Understanding the Atonement:
“I am always dying for you.”

Understanding the Atonement

Although I often refer to Scripture and trust its wisdom, the larger part of my learning comes through heavenly sources. That is what I asked for in 2011 and try to put into words here at Freely Receive. Still, with regard to understanding the Atonement (“Christ died for our sins”) the vast number of Christian beliefs and doctrines fazed me. So I asked Master to help me learn, from his point of view, the events that took place during those three dark days and nights.

Understanding the Atonement – "I am always dying for you."

I shut my eyes and prayed for a visual. Other than some odd, flashing sky-blue rectangles I saw nothing. No “deal” being made with the devil, nor angels lovingly healing Jesus’ wounds.

Understanding the Atonement: The Tuna Fish Theology

Later that evening I made a tuna fish sandwich. After my meal, while staring at my freshly washed hands, I was stricken with pangs of guilt and grief for the poor dead tuna fish. I imagined him, swimming happily with his wife through cold, crystal-clear arctic waters. I saw the fish enter the net. Next, my mind offered me a view of the ship deck; the mortal blow to the head and the last seconds of life. I felt sick. Worse, I remembered that Christ (the “vine,” or “head of the body”) dwells in all living things be they human or tuna.

All at once I knew that I had killed that fish—and I’d also killed Christ.

Strange, how the idea of consuming Jesus’ body and blood (which he asks all of us us to do) did not spring to mind. Master, I thought, You died for me. Again. As I reached for the towel I heard his reply, plain as day, from somewhere between my heart and mind.

“I am always dying for you.”

Whether we know it or not, each of us consumes Christ’s life when we eat. Because our bodies have the ability to transform death into life, every meal involves a sacrifice and a resurrection of sorts. For example, my poor tuna fish, who had likely never sinned against God (not that it matters) gave up his life so that I could live. Just like Jesus, my fish deserved to live his life. And just like Jesus, he lives within me even now.

Understanding the Atonement: Give Thanks and Praise

Long before my amazing journey began, a little more than ten years ago, Master spoke to me as I laid half asleep. It was a lengthy message. Hard to understand – today I do not recall the details. But I still remember tossing and turning as I awakened just enough to catch his last words:

“…Do not worry about all of that. Just remember me when you eat.”

It’s hard to remember him every time we eat. But it is extremely important we do so. With that I shall close with one more tip from the top. Whether praying, rejoicing, or eating, on earth as it is in heaven, the two most important words (in English) are “Thank you.” And so I wish to thank you for visiting this little road stop on the web. Your faith in God and your repeated visits impress me. You mean a great deal to me.

I love you, I trust you, and I believe in you.
– Andrew Michael


Understanding the Atonement: Various Doctrines

Each Christian faith features its own Atonement Doctrine. Nearly thirty in all. Links are provided below. My favorite, however, is the Vatican’s mystical view. Even hardcore Christians may be rather startled by Rome’s analysis on the Atonement and its workings.

Visit Wikipedia →
Readers who wish to learn the history and differing Christian views with regard to the Atonement can visit this superb  Wiki page.

Study the Vatican’s Mystical View →
“For our sake God made him to be sin”


 

One thought on “Understanding the Atonement:
“I am always dying for you.””

  1. I saw this piece and loved the tuna fish comparison. It is very well-written and well-thought.

    Your commentary reminds me of a Native American belief. They, too, view all creatures as beloved by the Great Spirit. But they know that the Great Spirit creates fish and buffalo, etc., as food for his other creatures. These tribes respect all life and believe that the animal allows itself to be caught. It sacrifices its life for theirs, thus it is a heavenly [sic] gift.

    As for the sacrifice of Jesus…

    Since we do not have a revelation that explains the exact process of redemption, there are numerous theologies. You referred to that. I am sad to see that so many folks focus only on the Crucifixion doctrines. This tends to support the idea that God demanded a bloody sacrifice before humankind could be saved.

    I am a Vatican II Christian. So I do not believe that God incarnated as Jesus to become a bloody sacrifice for our sins. The Nicene Creed, however, is dogma, or Revealed Truth. The Creed says something like, “…Who for us and our salvation came down from heaven and became man… For our sake he was crucified, died, and was buried… He rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven.”

    Those six ideas: “Became man, was crucified, rose again,” tell the whole story. If we think only of the Crucifixion we miss the greater significance of atonement and salvation.

    Since Vatican II (1963) the theologians I knew always made it clear that we are redeemed by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. All three together. In terms of understanding the Atonement, this theory is a doctrine, not dogma. It means that humankind is healed by God’s love – not by a painful, bloody sacrifice.

    The at-one-ment [at one with God] is Jesus’ first act of love. Because he was both human and divine, his love healed the broken relationship between God and humankind.

    It was God’s Will that Jesus become a human. God also willed that Jesus be resurrected, then bring humans into his resurrected life. The bloody death was due to man’s will. Jesus’ true sacrifice was to give up living as God in order to have a fully human life.

    Joan is a retired teacher-trainer, speaker, and an author of many Catholic and Protestant religious textbooks.

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