Thursday, August 02, 2007

ATONEMENT: God's Extravagant Provision, Part 2


Atonement: Your Appointment With God,
by Derek Prince has as its theme the work of Calvary as God's extravagant provision for all our needs. In Chapter one we learn that the word atonement refers to God and the sinner being reconciled to each other through the cross. That is, God and the sinner are brought into a relationship in which they are at one, or at-one-ment.

At this point Derek writes about the Bible diagnosis of sin as the problem of mankind. And states that the Bible remedy for sin is atonement.


Old Testament Sacrifices Temporarily Covered Sin

Derek then explains the difference between the Hebrew word kippur translated atonement in the Old Testament and the Greek word translated atonement in the New Testament. Kippur actually means covering. The sacrifices offered on the Day of Atonement covered the sins of the people for one year, and only for one year. Instead of providing a permanent solution for sins, they were merely temporarily covered until the Day of Atonement arrived again each year.

New Testament Sacrifice Takes Away Sin

The New Testament gives a completely different picture. Hebrews 10:3-4 tells us that the blood of bulls and goats as sacrifices in the Old Testament could not take away sins. Hebrews 9:26 contrasts the death of Jesus and the Old Testament sacrifices by saying, "But now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." In John 1:29 John the Baptist introduced Jesus as, "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

So we see the huge difference between what atonement meant in the Old Testament and what it meant in the new. Old Testament sacrifices rather than taking away sin actually reminded the people of the problem of sin. Sins were merely covered from one year to the next. Jesus took away sin so that for New Testament believers who have accepted his sacrifice, there remains no further sacrifice for sins.

We Are Perfected Forever

A key scripture in this book is Hebrews 10:14: "By one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified." Hebrews 9:13-14 tells us that Christ was without blemish as he offered himself through the eternal Spirit. Unlike the animal sacrifices, he was totally pure. And the involvement of the eternal Spirit indicates that his substitutionary death on the cross transcends the limits of time. The inference here is that He took on Himself the sins of all people past, present and future.


There is much good advice given in Christian circles and in the Bible itself, but the cross is the only source of absolute forgiveness, grace and power to make all the other good advice work. As Derek writes, "No one will ever live out the Sermon on the Mount without the power of the cross in his or her life."

Next time we will look at what Derek calls the "Divine Exchanges."

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