By Amos Binney and Daniel Steele
By redemption is meant the recovery of mankind from sin and death by the obedience and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who, on this account, is called the Redeemer. Isa. 59:20; 60:16; Rom. 3:24-26; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7; I Pet 1:18-19.
The guilt of original sin is covered by the atonement, and is not imputed to any of the offspring of Adam until its remedy is willfully rejected. Hence all who die in infancy are saved through Christ, the second Adam, from all the penal consequence of the sin of the first Adam. Rom. 5:18-19; I Cor. 15:22. The atonement arrested the extinction of the human race, and its propagation after the fall is under the provisions of grace. Gen. 3:15; Heb. 2:14. (98. What is redemption? How are infants saved?)
The moving cause of redemption is the love of God. John 3:16; I John 4:9.
The procuring cause, the substitutional death of Christ. Matt. 20:28; II Cor. 5:21; I Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 2:9-10; 9:12-15; I Pet. 1:18-19.
The ends of redemption are the delivery of man from the curse of the law, sin, death, and hell, and the bestowment of everlasting blessedness. Job 19:25, etc.; Ps. 16: 9-1l; John 3:15, 36; 10:10; 17:2-3.
By the atonement is meant the satisfaction offered to divine justice by Jesus Christ, who underwent, by his suffering and death, the penalty due to our sins. Isa. 53:4-8; Gal. 3:13; 4:4-5.
The Hebrew word signifies covering, and intimates that our offenses are, by a proper atonement, covered from the avenging justice of God. Ps. 32:1-2; Rom. 4:7-8. The passages that follow plainly and distinctly set forth this doctrine. Matt. 20:28; John 1:29; Rom. 3:25-26; I Cor. 15:3; II Cor. 5:18-21; I Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 2:10-14; I John 2:2; 4:10.
The atonement was necessary, that God (99. What is its moving cause? The procuring cause? The ends? What is the atonement? What is the significance of the Hebrew word? What texts of Scripture prove this doctrine?) might show his hatred to sin, and love to holiness, and that he might be honorable and just, and still be merciful. Rom. 3:25-26. It was designed to be satisfactory to God and influential with man, removing all obstacles in regard to both in the way of a complete reconciliation of the penitent believer. John 14:6; Eph. 2:15-16; Col. 2:13-15.
If the atonement had not been necessary, neither the Father nor the Son would have consented to the death of the latter to effect it. Matt. 26:39; Heb. 2:10; 9:22, 28; Rev. 5:9; 7:14.
Repentance, though attended with present and future obedience, cannot atone for past sin, any more than past obedience can atone for present and future sins. Job 22:3; Ps. 25:7; Luke 17:10.
The atonement is universal and not particular; that is, it extends in its conditional efficiency to all the sins of all mankind, and not the sins of a few called the elect.
This appears from the character of Christ; a person of infinite dignity. Hence his suffering and death are of infinite value and efficacy. (100. Why is the atonement necessary? How does this appear? What effect has repentance on our sins? Present and future obedience? Is the atonement general? What is meant by this?) To conclude otherwise would be derogatory to the glorious character of the divine Redeemer.
This is further evident from the commands, invitations, and exhortations of Scripture. God is sincere, and could not tantalize his creatures. Mark 16:15-16; Acts 17:30; Isa. 45:22; 55: 1; Rev. 17:17; Acts 2:21; I Tim. 2:1.
The Scriptures teach this doctrine by express declarations. I John 2:2; Heb. 2:9; I Tim. 2: 6; II Cor. 5:14-15; John 1:29.
Among all the variety of beings in the universe, Christ only is qualified to make atonement, he being both divine and human. John 1:18; I Tim. 2:5-6; 3:16; Heb. 2:9-18.
There is a difference between atonement and redemption. Atonement is for sin; redemption is from sin and suffering. We may distinguish between atonement and the application of atonement, but not between redemption and the application of redemption. We may pray for redemption, but not for atonement.
It is very important that this distinction be observed: not to do it lays the foundation for (101. How does this appear? What further evidence? What do the Scriptures teach? Is Christ alone qualified to make atonement? How? Is there any difference between redemption and atonement? What is it? What else respecting this difference?) great errors. Make this distinction, and none would ever infer the doctrine of universal salvation from the universal extent of the atonement.
There is a wide difference between an entertainment being made, and the partaking of this entertainment. So there is a wide difference between the sufficiency of the atonement and its efficiency. It is sufficient for the whole world, but it is efficient to the salvation of those only who repent and believe. Luke 13:3; Mark 16:16; John 1:11-12; 3:14-18; 5:38, 40; Rom. 3:22-26; I Tim. 2: 4-6; 4:10.
The atonement is a fundamental doctrine of the Gospel. Christ crucified is the theme and glory of the Gospel. Rom. 1:15-16; I Cor. 1:23-24; 2:2; Gal. 6:14.
The doctrine of atonement is derived wholly from the sacred Scriptures. It is this which distinguishes Christianity from Deism, Mohammedanism, Paganism, and all other religions.
Errors respecting the atonement:
1. That the Father's wrath against sinners is appeased by the sufferings of Christ, (102. Is it important that this distinction be observed? What illustration? Is this doctrine fundamental? Is it scriptural? What distinguishes Christianity from Desim etc.?) who shed his blood to satisfy the Father's personal claim. Refutation: The atonement originated with the Father. John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Titus 2:11.
2. That there is in the atonement no satisfaction, but only an exhibition of the Father's mercy as a strong moral suasive to draw the sinner from his sins, couched in the figurative language of the sacrificial system of the Hebrews. Refuted in John 1:29; Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:12, 14; I John 1:7: 2:2; Rev. 1:5; 5:9. "The doctrine of the Epistle to the Hebrews, then, plainly is, that the legal sacrifices were allusions to the great and final atonement to be made by the blood of Christ, and not that this was an allusion to those." Bishop Butler.
3. That the sufferings of Christ are exactly equal to the eternal misery of all the sinners of the human family, and, therefore, that it is unjust to punish both the sinner and his substitute. Refutation: There is no algebraic equation between Christ's sufferings and the world's sins. (103. What three errors? How refuted?) The atonement was the establishment of a new principle under the reign of law, the demonstration of the fact that God could "be just and the justifier of him which believeth." Rom. 3:26. The same suffering would be required to redeem one sinner as to redeem a thousand million.
BENEFITS OF THE ATONEMENT.
Man having forfeited good of every kind, even life itself, by his transgression, all that remains to him, more than evil in the natural and providential world, as well as all spiritual blessings, are to be considered as the fruit of the death and intercession of Christ, and ought to be acknowledged as such. Rom. 5:6, 10; 8:32; II Cor. 9:15.
The most important of these, however, are those which relate to, or which constitute, what, in Scripture, is called our salvation. By which term is meant man's deliverance from the penalty, dominion, and pollution of his sins, his introduction into the divine favor in this life, and his eternal felicity in another. Matt. 1:21; Luke 1:68-74, 77; 2:11, 30; John 4:42; Acts 4:12; 5: 31; 13:23, 26, 47; I Tim. 1:15-16; Tit. 2:11-14; 3:4-7; Heb. 5:9; 9:28; I Pet. 1:4, 10; Rev. 12:10, 11; 21:24.