National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series: Theology
The Christian doctrine of atonement is the belief that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross has made amends for the sins of humanity and reconciled humanity with God. It teaches that through his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ took upon himself the punishment that humans deserved for their sins, and made it possible for humans to be forgiven and reconciled to God.
The atonement is seen as the central event in Christian theology, and is understood in a variety of ways by different Christian traditions. Some of the most common views of atonement include:
1. Penal Substitutionary Atonement: This view teaches that Jesus Christ took upon himself the punishment that humans deserved for their sins, and satisfied God’s justice on their behalf.
2. Christus Victor: This view teaches that through his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ defeated the powers of sin and death, and liberated humanity from their bondage.
3. Moral Influence: This view teaches that Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection serve as a powerful example of sacrificial love, and inspire humans to follow his example and live a life of love and service.
4. Ransom Theory: This view teaches that Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection were a ransom paid to Satan to free humanity from his power.
Overall, the Christian doctrine of atonement affirms that through Jesus Christ, humans are reconciled to God and given the opportunity for forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life. It is seen as the ultimate expression of God’s love and mercy towards humanity, and the basis of the Christian faith.