Faith in Christ leads to action
qualified to accomplish the atoning work. I believe that God has the power to accomplish what He desires. Our hope is not in doctrines which are limited by human understanding. We should not presume to limit the power of God. Rather, we are to trust in God and our Savior Jesus Christ.
The atoning work of Jesus can be described as ransom, substitute, and sacrifice. First, let us focus on Jesus’ role as ransom. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 NIV). I believe that Jesus was not paying ransom to Satan. In a sense, though, Satan does exercise control over a sinful world and over unredeemed people. This can be seen in Paul’s instructions to Timothy as to how he should deal with people who oppose him and are held captive by the devil. “Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:23-26 NIV). However, Satan is not on the same level as God, and God does not owe Satan anything. Jesus Christ conquered sin and evil by his death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb. Thus, I believe it is best to think of the ransom view of the atonement as Jesus’ victory over sin (including original sin) and death—freeing humankind from our own sinfulness and from evil forces opposed to God.
In his atoning work, Jesus Christ was the substitute for us sinners. All of humankind is in need of the redemptive work of Christ on our behalf. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6 NIV). Jesus took on our sins; he substituted for us in our hopeless state. Love is the motivation for Christ taking our place, as Jesus himself describes his substitution for us. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13 NIV).
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2Co 5:18-19 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
The Atonement: Biblical Basis