How did Jesus actually accomplish our salvation? Dave “The Mercy Seat” VanVickle and I talk about atonement theology, a fundamental topic that is often overlooked in evangelization. We dive into the complexity of atonement theology, and look at how Christ’s life as a whole is salvific.
The entire life of Christ communicates the saving love of the Father for humanity.
Atonement theology describes what Jesus did to accomplish our salvation. It focuses on the how the life, death, and resurrection of Christ reconciled humanity back to God. There are many different theories of atonement across Christianity and it can be a very complex topic. The Catholic understanding of atonement points to the reality that the whole life of Christ anticipates the Cross and is salvific.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church on Atonement
Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned. But in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all”, so that we might be “reconciled to God by the death of his Son”.– CCC 603
Christ’s whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of his cross, but this mystery is at work throughout Christ’s entire life:
– already in his Incarnation through which by becoming poor he enriches us with his poverty;
– in his hidden life which by his submission atones for our disobedience;
– in his word which purifies its hearers;
– in his healings and exorcisms by which “he took our infirmities and bore our diseases”;
– and in his Resurrection by which he justifies us.– CCC 603
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.– 2 Corinthians 8:9
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.-Philippians 2: 5-11
- Read paragraphs 595-618 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church to better understand Christ’s redemptive sacrifice.
- Read Hebrews 2 and pray with the chapter for a week, and reflect what it means for our salvation.
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Meet Your Hosts
Michael “Gomer” Gormley
Michael has been leading evangelization and ministry efforts for the past ten years, both as a full-time parish staff member and as a speaker and consultant for parishes, dioceses, and Catholic campus ministries.
Michael is also the founder and creative director of LayEvangelist.com, and the producer and cohost of a Catholic young adult podcast Catching Foxes, which discusses the collision of Faith and Culture.
He is married to his college sweetheart, Shannon, and they have about 1,000 children and get about 3 hours of sleep a night, which is alright by him.
Dave VanVickle fell in love with the Lord at the age of fourteen and has since dedicated his life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ.
Dave is a speaker and retreat leader who focuses on proclaiming the universal call to holiness, authentic Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare and deliverance. Additionally, Dave has over ten years of experience assisting Priests with their ministries of exorcism and deliverance.
Dave resides in Pittsburgh with his wife Amber and their five children: Sam, Max, Judah, Josie and Louisa.
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