Friday, August 29, 2008

Atonement (Freedom's Call Word Study)

Because I'm still processing everything from last weekend, and by that I mean God is still doing a work in my heart, I thought I would share my second word for the month of August. This too is a work in progress....


ATONEMENT

I’m sitting in my favorite leather chair right now. My laptop is appropriately, on my lap. My Bible is balanced on the arm of my chair and my notes are scattered on the floor and side table beside me. I’m struggling to write this. I’m overwhelmed and touched in the deepest part of my being by this word. It is real to me especially today.

Let’s just get the definitions out of the way.

ATONEMENT. The satisfaction or reparation for a wrong, injury. (The doctrine concerning the reconciliation of God and humankind, as accomplished through the life, suffering and death of Jesus Christ.)

ATONE. To make amends for an offense or crime. To make up as for errors or deficiencies. (To atone for one’s failings.)

I love Jewish history and the picture of Christ the Old Testament so beautifully paints. One part of this history, the Tabernacle and all the details that went along with it, never ceases to amaze me. In particular, the Mercy Seat. What a picture!

God tells His people in Exodus 30:6 that He will meet them at the Mercy Seat. When I looked up the Hebrew word for atonement one of the words that came up was “Kaphoreth” it means mercy seat AND place of atonement

As Jewish law required each year on the Day of Atonement a sacrifice was to be made. The purpose of this particular sacrifice was to cleanse the priests as well as the people from their sins and to purify the Holy Place. It was a sacred day, a day that would “make up for” all the errors and failings of the last year. The Day of Atonement sacrifices reconciled Jehovah and His chosen people.

As I said I am overwhelmed by this word. As I always do, I go first to the dictionary to read the meaning of the word. When I read “to make up, as for errors or deficiencies” my heart just about burst.

It’s hard for us to admit we are deficient in any area isn’t it? It’s even harder to admit we have made a mistake, or an error. We or maybe I should just keep it personal and say I, fight my nature to shift the blame onto another person. (If they hadn’t done…..then I wouldn’t have done……) One thing that God showed me is that shifting the blame onto another person does not cover the offense. Shifting blame does not make up for my deficiencies! Even if another’s actions have contributed to my sin, another human being can not atone (cover or make up for) my errors, my deficiencies, my sin.




Old Testament law demanded a blood sacrifice to cover or ATONE for the sins of the people. Leviticus 17:11 says

“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement
for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”

Hebrews 9:6-7 tells us
“When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room and that only once a year and NEVER without blood which he offered for himself and for the sins the people committed in ignorance.

It is the blood that makes atonement for my life. Not just any blood, but the blood of Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:23-25
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement and through faith in his blood. “

Every year they went through this process. Nothing the priests sacrificed would atone for their sin once and for all. It is only through Jesus that their sin, our sin was finally atoned for.

Once and for all. Hebrews 10:1-18 tell us this.

In particular verse 4 says

“it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”

Hebrews 2:17 says
“For this reason, he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”

Read this again.
Leviticus 17:11
“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement
for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”

Read that first part again…the life of a creature is in the blood. We can not live without it. Jesus poured out His blood, his life as the final atonement sacrifice. My life is what it is because of that single sacrifice.

Jesus Christ, the perfect lamb, the Atonement for our sin.

8 comments:

Heather C said...

I love that in giving us Noah's ark, the Lord also gave us a picture of atonement. The Hewbrew word for "pitch" in Genesis 6:14 is "kaphar", meaning: to cover, purge, make an atonement, make reconciliation, cover over with pitch. It was the pitch that sealed the ark and kept Noah and his family from suffering the Lord's judgment on mankind. Beautiful the way every thread of Scripture is woven together, isn't it? I love it!

Atone... great word! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! :)

Heather

BethAnne said...

"Even if another’s actions have contributed to my sin, another human being can not atone (cover or make up for) my errors, my deficiencies, my sin".

Convicting, but I needed to hear that.

I hope you have a great weekend with your family.

Dorothy Champagne said...

We will never be good enough - Thank God for Jesus - and thank you for the reminder today! :)

Ashley said...

I have been reading your blog some for awhile, but never commented before.

I teach 9th grade English, and this week, atonement was one of the student's vocabulary words. The definition we had was "righting a wrong" and all week, I just kept coming back to that. Jesus has righted my wrongs. Every last one of them. What a beautiful word.

Kim said...

I just linked to your blog through Access... You are a gifted writer. Wonderful messages!

Mariel said...

Stephanie~
I always love your blog and am so blessed by your talents and gifts here. But I wanted to stop by and say how small the world is...because I saw your comment over at Kristi b's blog about Mt. Vernon. That is our old church!! I am in NC and we used to go there...that was several years ago, though. But I thought it was neat...plus I live a few minutes from the seminary...is that where your dad went??

Small world!

i wish I could've been at the seista fiesta and met you and all the other fun bloggy gals I have blogged with! Hopefully next time i will go!

Heather said...

I love the tabernacle, too! I get chills when I think about meeting at the Mercy Seat!
We do hate to admit that we are deficient....we want to have it all together....but we need Jesus so badly for everything!
I love picturing God seeing me through "Jesus-colored" glasses- knowing I am always covered by His blood and God always sees me through that!!!

Way More Homemade said...

"I'm running, I'm running, I'm running to the Mercy Seat.
Where Jesus is calling, He said His grace would cover me.
His blood will flow freely, it will provide the healing.
I'm running to the mercy seat."


I love the rest of that passage in Romans 3... "He did this to demonstrate HIS justice..."

Oh if I could only trust and fully believe His justice.

This was a great post and I agree with bethanne... your comment about shifting the blame - I so need to hear that. EVERYDAY.

Thanks.
~Donna