Atonement, Rom 5:11

Atonement Rom 5:11 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

In Rom 5:11 we find that “we have now received the atonement.”  Many modern translations change “atonement” to “reconciliation.”  That seems unnecessary since Rom 5:10 mentions our reconciliation twice already.  Let’s see if that change is warranted.

Presume for a moment that you have no idea what the word “atonement” means. Well, you can go to the rest of the Bible to see how the word is used and the context in which it is used.  And here is what we find about the word “atonement”:

Atonement appears in 70 verses – it appears 69 times in the Old Testament and 1 time in the New Testament – and it always appears as a noun in the form “atonement,” rather than as a verb in the form “atone” or “atoned.”

Atonement first appears in Ex 29:33-37 – in these verse you will notice that “atonement” involves the following:

  • Death – Ex 29:20 – generally something has to die to atone for another
  • Shed blood – Ex 29:20 – the blood was applied to the priests at their consecration
  • Completion – Ex 29:33, the atonement “was” made
  • Consecration – Ex 29:33, the atonement is only for those made holy by it – no one else
  • Repetition – Ex 29:35-36, it required seven days of offerings to consecrate them
  • Cleansing – Ex 29:37 – the altar was sanctified [see Lev 16:30]

Atonement then appears in several other contexts – it applies to the:

  • Altar of incense – Ex 30:10 – annual offerings to sanctify the altar
  • Periodic Census – Ex 30:12-16 – a half shekel of silver as a ransom for their souls
  • Golden Calf – Ex 32:30 – Moses’ atonement for Israel’s sin of idolatry
  • Burnt Offering – Lev 1:4 – an atonement for the man offering the offering
  • Sin Offering – Lev 4:20-21 – for the forgiveness of sin [see Lev 16:6]
  • Day of Atonement – Lev 16:33-34 – the annual day required for Israel for sin

From these you learn that atonement accomplishes the following:

  • Forgiveness of sins – Col 1:14 – fully accomplished by Christ in the New Testament
  • Ransom – 1 Tim 2:4-6 – fully accomplished by Christ in the New Testament for all
  • Sanctification – 1 Cor 1:30-31 – fully accomplished by Christ in the New Testament

Conclusion: All of the things atonement accomplishes were “finished” by Jesus Christ for us once and for all – he died for us – he shed his blood for us – he was offered for us [1 Pet 1:18-19] – he paid the ransom for us – he sanctified us – he cleansed us – he forgave us – and he did it so thoroughly that all the former need for repetition ceased – therefore the word “atonement” only appears once in the New Testament because that was all that was required – and there will never be a need for atonement again – thus, changing “atonement” to “reconciliation” in these modern Bibles was not only not warranted, it was a very bad decision.