Was The Atonement to Appease an Angry God or an Angry Race?

I am writing from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

These are my thoughts as we study this week’s SS Lesson in Redemption in Romans.



But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8


Was the atonement and sacrifice of Christ a matter of vengeance? Did God the Father send His Son to die because He needed to see someone suffer for the rebellion?   Do we serve a God that just has to see somebody suffer and pay the price for disobeying Him? Really, why did Christ have to die?


There is so much more to the atonement than we mortals can even begin to imagine. Satan would like us to be short sighted and only see God becoming a man and thus providing a human sacrifice to appease an angry God. Nothing could be farther from the truth. First of all, God is not angry with us, but rather we are angry with God. The atonement is not about us making peace with God it’s about God making peace with us! After the fall, it was not God running from man but man running from God. It was God who wanted to make an atonement, not man. When God came to earth the angels announced “Peace on earth good will towards man” not “God is over in Bethlehem and boy is He angry with you, you’d better go over there and talk to Him and see if you can get this thing straightened out!” God Himself had already straightened things out between us when He became “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”


God did not need to see His Son or someone else suffer in order to be satisfied. Simply put, God says, “But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” Proverbs 8:36 It is not that God wants to see someone suffer but rather that the sinner loves death. God does not want us to love death, He wants us to love life! Romans 8:7 tells us clearly what the problems is. God is not at enmity with us but rather “the carnal mind [is] enmity against God.”


So why is the carnal mind at enmity with God? Because we have bought into Satan’s lie that God is not a God of love. That He is really quite selfish and only thinks of Himself. The carnal mind also believes that only Satan and a lawless society can make us happy. Satan has deceived the human race into thinking that God is a selfish tyrant forcing people to worship Him and obey His laws because He is wrapped up in Himself. Satan has deceived the human race and even a third of the angels into thinking that Satan is more concerned about our welfare and happiness than God is.


This is why there needed to be an atonement. Not so that an angry God could see someone suffer, but so that humanity could see the real character of God and the real character of Satan. God provided an atonement not so much for our sin but because our minds and attitude need to be healed.  (Salvation comes from the word, “salvo,” which means healing.  The Bible states Jesus came to save his people from their sins.  What this actually means is Jesus came to heal us by removing Satan’s lies from our minds, which is the cleansing of the sanctuary). And not just for our attitude but also the attitude of the angels. In John 8, Jesus calls Satan a murderer from the very start. Who did Satan murder in heaven? Remember Jesus says if you want to commit murder, it is as if you already have. When Satan said he wanted to sit on the throne of the Most High there was murder in his heart as you can only take the throne if you kill the one already on it. Meanwhile, Satan is trying to convince the angels that God is selfish and he is the only one who cares about others. A third of the angels go with Satan while the others stayed but were not totally convinced about who was right.


The cross more than atones for sin, it also atones our attitude with God’s attitude. At the cross we see Satan and see his true colors. While telling the angels he was the only one who really cared for them, at the Cross we see Satan is willing to kill anyone who gets in his way of being number one. Satan is all about preserving self at the expense of others. Meanwhile, at the cross we see the true colors of God. While Satan accused Christ of being selfish, we see that Christ is willing to die in order to save the world. Christ wants to preserve others even at His own expense.


God did not need to see Jesus die in order to be atoned with us, but rather we needed to see Jesus die in order for our attitude to be atoned with His attitude. Christ’s suffering was not to appease an angry God but rather to appease an angry human race and the rest of the universe that had questions about His true character.


Satan uses pagan religions and pagan gods to skew our understanding of the Christian religion and the True God. In pagan religions, the people make human sacrifices to get the god to accept them. The Aztecs were making human sacrifices up until the 1500s in order to get the sun to rise. They thought the sun would not rise unless the gods saw them making a human sacrifice. In Christianity the exact opposite is true. The God sacrifices Himself to get the people to accept Him. God is not at war with humanity; humanity is at war with God. God the Father did not need to see his Son suffer to change His attitude towards us as much as we needed to see God suffer on the cross to change our attitude towards Him, thus the atonement.




May God richly bless our understanding of the atonement as we study this quarter and throughout all eternity.




Please also visit my personal website, In Light Of The Cross.

Health and Healing, Lesson 11

I am writing tonight from my motel room in beautiful Central Georgia.

This week’s SS lesson talks about our attitude.

It is a law of nature that our thoughts and feelings are encouraged and strengthened as we give them utterance. While words express thoughts, it is also true that thoughts follow words. If we would give more expression to our faith, rejoice more in the blessings that we know we have–the great mercy and love of God–we should have more faith and greater joy. No tongue can express, no finite mind can conceive, the blessing that results from appreciating the goodness and love of God. Even on earth we may have joy as a wellspring, never failing, because fed by the streams that flow from the throne of God.—Ministry of Healing 251-253 (1905). 

On a Wednesday night in April 2006 I sat on a plane with 90 other missionaries waiting for our plane to take off from Lima, Peru and go back to the states! We were tired and weary. Some were sick. It had been a fruitful venture with 1,000 baptisms! Still we were tired and wear and ready to get home. We sat on the plane at the terminal for two hours before American Airlines finally cancelled the flight due to fog. Tired and weary, and now disappointed, we all wandered off the plane and into the airport where we slept on chairs or the floor. During the night I kept wishing I had something to lay my head on like other people had, bags and stuff. Then it hit me, I was suppose to have something. I left the projector on the plane! I could have used the projector and case for a pillow but instead I had nothing to lay my head on and spent the rest of the night wondering if I would ever see it again. We woke up the next morning (If we actually fell asleep in order to wake up) in an airport when we hoped to be waking up in our own beds.

First thing I did in the morning was email my parents and told them I had just woken up in the wrong country! Sure, I wanted to be home but a little humor made things lighter for me. Of course all 90 of us woke up in the same clothes we wore the day before. When I saw someone in our group to be funny, I asked them, “Hey wasn’t that what you had on yesterday?” Many got it and laughed. Others were confused and tried to explain the whole situation to me and why they could not change clothes. Others just got outright mad that I was having fun while they were upset they were not home by now. I was having fun, and why not? Would getting upset make it any better? I rushed to the gate to see if I could retrieve the projector only to find that my new best friend Juan Rivera had already saved it for me!

At 2:30 in the afternoon our plane finally takes off for Miami! As we are going down the runway about to take off the lady next to me says, “What’s that smell?” Scared me to death! If you want to scare someone, ask that question just as a plane is taking off. I looked around and did not see smoke or anything so I laid back and enjoyed the rest of the trip back to Miami. Glad God gave me a healthy attitude to make it through the bad times.

 More studies and devotionals available at In Light Of The Cross.