Atonement

Atonement
   This word does not occur in the Authorized Version of the New Testament except in Rom. 5:11, where in the Revised Version the word "reconciliation" is used. In the Old Testament it is of frequent occurrence.
   The meaning of the word is simply at-one-ment, i.e., the state of being at one or being reconciled, so that atonement is reconciliation. Thus it is used to denote the effect which flows from the death of Christ.
   But the word is also used to denote that by which this reconciliation is brought about, viz., the death of Christ itself; and when so used it means satisfaction, and in this sense to make an atonement for one is to make satisfaction for his offences (Ex. 32:30; Lev. 4:26; 5:16; Num. 6:11), and, as regards the person, to reconcile, to propitiate God in his behalf.
   By the atonement of Christ we generally mean his work by which he expiated our sins. But in Scripture usage the word denotes the reconciliation itself, and not the means by which it is effected. When speaking of Christ's saving work, the word "satisfaction," the word used by the theologians of the Reformation, is to be preferred to the word "atonement." Christ's satisfaction is all he did in the room and in behalf of sinners to satisfy the demands of the law and justice of God. Christ's work consisted of suffering and obedience, and these were vicarious, i.e., were not merely for our benefit, but were in our stead, as the suffering and obedience of our vicar, or substitute. Our guilt is expiated by the punishment which our vicar bore, and thus God is rendered propitious, i.e., it is now consistent with his justice to manifest his love to transgressors. Expiation has been made for sin, i.e., it is covered. The means by which it is covered is vicarious satisfaction, and the result of its being covered is atonement or reconciliation. To make atonement is to do that by virtue of which alienation ceases and reconciliation is brought about. Christ's mediatorial work and sufferings are the ground or efficient cause of reconciliation with God. They rectify the disturbed relations between God and man, taking away the obstacles interposed by sin to their fellowship and concord. The reconciliation is mutual, i.e., it is not only that of sinners toward God, but also and pre-eminently that of God toward sinners, effected by the sin-offering he himself provided, so that consistently with the other attributes of his character his love might flow forth in all its fulness of blessing to men. The primary idea presented to us in different forms throughout the Scripture is that the death of Christ is a satisfaction of infinite worth rendered to the law and justice of God (q.v.), and accepted by him in room of the very penalty man had incurred. It must also be constantly kept in mind that the atonement is not the cause but the consequence of God's love to guilty men (John 3:16; Rom. 3:24, 25; Eph. 1:7; 1 John 1:9; 4:9). The atonement may also be regarded as necessary, not in an absolute but in a relative sense, i.e., if man is to be saved, there is no other way than this which God has devised and carried out (Ex. 34:7; Josh. 24:19; Ps. 5:4; 7:11; Nahum 1:2, 6; Rom. 3:5). This is God's plan, clearly revealed; and that is enough for us to know.

Easton's Bible Dictionary. . 1897.

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  • ATONEMENT — (Heb. כִּפִֻּרים, kippurim, from the verb כפר). The English word atonement ( at one ment ) significantly conveys the underlying Judaic concept of atonement, i.e., reconciliation with God. Both the Bible and rabbinical theology reflect the belief… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Atonement — A*tone ment, n. 1. (Literally, a setting at one.) Reconciliation; restoration of friendly relations; agreement; concord. [Archaic] [1913 Webster] By whom we have now received the atonement. Rom. v. 11. [1913 Webster] He desires to make atonement… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • atonement — ► NOUN 1) amends for a wrong or injury. 2) (the Atonement) Christian Theology the reconciliation of God and mankind through the death of Jesus Christ …   English terms dictionary

  • atonement — [ə tōn′mənt] n. 1. the act of atoning 2. satisfaction given for wrongdoing, injury, etc.; amends; expiation 3. Obs. agreement or reconciliation the Atonement Christian Theol. the redeeming of humanity and its reconciliation with God through the… …   English World dictionary

  • atonement — index compensation, expiation, reparation (indemnification), restitution, retribution, trover Burton s Legal Thesaurus …   Law dictionary

  • atonement — Satisfaction or reparation of a wrong or injury; to make up for errors or deficiencies. (Dictionary of Canadian Bankruptcy Terms) United Glossary of Bankruptcy Terms 2012 …   Glossary of Bankruptcy

  • atonement — 1510s, condition of being at one (with others), from ATONE (Cf. atone) + MENT (Cf. ment). Meaning reconciliation (especially of sinners with God) is from 1520s; that of propitiation of an offended party is from 1610s …   Etymology dictionary

  • atonement — expiation (see under EXPIATE) Analogous words: compensating or compensation, offsetting (see corresponding verbs at COMPENSATE): conciliation, propitiation, appeasement (see corresponding verbs at PACIFY): *reparation, amends …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • atonement — [n] compensation amends, expiation, indemnification, payment, penance, propitiation, recompense, redemption, redress, reparation, restitution, satisfaction; concepts 126,337 …   New thesaurus

  • Atonement — The atonement is a doctrine found within both Christianity and Judaism. It describes how sin can be forgiven by God. In Judaism, Atonement is said to be the process of forgiving or pardoning a transgression. This was originally accomplished… …   Wikipedia

  • atonement — /euh tohn meuhnt/, n. 1. satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends. 2. (sometimes cap.) Theol. the doctrine concerning the reconciliation of God and humankind, esp. as accomplished through the life, suffering, and death of Christ.… …   Universalium

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