The Atonement

The Atonement

FIRST, a thrilling statement of the Apostle Paul: ‘In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation’ (2 Corinthians 5: 19). Think about that. The message of the Gospel is not about the appeasement of a God who is angry at our failings: it is about a God of love, in His mercy providing a way for us to be reconciled, after our failings have alienated us from Him. Now the Apostle John: ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1: 9). What does that mean? We are sinners, by our nature we are unrighteous. But God wants to cleanse us from our unrighteousness. Clearly it does not mean that God will make us into sinless people, because we

The Unchanging God

The Unchanging God

ARE THERE PARTS of the Bible that are more relevant than others? Some Bible readers would say so—what do you think? It’s sometimes claimed that some parts of the Bible present a less pleasant view of God than other parts. The Bible’s critics will allege that the Old Testament—the first part of the Bible which deals with the history of the world before Jesus Christ— presents a harsh and unforgiving God: ‘the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God’ (Deuteronomy 4:24). Whereas in the New Testament, which deals with the life and teaching of Jesus and his followers, we read statements such as ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8). On this basis, there are those who prefer to disregard the Old Testament and concentrate on the New. Developing Ideas of God? Did God change? Or was it people’s perception of God? One suggestion which is often made