In nothing is the grace of God so wonderfully demonstrated than in the manner of His work of salvation in Christ. For “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them”. That the great Almighty, the Increate, the Source of all, Who cannot look upon sin, should so mercifully deal with His creation is almost beyond our finite comprehension. What willing, thankful service we should therefore delight to render unto Him.

The truth of the subject of the atonement is, so far as we are aware, unique to the Christadelphian brotherhood in these days. Such an accurate Scriptural understanding should in no way make us puffed up, but rather should motivate us to live in harmony with these precious eternal principles. The Truth is God-honouring and so far superior to the dry and sterile husks of Christendom’s falsehood. We should daily rise up to bless Him and to acknowledge His righteousness in all His provisions for our salvation and His Glory.

We are indebted to faithful brethren of former times who laid a good foundation of truth in dealing with the atonement and many of their writings provide excellent reading for our edification and instruction in these days. They clearly demonstrated that the righteousness of God was revealed in:

  • Jesus’ life of perfect obedience
  • Jesus’ death upon the cross
  • Jesus Christ’s resurrection

On account of this the Father has “highly exalted him” to His own right hand where, as the great High Priest of God’s appointment, he ministers daily on our behalf.

One of the most useful works from earlier times is The Blood of Christ by Brother Roberts and we have therefore included extracts from this little book, together with an extended outline of the matter it contains in “Our Heritage” section.

Following this are four articles covering various pertinent aspects of the doctrine of the atonement. These have been kept free of complication. The fact that the New Testament spends so much space on the death of the Son of God means that there are reasons why such an extraordinary event should have been necessary. Those reasons are found in the book of Genesis in the account of the fall of man, the transgression of Adam and Eve and the consequences of that sin. Man has been ever after a dying creature and the fact that it is a universal experience means that it is a matter of universal inheritance. “By man came death…as in Adam all die” (1 Cor 15:20–21). The other universal experience is that all men and women sin; they die therefore, not only because they are born mortal, but also because of their own sins: “As by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom 5:12).

It is obvious that the Redeemer must himself be related to this universal problem if he was to redeem mankind out of sin and death. So he was born of a woman, as a member of the human race—a partaker himself of flesh and blood. Accordingly, wherever the apostle Paul speaks of the Lord’s redeeming work there is emphatic teaching that he bore the issues of sin and death in his flesh—whether it be in Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians or Hebrews! And the apostle Peter is equally emphatic on the same point (1 Peter 2:24). Such a striking emphasis cannot be missed. This is the subject of the second article.

Yet our Lord was victorious in the fight against sin whereas we all fail. “Who did no sin” is the apostle’s succinct summary. Wherein is the difference between the Lord and ourselves? He was the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father. There was only ever one sinless man; there was only one begotten of the Father. The relationship of the two facts is inescapable. To enable him to defeat sin it necessitated that he be the Son of God. The battle was very real though, as the anguish and the suffering and the prayers and the sweat, the tears and the blood and water testified. This is the subject of our third article—“God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself”.

In the final article we look at the Lord’s sacrifice through his own eyes, noting his pertinent comments concerning his impending offering. We find that his offering was the culmination of the dominant theme of all his life. He was there to glorify his Father; to declare the righteousness of God. He would put down all human lusts and rebellion and carry the conquest to the very last struggle upon the tree. “Not my will but Thine be done”; “I delight to do Thy will, O my God”. He was there to honour—even unto death—the will of his Father and to demonstrate what men and women should do with “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life”.

His Father loved him for his obedience; for his willing acknowledgement of the rightness of all that God had instituted. Yahweh accordingly raised him from the dead and gave him life. We too acknowledge the rightness of all the Father’s appointments and with hearts full of gratitude seek to commit our lives to Him in willing obedience. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor 5:21).