The Relationship Between Christ and the Law
From the foundations of the nation of Israel entering the Promised Land to the online classrooms of the 21st century, people have debated how God’s laws of the Bible applies to them. Both the new and old Covenants of the Bible have much to say regarding the law of God and its role in our lives. While this debate may continue on until the second advent of Christ, I will attempt to tackle the task in this work. This study will be an effort on my behalf to examine these laws by discussing the hermeneutical challenges, the role of the Mosaic Covenant in Israel, and the different positions held regarding the law.
There are many hermeneutical challenges for today’s Christians to consider when incorporating the understanding of the law into their observance of Scripture. The first question we find ourselves asking is, How does the law apply to me? We may also find ourselves wondering, What did Jesus have to say regarding these laws? The Scripture is helpful in answering our questions, but we need to keep in mind the intended meaning behind the chosen words of the Lord. Romans 3:21 points out that we are now made “righteous” by faith in Christ, which was once only accomplished through the close adherence of the Law. Matthew 5:17 reminds us that Jesus did not “come to destroy the law” rather to “fulfill” it. Romans 7:12 reminds us that we should not discount the law, but remember the “law is holy”.
While Chirstians debate many extremes of the views regarding the law itself, I encourage a balanced approach to its application. Mr Daniel Hays gives five steps to help us apply the law to our faith by using a method he refers to as “principlism.” These five steps include: “Identify what the particular law meant to the initial audience, determine the differences between the initial audience and believers today, develop universal principles from the text, correlate the principle with New Testament teaching, and apply the modified universal principle to life today.” Our course lecture one had a few things to say regarding the law application to the New Testament texts including, “If they are not explicitly mentioned in the New Testament or if they are explicitly said to no longer be binding in the New Testament, then Christians are not expected to uphold them.” Regardless of how we feel regarding the laws of the Old Testament, Jesus held many of them to not only be applicable, but necessary in the life of a Christians such as love (John 13:34), humility (Colossians 3:12), sharing the Gospel (Acts 1:8), and giving (Matthew 5:42). Perhaps the best explanation for the application of the law is explained by saying, “For it is only when people find the law of liberty that they become free. For this reason the OT asserts that the law has been given for our good, to bring us to a hitherto unrealized fullness of life (Deut. 4:1; 5:33; 8:1).”
The Role of the Mosaic Covenant in Israel:
The Mosaic Covenant dates back to the Exodus of the Hebrew people from the land of Egypt. After God had delivered them from the hands of the Pharoah, God spoke to Moses on behalf of the people, providing for them a means of justification, righteousness, redemption, grace, and salvation. This means and method was the Mosaic Law/Covenant. Lasor mentions in his text that, “A covenant is a means of establishing a relationship (not naturally existing), which is sanctioned by an oath sworn in a ceremony of ratification.” While Christians today have a much more efficient and complete method of salvation via Christ, the Old Testament Jews were not so fortunate in this matter. The process to become perfect through the law was found to be impossible for man due to his sin nature, requiring the blood atonement of Christ as the final sacrifice to completely “fulfill the law” as mentioned in Matthew 5:17. While the Israelites prepared to enter the land they were promised God had to establish a written covenant with them. Our lecture mentions, “The law was given in the context and under the umbrella of a treaty between God and the Israelites.” We must however, not make the mistake of assumptions regarding what we have heard regarding the law for the Jews. Our lecture points out that, “It is often assumed, thanks to heavy law/grace dichotomies proposed by Luther that the Israelite religion in antiquity was a works-based religion while Christianity is a grace-based religion. However, one is had pressed to find any text that suggests Israel earns its salvation through doing good deeds.” Mr. Daniel Hays had this to say regarding the importance of the Mosaic Law, “Obviously commands in the Mosaic Law are important, for they make us a substantial portion of God’s written revelation.” This points out how central the law was to the everyday life of an Israelite. Their law was their covenant with God, land deed, way of life, not to mention path to salvation. Life itself seemed to depend upon the obedience to the law.
There is a variety of theological beliefs within the Christian faith regarding the law. According to my personal observations, I have observed three major positions on the law which are: a completely null and void law, a more balanced approach, and a law dependent faith. The first position holds to the fact that the New Testament covenant supercedes the first, rendering the Old Testament laws null and void. These believers do not believe that any part of the law applies in any way and essentially disregard much of the Old Testament. Hays points out such hypocrisy by saying, “Furthermore, while believers tend to ignore many Old Testament laws, they embrace others, especially the Ten Commandments, as moral underpinnings of Christian behavior.”
