In these sessions we turn our attention to the doctrinal aspects of the atonement. When Christ died, an exchange took place. He took upon Himself our punishment so that we could stand forgiven and free. It is this aspect of Christ’s work that deals directly with our predicament as helpless sinners, and it is this that constitutes the purpose of His substitutionary death and resurrection. It is here also that we find the term, used so often by Paul the apostle in his letters to the churches, “in Christ Jesus”.
What we consider in the following lesson demands personal application by faith. The Bible unequivocally declares that Christ died for all people (Romans 5:18; 2 Corinthians 5:15), yet not all will be saved. Many will still go to hell even though provision has been made for them through the cross. The benefits of salvation must be received by faith (Ephesians 2:8). Every aspect of this great salvation is appropriated in the same way – by faith.
The doctrinal side of the atonement has to do with Christ’s effectual victory over sin, and the liberation of mankind from its power.
The outline for the coming sessions will focus on major words and concepts connected with the work of the atonement. The great words of theology such as grace, redemption, reconciliation and justification, and others that we will consider, together constitute the work of Christ doctrinally.
WHAT DID JESUS ACCOMPLISH THROUGH HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION
We will consider the following words:
THE BENEFITS FOR THE BELIEVER OF JESUS ACCOMPLISHMENT
We will consider the following words:
In this session we will consider the first set of theological keywords in regard to what Jesus accomplished through His death and resurrection.
The Work Of The Atonement – What Did Christ Accomplish Through The Cross?
The following section expands on the key words that describe for us what Christ accomplished through His sacrifice on the cross. Each word shines a light on another aspect of the Great Exchange that took place, and the far reaching extent and implications of God’s decision to come as a human being and die on behalf of His fallen and rebellious creatures.
“that which is freely bestowed with no expectation of return. It is an act which finds its only motive in the good-heartedness of the giver”. It is “the undeserved, unearned and unmerited favour of God bestowed upon sinful men.”
An acronym that adequately sums up the meaning of the word would be; God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. The amazing thing is that those riches were bestowed upon us through Christ’s generosity. This is grace! The Greek word translated ‘grace”’ is “charis” . It describes the divine influence of God’s spirit upon the heart, which is then reflected in the life of the recipient.
Kevin Conner defines grace in the following way:
“Grace is the love of God in manifestation and operation.”
“God could have restrained love and displayed His wrath when Adam fell, but instead He manifested grace. This was indeed the loving-kindness, favour and mercy of God extended to sinful man. Adam did not and could not deserve, earn, nor merit it. All the provision, application and benefits of the atonement arise out of God’s amazing grace.”
Grace is the love of God in manifestation.
It is: (1) Undeserved (Romans 9:22)
(2) Unearned (Eph. 2:1-9)
(3) Unmerited (Rom 3:23-25)
The idea of a free gift derives from a Greek custom whereby a gift would be given to someone for no other reason than the pure generosity of the giver.
“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17 NKJV)
In regard to the revelation of grace brought about by Christ’s death and resurrection the only way one can partake of this ‘gift’ is to simply receive it. The Scriptures again and again make it clear that as soon as we begin to try and earn our place with God, we forsake and nullify the grace that He so desperately want to simply bestow upon us through His Son (Gal 2:16,21).
“To seek to earn, merit, or purchase salvation is to insult the Giver. Imagine yourself invited to a royal banquet in Buckingham Palace. You are seated at a table filled with the choicest foods. Every effort is made to give you a most enjoyable evening. At the end of a lovely visit, the queen herself stands at the front door to bid you good-bye.
What do you do? As you leave, do you press a pound coin into her hand and say, “Thank you very much for your kindness. I Have enjoyed the evening very much. I realise that it has cost you a lot of money, and I want to help you pay for the meal”?
Is that the proper response to her kindness? On the contrary, it is a rude and insulting gesture. So it would be with God’s grace.”
Quoted from William McDonald in Swindoll’s Ultimate book of illustrations and quotes, ISBN 0-7852-5025-5
It is important for us to understand that, as with any genuine gift, all we can do is receive it. An unconditional gift is not earned or paid for by the recipient (although someone else, usually the giver of the gift has paid a price for that which they bestow), it is simply and gratefully received. So is the case with God’s grace. We do not become candidates for God’s grace because we deserve His favour, quite the opposite. We are candidates for grace because in actuality there is absolutely no way we could earn or deserve that which we need to be saved, and we desperately require that which we cannot afford.
Religion says we must be good or better to earn God’s favour. The gospel says that the only thing that qualifies us as potential recipients of God’s grace is that we are sinners and sick, strangers from God, and without hope in the world!
Romans 1:7; 3:24; 5:2; John 1:17; Eph 1:6-7; 2:4-5; Galatians 2:21; 5:4; Heb 10:29 Write down some of the things we can learn from the above scriptures concerning this word GRACE
The Grace of God has been manifested throughout Scripture.
Some of the many Old Testament examples include:
- Adam and Eve. They disobeyed God and deserved His judgment. He could have cut them off there and then. Instead He sought them out, and provided an innocent animal whose skin clothed and covered them. This typifies the covering that the blood of innocent sacrifices provided for God’s people under the Old Covenant, and ultimately the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Noah too is spoken as a man who found ‘grace’ in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8). He and his family were delivered from the universal judgment.
- The Tabernacle/Temple of Moses, David and Solomon where God’s presence resided amongst the Israelites was typical of God’s grace.
- The Levitical priesthood with its sacrifices and ministrations to atone for sin are all demonstrations of the grace of God.
- David too had a revelation of the grace of God (Psalm 32:2; 65:4), as did many of the other Old Testament saints.
“Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
(Psalms 32:1–5 NLT)
Grace – A Central message of New Testament Theology
Grace – God’s unearned, unrestrained and undeserved favour – is spoken of many times throughout the New Testament.
We discover the following truths concerning this reality called grace, without which we would be hopelessly bound for hell:
- Grace originates in the heart of God the Father (Rom. 1:5,7)
- Grace flows to us through the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. “The Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17)
- The believer is justified by grace (Rom. 3:24).
- The believer is saved by grace through faith, not of works lest people should boast in their own ability or righteousness (Eph.1:6-7; 2:4)
- The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Grace and ministers the grace of God to us (Heb.10:29).
- The believer is not to frustrate the grace of God in his life. We do this any time we seek to ‘earn’ what He has freely given. (Gal.2:21; 5:4; Heb.12:15).
- The believer has to beware of those teachers who abuse the grace of God and turn it into lawlessness, wantonness and immorality. “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4 NASB)