Sept 17 - Atonement
“Someone has to pay for this!” Isn’t that often our reaction when we are the victims of wrongdoing? And if someone isn’t punished when they have done wrong, we feel an innate sense of injustice. Why does that feeling seem to be hardwired in each of us? It’s because we were made in the image of our heavenly Father and God cannot ignore sin. There are examples throughout the bible of sinners having to atone for their sins, starting at the very beginning with Adam and Eve committing the original sin and the price we all continue to pay as a result. The example Greg provided this week came from Exodus:
Exodus 12:12-13 On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
Pharaoh and the Egyptians rejected God by worshiping false gods and by cruelly enslaving the Israelites. Someone needed to atone for those sins. God allowed them to sacrifice a lamb and put its blood around their door, otherwise their firstborn son would be the sacrifice. In order for their sin to be covered an innocent third party must die, but God allowed them to exercise their free will to choose who it would be. Those who believed in God’s power sacrificed a lamb, but those who continued to reject him suffered the consequences.
Our God is righteous and hates sin, but he also is tenderhearted and loves us. By sending Jesus, the lamb of God, to die for our sins, he provided a way for us to avoid paying for our sins with an eternity of suffering. Despite our many sins, we have the opportunity to spend forever in paradise with him. Those who reject Jesus are declining this gift from God and will have to atone for their own sins. We all need to understand that our sins must be atoned, either by Jesus or by us, or we may never fully grasp grace. Out of love for us, Jesus stood in our place and paid the ultimate price on the cross for our sins. Simply by accepting that, we get to spend eternity with our Father. What a glorious gift!