On the other hand, we have those who place most of their trust in the law of the Old Testament. While this is rare, it is surely dangerous to live according to the Law as our Scripture tell us in Romans 6:14 and 2:12 that we will be judged according to what we put our faith in. If it is the law, we shall be judged accordingly.
The best and most balanced approach to the law is one that finds proper application of the Old Testament laws and commandments. Many believe this is by simply making a “distinction between moral, civil, and ceremonial laws,” but I would raise caution against this habit. As Hays points out “the distinctions are arbitrary” and cause us to categorize laws and commandments that Jesus raised awareness to be discounted. As I mentioned earlier in this work, the application of the five steps are the best tool to a well-balanced look into the scales of grace, mercy, and law.
I pray that these conclusions may help you as the reader develop a balanced approach to the application of God’s Old Testament law to your life, while helping to bridge the gap of Jesus relationship to the law. I believe to keep the law in perspective, we must remember that nature of God never changes. As it is mentioned, “For the purpose of God remains the same, the obedience of his people, and it remains true that those who thus walk in the light find that the blood of Jesus Christ keeps cleansing them from all their sin.” The hermeneutical challenges, role of the Mosaic Covenant in Israel, and different positions help to highlight some of the positives and negatives we see in the interpretation of the laws. As mentioned, we must remain fair and balanced in the application of these laws to our walk with God. If we keep these strategies in mind, we won’t forget that the same God who gave us the law, gave us the saving grace and mercy through way of the Cross.
 J. Daniel Hays, “Applying the Old Testament Law Today,” Bibliotheca Sacra, (January-March 2001): 31-32. Accessed May 12th, 2017, https://lc-grad3.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/externalLinks/externalLinks.html?operation=redirectToExternalLink&externalLink=https%3A%2F%2Flopes.idm.oclc.org%2Flogin%3Furl%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fsearch.ebscohost.com%2Flogin.aspx%3Fdirect%3Dtrue%26db%3Drfh%26AN%3DATLA0001281236%26site%3Dehost-live%26scope%3Dsite
 J. Daniel Hays, “Applying the Old Testament Law Today. 31-32
 Grand Canyon University, “Old Testament Exegesis: Exegeting the Law” (lecture 1, Biblical Hermeneutics, Grand Canyon University, February 16th, 2017).
 Walter A. Elwell. Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Baptism of the Spirit (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001.) 675.
 William Sanford Lasor, David Allan Hubbard, Frederick William Bush, Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), 73.
 Grand Canyon University, “Old Testament Exegesis: Exegeting the Law”
 Ibid. 21
 Ibid. 21.
 Ibid. 22.
 Ibid. 22.
 Walter A. Elwell. Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. 676.
Briefly explain the role of faith and repentance in the process of salvation. How does the work of the Holy Spirit relate to the human response to God's grace and saving actions?
The roles of faith and repentance in the process of salvation are certainly essential. Without repentance there is no conviction, without conviction there is no need of saving and without a need for saving, there is certainly no faith. Profession of faith at that point would be just lip service to God (Isaiah 29:13). Is it true salvation that we seek or is it an imitation? To experience true salvation requires a heartfelt decision, meaning it is not one made out of rationality. Rationally speaking, being forgiven by a God who humbled Himself to the lowliness of a human is hard to imagine. However, knowing that you are in need of a savior and that the only way to be saved is to seek forgiveness from Him changes our perspective. Belief in not only the method, but the vehicle in God is the faith. It is not until we realize that we as humans are fallen and in sin, that we can see salvation. This is the repentance element required as a part of salvation.
Let us highlight the necessity of each role through the eyes of a congregant within a revival. Imagine that an evangelist is speaking. He speaks with authority of anointing and the Holy Spirit is strong because this speaker is close to God. The Scriptures used and wonderfully in context with his message regarding his testimony. His message brings the congregant to the realization of their own iniquities. Maybe the speaker mentioned a sin that the congregant has committed that brings this realization. This conviction is followed with the speaker’s message that we are all born in sin and in need of a Savior. The method of the Gospel is spoken, an altar call is given, and the congregant moves towards the altar in response to the invitation to receive salvation. This desire to come forward is driven by the Holy Spirit’s conviction. The conviction pricks the hearts of man with God’s presence and when we are in God’s presence our sins are exposed (1 John 1:5; Ephesians 5:11-14). It is at this point that we wish to rid ourselves of the chains of bondage under sin, relieve ourselves of our slave master in Satan, and relieve ourselves of the guilt/yolk around our necks. That requires repentance of our sins.
