Why we Need the Atonement: Repentance, Forgiveness, and Freedom from Sin, Death, and the Devil The doctrine of the Atonement is central in Christian theology. The atoning sacrifice of Christ makes it possible for us to be reconciled with God; without the Atonement all humanity would be lost and in bondage to sin, death, and the devil. The Atonement is necessary for salvation. Why is it necessary and why does it bring about salvation? Some theories of the Atonement raise difficulties that seem more problematic than the questions they are meant to answer. If God is merciful, why does he require a sacrifice for sin? Why can’t he just forgive us? If Christ is punished for our sins, how does this satisfy justice? If Jesus’ death is necessary, is it a good or a bad thing? Are the perpetrators of it sinners or do they fulfill God’s will? Does the Atonement exalt suffering and in some way justify abuse? In this paper I will explore these questions, seeking an understanding of the Atonement that is grounded in God’s love and shows how this love works to bring about freedom from sin, death, and oppressive powers.
Janice Allred, Katherine Shirts