Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Big Difference 6 - Sin Atoned vs. Sin Taken Away

My friend Mike and I recorded our next two Growing in Grace programs this past Sunday, and I thought it was kind of interesting that some of the stuff we briefly talked about (tune in this coming Sunday and the following Sunday!) coincided with some of the things that Frank Friedman had apparently taught about, and that In Christ Alone had mentioned.

I did a quick little 'experiment' before recording our programs. I searched for all forms of the word atone in my PC Study Bible. In the New King James Version of the Old Testament, forms of the word atone are found 100 times (Atoned appears once; Atonement appears 99 times). The New Testament results for any and all forms of the word atone: Zero. Zip. Nada. None. Zilch. 0.

To borrow a quote from In Christ Alone's post, with my own emphasis on the first word: "No atonement in the New Covenant Economy. Jesus did not cover our sins. He took them away."

So... if you're a Christian who has sinned and if you're looking for some way to atone for your sins, I'm very sorry - your sins cannot be atoned for. They have been TAKEN AWAY!

Jesus did not come to atone for sins. His bloody sacrifice of Himself did not atone for sins. The Old Covenant was full of all kinds of sacrifices and offerings that provided a temporary covering, or atonement, for sins. But the blood of bulls and goats could not do what the blood of Jesus did:
Heb 9:25-26
25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another — 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Heb 10:1-4
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

John 1:29
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Heb 10:14
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Heb 10:18
Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
There is no longer an offering for sin because the sacrifice of Jesus took away sin! The blood of bulls and goats provided a temporary covering for sin, but could not take sin away.

The sad thing is... Not only are many Christians today living with a fear that their sins are not completely atoned for, and that they need to do something more to atone for their own sins, but they don't even realize that atonement is never what was needed. What was necessary for us to have the perfect righteousness that was needed to be in right standing with God (justified) was for our sins to be taken away. Christ has taken away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and we have become the righteousness of God in Him! What can we add to that or take away from it?!

*For an explanation of this Big Difference series, see the original post.*


  1. Wow! Great post, Joel.

    I've always just accepted the word atonement as a new covenant word. I decided to check after you so I looked up atonement in my KJV concordance and found atonement used once in the NT. It was in Romans 5:11. However, when I looked at a more modern translation, I found the word is really reconciliation.

    That's really what we've been given. As you said, our sins have been totally dealt with and taken completely away so now there is nothing separating us from God. We're fully reconciled to him.

    That's good news. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Aida... same here... I've always accepted the word atonement as a new covenant word. In fact, I've heard it preached as meaning "at-one-ment." In other words, that it means we're "at one" with God. We'll we are "at one" with God, but it's not because of this word! The English words "atone" and "atonement" don't meant "at one" and the Hebrew (Old Testament) word doesn't mean "at one" either.

    I searched other versions of the Bible for forms of atone, and most versions do not use the word at all in the NT. The NIV uses the word 3 times, using two Greek words, and in each case I looked up the Greek and neither of them mean 'atone.'

    In fact, when the two Greek words are used elsewhere in the NT (and it's rare), they're not translated as "atone" but rather "mercy seat," "be merciful," "propitiation" and "reconciliation."

    Anyway, not that I'm an expert in Greek, but I think the overall point is that the "atonement" in the Old Covenant is not what Jesus did for us in the New Covenant. If He had simply atoned for our sins, as the blood of bulls and goats did in the Old Covenant, our sins would still remain. But He took them away, and through it we were reconciled to God and we were able to be made the righteousness of God.

  3. What can we add to that or take away from it?!

    Add confession!
    Add walking down the aisle!
    'examine yourselves'!
    'find the hidden sin'
    'find the generational sin'
    'find the prosperity blocking sin'

    Those are some Jesus missed!

    Oh.. give me a break!

    Excellent post brother!

  4. Christ died on the cross to take away all sins. He did this so that we might also die to sin, that we will feel dead inside when we sin in this world, so that we might recognize sin when it acts against our Spirit, which loves Christ. So that we might repent from this evil flesh that consumes us every day. And become alive in him, who gives us Eternal Life.

  5. Hi Kevin,

    A couple of thoughts come to mind. The first one is that we have already died to sin (Rom 6:2). The rhetorical question that Paul asks is, since we have died to sin, why should we live any longer in it?

    The second thought is that we have also already become alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1,5, Colossians 2:13, etc).

    All of this has happened supernaturally, simply when we believed and were born again of incorruptible seed. Romans 6:11 reminds us to reckon (regard as fact) that we are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ.

    The old nature - the old person who we were in Adam - died and is gone forever. Our new nature - the new creation that we are in Christ - is alive to God and is dead to sin.

    I'll be honest and say that your statement, "this evil flesh that consumes us every day," disturbs me. Christian preachers and teachers have not taught that it is Christ and His life who consumes us! If we think we're consumed by the flesh, then we'll always live in defeat, because there's absolutely no way we can "defeat" the flesh. But if we're consumed by Christ and our new nature that is incorruptible and is alive together with Him in righteousness, peace, joy, and so on and so on, then we need not be consumed with the flesh because the life of Christ overcomes all.