Once we confess our sins to God and ask Him to take them for us, we are truly “set free”. In order to do this, at some point we had to develop faith. It is different for everyone when this moment will be. Maybe it is something that the speaker may have said that made you want to consider the reality of a God. It is possible that you already believed there is a God, but did not have the faith required to believe that He could take your sins away. Perhaps you believed in God, but did not know that the vehicle to God and heaven was through His only begotten son Jesus Christ (John 14:6). However fast, slow, or what the order may have been; it required faith and repentance to get to the point of being a Christian. God “never leaves us nor forsakes us” and he surely never stops seeking His one lost “sheep” (Deuteronomy 31:6; Matthew 18:12). The Spirit relentlessly, but certainly in the most gentlemanly manner; knocks at our hearts every possible moment until we are secure in the Kingdom. We only have to seek God and He always meets us half way. It is only an initial effort on our part, yet we make it so hard. We never had to have the nails hammered in our hands, or be hung on a cross to receive Him; yet we pretend that it requires such sacrifice on our parts. When we make that effort, God’s grace and mercy cover us. If the truth be told, that congregant who decided to give their hearts to the Lord in that revival, begins the process of salvation from the moment they decide to get up from their seat. The arrival to the front only verbally and physically confirms their decision and commitment. They must be explained the process to and understand the commitment that they are making, but the heart decision is made from right where they were prior. Because it is a decision within our own spirit, we can make it from anywhere such our homes or job. Thank God that His Spirit pursued me because without Him I would certainly not be where I am today.
Realizing the different approaches to understanding the role of the Spirit in the life of the believer and the Church, how has your faith tradition or religious background shaped your understanding of pneumatology? What might your faith tradition have to offer to others outside with regard to the person and work of the Holy Spirit? What might you be able to learn about pneumatology from other faith traditions?
The topic of pneumatology is very exciting to a Pentecostal believer. This subject is where the “rubber meets the road” for us. The Pentecostal denominations take the role, person, and power of the Holy Spirit seriously; but also hold ourselves accountable for our life decisions as well. The doctrines connected with pneumatology is what sets us apart from the other Evangelical denominations, otherwise we would just be Wesleyans. Even with those differences, the Pentecostal churches see other denominations as God’s people as well and we view them through the love that Christ commands. Lyle Story says it best when he mentions, “Love is the evidence of the sanctification, made experimental through the Holy Spirit.” First and foremost, we are the adopted brothers and sisters in Christ. Our second and third order doctrinal differences should never supersede importance over love.
My faith tradition and religious background view pneumatology as essential to the life of a believer. Without the work of the Spirit in our life, we are dead spiritually (Colossians 2:13). Scripture tells us that we must be “born of water and of the Spirit” (John 3:5). We also believe in the full power of the Spirit by recognizing His authority in matters regarding gifts, healing, sanctification, etc. For us, healing and gifts are not just for yesterday’s church, but todays as well. The Word says that God never changes (James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8; Numbers 23:9) and if we believe in an infallible Word, we must accept this as truth. Many times, this discussion brings about as our lecture notes describe, “a point of contention due to distinct understandings of the operation of the gifts of the Spirit and continuation or cessation of miraculous activity.” This is true if not just simply for the fact I have been verbally beaten down multiple times over these views. However, I hold on strongly to my convictions because it is more than a view, but also my lifestyle. God has done great works in me including an ever more increasing sanctification and baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is nearly impossible to convince someone differently about something once they have truly experienced it. You could talk until you are blue in the face, but in the end you simply cannot talk the “fruit” out of my life. Those overwhelming feelings that sweep across you when the Spirit comes upon a person is hard to explain with words, but they describe it best in Acts 2:2 when it says, “the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting”. I hold true to the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) teachings regarding the Spirit which includes the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit as evidenced through the Speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance”. I would also like to point out that many traditional holiness churches get categorized together with the Charismatic groups; however there are very big differences. True Pentecostal believers emphasize the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, which results into a holy lifestyle by default if the person lives the way the Word teaches. Many charismatic churches seem to deemphasize the sanctifying part, resulting in a blessing only mentality. This turns in to an emotional response service that looks only for the “rush” that the Spirit brings with it. This is where you often see the services with people faking the baptism and slapping peoples jaws in the name of teaching others how to speak in tongues. I have been a part of both sets of belief systems and I prefer the traditional Holiness doctrines. This is the only way that perseverance can be assured. Stay close to the Father and He will guide you into the “narrow” way.
