Saturday, April 11, 2009

Do we really understand the Atonement - part 2

More on the Atonement. There are so many types and shadows in the Old Testament that represent the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. From Adam and Eve being clothed with the skins of a slain animal in Genesis 3:21 ,representing the slain lamb covering our wretchedness ; to Abraham, taking his promised son Issac on the mountain to kill him - before hearing the Word of the Lord and finding the ram in the bush(Genesis 22:9-14),Christ absorbed the wrath of God and was slain by His Father for the sins of His people. "For it pleased the Lord to crush Him"(Isaiah 53:10) ;to the events in Egypt during the Exodus: darkness for three days over Egypt (Exodus 10:21)representing that darkness for three hours on the cross(Matthew 27:45); the blood of a slain lamb applied to the doorposts of Israel during Passover (Exodus 12:22)representing the blood of The Slain Lamb which covered the Door of eternal life(John 10:9).The last and final plague that struck Egypt was the angel of death, sent by God, to take the lives of the firstborn in Egypt(Exodus 11:4-5).On that day that Christ was crucified on the cross, bearing the wrath of God upon Himself, the "firstborn of many bretheren" and the only begotten Son of God died bearing he sins of many. (Romans 8:29; John 3:16)
In the Old Testament the high priest would atone for the sins of the people by taking a spotless lamb and killing it on the altar before the Lord (Leviticus 4:4) The priest would then take the whole of the slain lamb outside of the camp and burn it on the wood with fire. (Leviticus 4:12,21) The same was done for the atonement of sin for the entire congregation. The priests would lay their hands upon the head of the lamb and confess the sin of the people. The body of the slain lamb was then taken outside of the camp and burnt with fire. Even so, Jesus Christ, the slain and spotless lamb of God (Revelation 5:6) was crucified on the cross outside of the city gate, in order to sanctify us with His own blood (Hebrews 13:12, Hebrews 9:14). Christ now serves as our High Priest, atoning for our sins once and for all (Hebrews 9:28). "It is finished" He declared (John 19:30) The atoning work of Jesus Christ in bearing the sins of many upon the cross, absorbing the white-hot and infinite wrath of the Almighty God,and being crushed by His fury is finished. Christ has given His life as a ransom for many, coming to serve, rather than to be served (Mark 10:45).

All men deserved the wrath and fury of God as judgment on them bcause all men are sinners. God's chariots and weapons were directed twoards man to destroy him because man walked contrary to God: hating Him, hating His laws, trampling His glory and were unthankful for His goodness and mercy. God would not and could not justify men as wicked sinners because "he who justifies the wicked is an abomination to the Lord"(Proverbs 17:15). God is a God who upholds His infinite glory, which is of infinite worth, and demonstrates His all powerful righteousness in upholding and valuing His glory as infinitely valuable. When men dishonored and disrespected God's glory by sinning and finding pleasure in other things rather than Him and His glory, God still treated mankind better than they deserved and in his divine forbearance He passed over sins which mankind previously committed..why? Why did God look the other way instead of wiping mankind off of the map?? To display and show His righteousness at this present time. God, instead of utterly destroying mankind ,chose by the council of His own will to display His grace and mercy and righteousness by sending His Son as a substitute in our place, to bear all the fury and wrath that we deserved. Justice had to be satisfied and never could be as long as God was divinely forbearing sin through offerings and sacrifices of bulls and goats. God, in a sense said, " Someone must pay, someone must quench the thirst of justice which says that God's infinitely valuable glory has been trampled on and someone must die for it. Someone must bear the infinte fury and punishment that comes with sinning against His Holiness." Therefore, since all men were sinners and fell short of God's glory, in living up to His standards, and upholding that Glory as supremely valuable, we all deserved death. But then there was a Substitute. Christ was sent as the only begotten Son of God to this earth to take the punishment that men deserved. God had predestined a people from before the foundations of the world for Himself, and Jesus Christ came to die for the sins of this innumerable multitude of people.(Revelation 7:9)"To bear the sins of many"...not just the Jewish nation only but for the sins of the whole world (1John 2:2; John 11:51-52), and to bring in His sheep from other folds. (John 10:16).

Christ was our Substitute and on that cross, He was slain as the pure and spotless lamb who was without sin and became sin for us when He Himself never sinned. Because of His death and His resurrection, God imputed to us, by His grace, the righteousness of God in Christ; meaning, that God imputes Christs sinless, spotless righteousness to us ( God sees us(those that believe on Christ) as He sees Christ.) Not because of anything that we have done or because we have any merit of ourselves, but only by His grace. Christ was our substitute, bearing the wrath of Almighty God on the cross, atoning for the sins of His people and securing salvation and irresistible grace for all those who will believe on Him. His life is counted as ours, and our sin was carried on His cross. Now we must take up our cross,and folow Him.

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