This article is taken from the Introduction in David’s book, Lamb of God.
Christians all that know Jesus died for our sins (Rom.5:6-10; 1Cor.15:3). But we need to ask an all-important question, which is, Exactly how does the death of Jesus bring about our salvation? Where is the cause-and-effect between the cross and our new life? How does one lead to the other?
Our answer to this question, whatever it is, has massive implications for the Christian experience and the manner in which we proclaim the gospel to the world. This is not just an abstract issue for theologians to debate. Our grasp of what God did for us in the atonement is of utmost importance to every child of God. My hope is that this book will not only make this issue far more accessible to laypersons, but that it will help them to better know how much they are loved by their Heavenly Father.
A Modern Parable
Imagine that you have contracted a rare but highly contagious autoimmune disease. The nature of this disease is such that it resides entirely in your bloodstream, and its affect is to alter your blood cells so that they deliver toxins throughout your body instead of nutrients. If nothing is done, you will die from the accumulation of poisons in a matter of days. Only one form of treatment is available.
You need to undergo a complete blood transfusion to remove all traces of the disease from your system. The only matching donor is your dearest friend, who without hesitation volunteers for the procedure. You both enter the hospital, get anesthetized and undergo the transfusion. In the recovery room you are given the good news that everything went well and you have been cured of the disease.
But then you discover that because you and your friend were precise matches, the procedure had involved not only the complete transfer of your friend’s blood to you, but all of your blood was transferred to your friend. And your friend knew all along what they were signing up for.
As the reality of what your friend has done sinks into your heart, you ask them why they did that for you. Your friend says they would rather die than live in a world without you. And in just a few days, your friend is gone.
* * * * *
There are no words to describe that kind of love. Our vocabulary has no range for such goodness and our heart can hardly believe it. What amazing love, one for another! It would no doubt change us in ways we cannot even imagine. Such a parable of love can move us deeply even though it has never happened to us in real life.
What we need to know is that despite whatever limitations it might have as an analogy, this portrait of love is very close to what Jesus did for us on the cross. He gave His life to us and we gave our sin and death to Him. It was the most loving act in all of history, and the most loving gift we will ever receive. Some have called this The Exchanged Life.
It is amazing grace, eternal love, and a costly sacrifice all rolled into one. This is The Beauty of Atonement.
The Meaning of Atonement
While you may have never heard this way of presenting the cross before, this truly is what lies at the very heart of Christ’s atoning work for us. We will show you from the Bible why this is so. And later on we will show you why the most popular way of expressing the atonement today not only misses the mark, but actually leads us to places diametrically opposed to the heart of God and the good news that Jesus came to bring.
God’s wonderful cleansing atonement has the power to bring life to our spirit, regenerate our soul, and rid our body of all that the enemy has done. And when we see how amazing this truly is, we fall more deeply in love with Jesus and want all that He has for us.
This was the message that turned the world upside down (or right-side up) in the first few centuries of the Church. Nothing else could have done so, or transformed so many lives. The good news is that the Kingdom of God is now available to all who will release their sin to Jesus, receive His life and cleansing, and become one of His apprentices – becoming more like Him in every aspect of life.
Please see Lamb of God description in our bookstore.