I am sure that there are principles regarding pneumatology that I do not yet know. If I did, I would most likely already be working on learning them. What I do know is that there are areas in my relationship with God that can be improved upon as is true with any believer. One thing that sticks out to my wife regarding my relationship with God is what she calls my “John Wesley” condition. Whether it is my name (which coincidentally happens to be my first and middle names) or circumstances regarding my child-hood; I feel the burden of my unworthiness. While I know that salvation comes by faith, I feel that I find myself working to please God by default. Maybe this is simply because it is the way I share my love and gratitude for the work of Christ, but my wife sees this as eerily similar to the inner spiritual struggles that Wesley often battled which were mentioned in various letters that were wrote. I pray that one day I may find the answer to these questions I seek and it may come by the advisement of another faith tradition. Until then, I will do all I can for the Lord in the faith that I will soon hear, “well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
For More On The Baptism Of The Holy Ghost Click Here!
 Story, J Lyle. "Pauline thoughts about the Holy Spirit and sanctification: provision, process, and consummation." Journal Of Pentecostal Theology 18, no. 1 (2009 2009): 67-94. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed June 1, 2017). http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.lopes.idm.oclc.org/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=f8b2f5f7-9ad2-435e-a141-dc5d395f7787%40sessionmgr4010&vid=1&hid=4213
 Grand Canyon University, “The Doctrine of the Christian Life.” (lecture, Christian Doctrines, Grand Canyon University, February 16th, 2017).
Christ’s Atoning Death and Redeeming Resurrection
In the Old Testament book of Genesis, we find a remarkable story. It begins with the foundation of the universe and the creation of our world. Little did Adam know the day He was created that soon He and Eve would make a really big mess of this new perfect life. When Adam and Eve took the fruit of the forbidden tree, knowledge of sin was exposed to them and curses were introduced into the world (Genesis 3). Among the consequences was the curse of death upon all the living creatures of the earth. God continued to care for His creation and so He introduced a way for Adam and Eve to make a way of covering for their sins. Many generations later, during the Exodus from Egypt, God gave the new nation of Israel through the prophet Moses a covenant in the wilderness. Attached to this covenant was a law requirement that the Israelites had to keep in order to seek God’s forgiveness and salvation. Unfortunately, man failed miserably at keeping their side of the covernant, so God had already made another way. His name was Jesus Christ and He came as the Messiah and blood sacrifice for all mankind whether Jew or Gentile. As He was prophesied regarding His will from the foundations of the Earth, Jesus’ predicted birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection was a successful plan for the salvation of mankind. This work will be an approach to connect the events of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection to the salvation of mankind through the acts of atonement and redemption. Without these events, man would still be in need of a Savior today.
Jesus’ Atoning Death:
Perhaps the most discussed, admired, and criticized moment in the life of Jesus Christ was not the events surrounding His birth and life, but rather His death. For as many scholars and theologians there are conversing about the topic of atonement, you can find just as many theories regarding the circumstances of the death of Christ and what it means for mankind. Under the faith and belief that the Scriptures regarding the details of Christ’s death are inerrant, they provide the details of a rather an inhumane, but prophetically accurate death. Every detail regarding Jesus’ suffering and death were necessary in order for not only the salvation of mankind, but the authority over death, Hell, and the grave. These authorities include, but are not limited to the healing of our bodies, protection, intercessory prayer, and salvation by faith.
Among the important details regarding the death of Christ, was the main method used in His death, the Cross. The Cross, which is now a symbol synonymous with the Christian faith, was not always such a relished symbol. During the days of the Roman Empire the Cross was viewed as a symbol of disgrace and dishonor. The Son of Man had to truly humble himself as a human being, not to mention His simultaneous deity. Regarding the importance of the cross as a part of Jesus’ death, Bakers Dictionary points out, “It is the means by which we finally and fully understand the work of Christ on our behalf”. What is all the more impressive and shocking is how Elwell explains, “The cross is also seen as God’s deliberate choice”. God brought shame upon Himself, in order that the common “foolish” man might be saved. Jesus knew that His purpose for being on Earth was to die for the transgressions of mankind. Revelation 13:8 tells us that He was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”.
