Faith Blog

ATONEMENT

The word atonement appears seven times in these verses. Atonement is significant in both the Old and New Testament.  In Exodus 32, we read that when Israel sinned at Mt. Sinai by worshiping the golden calf and corrupting themselves God said to Moses “let Me alone that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them”.  We heard in Sunday’s sermon that God is not only a God of grace and mercy but also of judgment and holiness.  Seems to me we get a glimpse of how awful God sees the sin of idolatry, worldliness and carnality in the above.  Skipping to verse 30 Moses says to the people ”You have committed a great sin.  God never regards any sin lightly.  So now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”  By going up to God, Moses for the purpose of atonement hoped to make things right.  I have heard it said by separating the word atonement like this, “at-one-ment” we can gain understanding of what it means.  Moses wanted to restore the relationship between God and Israel even if it cost him his own life.

Lev. 16:29-34 describes the Day of Atonement or what we hear referred to now as Yom Kippur. The most solemn of all Old Testament feast.  At this time, Israel was called to consider sincerely the seriousness of their sins and they were not to be distracted by anything.  This was to happen once a year every year and was when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies with blood “to make atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins, once a year.”

What a difference we have in Jesus Christ for through Him we have now received reconciliation, ”atonement”. For “He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself which He did once for all.”  Continuing with thoughts from Heb. 10, "Therefore brethren having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh."   We are all familiar, I think with the words of Heb. 9:22, "without shedding of blood there is no remission" and  Lev. 17:11b, "For it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul." 

I think the words from Frances Havergal’s hymn Precious, Precious Blood of Jesus helps us to see these things in a personal way. “Precious, precious blood of Jesus, shed on Calvary, shed for rebels, shed for sinners, shed for me.              

Posted by Larry Dean with

OUR HOPE IS IN AND IS THE LORD

I was reflecting on verse 7 of Psalm 39 yesterday morning as we were dodging clouds and flying through pelting rain showers on our way to the remote mountain village I’ve called home since 2002, this time to pick up my indigenous coworkers for a translation checking trip to a coastal town.

You see, our plans were fairly tightly contingent on our successful entry, extraction of my coworkers, and departure from said village. The weather was menacing, and thankfully God opened up the skies enough for this all to transpire as we had hoped and prayed.

Did you notice how I used the word “hope” above? Our default is to think of hope in terms of wishful thinking and what we desire an outcome will be, an outcome that is very much in doubt in our minds. The hope that is found in the context of the scriptures, however, differs from this in the following way: It is an expectant waiting for, and resting in, something (or someone!!) that is not in any way doubtful but is utterly dependable. Take, for example, the verse above. As I was beginning to wrestle with worry over the possibility of all my plans for this very long and costly trip being grievously altered (and in my puny mind “ruined”), Psalm 39:7 again sprang to mind. Is my hope in these plans? Is getting these New Testament books checked (as noble and good as that surely is) the ultimate object of my hope? Or is my hope in YOU, Lord?

God used this to encourage me to look to Him and wait expectantly on Him. He alone is our hope. He is utterly reliable. I can depend on Him alone. He holds all of our plans in His good and loving hands. (Wow, even as I write this, I find myself convicted as I reflect on at least 2 or 3 other difficult challenges in my life where I’m tempted to question this. “But, God, what about this other situation?? Or that one with ___??” To which God says, “What about it? Do you really place your hope in me? Can you wait on me, expecting me to provide for you as I see fit, no matter what the immediate outcome is?” I just wanted to encourage you all today of this truth. Our hope is and should rightfully be in the Lord. Listen to Him and allow Him to gently remind you of this today, whatever you are going through.

Posted by Chad Mankins with

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