Many people come to this particular Lord’s Day to honor or celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A lot of time and money are spent on this day to present a grand performance.
For some, it is simply a season called Easter. Even as for the Christmas season, people who have no thoughts of God join their families or friends for a meal.
Those of a different faith came through our neighborhood this past week, handing out invitations for their once-a-year presentation. It sounded like a spectacular event ~ even to surpass the resurrection, itself.
It was a joy for me to tell them that we plan and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ every Lord’s Day.
They continued to tell me how great their event would be. I continued to tell them how great ours is every week. They left, after asking what church I attended.
Once a year cannot compare to the planning and celebration of Christ’s resurrection every week; as a taste of, and planning toward that final gathering.
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: Ephesians 1:10
Faith in a man who actually “rose from the dead” brings us head-on, face-to-face with this man who claimed to be God; died for the “sins of His people;” and was raised in victory over death. His resurrection was the final presentation planned to deliver us once-for-all from death to eternal life (Hebrews 9:24-28).
This man is the center of all of life, for every day and everything.
“I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
Behold I and the children which Godhath given me.
Faith brings us daily to worship at Jesus’ feet and ~ at least ~ weekly, to worship and celebrate His resurrection and our salvation, with His people. We, at Covenant Presbyterian Church, OPC (Reformed) also “remember His death” every week, in the observance of the Lord’s Supper.
We bear no judgment upon those who worship differently; we rejoice greatly in what we have. If they have something we don’t have, we don’t miss or need it. We have Christ, His Word, and Spirit ~ we have everything.
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
Father, we thank you for another Lord’s Day; for this day of worship with your people. Thank you for each week, remembering what we have heard and learned from your Word; the truth that is transforming us by the renewing of our minds, and conforming us to His image. Thank you for pastors that lead and feed your flock; for your Word and Spirit that continually prepare us for the next Lord’s Day, and for the glory that you have planned for us in that final gathering in Christ. In Jesus’ name, we praise you. Amen. Fran
As we discover the centrality of Jesus Christ in all the Bible, atonement is central to the Old and New Testaments and the one subject most important to all who call themselves Christians. No other theme is as important to a believer as this one, therefore, we ought to study to clearly understand its meaning.
As I realized this to be my next word on the list, I knew it would be a most arduous undertaking. It is truly too high for me. To pretend to understand and define this word is not what I want to do, lest I lessen the impact of its true and powerful meaning. My best attempt will be to share my simple understanding and include two links to aid those readers who earnestly want to have a deeper knowledge of the major work of our Lord Jesus Christ. You may have other sources to add in the comment section.
We can only carry so much from the Old Testament to bring understanding to a Christian vocabulary, so where books have been written on one particular word, we are using more of the references that pertain to our position as a child of God in the New Testament.
Old Testament H3722
Strong’s Concordance defines ATONEMENTkaphar kä·far’ to cover, purge, make an atonement, make reconciliation, cover over with pitch to cover over, pacify, propitiate to cover over, atone for sin and persons by legal rites
the same word is used for appease, cleansed, pardon
The Old Testament records the Lord’s commandments for sacrifices to be offered for certain Israelite occasions – for childbirth Leviticus 12; for leprosy Leviticus 14; uncleaness Leviticus 15. These are not relative to a Christian.
We will use the references that relate to the understanding of the sacrifice made as an atonement for the forgiveness of sins – the type and the atonement that foreshadowed the atonement that would be made for us through Jesus’ sacrifice.
Atonement for Forgiveness of Sins
“And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the Lord commanded Moses.” Leviticus 16:34
Leviticus 16 speaks of the many facets of the atonement made by the priests once a year for the nation of Israel. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews compares these to the one sacrificial atonement Jesus made once for all. (Every Christian should study this book for these comparisons.)
The everlasting statute made for the children of Israel was no longer necessary when Jesus died for the sins of His people.
New Testament G2643
Strong’s Concordance defines ATONEMENT, katallagē kä-täl-lä-gā’ adjustment of a difference, reconciliation, restoration to favor,
The same word is used for reconciliationin the N.T. of the restoration of the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
Romans 5:11 “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;”
2 Corinthians 5:18
Ephesians 2 is a must read for us to understand how both the nation of Israel and other nations are brought together and reconciled to God.
“And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:”
In my meager understanding, there seem to be specific elements relating to Jesus’ atonement:a perfect life, sacrifice, blood, death, and resurrection.
A Perfect Lifewas required to appease the wrath of God (1 John 4:10).
“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” 1 Peter 1:19
Deathis the result of His sacrifice made for atonement–the finished act on His part to take our punishment upon Himself.
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight“: Colossians 1:20-22
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” John 19:30
Resurrectionis the means for His ascension as our High Priest–ever living to make intercession for us, saving to the uttermost those who come to God by faith in Christ (Hebrews 7:25).
How blessed we are to study and meditate on the truths of Jesus’ life and His purpose for being here on earth —to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). I am both amazed and humbled. The power of His holy will to secure a people for Himself by providing all that is needed for our salvation is incomprehensible. To believe that He included me in this covenant of redemption can only be a work of His Holy Spirit within me. I am powerless to do anything in this atoning work. Atonement planned and executed by a Triune God leaves nothing to the imagination of man nor of his will to help or add anything to it. Atonement in the life and work of Jesus Christ is the only means to obtain at-one-ment with God our heavenly Father.