This process of dying for mankind as a sacrificial substitute, sinless, without spot or blemish is referred to as atoning. The term “atone” is the basis for many theories and explanations as to how Jesus is able to give us a “get out of jail free pass”, but the process may be as complicated to explain as many of the other great mysteries of God’s Word. What we do know is that, “Jesus’ death is spoken of as an example for humanity (Phil. 2:3; 1 Peter 2:21-23; Eph. 5:2), as the ransom paid” They go on to identify atonement by saying “Atonement refers to God’s act of dealing with the primary human problem of sin.” Atonement, supplied by the lifeblood offering of Jesus, sucks our sins away like a magnet and as Psalms 103:12 says, “removes it as far as the east is from the west”. Even as part of the three-God-head or Trinity, God allowed the Son to be hung on the tree of Calvary for our transgressions and atonement. No other God or religion can compare in this way as to offer so much to mankind. It could be said that like Abraham, God put His all on the altar. Regarding the method of death by the cross it is said in our lecture that, “God’s character is demonstrated in the cross: the love of God for the despised of the world”  Walter Elwell had this to say regarding the subject, “The NT does not put forward a theory of atonement, but there are several indications of the principle on which atonement is effected. Thus sacrifice must be offered-not the sacrifice of animals, which cannot avail for humans (Heb. 10:4), but the perfect sacrifice of Christ (9:26; 10:5-10). Christ paid sin’s due penalty (Rom. 3:25-26; 6:23; Gal. 3:13).” Much like the sacrificial ceremonies of the Old Testament one must consider his attitude towards the commitment, to receive this atonement properly. Elwell explains this by saying, “But to offer sacrifice as the expression of a repentant and trustful heart is to find atonement.”
Jesus’ Redeeming Resurrection:
Once Jesus was buried, only half of the process was complete. Jesus had fulfilled many of the foretold propecies concerning the circumstances of His death, but the most important event had yet to take place. Many were shocked and left in disbeleif regarding the circumstances and swift process of Jesus’ death, including His own disciples. How could the Messiah who was coming to redeem His people like a King lower himself to the humble presence of a man and God here on Earth? Why should the Son of Man endure such suffering and disrespect? God knew that many in the crowds lacked true understanding of the events that were about to take place. Even though Jesus forwarned them of His coming death and resurrection such as in Matthew 16:21, the disciples did not seem to fully comprehend what was about to unfold. Even after the resurrection of Lazarus and a couple of the other dead that were raised, the disciples were puzzled by the sayings of Jesus. In Matthew 27:46, we see the final words of Jesus as He hung upon the cross saying, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”? Immediately the veil was torn in the Temple and the atonement of mankind was set in place. The relationship with God would no longer require a building, but the temple of God would now be our hearts.
Jesus’ death was about to be news not easily forgotten by the Pharisees who were responsible for placing Him upon that cross. With the veil in the Temple already torn, giving a heavy sign of their huge mistake, the religious authorities were nervous. They believed by putting guards by the access door of the tomb would prevent the fraudulant move of the disciples stealing Jesus’ body and saying that it had rose again, but they wrong. It wasn’t the disciples who would come for Jesus, it was an angel of heaven. This was an early symbolic gesture that shows us that no matter what stands in between us and God in this world, if we seek repentance and relationship with Jesus, He will hear our hearts. Just as the enemy could not stop the atoning power of Christ, the Roman soldiers could not prevent the Angel from rolling away the stone at the entrance of the tomb. Three days later and Jesus was alive. The process of the redemption of mankind was now complete. To understand redemption, it is best explained by Elwell saying, “includes the ideas of loosing from a bond, setting free from captivity or slavery, buying back something lost or sold, exchanging something in one's possession for something possessed by another, and ransoming.” It sounds a lot like atoning, but only this time Jesus had possession of the “keys to hell and death” (Rev. 1:18). No longer does the enemy have dominion over us due to our iniquities and short-comings. Jesus has paid the price in blood and then defeated the enemy with His resurrection, gaining the authority for us over the enemy. Redemption goes much deeper in meaning according to Elwell, “In the Old Testament, redemption involves deliverance from bondage based on the payment of a price by a redeemer.”
 Walter Elwell. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Cross, Crucifixion. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books. ed. 1997) Accessed May 28th, 2017. http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/.
 Walter Elwell. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Cross, Crucifixion.
 The Holy Bible, King James Version
 Grand Canyon University, “The Doctrine of the Work of Christ.” (lecture, Christian Doctrines, Grand Canyon University, February 16th, 2017).
 Grand Canyon University, “The Doctrine of the Work of Christ.”
