If you are in Christ, you are a new creature and old things have passed away. So have the old things passed away from you? Has your old Adamic nature passed away and you no longer struggle with sin? Is that an experience you have had? I think, for the most part, people do not believe that that experience even exists. Yet that experience is what the Day of Atonement is about. And as we celebrate it this year, I think we should appropriate that experience to be the reality in our lives.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is observed as a time of fasting and repentance. It was a day appointed by God to make atonement for the people and to cleanse them of their sins. That involved animal sacrifice, but an important aspect of that day was that one goat was not sacrificed but sent out alive to remove the sins of the people. Christ did this for us on a permanent basis. Yet as Christians we emphasize the forgiveness of sin, and this aspect of permanently removing our sin is something we have difficulty believing.
Regardless, this is something God emphasized for the Day of Atonement. Our understanding of forgiveness is rooted in Passover. As the Passover lamb covered the children of Israel and protected them from judgment, so the blood of Christ covers us and protects us from judgment. This covering is generally what we refer to as forgiveness of sins. But the cleansing and removal of sin was not at Passover; it was on the Day of Atonement.
I think there is an important difference between having our sins forgiven and having our sins removed. You can be forgiven of your sins and still have the nature of sin in you. And it is clear that we Christians still have that nature. Therefore, just as Passover is an important part of our deliverance, so the Day of Atonement is a time when we look to the Lord—not just for the forgiveness of our sin but for the removal of the nature of sin. Can we believe for that? I think we can.
- 1 Corinthians 5:7. “Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.”
- Leviticus 23:26–28. “It is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD.”
- Leviticus 16:1–34. Read about Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
- Leviticus 16:11. “Aaron shall offer the bull of the sin offering which is for himself … and for his household.”
- Leviticus 16:15. “He shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people.”
- Leviticus 16:22. “The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land.”
- Leviticus 16:30. “It is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you.”
- Hebrews 9:18–28. “Christ … will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:15–17. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature.”
- John 3:1–13. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
- Romans 6:1–13. “Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with.”
- Ephesians 4:22–24. “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self.”
- Colossians 3:9–10. “You laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self.”
- Romans 12:1–2. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
- “Every Sunday you receive Communion, the Lord’s Supper, and the purpose of that is to remember the sacrifice that was made. And most people use it in applying the blood once again and looking for forgiveness of the sins that have transpired since last Sunday.”
- “I think we should humble ourselves and reach for a level of experience that we have not yet received, which is this new creature that is freed from the conditionings and the nature of the past.”
- “There is a process where we transcend through the good, the acceptable, and the perfect into a renewal of our mind, which transforms us into His likeness and His image. And I believe this is the purpose of the Day of Atonement.”
- The meaning of atonement is just as the word is spelled: at-one-ment. We are to be at one with God, brought into a oneness with Him. Yet God is without sin and cannot countenance the existence of sin. It is one thing to be forgiven of sin, but we cannot dwell with God in His presence with sin still dwelling within us. Atonement involves the removal of that sin.
- The idea that we are forgiven is wonderful. We understand that through forgiveness we receive eternal life, and we are accepted into the family of God. But for me personally, it grieves me that we continue to live—and feel like it is acceptable to live—with this nature of sin still dominating or at least existing within us.
- I believe that we can reach in right now and appropriate the reality of the Day of Atonement, and we can put on the new self. Yes, we need to be forgiven of our sins, but likewise, we need to lay aside the old self and put on the new self, “which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness.”