Saturday, November 09, 2013

The Day of Atonement

The Day of Atonement 

Atonement is one of those words whose meaning has changed. If we believe God's law as an imposed law, it affects how we understand God's Word. Many think that atonement means "satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; to make amends." Thus we draw all kinds of wrong conclusions: like Jesus had to die to appease the Father's wrath toward our sin. Some testify that as long as they believed that distortion, His love didn't flow in their heart. It was the truth that set them free and opened their heart to love. 

 When the King James Bible was translated into English in 1611, atonement had a different meaning than we typically ascribe today. In the 16th and 17th centuries the word "one" was not only a noun but also a verb. If two people were at odds and I wanted to bring them back into friendship I might say, "I am going to one them." I am going to bring them back into unity, into oneness. This concept quickly became known as "at-one" or "atone." We pronounce it atone rather than at-one because that is the old English pronunciation. When you are all by yourself, you are not "all one" but "alone." The process of uniting warring factions is, therefore, called atonement. 

 We are warring with God. And, God wants peace with us. We are estranged from God, and God wants to be reunited. The root of this warring and estrangement from God is distrust of God due to trusting lies that Satan has devised about God. How does God reconcile us to Himself? By revealing in our hearts and minds the truth about Himself and removing the lies. How does He do that? Let us read Romans 5, 

 Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 

Romans 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 

Romans 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 

 Justification by faith is more than a mere legal declaration, it becomes a reconciliation with God, an experience of "at-one-ment." It is now the time for a "final atonement," as Jesus ministers as High Priest on this Day of Atonement. If you don't resist the Holy Spirit, He will impart to you "the mind of Christ," the greatest joy you can have--to be totally "at-one" with Him. When the sinner hears the Good News and his heart responds and he believes, then he experiences justification by faith, which is the subjective gospel. 

 The message of justification by faith is intended to create in the hearts of God's people and in His corporate church, that yearning for "at-one-ment" with Him. It was to be like a bride who gladly chooses to "forsake all others" to be with Him. It was to be the end of worldliness in the church, and of all modern idolatry--not imposed by fear but by a mature response to the love of the Bridegroom. 

 In all of Hebrews' – especially chapters 9 and 10 - lofty theological acumen is one great promise! The ministry of Christ in His Most Holy Apartment in the heavenly sanctuary reveals Him as being close to us; as a true High Priest in ancient Israel who was always "for the people," always concerned for them, always revealing to them his nearness and his love, so Christ in His second apartment in the heavenly sanctuary, the Most Holy Apartment, is ministering His presence and His blessing to us as one who is described in Proverbs 18:24--He is "closer than a brother." He took on Himself the fallen, sinful nature of our father Adam so that He might reach us where we are; therefore He was "in all points tempted like as we are [tempted], yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). 

 Also, Hebrews leaves us with the assurance that all the power of the Father who brought Jesus from the dead is directed now to the unprecedented work of preparing a people, to "make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight" (13:21). Ellen White says, 

 Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. {COL 69.1} 

We shall be His people. We read in Jeremiah: ""This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time," declares the Lord. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people"" (Jeremiah 31: 33). We also read in Ezekiel 36, 

Ezekiel 36: 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness; and from all your idols will I cleanse you. 

Ezekiel 36: 26 A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 

Ezekiel 36: 27 And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall heed My ordinances and do them. 

Ezekiel 36: 28 And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 

 Will we let Him do it?

Raul Diaz