Atonement

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Atonement is from atone, from an early English phrase at one, in accord, (archaic at oon), short for to set at one, to reconcile. Atonement brings about reconciliation and a restoration of unity between two formerly opposing parties where there has been a profound breach or rupture in a relationship. See Enmity.

In Christian and Hebrew doctrine atonement is the satisfaction or payment of a penalty. It can be reparation or making amends. The sacrifice of atonement is an expiation of sin: to expiate is to make atonement, to make amends, to appease the one (or the many) injured or offended, by the act of propitiation. The offense of sin and the cause of the hostility of division between God and man is removed "as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12). The sinner is wholly cleansed by the offering of the blood of the Lamb of God, and the sin is washed away, entirely removed (Leviticus 4; Numbers 19; Isaiah 1:18; John 1:29; Acts 22:16; Romans 11:27; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 9:26; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 John 3:5; Revelation 1:5 and 7:14).

Atonement is most often used to mean the reconciliation of God and man through the death of Jesus Christ. Christ died once for all (Hebrews 6:10, 1 Peter 3:18) to atone for sin. To reject this axiom is to leave a myriad of sins, both personally, and collectively of a society, unaccounted for and exposed. (Hebrews 6:4-8; 10:28-31; 2 Peter 1:9.)

In Protestant Christian doctrine, atonement is a cover or covering for sin (Hebrew kippur; French coiffure; English coffer, cover). The sin or blot can never be removed, it can only be covered or atoned for. This is clearly expressed in Martin Luther's commentaries on Saint Paul's Letters to the Romans and the Galatians. See also Calvinism.

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