Read has helped The Salvation Army re-visit the consequence of why Jesus died for us (Atonement) and the ongoing significance/consequence this must have upon how we live our lives.
Read unpacks atonement theology to show the biblical and yet contradictory views of substitution theory and moral obligation theory.
The idea of a wrathful Father sacrificing his loving Son undermines the idea that God sent His Son to change us by showing us how much He loves us. And yet this is the plain teaching of the Bible.
If we think of our being, being like an instrument… an instrument with which we try to make music. We could admit that we rarely make a good job of it (all of the time) as we are not the creator and we don’t know how it best works.
You see, sin has corrupted; corroded, tarnished and warped the way God designed our nature and the way we are to be in relationship with Him, with others and our self. No amount of valve oil or polishing is going to make us sound any better. We perpetuate this self-harm by not caring what we consume … via our mouth, what we watch, touch, listen to, or think about.
If we consider ourselves to be instrument, we could then consider God as the master musician with the perfect embouchure and breath control who desires that we be restored to the original form in which we were created.
So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 (NLT)
Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. Genesis 2:7(NLT)
So why did Jesus die? So that: you may be restored to how God lovingly designed you to be…to the original image of God that you were created in. The breath of the Holy Spirit (the ruach of God) which flowed through the newly creation in the Genesis story can flow through us and we can be restored.
Through the death of Jesus, and power of God’s spirit, God IS reversing the effects of the fall and desiring to restore us, recreate us, reform us into the image of God in Christ
The instrument works best when the master musician… the ultimate creator flows through us and make beautiful sound out of our lives.
This restoration; this salvation plan is equally a work of a moment and the work of a life time (Larsson)
As William Booth said:
“This is our speciality: getting saved, keeping saved, getting someone else saved, and then getting saved ourselves more and more.”
Getting saved more and more (becoming more like Jesus) is not an optional extra… it’s not a “would you like fries with that” kind of question.
As people come to love God and love one another, the reign of God begins… the Kingdom of God begins to happen on earth.
God designed you that you could
“love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT)