Jesus came to redeem us from the consequences of the fall – Part 11
What has Christ done for sin? Cont’
• The Day of Atonement was to be a solemn assembly, a day in which the people fasted and humbled themselves before the Lord (Lev 16:31). This response emphasised sin’s seriousness and the fact that God’s atoning work was effective only for those who had a repentant heart and a persevering faith (cf. Lev 23:27; Num 15:30; 29:7).
• The Day of Atonement accomplished atonement for all sins and transgressions not atoned for during the previous year (Lev 16:16, 21). It had to be repeated every year in the same manner.
Christ and the Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement is replete with symbolism pointing to the mediatorial ministry and atoning death of Jesus Christ. In the NT, the Author of Hebrews emphasises the new covenant fulfilment of the typology of the Day of Atonement ritual (see Heb 9:6-10:18; see article on Christ in the Old Testament). (1) The fact that the OT sacrificial rituals had to be repeated annually indicates that there was something temporary or insufficient about them. They pointed ahead to the time Christ would come to take away permanently all confessed sins (cf. Heb 9:28; 10:10-18). (2) The two goats represent the atonement, forgiveness, reconciliation and cleansing accomplished by Christ. The slain goat represents His substitutionary and sacrificial death for sinners as payment for sins (Rom 3:24-26; Heb 9:11-12, 24-26). The scapegoat, sent away bearing the sins of the nation, typifies Christ’s sacrifice, which removes sin and guilt from all who repent (Ps 103:12; Is 53:6,11-12; John 1:29; Heb 9:26). (3) The sacrifices on the Day of Atonement provided a “covering over” of sin, not a taking away of sin. Christ’s bloodshed on the cross, however, is God’s ultimate atonement for humankind, which takes away sin and guilt permanently (cf. Heb 10:4, 10-11). Christ as the perfect sacrifice (Heb 9:26; 10:5-10) paid the full penalty for our sins (Rom 3:25-26; 6:23; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13) and effected the atoning sacrifice that turns aside God’s wrath, reconciles us to Him and renews our fellowship with Him (Rom 5:6-11; 2 Cor 5:18-19; 1 Pet 1:18-19; 1 John 2:2). (4) The Most Holy Place where the high priest entered with the blood to make atonement represents God’s throne in heaven; Christ as our high priest entered this heavenly “Most Holy Place” after His death, bearing His own blood to make atonement for the believer before God’s throne (Ex 30:10; Heb 9:7-8, 11-12, 24-28). (5) Since animal sacrifices were a type of Christ’s perfect sacrifice for sin and found their fulfilment in Christ’s sacrifice of Himself, there is no more need for animal sacrifices after His death on the cross (Heb 9:12-18).
Why do people sin?
“The heart is deceitful above all things,and desperately wicked;who can know it?10 I, the Lord, search the heart,I test the mind,even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jer 17:9,10)
God makes it clear why we sin—it’s a matter of the heart. Our hearts have been inclined toward sin from the time we were born. It is easy to fall into the routine of forgetting and forsaking God. But we can still choose whether or not to continue in sin. We can yield to a specific temptation, or we can ask God to help us resist temptation when it comes.
Jer17:9 “The heart is deceitful.” The heart is the inner being of a person and includes one’s desires, feelings and thoughts.
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