The Source of Atonement

Today’s devotional comes from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. In it, he explores the true source of our atonement: Jesus’ death:

Beware of the pleasant view of the fatherhood of God: God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us. That thought, based solely on emotion, cannot be found anywhere in the New Testament. The only basis on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ. To base our forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blasphemy. The only ground on which God can forgive our sin and reinstate us to His favor is through the Cross of Christ. There is no other way! Forgiveness, which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony at Calvary. We should never take the forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and our sanctification in simple faith, and then forget the enormous cost to God that made all of this ours.

Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace. The cost to God was the Cross of Christ. To forgive sin, while remaining a holy God, this price had to be paid. Never accept a view of the fatherhood of God if it blots out the atonement. The revealed truth of God is that without the atonement He cannot forgive— He would contradict His nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God through the atonement of the Cross. God’s forgiveness is possible only in the supernatural realm.

Compared with the miracle of the forgiveness of sin, the experience of sanctification is small. Sanctification is simply the wonderful expression or evidence of the forgiveness of sins in a human life. But the thing that awakens the deepest fountain of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven his sin. Paul never got away from this. Once you realize all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vise, constrained by the love of God.

Do you take time to regularly reflect on what the death of Jesus made possible for you?

3 Responses to “The Source of Atonement”

  • Wendy says:

    Mine is more a question. What exactly is the definition of atonement? Thank you, Wendy

    • Chris says:

      Wendy, the dictionary definition is “the doctrine concerning the reconciliation of god and humankind, esp. as accomplished through the life, suffering, and death of Christ.” Basically, you can think of atonement as the forgiveness of our sins through Jesus’ death. Hope that helps!

  • Tim says:

    Oswald leaves out the necessity of repentance. Without the atonement there would be no possibility for our sins to be forgiven. However, forgiveness is not automatic even with the atonement. True repentance is necessary. Without repentance God would not be wise or just to pardon guilty sinners just as a parole board would not be wise or just to release a convict unless they were sure that they were no longer a threat to the community. Praise God for the atonement but let us not forget that Jesus and the apostles also preached repentance as a condition of forgiveness. We need to let go of our sin before we can grab hold of the free gift that God made available to us through the atonement. We need to stop being king of our own lives before we can make Jesus the new king. Repentance and faith are the conditions of salvation that is available to all because of the atonement.