The Atonement: The Need for an Atonement.

“What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,” (Romans 3:9)

 “The need for atonement is brought about by three things, the universality of sin, the seriousness of sin and man’s inability to deal with sin.” J.I. Packer

The universality of sin is taught throughout the Scriptures. “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46); “there is none that does good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:3); “there is not a righteous man on earth, who does good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Jesus told the rich young ruler, “No one is good but God alone” (Mark. 10:18), and the Apostle Paul wrote, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

The seriousness of sin is also taught throughout the Scriptures. Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Colossians 1:21 says, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds.”

Man’s sin problem is not just in what he does, or does not do, but rather who and what he is in his soul: sinful. A human being does not become a sinner when they sin. Rather, they sin because they are a sinner by nature. This natural propensity to sin is evidenced by the sinner’s behavior, thinking and speech.

Man’s inability to remedy his sinful condition is likewise proclaimed throughout the Scriptures. The sinner is not able to keep his sin hidden (Numbers 32:23). The sinner cannot cleanse himself of his sin (Proverbs 20:9). There are no good works which the sinner may do which will ever enable him to stand righteous and justified before God (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16).

The truth of the universality and seriousness of sin is first set forth in the Book of Genesis. Following God’s creation of the world and all contained therein, including man, Genesis 2:15-17 says, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Notice that God’s statement to the man was not a suggestion but rather a command: a command to be obeyed. God gave everything to the man in the garden, with one exception. The man must not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Were man to do so, then God said the man would surely die. This was a serious command by God, as are all of His commands.

It is within this background context that Genesis 3:1-7 unfolds. We will examine this particular text when next we meet.

Are you personally aware of the universality to sin, the seriousness of your sin and your inability to efficiently solve the problem of your sin before God? Take this moment right now to repent of your sin and ask God to save you from the penalty of your sin. If you are a believer in Christ, ask God to deliver you from the ongoing power of sin in your life.

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!   


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