This Side of Atonement
In our fast-changing, modern world, it’s easy to lose perspective on how different or hard things used to be. While the domestic electric refrigerator was introduced in 1914, people were still getting large blocks of ice from the ice harvesting industry to keep their food cold as late as the 1930s. Now, we just hit a lever on the door of the refrigerator and get as much of the perfect-sized ice cubes as we like, but because of this convenience, it’s easy to forget how different/difficult it used to be for those who came before us. This same principal applies to our relationship with God.
“When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.” (Hebrews 9:6-8)
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:11-12)
“Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.” (Ephesians 2:18)
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
God is so rich in mercy and loves us so much that He devised a plan to save and include everyone (not just the Jews) to bring them into intimate relationship with Himself. Those who came before us had a system of sacrifice and payment for sins via the shedding of animal blood on the day of atonement. Now, our day of atonement has already come with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, atoning for all sins.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” (Romans 12:1)
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24)
We no longer need to sacrifice animals for our sins, rather we give our lives as sacrifices, pleasing offerings to God. We deny ourselves and our sinful desires as sacrifices to our great God. We have a High Priest in Jesus Christ who is interceding for us to God. We can now come to God through the Holy Spirit because of what our High Priest has done for us. Let us not take for granted how easy we have it. Remember the sacrifices you must make to God on this side of the Atonement. No matter the valley that we find ourselves in, how rich in mercy our great God is.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.