Atonement in NT


In dying for the sins of the world, Jesus Christ fulfilled and replaced the OT sacrificial system, so that all who believe in him are restored to fellowship with God. Christ is the true high priest, who finally liberates his people from the guilt of sin, by offering himself as the supreme sacrifice.

The atoning purpose of Jesus Christ’s death

Jesus Christ’s death on behalf of others

Jn 10:11

John 10:11 (NASB95) — 11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

See also Jn 10:14–18; 2 Co 5:15; Heb 2:9; 1 Jn 3:16

John 10:14–18 (NASB95) — 14 “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. 17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

2 Corinthians 5:15 (NASB95) — 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Hebrews 2:9 (NASB95) — 9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

1 John 3:16 (NASB95) — 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Jesus Christ’s atoning death for sin

1 Co 15:3

1 Corinthians 15:3 (NASB95) — 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

See also Ro 4:25; Ro 8:3; Ga 1:4; 1 Pe 3:18

Romans 4:25 (NASB95) — 25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

Romans 8:3 (NASB95) — 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

Galatians 1:4 (NASB95) — 4 who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

1 Peter 3:18 (NASB95) — 18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

The atoning significance of Jesus Christ’s death is expressed by references to his blood

Ro 5:9; Re 5:9

Romans 5:9 (NASB95) — 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

Revelation 5:9 (NASB95) — 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

See also Eph 2:13; 1 Pe 1:18–19; 1 Jn 1:7; Re 7:14

Ephesians 2:13 (NASB95) — 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

1 Peter 1:18–19 (NASB95) — 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

1 John 1:7 (NASB95) — 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Revelation 7:14 (NASB95) — 14 I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Jesus Christ’s atoning death is commemorated in the Lord’s Supper

1 Co 11:23–25

1 Corinthians 11:23–25 (NASB95) — 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

See also Mt 26:26–28

Matthew 26:26–28 (NASB95) — 26 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

Explanations of the atonement

Jesus Christ’s death as an atoning sacrifice

Ro 3:25

Romans 3:25 (NASB95) — 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

See also 1 Co 5:7; Eph 5:2; 1 Jn 4:10; Re 5:6

1 Corinthians 5:7 (NASB95) — 7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

Ephesians 5:2 (NASB95) — 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

1 John 4:10 (NASB95) — 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Revelation 5:6 (NASB95) — 6 And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.

Jesus Christ’s atoning death as redemption

Mk 10:45

Mark 10:45 (NASB95) — 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

See also Ac 20:28; Ga 3:13–14; Eph 1:7; Col 1:13–14

Acts 20:28 (NASB95) — 28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Galatians 3:13–14 (NASB95) — 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Ephesians 1:7 (NASB95) — 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

Colossians 1:13–14 (NASB95) — 13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The atonement is effective because of Jesus Christ’s sinlessness

2 Co 5:21

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB95) — 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

See also Heb 4:15; 1 Pe 2:22–24; 1 Jn 3:5

Hebrews 4:15 (NASB95) — 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

1 Peter 2:22–24 (NASB95) — 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

1 John 3:5 (NASB95) — 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

Jesus Christ’s death fulfils and replaces the Day of Atonement

Jesus Christ makes atonement as the new high priest

Heb 7:26–28

Hebrews 7:26–28 (NASB95) — 26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.

Jesus Christ is the mediator of the new and better covenant

Heb 8:6–7; Heb 9:15

Hebrews 8:6–7 (NASB95) — 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.

Hebrews 9:15 (NASB95) — 15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Jesus Christ has made atonement in the true heavenly sanctuary

Heb 8:1–2; Heb 9:24

Hebrews 8:1–2 (NASB95) — 1 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.

Hebrews 9:24 (NASB95) — 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;

Jesus Christ’s atoning blood brings effective cleansing

Heb 9:12–14

Hebrews 9:12–14 (NASB95) — 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Jesus Christ’s single sacrifice replaces the many required under the old covenant

Heb 10:11–14

Hebrews 10:11–14 (NASB95) — 11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

Access to the heavenly sanctuary is now open

Heb 10:19–20

Hebrews 10:19–20 (NASB95) — 19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,

By dying with Christ, believers are released from this age into the life of the age to come

Ro 6:1–7

Romans 6:1–7 (NASB95) — 1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.

See also Ro 7:4–6; Ga 2:19–20; Ga 6:14; Eph 2:6–7; Col 2:11–13

Romans 7:4–6 (NASB95) — 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

Galatians 2:19–20 (NASB95) — 19 “For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. 20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Galatians 6:14 (NASB95) — 14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Ephesians 2:6–7 (NASB95) — 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 2:11–13 (NASB95) — 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,

God the Father and the atoning death of his Son

God’s sending of his Son to make atonement

1 Jn 4:14

1 John 4:14 (NASB95) — 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

See also Jn 3:16; Ro 8:32; 2 Co 5:18; Ga 4:4–5

John 3:16 (NASB95) — 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Romans 8:32 (NASB95) — 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

2 Corinthians 5:18 (NASB95) — 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,

Galatians 4:4–5 (NASB95) — 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

God’s grace displayed in making atonement for the ungodly

Eph 2:4–5

Ephesians 2:4–5 (NASB95) — 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

See also Ro 5:6–8; Eph 2:8–9; Tt 3:4–5

Romans 5:6–8 (NASB95) — 6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Ephesians 2:8–9 (NASB95) — 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Titus 3:4–5 (NASB95) — 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

The worldwide scope of Jesus Christ’s atoning death

1 Jn 2:2

1 John 2:2 (NASB95) — 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

See also Jn 1:29; 2 Co 5:19; 1 Ti 2:5

John 1:29 (NASB95) — 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

2 Corinthians 5:19 (NASB95) — 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

1 Timothy 2:5 (NASB95) — 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

The appropriate response to the atonement

The response of repentance

Ac 3:19

Acts 3:19 (NASB95) — 19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

See also Ac 2:38; Ac 17:30; Ac 20:21

Acts 2:38 (NASB95) — 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 17:30 (NASB95) — 30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,

Acts 20:21 (NASB95) — 21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The response of faith

Ac 10:43

Acts 10:43 (NASB95) — 43 “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

See also Jn 3:14–15; Ac 16:31; Ro 3:22; Ga 2:16

John 3:14–15 (NASB95) — 14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

Acts 16:31 (NASB95) — 31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Romans 3:22 (NASB95) — 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

Galatians 2:16 (NASB95) — 16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

The response of baptism

Ac 22:16

Acts 22:16 (NASB95) — 16 ‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

See also Ac 2:38; 1 Pe 3:21

Acts 2:38 (NASB95) — 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 3:21 (NASB95) — 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,


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