13th September 2013

Atonement Unveiled 

“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world”
1 John 2:2 (NIV)

Have you ever been at the unveiling of a sculpture or a painting? Sometimes what you end up seeing is less than you expected; at other times it may exceed expectations. There is always a sense of anticipation as the curtain is drawn back.

When Jesus offered himself for our sins on the cross, God’s view of atonement was presented to the world. This act of self-giving was not hidden. People watched on as he fleshed out all the scriptures to do with atonement, humanity’s restoration to God.

It had been a long awaited moment. The Old Testament Day of Atonement hinted at it through its liturgy, the central point of which was hidden from view. Once a year the Israelite High Priest would enter the usually forbidden “Holy of Holies” (see Leviticus 16:2-3). There he would sprinkle the blood of a bull and of one of two goats in order to cleanse both his own household and also the whole nation of their guilt. This sacrifice occurred behind the heavy, thick veil, which separated the Holy of Holies from everything and everyone. No one was allowed to see it. The veil remained in place.

The ceremony never fulfilled its proper function of complete atonement. The two goats involved suggested a pattern or a type of the reality of atonement that would come through Christ, the Son of God, who “blots out your transgressions” and “remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25). The self-offering of Jesus opened up for us “a new and living way” through the separating curtain and brought all of us to the throne of God for acceptance and forgiveness (Hebrews 10:20).

When Christ died, “at that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51). This was the veil of the Holy of Holies that kept atonement hidden from view. Now it was for all to see. The mystery had become known. It was no secret: ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:19)

Jesus is the atonement unveiled.

Thank you that
the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:14)  In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson


ancientbibleAbout the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.  This Saturday James is speaking in our Cardiff church.  You are welcome to attend any of our Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

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