Friday, September 23, 2016

What We Believe - Is God Against Us? (The Doctrine of the Atonement)

Image result for atonement theologyBelow are notes from our nineteenth discussion in a series entitled "What We Believe." This 14-session series considers the fundamental doctrines of Christians. This week we discussed the nature of atonement. You may listen to a podcast of this session on the Cove Presbyterian PodBean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

If you found this study meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Focus of this Session
  • We’re in a series dealing with some of the great questions of faith/doctrines of the church.
  • During this session we’ll focus on the question: Is God Against Us? To answer this, we’ll consider the Doctrine of the Atonement. 
  • During the session, we’ll use the Bible to consider four traditional interpretations of the atonement, the ideas presented by Paul, and how an understanding of the atonement might effect our lives and faith. 
Metaphors Often Used

The Financial Image 
  • Mark 10:45 - For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."
  • Rom. 3:24 - they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
  • 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23 - For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters.
  • Gal 3:13 - Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us-for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"
The Military Image 
  • Col 1:13; 2:15 - He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.
  • 1 Cor 15:24-28 - Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For "God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "All things are put in subjection," it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.
The Sacrificial Image
  • Mark 14:22-24 - While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.
  • John 1:29 - The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
  • Rom 3:25 - whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed;
  • 1 Cor 5:7 - Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.
The Legal Image
  • Rom 5:6-11 - For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
  • 2 Cor 5:16-21 - From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
  • Col 1:19-20 - For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
Romans 6:1-11

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Medical Metaphor 

Scene: Humanity has become infected with an extremely painful and destructive virus. The treatment involves allowing the disease to run it’s course, a process that’s very difficult on the patient but always effective. Because he loves them and hates to see them in pain, the doctor develops a vaccine by allowing himself to be infected and enduring the pain. Although the vaccine is given to all, only some choose to express their gratitude to the doctor. Others live as though the vaccine doesn’t exist and they haven’t received it.

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