I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch programs on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and another Pentecostal station while on vacation. I caught a show claiming to explain the "atonement". Two guys sat across from each other explaining to each other what the word meant. I, being Reformed have done a lot of work on the word “atonement.” I figured it would be interesting to hear what these two Pentecostal gentlemen had to say about this concept.
The first passage of scripture put forth to explain the atonement was Isaiah 53:4- "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows..." It was pointed out that the word "infirmities" meant "sickness" (they noted that the King James Version does a great injustice by translating the word “griefs”). Hence, in the atonement, Christ also completely atoned for sickness. These men held that Christians need realize they not need be sick, because Christ carried your sickness also in his work of atonement.
Reformed Christians claim that Scripture interprets Scripture (the “analogy of faith” Sacra Scriptura sui interpres). Here's a great example of just that. Check out Matthew 8:14-17. After Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law, cast out demons, and healed other sick people, Matthew records,
"This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: 'He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases'."
Far from proving what the show claimed, Matthew interprets the passage for us. He explains that the healings recorded in Matthew 8:14-17 were done to fulfill Isaiah 53:4. If you're looking for Christ's atonement to heal your current sickness and disease, you've misintepreted Isaiah 53:4. Jesus never promised to remove sickness from the world before He comes again. If He did, someone had better come up with a good explanation of why Christian people still die (see Matthew 8:20-23; 1 Cor. 15:26; Rev. 21:4).
Here’s something that I’ve done in my own Bible. I went through the entire New Testament- every time I found a quotation from the Old Testament, I looked the passage up and underlined it with a red marker. That way, when I’m reading the Old Testament, I see instantly that a particular passage was quoted by a New Testament writer. With Isaiah 53:4, I saw immediately that the verse had been quoted in the New Testament. Not only quoted, but prophetically fulfilled.
You’re probably thinking, “hey Jim, Bibles usually have verse cross-references in the side margin or at the bottom of the page.” Yes, I know this, but it is quite different to actually have the Old Testament passages the New Testament writers quoted jump off the page. It is a time consuming process to underline all the verses, but I assure you it will be well worth it. It could've helped the two guys trying to explain the atonement on TV. But then again, I doubt having the New Testament interpret the Old is something they care about.