Dear Father, we can only know the power of your love that secured a new life for us through the atoning work of your Son, except as you work it in each of us. Continue to show us, teach us, and lead us as the God of our salvation. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. Fran
Jerry and I have our “senior moments,” sometimes asking, “What’s today?” Since we no longer observe a five-day workweek, we often forget what day it is — except today.
TODAY IS THE DAY THE LORD PLANNED FOR US TO BE WITH HIM;
A DAY He set aside to be different from other days;
A DAY for the gathering together of His people,
A DAY for His glory, and His worship;
A DAY for His Word to be proclaimed, and received, in power.
A DAY OF SALVATION.
I praise the Lord for every day, but especially for this day, of all days. It keeps me centered and focused on Him, and remembering the reason we are here. Everything starts, revolves around, and progresses from this first day of the week. Imagine the central force of God’s power in this day through Jesus Christ, His Son, the impact that it has on the whole week, and all time.
Today is the day He prepares us to go into the following work week, refreshed, and renewed in His Spirit and truth, projecting us to the next Lord’s Day, and to that final rest in Him.
It is the Christian Sabbath, established in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. As Lord of the Sabbath, He brought the beginning of new life for His people and a day of celebration on the first day of the week.
Today is the day we are brought to, and receive, the Lord’s Supper, which is a time of the renewing of the Spirit, and the continuation of our salvation.
According to a quote from an unknown source—our forefathers called today “The Lord’s Day.” Our great-grandfathers called it “The Sabbath.” Our fathers and most of the world now call it “Sunday.” The first given evidence for a differentiation, between traditional Jewish “Shabbat” observance and the religious observance of the first day of the week, appears in Acts 20:7 where the disciples met and “broke bread” together. The Apostle John also refers to the “Lord’s Day” (“kuriake hemera”) in Rev. 1:10.“Kuriake,” meaning “Lord’s,” later became the Greek word for Sunday. Wikipedia)
Let the world have this day as a Greek Sunday for its own pleasure. But, we set this day apart from all others and all things for His name’s sake.
TODAY IS THE LORD’S DAY
A DAY OF GRACE FOR HIS PEOPLE ~ FOR HIS GLORY
LET US REJOICE IN HIM.
“In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right are pleasures evermore.”
Gracious Father, pour out your Holy Spirit in the hearts and lives of those you have drawn to your Son. Fill us with your Spirit of grace to know you through our Lord Jesus Christ. Draw us closer to Him and you, today, through worship and your Word. Continue to grow us in grace and knowledge of Him as we begin this week in celebration of our eternal life in Him. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
For the world, contentment cost nothing more than what money can afford.
A divine contentment was purchased by the blood of Christ; for those who are His followers, born of His Spirit. The love of God was revealed for His children by the death of His Son; purchasing and redeeming us from the bondage of sin and death (Romans 8:2). We are born to a living hope by His abundant mercy and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; to an inheritance in Him that no one can take away (1 Peter 1:3-4).
It is a legacy that we do not deserve, could not pay for, nor earn by any good work.
Not to be content with the finished work of Christ that assures and provides a pardon from sin, and an abundant life in Him, is to doubt this free gift of His own righteousness for us and to live without Him.
“You Are Not Your Own”
“You have been bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God so loved us, desired us, sired us and made us His own, to lavish His grace, His provisions, His protection, His goodness, His own life for us, in us, and through us. To His own glory He has shined His light into our hearts to shine through us His grace, mercy and power. He has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) through Christ His Son (Romans 8:32).
He has given all for us to reflect His presence, His goodness and His wealth in and upon us. He has spread abroad His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which He has given us (Romans 5:5).
Our Response to His Sacrifice and Mercy
In response to His sacrifice and mercy in taking our sin and punishment upon Himself, Paul urges, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
Here is the reality of a life of contentment according to His will. His sacrificial death works through us for a sacrificial life devoted to serving Him and others while He is preparing us to share His glory. True contentment cost Jesus His life, and it costs us ours. He denied Himself for us to give us eternal life in Him. To experience this life of contentment we deny ourselves for Christ’s sake. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20
Understanding the Terms of Sacrifice
Eternal life in Christ begins when we are born of His Spirit; a new heart and spirit are joined to Christ from that moment. Eternal life is not experienced just when we die, but here, now, and forever. The new birth, faith and repentance separate us from the world’s way of life. We are no longer our own, being conformed to this world, but sanctified, being transformed by the renewing of our minds, and growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ until He calls us home to be with Him.
Jesus paid the price for our contentment. Presenting our bodies as a living sacrificemeans that we have received, understand, accept, and enter into the covenant of life that is ours in His death and resurrection.
Gracious Father, We thank you for your covenant of redemption and grace made with Christ, your Son, before the foundation of the world. We praise you for the work of your Holy Spirit in revealing and fulfilling your covenant with us. Enable us to know the power of Christ’s resurrection through the continued work of the gospel, bringing us to submission and surrender of all that we are, so as to live in covenant with you, in Christ, now and forever. In Jesus’ name we pray and thank you. Amen.