Wednesday, October 8, 2008

10 08 08 Atoning Blood
“The Lord spoke to Moses. He said, ‘The tenth day of the seventh month is the day when sin is paid for. Come together for a special service. Do not eat any food. Bring an offering that is made to me with fire. Do not do any work on that day. It is the day when sin is paid for. On that day your sin will be paid for in my sight. I am the Lord your God. Suppose you do eat food on that day. Then you will be cut off from your people. I will destroy anyone among your people who does any work on that day. You must not do any work at all. That is a law that will last for all time to come. It applies no matter where you live. That day is a sabbath for you. You must rest on it. You must not eat anything on that day. You must keep your sabbath from the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening.’” (Leviticus 23:26-32 NIrV)

The Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, represents the day when the Hebrew priest puts on special clothes and makes offerings to atone (cleanse) the holy sanctuary, the temple, and the altar. He then makes atonement for the priests and the people. The day is solemn and serious. It is a day of complete rest and fasting with a goal of humbling the soul. As a holy day, it serves to remind the people of the magnitude and offense of sin. The eve of the Day of Atonement begins with the blast of a shofar (a horn, usually a ram's horn, blown by the ancient Hebrews in battle and during religious ceremonies, now sounded in a synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). Afterwards, the shofars are silent until next year.

But today, as the writer of Hebrews puts it, we have the sacrifice of Christ. The original sacrifice of animals’ blood was a temporary covering of sin. His ATONING BLOOD sets us free from sin forever.

“The first covenant had rules for worship. It also had a sacred tent on earth. A holy tent was set up…The priests entered it at regular times. They went into the outer room to do their work for God and others. But only the high priest went into the inner room. He went in only once a year. He never entered without taking blood with him. He offered the blood for himself. He also offered it for the sins the people had committed because they didn't know any better… That's an example for the present time. It shows us that the gifts and sacrifices they offered were not enough…Christ came to be the high priest of the good things that are already here. When he came, he went through the greater and more perfect holy tent…He did not enter by spilling the blood of goats and calves. He entered the Most Holy Room by spilling his own blood. He did it once and for all time. He paid the price to set us free from sin forever. The blood of goats and bulls is sprinkled on people. So are the ashes of a young cow. They are sprinkled on people the Law called unclean. The people are sprinkled to make them holy. That makes them clean on the outside. But Christ offered himself to God without any flaw. He did this through the power of the eternal Holy Spirit. So how much more will his blood wash from our minds our feelings of guilt for committing sin! Sin always leads to death. But now we can serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:1-14 NIrV)

We can now enter boldly to the throne of God’s grace. We have a great High priest in Jesus who stands before God the Father for us. (Hebrews 10:19-22) In days such as this, we need to be sure in our faith and know we can indeed walk by faith. Our sin is forgiven and our hearts have been made pure. Because of His ATONING BLOOD and only because of His blood, can we serve Him. What a privilege!

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