“For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. Rarely will someone die for a just person–though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” Romans 5:6-8.
Atonement- (noun) satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends.
Atonement is a popular theme to be portrayed in movies or literature. Often, a vilified character will realize the error of their ways and will sacrifice themselves in order to help the story’s hero or heroine escape death. The idea is that the guilt and moral debt that the villain has accumulated through his immoral behavior is paid off by him willingly giving up his life to help someone else; supposedly this “ultimate sacrifice” is enough to erase all their misdeeds.
However heartwarming such a twist may be to a story, it is not a common occurrence in real life. Very seldom, as Paul pointed out, will anyone take the place of someone else facing death, even if the person facing death is innocent. But imagine how much more mind blowing it would be for an innocent person to take the place of a guilty person facing death. That very thought is almost more than we can imagine.
That is exactly what Christ did for us. We are all guilty of sin and sentenced to death because of it. On top of that, there is no amount of good we can do to atone for our own sins; we are completely helpless and lost to sin. But Christ, who was perfect and never sinned, died in place of us, so that we don’t have to die; He took our punishment upon Himself. By doing this, Christ paid the price for our sin; He made amends for us. This act of atonement allows us to forgo an eternity of separation from God, and allows us to enjoy eternal life with God instead. As mind-blowing as this may sound, it is true. Christ loves humanity so much that He died to atone all of mankind–the godly and the ungodly. His death opens to the world the gates to eternal life, and whoever hears His call will find it.
Christ has cleared our records of all our sins. He has given us clean slates and new life; He has atoned us all. Though we were guilty of all our sins, He died so that we never will. And He did this out of love.