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Atonement

October 2nd, 2017
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Where the Day of Atonement fits into the story of the Bible and in particular its context in Leviticus.

The following video explains this in a less than 7minutes.

Bible project

Overview of Leviticus Click here.

Now this leads to a need to discuss more fully the biblical concept of holiness.

 Holy Click here.

This helps us to understand a bit more the overwhelming awe and thankfulness of the early church for the gospel of Jesus Christ. He entered completely into our common everyday lives, crossing the separation between us and God, freeing us from ritualistic impurity and by his blood freeing us from moral impurity so that all aspects of our lives – spirit, soul and body- can be acceptable to God. This means that God can dwell in us at all times, in all that we do. We are no longer impure or unclean.

While there is more to say, sufficient to hear the wonder of how he has delivered us from our sins:

Hebrews 10:10-13

10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,

Jesus said that he was the temple of God. In himself he makes atonement for us so that it if we are in in him we meet God. He is the eternal meeting place between man and God. And in him God meets us.

13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.

But the world is not fully liberated – it is not at one with God . All Jesus’ enemies are our enemies – evil has not been fully eradicated, Satan has not be finally bound, death has not been replaced by life.

So we have to patiently endure the contradictions of having the firstfruits of the Spirit while still experiencing the present groaning of the creation.

God has joined us to him through the Spirit’s work. We are enjoying the firstfruits of being made holy, without any impurity in God’s presence.

Our response is described in 1 Thessalonians 5:7

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

And how we do is given in 1 Thessalonians 3:13

May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones;

Not only do we stand in Christ blameless and holy in the presence of God, our Lord Jesus is working to make us blameless and holy In the presence of God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ when he comes.

Main message

N. T. Wright:

The taxi driver looked back at me in his mirror. His face was a mixture of amusement and sympathy. We were stuck in traffic and he’d asked me, as they do, what I did for a living.

‘Ah,’ he said, ‘you Church of England people’ (having told me he was a Roman Catholic himself). ‘You’re still having all that trouble about women bishops, aren’t you?’

I had to admit that that was indeed the case.

‘The way I look at it,’ he said, ‘is this: if God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, all the rest is basically rock’n’roll.’

It is a rather glib statement. But in one sense it does reflect what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15: 17

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

Yes he is raised and we are not still in our sins.

Reflect on the wonder of the resurrection and what it achieved for us in
in John20:1-18. Jesus says something really overwhelming in this passage.

Did you read especially “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”?

Jesus is fundamentally saying what I have with the Father I am sharing with you. The oneness you saw me have on this earth is now your oneness with the Father through me.

How can this be?

And what does this mean?

Robert Walker:

Normally we think the gospel is the cross, and then the resurrection is kind of an extra. But in many ways, it’s the resurrection… you can’t separate the two.

There’s a verse of Paul, “Jesus was put to death for our sins and raised for our justification.” Raised for our justification. It’s the resurrection that makes us righteous. The cross puts away our sins, but it’s the resurrection that makes us righteous.

The resurrection is an almighty event. It’s not just the raising of a body from death, it’s the beginning of a new creation — the beginning of the renewal of all of space and time.. it brings out the fact that the resurrection is forgiveness. It’s not just the proof of forgiveness, it is forgiveness, because in the Bible, sin and death are linked. So for God to undo sin, means to undo death. That means the resurrection is God’s undoing sin. It’s raising somebody up who has taken our sin out of the grave, so that is our resurrection.

That’s why Paul says, “If Christ is not raised, we are still in our sins.”

The resurrection of Jesus is our forgiveness in action. They’re identical — God forgiving and God raising Christ, they’re the same thing.

Thus the resurrection is NOT just some happy ending.

It is the starting point for everything. It has implications for the whole creation.

Jesus is the firstborn, the first fruits, and he’s the head that’s come out first, so the rest of creation will follow like the body of a baby in what’s happened to Christ.

The resurrection is not just somebody being raised from the dead, it’s the beginning of the reconstitution of everything — the beginning of heaven on earth. Complete Atonement.

JMF: That would imply that we don’t know what space and time will be like in the resurrection, once we are immortal. What will that look like — as something not like what we experience now, perhaps?

Robert Walker: We can’t say. But we can say that it will be this creation, these bodies of ours. We’ll recognize each other, so there will be continuity. Yet what it will be like when the creation is freed from sin, death, corruption and injustice, we can’t say. It will be far more wonderful and glorious — we can only look forward to it. The Bible says that it does not yet appear — we cannot yet see what we shall be like, but we know that when Christ comes again, we’ll be like him. It speaks of Jesus now having a new and more glorious body, a body which no longer dies.

JMF: After his resurrection he appeared to the disciples several times, including on the seashore, cooking a meal and eating it with them. Yet this was a resurrected body that he was appearing in and he was able to enjoy food and fellowship.

RW: Yes. I like those stories, because dead men don’t rise from the dead, so it’s striking that the first reaction of the disciples is…they don’t believe it. The risen Jesus meets some of the women, and the women tell the disciples he’s risen, and they don’t believe it, and they’re afraid because …is this a ghost? No, it’s real.

The fact that Jesus is raised, he’s the beginning of a new creation. In the 40 days that he was on earth, the new creation was overlapping with the old creation. When he ascended, we can no longer see the new creation that is there in Christ. We know it by faith, we know it because we meet and know Christ through the Spirit. We know the reality of it, and that’s what gives the New Testament its tremendous sense of victory, triumph and looking forward to what we will be. It’s not “pie in the sky” – it’s the renewal of this wonderful creation.

The resurrection of Jesus means that what God has done for Jesus he is beginning to do, in and through Jesus, for the whole of the rest of the world. And that is what it means to say that God is now becoming king of the whole world in the new way of which Jesus had spoken.

NT Wright:

John’s gospel, whose matchless twentieth chapter we heard a moment ago, is soaked in the idea of new creation, as Mary in the garden becomes for a moment Eve, weeping for her lost innocence and her lost Lord, and then discovering that the one she thinks is the gardener really is the gardener, the one through whose healing stewardship the whole creation will be dug afresh and planted with the Tree of Life. The resurrection of Jesus is the coming of the kingdom of God.

What the” rest is rock n roll” doesn’t mean, of course, is that ‘anything goes’, that there are no boundaries, no standards, no codes of behaviour.

Read more…

Message for the Day