Marilyn Sewell, a Unitarian minister, made the following statement while interviewing Christopher Hitchens, a well-known atheist:
“The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the Scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement 1 (that Jesus died for our sins, for example).”2
Wait! What? How is that possible? I mean, either you believe that Jesus died for your sins and you’re a [...]
“Oh, how inefficient, how incapable I am of expressing the things which burn in my soul in reference to the mission of Christ! . . . I know not how to speak or trace with pen the large subject of the atoning sacrifice. I know not how to present subjects in the living power in which they stand before me. I tremble for fear lest I shall belittle the great plan of salvation by cheap words.”—Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 3, p. [...]
Key Thought: From the beginning the Bible points to the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross in order to redeem us from sin’s penalty of eternal destruction.
[Teaching Plan for "God as Redeemer" January 18, 2012]
1. Have a volunteer read Romans 1:16-18.
A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. If God’s righteousness is revealed by faith, why do so many hold onto unrighteousness and lies?
C. Personal Application: Have [...]
Nothing is more destructive to our grasp of the atonement of Christ than the sentimentality that sometimes passes for Christianity in our day (all in the attempt to make the gospel conform to modern thinking). However, we must ever humbly acknowledge that anything we say about God can never do God justice, especially when we consider the atonement. We must avoid the temptation to reduce Jesus’ death on the cross to merely an “example of selfless love.” It was certainly [...]
Despite the astounding miracle of Christ’s incarnation, His profound teaching, and the miracles He performed, these are not the central focus of Christ’s life. Instead, what dominates the thinking of Jesus is the giving of His life. As miraculous as His birth and ministry were, the great mission of Christ’s life was His death.1
In the four Gospels, we find Jesus endeavoring to prepare His disciples for His coming death. However, their devotion to Jesus, coupled with their hope for a [...]
On the famous road to Emmaus, Jesus taught the two despairing disciples about the atonement from “Moses and all the prophets” (Luke 24:27). What prophetic materials might Jesus have included in His study of the Atonement? 1
It’s very likely that among the prophets Jesus would have referred to, Isaiah was one.
Read Isaiah 53, which describes the “suffering Servant.” Describe the details included there that help you more fully grasp the amazing atonement of Christ.
Though so much exists in this chapter, one point stands [...]
When is the first promise of salvation given, and what does it mean? Gen. 3:15. 1
The language here is striking. Adam and Eve have sinned. Now the great controversy is announced to them through the strong language of “enmity” between two opposing sides. This is a precious promise for human hearts now attracted to sin. We are also assured that this major conflict will not be eternal, for the head of the enemy will one day be crushed. In these verses, not [...]
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). What is this text saying to us? 1
At the cross, in the most humiliating, inconceivable manner imaginable, God triumphs over and shames the enemy. Love, justice and compassion fuse in a singular dynamic act. God forgives sinners by paying in Himself the price of sin and absorbing into His own suffering Self the penalty of that sin. On Calvary, God reveals how extremely [...]
Read for This Week’s Study: Rom. 1:18, Gen. 3:15, Rom. 16:20, 1 Pet. 1:19, Mark 10:32–45, Matt. 27:46.
“ ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!’ ” (Revelation 5:12, NKJV).
Key Thought: The Triune God is not only our Creator, He’s our Redeemer, as well.
Closely related to God as Creator is His role as our Redeemer. Sin is so bad, so deadly, so hostile to the created world, that only the Creator Himself [...]