Bible Study: What Does Atonement Mean?
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Bible Study: What Does Atonement Mean?

Many times in Christianity we use big words that sound all high and mighty when it isn’t necessary. The word atonement is one of these words.

It gets thrown around all the time in our “Christianese” without us even thinking if people understand what we are talking about.

So I thought I would start taking some of these words and breaking them down so average everyday people can understand what-what atonement means.

Christ's atonement image

The Meaning Of Atonement

There are two major parts to the definition of atonement. You have to understand both parts to grasp the full meaning of atonement.

Atonement means paying a ransom

The first part is the concept of atoning, paying a payment for someone. You see, when you sinned, (and we all have, no one is perfect.) you became part of the kingdom of darkness. You gave ownership of yourself to the devil.

For Jesus to atone for what you did, he had to pay the price. He had to pay a ransom.

“Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus came to pay the ransom for your freedom. He bought you out of slavery. He paid the price demanded for your freedom.

That price was high; His life for yours.

So when you say that Jesus made atonement for sin. You need to explain or change the word and say that he paid the price for your sin.

Atonement is paying the price for a penalty

The second concept of atonement is that the sentence was taken away.

It is similar to a sporting event where the referee has made a penalty. American football has what they call a challenge, where the penalty can be challenged.

In this instance, upon further review, Jesus stepped in and took the penalty for us. The penalty for sin was death. Jesus took the penalty of death for us. We deserved the penalty because we broke God’s law. But Jesus atoned, stepped in for us, and took that penalty Himself.

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus died in our place, so we did not have to take the penalty of sin.

We are like the woman caught in the very act of adultery (John 8:4) who was about to be stoned. She had sinned, she was about to pay the price for her sin.

Jesus stepped in and changed the outcome. And her trust was placed in Christ alone.

Many of us have also trusted in Jesus to atone for our sins. To set us free from the slavery we were in, and to take away the penalty for what we have done.

atonement in the bible image

Many people do not yet know Jesus, or they are just church goer’s and not placing their trust in Jesus. They expect their sacrifices to atone for their sins, or they hope their good works will get them into heaven.

If that happens to be you, my dear reader, then will you, as I have, and many others place your trust in Christ alone? Won’t you allow him to be your atonement?

If that is something that you know you need to do, then I would invite you to go to Peace With God. It will change your life!

Blessings to you all!

Pastor Duke

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.