Pastor James J. Barker

Text: ROMANS 5:1-11


1.     I want to speak this morning on the important doctrine of the blood atonement.

2.     The word “atonement” is found 81 times in the Bible, mostly in the OT.   It is found 49 times in the book of Leviticus.

3.     Leviticus 17:11 says, “It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

4.     A preacher once said there are three ways in which God can deal with our sins.

  • First, He can condemn us and throw us all into hell.  But God is love so God will not do that.
  • Secondly, He can disregard His law of righteousness and turn aside from His moral and holy character.  In other words, He can deny Himself and condone man’s sin.  {This seems to be the preferred option for most people, but it will never happen.}
  • The third possibility is God can deal with our sins by paying the debt of our wrongdoing Himself.  He can make atonement for our sins.  He can wash them away in the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:25; 5:6-9).  This is what God chose to do.  This is what the Bible teaches about sin and salvation, heaven and hell.

5.     The word translated “atonement” is sometimes translated “reconciliation” (cf. Rom. 5:10, 11; Col. 1:21).

6.     I was reading II Samuel 21 in my devotions the other day.  The Bible says “there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites” (21:1).

7.     King David called for the Gibeonites, and said to them, “What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement?” (21:3).

8.     In other words, David was saying, “There has been a transgression.  How can I make it right?”

9.     Sinners have transgressed against God.  They need to be reconciled to God.  God’s anger and wrath must be turned away.  This is the idea behind “atonement.”

10. Propitiation means God has been propitiated – i.e., His wrath has been turned away (cf. Rom. 3:25; 5:8, 9).  Reconciliation means sinful man has been reconciled to a holy God.






1.     Romans 3:22 and 23 says, “For there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  Therefore since all men are sinners, all men need atonement for sin.

2.     God has a standard, and all have come short.  Don Imus has a long history of saying stupid things, and the other day he said something very foolish that caught my attention.  He said, “I'm not a bad person. I'm a good person, but I said a bad thing.”

3.     No, he is not a “good person.”  He is a wicked hell-bound sinner.  And not just because he made a vulgar remark about some female basketball players.  He is a wicked sinner because he has rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

4.     He is a lost sinner.  Jesus said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

5.     Like most lost sinners, Imus thinks he can get to heaven by his good works.  He brags that he helps sick children at his ranch out in New Mexico.

6.     It is nice that Imus helps sick children, but the Bible says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5).

7.     “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9).

8.     By the way, it bothers me to hear people in the media say Imus is being “crucified.”  Losing your job for being a sewer-mouth is not being crucified.  Being pilloried by phonies like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson is not being crucified.

9.     People have the tendency to compare themselves with others – “I’m better than my neighbor, my brother, my coworkers, etc.” 

10. But what they should really do is compare themselves to our holy God.  Then they can see that they are guilty sinners.

11. In contrast to the self-righteous hypocrites in the news today, let me quote William Beveridge, a 17th century English preacher.  He wrote, “I cannot pray, except I sin; I cannot preach, but I sin; I cannot administer, nor receive the holy sacrament, but I sin.
My very repentance needs to be repented of; And the tears I shed need washing in the blood of Christ.”




1.     God’s love and God’s justice met at the cross.   God’s grace and God’s holiness met at the cross.  God’s mercy and God’s righteousness met at the cross (cf. Rom. 5:8).

2.     The love and mercy of God furnish what God’s justice and holiness demands (cf. Rom. 5:18, 19).

3.     The nature of the atonement is substitution.  God sent His only begotten Son to die in our stead so that we can be forgiven, reconciled, justified, saved, redeemed, regenerated, and sanctified.

4.     A preacher illustrated the doctrine of the vicarious atonement by telling the story of a judge whose son came before him accused of a crime.  The son was convicted and the judge fined the young man the full penalty.  Then the judge came down from the bench and paid the fine.

5.     After the meeting, a young woman said to the preacher, “But God cannot get down off His bench.”  The preacher said, “But that is precisely what Jesus did when He left heaven to pay the fine which He had imposed upon us.”

6.     There are many scoffers who criticize the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement, but is clearly taught throughout the Bible (cf. Rom. 5:8; John 3:16).

7.     First Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”

8.     Hebrews 9:22 says, “without shedding of blood is no remission.”

9.     I heard about a preacher who was called to a certain church and one of the members said to him, “Our last pastor preached all the time on the blood of Christ.  I hope you are not going to preach too much on the blood of Christ.”

10. The new pastor replied, “Ma’am,” I will not preach too much on the blood of Christ.”  She said, “Good.”  Then the preacher said, “You cannot preach too much on the blood of Jesus.  I will preach on the blood of Christ all the time and that will not be too much.”

11. The basis of the blood atonement is God’s abundant grace.  We are saved by grace through faith.  We are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1, 2, 9).

12. AC Dixon wrote, “In the great Treasury Building in Washington, the capital of the United States, you will notice over a door, ‘Redemption Department.’  In it are piles of soiled paper money…  When these bills, through much use, have become soiled, torn and ragged, they are brought into the ‘Redemption Department,’ and for every one of them a brand-new clean bill is given.  If you can prove to the officer in charge that you really have the principal part of a bill that has been mutilated, though it be half burnt up, he will give you a new one in exchange…As I looked at those piles of greasy, torn, soiled bills, and then at the beautiful, clean, bright bills by the side of them, I said, ‘This surely represents Redemption!’  Here is my poor, soiled, torn life, and the Lord Jesus Christ takes it and gives me His clean, white, righteous character” (The Glories of the Cross).



1.     Atonement is the central doctrine of the Christian faith; therefore attacks upon the atonement are attacks upon Christianity.  They are attacking the very Word of God.

2.     Many years ago, the famous liberal pastor Harry Emerson Fosdick referred to the doctrine of Christ’s substitutionary death a “slaughterhouse religion.” 

3.     Fosdick and his liberal friends were outnumbered back in his day, but today they are in the majority. 

4.     Liberal churches do not believe in the blood atonement.  They insist that it is essentially irrational and immoral to punish an innocent person in the place of the guilty. 

5.     But the Bible clearly teaches the vicarious death of Christ (Rom. 5:8).  Our Lord’s death expressed the righteousness of God (Rom. 3:25, 26).

6.     The real problem is liberal scoffers do not believe in man’s sinful nature. They do not comprehend the holiness of God.  And they do not believe in hell.  Therefore they reject the blood atonement.

7.     You may have heard about the 20-foot cross construction workers found buried in the rubble at Ground Zero.  They found a steel I-beam in the form of a cross.  It has been left standing ever since. Now an organization called “American Atheists” are doing all they can to have this steel cross removed from Ground Zero. Thousands of signatures on petitions have been collected to make the cross as a part of the permanent Ground Zero Memorial.

8.     Our soldiers are not allowed to display the cross in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. Why such hostility toward the cross?

9.     A few years ago, a so-called artist named Andres Serrano showed his contempt for the Lord Jesus Christ by depicting a crucifix immersed in a vat of urine (paid for with our tax dollars).

10.     Sinners despise the cross.  The hymnwriter was right when he wrote:

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.


One preacher referred to the mathematics of the cross:

·        The cross adds the righteousness of Christ.

·        The cross takes away our sin and judgment.

·        The cross multiplies many to the family of God.

·        The cross divides the saint from the sinner. Which side of the cross are you on?   Our Lord was crucified between two thieves.  One repented and went to heaven.  The other did not repent and went to hell.

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