 The Holy Bible, King James Version
 Walter Elwell, Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Atonement (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001), 113-114.
 Walter Elwell, Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Atonement
 Walter Elwell. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Redeem, Redemption. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books. ed. 1997) Accessed May 28th, 2017. http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/redeem-redemption.html
Walter Elwell. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Redeem, Redemption.
What does all this mean for me and you? This means that Jesus Christ truly has, “set the captives free” (Isaiah 61:1). We are no longer in bondage to our sins and iniquities once we have repented and proclaimed faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is only after we believe that we can receive salvation from the Lord. We simply cannot make it to Heaven by works or good deeds, but only through faith in Jesus. Jesus states himself in John 14:6, “6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This statement makes the decision very simple. While for some it may not be easy, it surely isn’t complicated. If you believe, you will be saved. If you reject the Gospel one day you will find out the true meaning of Matthew 7:21-23 where Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” I pray that we can all see the clear purpose of Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection on Earth as our Lord and Savior. Without the sacrificial death of Jesus we would lack an atoning for our lives and without His resurrection we would not have our ransom paid by His redeeming blood. Thank God for His sacrifice on Calvary.
Elwell, Walter, A. Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Atonement, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001.
Elwell, Walter A., ed. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Cross, Crucifixion. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1997. Accessed May 28th, 2017. http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/cross-crucifixion.html
Elwell, Walter A., ed. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Death of Christ. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1997. Accessed May 28th, 2017. http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/death-of-christ.html
Elwell, Walter A., ed. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Jesus Christ. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1997. Accessed May 28th, 2017.. http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/jesus-christ.html
Grand Canyon University. “The Doctrine of the Work of Christ.” Lecture, Christian Doctrines, Grand Canyon University, February 16th, 2017.
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'JUSTIFICATION'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915. http://www.biblestudytools.com/encyclopedias/isbe/justification.html
Q: How does the term reconciliation serve as an umbrella description of what various theories of atonement aim to explain? Are their aspects of Jesus' atoning death that would not fit under the overarching theme of reconciliation?
Reconciliation is an interesting topic that gives salvation its very purpose, which is to reconcile us with God. Recently, an evangelist under the anointing of God recently called me out during an altar call at one of our revival services. Among the many things he told me the most distinct was that, “Although you know better, you think you have got God, but really He’s got you. You need to stop worrying about all this stuff that God has control over and worry about your relationship with Him.” The Evangelist was 100% accurate. Our text by Michael Horton also reiterates this by saying, “We do not reconcile ourselves to God; God reconciles himself to us and us to him.” There have been times in my relationship with God when I seem to get focused on everything and everyone else. The only spiritual matters that I need to be focused on is my relationship with God. If I prioritize these things, all others will naturally fall in line. The moral of the story is that when we are reconciled with God, He can meet all of our needs. He also answers any questions we seek through the study of His Word and revelation. Our text by Beth Jones states, “Salvation extends beyond human beings to the whole created order. Salvation is about reconciliation between human beings and God”.
These questions and concerns are all the other theories of atonement attempt to address. When we are reconciled and have a personal relationship with God, these questions and concerns are nothing for Him to answer. Take the theory of deification for example. This theory attempts to “parallel us with God in some ways” as I mentioned in the topic six discussion board. What they attempt to accomplish is simply answered by the terms of reconciliation or to be brought back with God again. Within each one of us, God has placed his Spirit to bring us to conviction to seek a relationship with Him. Once we are reconciled, we can then be one with God again. While we will never be as great and powerful as God Himself, we can be reconciled back into His presence. Reconciliation is a process and involves many moving parts of our faith such as sanctification. As we are sanctified, we are reconciled closer back to God. Sin will not be allowed in the presence of God (Habakkuk 1:13), so the more of its presence that is within us the farther our reconciliation back with God is. Repentance helps to remove that stain of sin away, allowing Christ to intervene and justify us so that we may be reconciled. It takes nearly all the theories of atonement to reach any type of conclusion for the whole of atonement itself, but then you have to accept all the incorrect assumptions that are brought in with those theories. Reconciliation answers all those questions simultaneously without accepting any incorrect doctrines. There is nothing regarding Jesus’ atoning death that does not fit under the overarching theme of reconciliation that I am aware of. If it were so, I do not believe that the great Apostle Paul would have been so confident as to have referenced the understanding of reconciliation in God’s Word so freely.
 Horton, Michael. 2011. The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. GCU database. 500
 Beth Felker Jones. Practicing Christian Doctrine: An Introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 154