To illustrate the role of the atonement in the total message of the gospel, consider the structure of a wheel, which has three basic sections: the outer circle, the spokes, and the hub. In this picture, the outer circle represents God’s complete provision for every area of our lives—spiritual, physical, and financial, for time and through eternity. The spokes that support the outermost circle of the wheel are ways in which God makes provision. For instance, He makes provision through forgiveness (peace), healing (health), deliverance (liberty), sanctification (holiness), and so forth. Now, without the central hub, the spokes have nothing to support them. Also, through the hub comes the driving power to turn the wheel. In God’s provision, the atonement is the center hub, supplying the power for the Christian life.
From Hebrews 2:9, we learn that by the grace of God, Jesus tasted death for everyone. He took our place; that which was due to us came upon Him. Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
“Iniquity” also means “rebellion.” The rebellion of the entire human race is summed up in that phrase. We have turned our backs on God and gone our own ways—set our own standards, pleased ourselves, lived for ourselves. We have been rebellious, but the Lord placed on Jesus the rebellion of us all; all of our rebellion was concentrated on Him. As He hung on the cross, all the evil consequences of our rebellion came upon Him: sickness, rejection, pain, agony, and, finally, death. But He did not die for Himself. He died our deaths. He tasted death in our place.