I spent some time looking for a good example of atonement, this week. It was more difficult than I expected because so many of the examples I found equate atonement with forgiveness – synonyms. I have to admit, that I have thought of them as the same as well. But when I look at the description of the things that happened on the Day of Atonement, there’s something more going on there above and beyond forgiveness.
If you were a high school student in the United States any time in the last 100 years, you were probably assigned the reading of a sermon preached in 1741 by Jonathan Edwards, called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” It’s not a warm and fuzzy, feel-good sermon. Edwards describes God as angry and anxious to dole out justice to all who deserve it.
“So that, thus it is that natural men are held in the hand of God, [...]