Atonement and Salvation
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I wonder if there are others, like me, who find aspects of the Atonement puzzling?
St. John tells us [I John 2:2] 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. Who is being propitiated?
Matthew 20:28 tells us 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. But to whom was the ransom due?
I know that St. Gregory of Nyssa writes that it was to ransom us from Satan, but why does the omnipotent creator of everything 'owe' anything to Satan, who surely has no 'right' to us? Is it that we, through sin, seem to acknowledge Satan's rule over us?
We are ransomed from the bondage of death, that sin has over us since the fall of Adam. But in what sense do we understand the word 'ransom'?
In the Incarnation human nature and God's own nature were joined, and since death could not hold Him, it lost its hold on us, as we can live in Him, and through the process of theosis realise the divine image in which we are made.
Clearly Atonement and Salvation are not, as sometimes seems to be the case in Protestantism, the same thing; the first is a necessary condition of the latter.
Deep waters, I know, but I look to the resources of the Fellowship here for assistance; in correcting me if I have erred; and in deepening my understanding, if I am in the right ball-park!
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)