We’re more than half-way through the sessions so far. What has been the thing that has stood out to you most so far? And what is the burning question that keeps you up at night?
In this session, we are going to be focusing on the doctrine of the atonement, which focuses on Jesus’ saving work. Let us begin by sharing some stories—our own, or of people we know - who have been saved by Jesus (whatever we understand this to mean)
‘What is the Atonement?’ Dr. David Moffitt [20 minutes]
What stood out to you from this video? What questions did it leave you with?
What did you think about David’s argument that the life, death, resurrection, ascension, and ongoing intercession of Jesus are all important parts of his saving work?
Look at 1 John 1:7- 2:2. David suggested that this passage emphasises how God forgives us from sin through Jesus’ death on the cross, but also how this is an ongoing work in which Jesus advocates for us today. What does it mean to be someone who is both forgiven and also continually in need of forgiveness? How does it make you feel to realise that Jesus continues to intercede for you?
David described the work of Jesus as providing ransom, redemption, forgiveness, purification, and reconciliation. Do you think any of these concepts are focused on more than others? How do you think this should be reflected in the worship of the Church?
David gave the example of how studying the accounts of sacrifice in Leviticus gave him a new appreciation for the richness of Jesus’s sacrifice. Are there examples from your own life in which reading particular Scriptures has brought fresh amazement at who Jesus is?
It is important to read through this reflection slowly, leaving periods of silence between each point to give people plenty of time to think and reflect.
To conclude, we’re going to use an examen reflection, an ancient discipline which helps us to focus on our past and look forward to our future, making ourselves aware of God’s presence. This reflection will particularly focus on Jesus’ atonement.
Begin by making yourself aware that God is present. God has been present and at work before we entered this room. Before we started this day, God was present.
Look back over your day. What happened? Where did you go? Who did you meet? What did you eat and drink? Take time to pay attention to each detail.
Try to recall how you felt at each moment. Were you frustrated? Happy? Sad? Emotional? What were the triggers for each of these emotions?
As we’ve been thinking about today, God desire is to make us one in relationship with himself, but so often there are things that get in the way. Where in your day might you have got in the way of what God was doing in you? Where might you have missed an opportunity to look to God in prayer? What regrets do you have about today?
Look over each moment in your day again once more, each event, each emotion, each time we stood in the way of God. But this time bring to mind that each moment, Jesus was at the moment praying and interceding for us. How does this change your perception of your day?
Finally, make yourself aware again that God is present here. God has been present and at work before we entered this room. Before we started this day, God was present. We come into God’s presence with boldness and confidence because of what Jesus has done and continues to do for us. Receive the forgiveness that God offers to you in this place.
What does it mean to allow Scripture to be the guiding voice in our theology? To what extent is the case for you?
Adam J. Johnson, 2015. Atonement: A Guide for the Perplexed (T&T Clark).
Adam J. Johnson (ed.), 2017. T&T Clark Companion to the Atonement (T&T Clark).