In the Old Testament, sinners made the atonement to God for their sins, but in the New Testament, it is God that makes the atonement for sinners in Romans 5:11.
This is just a quick little Bible study that came to me today via an email question from NTEB’er Jill, who had had a lively discussion with her dad about the wording used by the King James in Romans 5:11. The crux of the conversation centered around why the King James is the only one to use the word ‘atonement’ when all the other version, no exceptions, used the word ‘reconciliation’. In fact, this is the one and only place in the entire New Testament that uses the word ‘atonement’. Certainly, the King James translators must have gotten it wrong if all 250+ other versions disagree. As it turns out yet again, the King James is right, and all the others are predictably wrong. Let us see why this is.
“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Romans 5:11 (KJB)
The word atonement appears 81 times in the Bible, 80 times in the Old Testament and 1 time in the New Testament. Here’s the breakdown. All 80 places in the Old Testament where ‘atonement’ is mentioned, an atonement is being made, it is being offered. In Romans 5:11, the atonement is being RECEIVED. Huge difference. In the Old Testament, the guilty party is atoning to the offended party, it’s an offering given by sinners to God. In Romans the atonement has been made for us, not by us, the innocent paying a debt He didn’t owe, to us the guilty who have a debt we cannot pay. It’s the exact opposite. What was the atonement in Romans 5:11? It was Jesus Christ Himself! And you want to change that to ‘reconciliation’? Not on my watch, mister.
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 (KJB)
So Romans 5:11 is MUCH more than a mere reconciliation, we can reconcile lost sinners to Jesus Christ, and in fact we are commanded to. But when we reconcile lost sinners to God by Jesus Christ, we are only able to do that because God has already provided the atonement.
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;” 2 Corinthians 5:18 (KJB)
In the Old Testament, atonement was what the people had to do, in the New Testament, ‘do’ has become ‘done’ and now we are told to receive something, not offer something. Now, I wonder who would want you to not know that? Hmm
What do you lose when you have a modern version that steals your ‘atonement’ and gives you ‘reconciliation’ instead? Why, only one of the greatest doctrines anywhere in the whole Bible, that’s all. The doctrine of God not only making an atonement for sins He did not commit, but God becoming the atonement for those sins He did not commit.
- OLD TESTAMENT: “Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.” Leviticus 23:27 (KJB)
- NEW TESTAMENT: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 (KJB)
We are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ by the atonement that was made on the cross at Calvary. God’s blood shed to make a payment, an atonement, for the sin of the whole world. If you take out ‘atonement’ from Romans 5:11, you have done despite to the blood!
“Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Hebrews 10:29 (KJB)
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Author: Geoffrey Grider
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