What is the Gospel? Part 3–Atonement

The gospel or “good news” of Jesus Christ confirms that all has been forgiven for Jesus’ sake, as last week’s post discussed. The gospel also teaches us about ATONEMENT. Atonement is a covering that brings satisfaction. In the Old Testament, the cover for the Ark of the Covenant was called the “mercy seat” (“hilastarion” Exodus 25:17ff). In the ark, beneath the cover was the Ten Commandments, the law which we are guilty of breaking, continually. Above that witness to our guilt is the mercy seat, where the blood (life) of an innocent lamb was sprinkled. Thus, when God looked down from heaven, He no longer saw guilt and broken commandments but innocent life.

That mercy seat was indicating what the Son of God has always been for us: ATONEMENT, a cover for our lives so that God sees us innocent rather than guilty. Jesus is the “Lamb that was slain from before the foundation of the world.” Therefore, the good news is not only that our sins have been and remain forgiven, but our life that is in constant need of forgiveness is lived beneath the covering of Christ’s perfect life. That is why God does not need to deal with us according to our iniquities but can always do what His love directs (Psalm 103:10; Hebrews 12:9-10).