Atonement

Costs must be paid.
Something of value can only be purchased by paying the cost demanded.  Before wrongs can be righted, mistakes corrected, impacts countered, losses restored, damage repaired, deep bruises and broken hearts healed, and records cleared, the cost of these iniquities must be paid.  Sins demand atonement.

It was so during the trial, scourging, and crucifixion of Jesus.

  • When the whip repeatedly cut Jesus’ back,
  • when the sharp thorns in his mocking crown pierced His sensitive scalp,
  • when the fists and open palms pelted his face,
  • when His beard was ripped from His skin,
  • when the hammers drove the nails into His hands and feet,
  • when the soldiers hoisted the cross against the raging sky,
  • when the crowd made sport and hurled abuse at Him,
  • when all these things happened Jesus was paying the cost.

He atoned with His innocent blood for all the guilt of mankind.
Because of His atonement, life can be made good again, in a blessed foretaste today and with a bright future someday.  Because of Calvary

  • Wrongs can be righted.
  • Mistakes can be corrected.
  • The power of sin can be countered.
  • Things the enemy has stolen can be restored.
  • The damages of sin can be repaired.
  • The deep bruises and broken hearts can be healed and
  • The records of each sinner can be cleansed, replaced by the spotless account of the obedience of Jesus.

Jesus paid the full price for the sins of us all at Calvary.

There is something we must do.
If so, then why is there still sin and pain and suffering and sickness and meanness and anger?
It is not so hard to understand.  Each of us still has a free will.  Jesus atoned for us all; He paid the full price.   But there is something we must do—we must believe and receive.  As people choose to continue in their sin, evil continues its relentless assault on mankind.

The crucifixion of Jesus was the most vivid expression of God’s justice and mercy.  The sins of mankind are not abstract; they are real:

  • real cruelty and suffering,
  • real violence,
  • real hate,
  • real destruction,
  • real selfishness and real lies.

The mercy of God is just as real as His justice.  We see it at the cross.   When we call upon Christ in repentance and faith our sins are forgiven and cast away as far as the east is from the west. We stand before God as if we had never sinned—justified by faith in the sacrifice of Jesus.

Breaking the Barrier
Just as the sins of mankind set up a barrier between people and their Creator, our personal sins separated us from our God.  At Calvary, Jesus broke the power of sin over people and He shattered the indictment against us by nailing it to His cross.  We now have access to God through a new and living way.

As forgiven and redeemed people, we must now walk in the mercy we have freely received.  We musts freely give of His grace, letting it flow through us in deeds of mercy and compassion, truth and justice.

The cost has been paid.  Let the redeemed life be lived!

Scriptures:
Hebrews 9:22
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Isaiah 53:4-6 NKJV
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Colossians 2:13-15
When you were dead in your sins and in … your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Psalm 103:11-12 11
…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Romans 3:23-26 23;  5:9-10
….for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice … so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. …Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

Prayer and Confession
From the Book of Common Prayer (adapted SRP)
Most merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved You with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbor as myself. I am truly sorry and I humbly repent. For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ have mercy on me and forgive me; that I may delight in Your will, and walk in Your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Almighty God has mercy on me. He forgives me all my sins through our Lord Jesus Christ. He strengthens me in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keeps me in eternal life. Amen.

Song:
Jesus Paid It All
Words and Music: Elvina M. Hall

1. I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.”

Refrain:
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

2. Lord, now indeed I find Thy pow’r and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots And melt the heart of stone.

Refrain

3. For nothing good have I Where-by Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

Refrain

4. And when, before the throne, I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save, “My lips shall still repeat.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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