doing might lead them to hate sin and to seek grace from Him to resist and overcome it. Thus a
new nature is produced in every true believer in Christ, a clean heart is given him, and a right
spirit is renewed within him. Thus the Most Merciful God makes such a man a new creation in Christ
(2 Cor. v. 17).
We do not venture to say that there was no other way in which God could save sinners from their
sins: but the Bible clearly teaches that this is the one way which He has in His Wisdom chosen
(Matt. i. 21; John xiv. 6). Nor is it possible to conceive of any method which would be more worthy
of the Holy, Righteous, Most Merciful God.
As there is much misunderstanding about the Christian doctrine of the Atonement
[Καταλλαγη, Rom. v.
11], we must here endeavour to explain it clearly and briefly. By Atonement we mean Reconciliation
between God and man. Man has fallen from the condition in which God created him, and has, first
through Adam's sin and then through each man's choice of evil instead of good, lost the true and
eternal life (Gen. iii. 3) which consists in the knowledge of God through Christ (John xvii. 2). The
only way in which man can therefore recover from this spiritual death is by receiving new spiritual
life from God, the Giver of Life. This life is in Christ Jesus (John i. 4; v. 26; Col. iii. 4; I
John v. 12), and is given to men through Him alone (Acts iv. 12). Christ Jesus unites believers to
Himself through faith, thus making them branches of Himself, the true Vine (John xv. 1-6). In this
way He imparts to them something of His own holy Nature and character, making them, so to speak,
partakers of His own flesh and blood (John vi. 40, 47, 48, 51-58, 63). He took human nature upon Him
and became man, becoming the Second Adam, the spiritual head and representative of the human race
(John i. 14; I Cor. xv. 22, 45). By union with Him through faith (Gal. ii. 20) those who believe in
Him receive authority to become sons of God (John i. 12; I John iii. 1-3; iv. 9)
in virtue of the new and heavenly birth which they receive from the Holy Spirit of God (John iii.
3, 5). Dying in Christ to sin, they in Him live again unto righteousness (Rom. vi. 1-11).
In order that man should be delivered from that eternal death which is the result and the
punishment of sin (Gen. iii. 3; Ezek. xviii. 20; Rom. vi. 23), it was necessary that, as man had
willingly broken God's law of righteousness (Gen iii), he should willingly obey that holy law to the
utmost. The Word of God
الله), having become perfect man, did this. He was "obedient even unto
death, yea, the death of the cross" (Phil. ii. 7, 8: compare Rom. v. 19). By His precious death
for us He who was free from all sin gave His life a ransom for many (Isa. liii. 5, 6; Matt. xx. 28;
Rom. iii. 25; iv. 25; v. 8-11; I Pet. ii. 24). It is not correct to say that He bore the punishment
of our sins, for punishment implies guilt, and in Him was no sin (I John iii. 5): but all His
sufferings were because of our sins, and by means of those sufferings all who truly believe in Him
are delivered from sin and its final and most fearful consequence, which is exclusion from God's
presence and eternal death. If Christ had been merely man, by His perfect obedience even unto death
He could have done nothing except save Himself, for He could not have given spiritual life unto
other men. But, being perfect God as well as perfect man, He can and does give this new spiritual
life to those who believe in Him (John v. 26). God is immortal, and cannot die: but the Word of God
الله), becoming man, was able in His human nature to taste of death for every man (Heb. ii. 9). For
us He died unto sin once (Rom. iv. 25; vi. 10). but He rose again from the dead, having conquered
death and annulled it (2 Tim. i. 10), and brought life to those who are united to Him by faith (John
iii. 16; xi. 25, 26).
As we have already said, God must hate sin because He is Holy by Nature. Sin in us can be