A Better Atonement: When Atonement Begins

This week, as we prepare for Good Friday and Easter, we’ll have a post every morning about the atonement. Some will be by me, and some by guests. And don’t forget to check out the Storify and Tumbler, both tracking atonement this week. You can read all of the posts, and my past posts on this topic, here.

This morning, Fuller Seminary professor Daniel Kirk . Be sure to check out Daniel’s new book, Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul?: A Narrative Approach to the Problem of Pauline Christianity.

Died for Our Sins

“Jesus died for our sins.” Often, the problem with this core piece of our common Christian confession is that we think we know what it means. And so we limit our understanding of the fullness of the atonement.

Hearing this confession, many of us immediately home in the problem of guilt. Jesus is the means God provides so that sin’s guilt might be forgiven.

This is one way that scripture talks about Jesus’ death. But even when speaking of forgiveness of sins, guilt isn’t always the Bible’s primary concern.

In Colossians 1 we read, “God rescued us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son; in him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Forgiveness is not merely about having guilt forgiven. Forgiveness becomes the means by which we are freed from an enslaving tyrant.

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