77 Questions about the Atonement [questions only]

1. Why did God become a human being? (“Cur Deus homo?”)

2. Wasn’t Adam’s sin imputed to his descendants?

3. Isn’t Adam’s ‘original sin’ washed away at baptism?

4. Weren’t our sins imputed to Christ at the Cross?

5. Aren’t Christ’s merits transferred to our account when we have faith in Him?

6. Isn’t Christ’s righteousness imputed to our account when we believe?

7. What is “the righteousness of God,” and how was it manifested at the Cross?

8. Doesn’t the atonement give us a new legal standing before God that makes us acceptable to Him in spite of our “sinning in thought, word, and deed every day”?

9. How are sinners justified in God’s sight?

10. Shouldn’t sinners plead for God’s mercy instead of His justice?

11. Didn’t the Cross satisfy God’s justice and holiness?

12. Wasn’t God’s love balanced by His holiness at the Cross?

13. Didn’t the Cross prove the seriousness of sin and God’s holy hatred of it?

14. Doesn’t God’s holiness demand that He punish every sin?

15. Didn’t Jesus suffer vicarious punishment from God in our place, as our substitute?

16. Didn’t God punish Jesus so that we wouldn’t need to be punished?

17. Didn’t Jesus suffer so that we don’t have to?

18. Didn’t Jesus descend into Hell to suffer its pains for our sins?

19. Wasn’t God satisfied and appeased by the suffering of His Son?

20. Was God indulging in ‘cosmic child abuse’?

21. Did God the Father suffer along with His Son?

22. Doesn’t God manifest His wrath from heaven against sin?

23. Don’t sins always incur God’s wrath?

24. Weren’t the Levitical sacrifices intended to avert God’s wrath toward sin?

25. Didn’t the wrath of God fall on Christ at the Cross?

26. Didn’t Jesus propitiate God’s wrath by the Cross?

27. Didn’t Jesus experience the judgment of God at the Cross?

28. Didn’t Christ become a curse for us on the Cross?

29. Didn’t Jesus become sin on the Cross?

30. How did the sin-offering take away sin?

31. Weren’t the sacrifices of the Old Testament payments for sin?

32. What is the meaning of the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement?

33. What did the blood of the sacrifices signify, and how did it atone for sin?

34. Weren’t we bought with the price of Christ’s blood?

35. Didn’t the blood of Jesus pay the penalty for our sin?

36. Didn’t Jesus pay the penalty for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to pay it?

37. Didn’t Christ pay for all our sins at the Cross?

38. Didn’t Jesus pay our debt of sin to God?

39. What on earth did Christ pay for?

40. Was Jesus a ransom paid to Satan or to God?

41. Was the work of the Cross exclusively Godward?

42. Doesn’t the atonement have a primarily Godward focus?

43. Is the atonement objective or subjective?

44. Didn’t the atonement occur at the Cross?

45. Wasn’t reconciliation of the whole world objectively accomplished at the Cross?

46. Wasn’t God reconciled to mankind by the Cross?

47. How did the Cross of Christ make peace?

48. Didn’t the Cross render God gracious toward sinners?

49. Weren’t our sins forgiven at the Cross?

50. Wasn’t the Cross necessary so God could forgive sins?

51. Didn’t Jesus bear the guilt of our sins?

52. What does it mean that Christ “bore our sins in his body on the tree”?

53. Didn’t God predestine the crucifixion of His Son?

54. Couldn’t God have saved sinners by some other means than the Cross?

55. Didn’t our salvation occur at the Cross?

56. Didn’t the Resurrection prove that our salvation was completed at the Cross?

57. “What did the Cross achieve?”

58. Why was Christ’s Resurrection necessary, and what did it achieve?

59. What is “the Word of the Cross”?

60. Isn’t the atonement an impenetrable mystery?

61. How did the Gentiles come to acquire salvation, too?

62. “Why should I gain from His reward?”

63. Once a person gets saved aren’t they always saved?

64. Doesn’t God predestine some people to be saved and others to be lost?

65. Doesn’t God choose only some people to believe?

66. Isn’t our faith disqualified as the condition of salvation because then it would be a work, which would put God in our debt?

67. Isn’t faith something from ourselves, so doesn’t God have to reject it as being tainted by depravity?

68. Isn’t human nature sinful, evil, or ‘totally depraved’?

69. How are atonement and baptism connected?

70. What is the relation between the atonement and the Lord’s Supper?

71. How is the atonement linked to Pentecost?

72. Why couldn’t the Holy Spirit come until Jesus was glorified?

73. “Is healing in the atonement?”

74. How is atonement related to sanctification?

75. What is the connection between the atonement and ethics?

76. What is the extent of the atonement?

77. Isn’t grace ‘sovereign’?

Ascension Day-Pentecost-Memorial Day—May 15-28, 2007.
Revised, Pentecost-Memorial Day-Father’s Day—June 2009.
Revised, Pentecost-Memorial Day—May 2012.
© 2007, 2009, 2012, Ronald Lee Roper.

2 responses to “77 Questions about the Atonement [questions only]

  1. harry van dyke

    There are many ways< Ron, of trying to understand the mystery of the atonement. Anselm's try is not the only one that makes sense. Yet St. Paul uses the forensic metaphor unmistakably. Can't we leave it at that?
    Maybe not. When my kids were young, they would protest against it.
    Harry Van Dyke

    • Harry,
      Please forgive the delay! Thanks for your patience, my friend.
      Actually It’s not the “forensic” metaphor of the court room, per se, that I find objectionable, only the exclusively penal commandeering of the term. For a court room should be the setting where rewarding, restorative, or premial justice is exerted for the victim. Premial justice is simply one arm of distributive justice–giving each their due. I suspect that the very practice of our American courts (I suppose your Canadian courts are not much different in this respect) militates against clarifying this, so prejudices our thinking. But I haven’t thought this through as intensely as I would like. The Restorative Justice (RJ) movement–which I noticed a few years ago has really influenced victim-offender reconciliation in Canadian and New Zealand criminal justice practice–holds promise for altering the public consensus and, hopefully, our theological language. All of which is to say I don’t think we should “leave it at that”; we ought to push back against the misuse of “forensic,” at least in theology. (Back in high school and college debate, I recall, it had a less prejudicial meaning.)
      Ron

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