At the heart of Christianity is the doctrine of the Atonement. The Apostle Paul, himself an advocate of sound doctrine, in a brief statement of what the Christian Church believes, said in 1 Cor 15: 3 – 4:
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
Paul’s Gospel includes a sinless and a bodily-resurrected Christ. But notice he gives first place to the fact that “Christ died for our sins.” This is the doctrine of the atonement – the death of Jesus Christ was sacrificial and necessary for man’s redemption.
The word “atonement” in the Authorized Version of the Bible is an Old Testament term. It appears only once in the New Testament, Romans 5:11:
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
It is translated “reconciliation” in the NIV and ESV.
It is not without merit to suggest the idea of at-one-ment because the word atonement is used to refer to the atoning death of Christ through which the sinner is reconciled to God – restored to His favour.
To atone for means to make amends. In the Bible atonement is associated with man’s sin. God commanded Israel to set aside one day each year, the tenth day of the seventh month, which He called “the day of atonement”. See Leviticus 16:29-30 and 23:27-28. The people were to bring a sin offering, an innocent animal sacrifice “whose blood was brought in to make atonement” (Leviticus 16:27). God had said, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11) “. . . and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).
In conclusion, we can see that the death and resurrection of Jesus, His shed blood atones for the sins of mankind. This website is about healing in the atonement, especially physical healing. We will look into that aspect of the atonement in a later article.