Embracing Our At-One-Ness with God
As we celebrate Easter 2022, the word atonement may come up. Atonement is often understood as substitutionary atonement, presenting that Jesus suffered crucifixion as a substitute for human sin, satisfying God's just wrath against man's transgression due to Christ's infinite merit. This presentation of atonement lays out that all people are in need of a substitute since all are guilty of sinning against the holy God. All sin deserves punishment because all sin is personal rebellion against God himself. For that, Jesus Christ came and died in the place of his people (substitution), taking upon himself the full punishment that they deserved.
There is another understanding of atonement that has been around since the first century, called Christus Victor (Latin for "Christ is victorious"). This explanation of atonement contends that Christ's death is God's victory over sin and death. God conquers death by fully entering into it. Thus, the crucifixion can be thought of as an act of divine love. The Early Church Fathers believed that the Cross was primarily how God defeated Satan, once and for all. It was not about the payment of a penalty. The Cross was viewed as the pinnacle of the battle between God and Satan. God won the battle, once for all, and the Cross is the reminder that He is the victor. Because of this victory, you and I get to live a life of at-one-ment with God.
Brennan Manning in his book, The Furious Longing of God, explains it this way: "On the Cross Jesus surrenders in trusting, obedient love to his Abba, and then rises from the ground, not as a trapped animal (paying the penalty to a wrathful Father), but completely at one with the Father; atonement--at-one-ment in the furious love of God." As we consider the Resurrection together, we have an invitation to embrace our own at-one-ment with God. You and I are clean, forgiven, whole, and because of the Cross we can live into Easter today at-one with the God of all things!