In the midst of a troubled world, Christians believe in a good God who, as the Creator, has never lost interest in His broken creation. The key evidence for, and the chief symbol of, this divine commitment is the cross of Christ. This God, revealed in Scripture, has a project. Central to the divine strategy is Christ, His coming, and His cross. The troubles and calamities will end. The cross—which has been scandalous from the start—touches the individual, the church, and the wider creation. The cross makes peace, and brings shalom. The canon of Scripture presents a “divine comedy,” where the story of Jesus, His cross, and empty tomb are set in the framework of God’s plan to restore the created order.
The triune God has a project: to secure his people in his place under his rule living his way to his glory in his loving and holy presence. This is shalom or peace in the robust biblical sense of the word: rest from the enemies of peace, and richness of relationship with God and one another in a renewed created order. But there are obstacles to the project: Satan and human sinfulness for example. Atonement in broad terms is how God removes those barriers and achieves his purposes. In narrow terms it is how Christ—his coming, his cross, his coming to life again—are the linchpin of the divine plan to reclaim creation and believers with it..
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Few if any themes are more central to the Bible than atonement. . . . My hope and prayer is that this volume will become a ‘standard’ contribution in the field, informing and enriching its readers as to what God achieved by sending his dear Son to the cross on our behalf. Eternity itself will not exhaust our wonder at these truths. This book, I am sure, will establish many in the right direction.
—D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
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