Atonement by Faith
13 January 2019 AM – Romans 5:11 – Baptist Distinctives – Scott Childs
Introduction: Many people have been fooled into thinking that they will go to heaven because they are nice people. However, nice people are sinners like everyone else. Their sin has offended God. God must punish all sin. We can’t erase our sin. We need God’s atonement and cleansing.
Transition: As Baptists, we believe that atonement is by faith in Christ alone. This is essential to the Christian faith.
1. The Atonement Described
a. What does atonement mean?
1) The satisfaction offered to divine justice for the sins of mankind by the death of Jesus Christ; by virtue of which all true penitents believing in Christ are reconciled to God, are freed from the penalty of their sins, and entitled to eternal life. American Tract
2) The meaning of the word is simply at-one-ment, i. e., the state of being at one or being reconciled, so that atonement is reconciliation. Easton
b. Many religions distort Christ’s atonement.
1) Many teach that Christ’s atonement paid for sin but man must do some things as well to earn or keep it.
a) Catholics teach Christ’s atonement but also require baptism and other good works.
b) Mormons teach that Christ’s atonement cleanses after man does all he can do first.
2) Others teach that Jesus was not the eternal God He claimed to be and that hell is not literal hell fire.
a) Both Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists believe Jesus atoned for sin, but they believe that Jesus was Michael the archangel and they replace eternal hell fire with annihilation.
b) If Jesus is not the eternal God He claimed to be, He could not atone for the sins of the human race. If hell fire is annihilation (i.e., burned up and gone), Christ’s atonement loses one of its main purposes (Jn 3:16).
3) If Christ’s atonement did not pay our entire sin’s debt, we are in trouble. We have no hope of forgiveness.
2. The Atonement Provided
a. Atonement in the Old Testament
1) Sixty-six verses in the O.T. speak of atonement using a Hebrew word meaning to cover (e.g., Ex 30:10). Eight other verses in the O.T. use a word meaning atonement (e.g., Le 23:27).
2) The O.T. sacrifices temporarily covered sin but could never take away sins. (Hebrews 10:4) “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:11) “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:”
b. Atonement provided by Christ
1) Again, atonement is “The satisfaction offered to divine justice for the sins of mankind by the death of Jesus Christ; by virtue of which all true penitents believing in Christ are reconciled to God, are freed from the penalty of their sins, and entitled to eternal life.” American Tract
2) The English word “atonement” is only found once in the N.T. in our text, read Romans 5:11. It refers to an exchange for equivalent value. It is also translated reconcile as we will see. Because of our sin, we deserve eternal doom in hell. The only thing of equivalent value was the divine death of God the Son as our substitute. As only our eternal God could do, He paid our eternal judgment as He took upon Himself my sins and yours and suffered an eternal hell for us on the cross of Calvary.
O To God be the glory, great things he hath done; so loved he the world that he gave us his Son, who yielded his life an atonement for sin, and opened the life-gate that all may go in. Fanny Crosby
3) Two related words are frequent in the N.T.
a) Propitiation: This is an appeasing of God’s wrath toward man’s sin. It is that aspect of the death of Christ in which has been vindicated the holy and righteous character of God, and in virtue of which He is enabled to be propitious, or merciful, to the whole world. Morrish (Romans 3:25) [Jesus Christ] “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” (1 John 4:10) “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 2:2) “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
b) Reconcile (reconciliation): Three Greek words are translated reconcile. One means to exchange for equivalent value. (Romans 5:10) “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Another means to placate or appease, to make propitiation for. (Hebrews 2:17) “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” The last means to bring back to former state of harmony. (Ephesians 2:16) “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:”
4) When Jesus atoned for the sins of the human race, He became our propitiation and completely appeased God’s wrath toward our sin. It cost Jesus, God the Son, death on the cross and rejection by God the Father to make an equivalent exchange for our eternal judgment in hell. His loving sacrifice for us is able to bring us into harmony with God.
5) Jesus did not COVER our sin as the O.T. sacrifices did; He paid for it in full. (Hebrews 7:27) [Christ] “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.” (Hebrews 10:10) “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
3. The Atonement Received
a. Christ’s atonement cannot be earned
1) God’s righteousness demands our perfection before we can enter His presence. We all fail. (Romans 3:10) “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:”
2) Jesus paid for our atonement in full. Anything that we offer to God to earn atonement is an insult to God.
3) Salvation from hell is a gift of God provided by Jesus Christ’s atonement. (Ephesians 2:8-9) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” We cannot earn it and we cannot work to keep it.
b. Christ’s atonement is by faith in Christ alone
1) As independent Baptists, we believe that atonement is by faith in Christ alone. It is not atonement plus baptism or plus good works. It is received by faith only.
2) Christ atoned for our sins, but the ONLY way to receive that atonement is by faith in what Jesus Christ did for you. You may wonder, “What is faith?” Faith in Christ is simply believing that His payment on the cross paid for your eternal hell and it is trusting in that payment to rescue you from hell. You cannot truly place your faith in Christ until you repent or change your mind about your sin and your solution for sin. You must see yourself as guilty and Christ as your ONLY hope.
3) God sent His Son to earth to be your atonement because He loves you and wants your fellowship. Have you received Him and His payment? (John 1:12) “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
Conclusion: Atonement is by faith in Christ alone. If you have received God’s gift of atonement, take time right now to praise Him for it. To God be the glory!
If you have not yet received it, He is lovingly waiting for you to come to Him. I urge you to receive Him today.
Song: Come to the Saviour – 254