~ The Concept of the Atonement of Christ for Your Sin ~
The Biblical concept of “atonement” is often poorly understood within Christian circles—it is a complex term which I suppose none of us will fully understand in this life.Like many words it has multiple meanings and nuances.This first post of this series seeks to demystify the term.
Atonement is found over 75 times in the Old Testament.We find it in the book of Leviticus at least 16 times.The word is closely associated with other six-dollar terms such as propitiation, expiation, and reparation.Today it is easier for us to think in terms of ransom, appeasement, cancellation of debt, satisfaction, cleansing, pardoning, and reconciliation.The easy way that I remember the concept—yet an accurate one—is that “atonement” means “at-one-ment.”Because of atonement man can be at one with his Creator.God and man can have unity and be in harmony.What a concept!
Perhaps the most important concept of atonement—which is not readily apparent—from the previous paragraph is that atonement includes the concept of “covering.”In fact, prior to the Cross of Calvary sins were covered in order to restore relationship with God.We first find this from the beginning when Adam used fig leaves to cover his nakedness (Genesis 3:7).But atonement can never be based on the sinners effort—it must be God’s work!Man’s effort was a plant-based covering, but God provided atonement for their sins when He made clothing from the skins of animals—blood was shed for the remission of their sins.
Throughout the Old Testament we find a system of blood sacrifices for the atonement of sin.In the New Testament Jesus Christ, God’s Son and the Messiah, shed His blood for our sins.
Here is one of my favorite Old Testament atonement verses:“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10).
With this background read the following passage carefully.“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He [Christ—The Messiah] came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, “Behold, I have come—in the volume of the book it is written of Me—to do Your will, O God”.’Previously saying, ‘Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them’ (which are offered according to the law), then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:1-10, compare Psalm 40:6-8).
The passage continues, “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:11-14).
Since the Cross our sins are not covered instead they are totally forgiven and removed forever.
Are you at peace with God—at one with God?“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, bothwhich are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him” (Ephesians 1:7-10).
the bottom line:Are you still trying to make atonement by doing things?It will never satisfy God.God has provided real atonement through His Son Jesus Christ.You cannot do it—God has done it!The only means of atonement that satisfies God involves blood being shed!Christ provides atonement for you and for me at the Cross of Calvary.“Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin” (Hebrews 9:22b).So rip off your fig leaves and ask God for the clothing of Christ’s righteousness so that you can be “at one with God.”
note~This series about atonement includes:
1. The Concept of the Atonement of Christ for Your Sin
2. The Basics of the Atonement of Christ for Your Sin
3.The Facts of the Atonement of Christ for Your Sin
4.The Results of the Atonement of Christ for Your Sin
5.7 Benefits of Christ’s Atonement for Your Sin
6.The Atonement of Christ Foreshadowed
the key question: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). This is the most important question you will ever answer. If you do not answer it, or answer it incorrectly, you have made the biggest mistake anyone can make!
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