Home > Words of Wisdom > Sunday, 11th of July 2021

Today’s passage (Rom 3:21-26) is quite short, but it is rich in meaning and theological truth. In order to understand this passage, it is helpful to get our heads around some fancy theological terms that we probably aren’t used to using in our everyday lives. Two of these terms are righteousness and atonement. The word ‘righteousness’ means something like ‘justice’. God is righteous because he is perfect in justice and faithfulness: his conduct, his character, and his approach to relationships and covenants are all good, pure and without flaw. It is through the atonement that God gives us this status of righteous, put in right relationship with him, even though we don’t deserve it. So, what is ‘atonement’? At its core, this word means ‘making amends’ or ‘making at one’. In Christian theology, atonement is the way that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus has forever changed the human situation; hence, it is the cornerstone of Biblical theology. Atonement has been represented by five different pictures throughout Christian history, and it’s worth taking a quick look at each one in turn. 1. Sacrifice: Jesus gives up his life on our behalf. 2. Redemption: Jesus pays the price for our freedom. 3. Victory over the powers of evil: Through Jesus Christ, God defeats Satan and his kingdom forever. 4. Reconciliation: Jesus restores humans’ relationship with God. 5. Revelation: Jesus shows us the true glory of God. Each of these pictures gives us a different perspective on what Jesus accomplished through his life, death and resurrection, and the combination of these five pictures is what we call ‘atonement’. Having some understanding of these words will not only help you grasp today’s passage, but – if you reflect on them deeply – might just change your life.