblical training dot org. There you will find the finest in evangelical teaching for use in the home and the church, and it is absolutely free. Our curriculum includes classes for new believers, lay education classes, and seminary level classes taught by some of the finest seminary teachers drawn from a wide range of evangelical traditions.


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