Justification and Atonement

Donald G. Bloesch

in The Oxford Handbook of Evangelical Theology

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195369441
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Justification and Atonement

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The idea of justification and atonement had deep roots in the early history of Israel and could be said to be a salient theme in Old Testament theology. It was commonly believed that every misdemeanor in both faith and conduct requires a compensation or reparation for the wrong done. For some, this reparation may take the form of animal sacrifice and for others acts of asceticism, such as prolonged fasting. In New Testament religion, justification by outward rituals is now called into question. The law of God must still be obeyed, but following the law is not sufficient for the renewal of the human spirit. What is demanded now in the light of the coming of Jesus Christ is the confession of Christ as the liberator from the curse of the law as well as the fulfillment of the spirit of the law. Justification provides the ground of our salvation; sanctification leads us toward the goal. Justification is not dependent on sanctification for its efficacy, but it gives sanctification its purpose and direction.

Keywords: God; Jesus Christ; justification; atonement; faith; salvation; sanctification; law; religion

Article.  6920 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity

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