Monday, March 26, 2007

Atonement (Part Two Continued): Less Excellent Than Christ

Atonement is Old Testament, not New Testament. What Christ did was more than atonement. Atonement was temporary, lasting until Christ should come. Atonement served its purpose like a tent may serve a purpose, but we don't describe it as superior to a mansion. Atonement was offered because Christ had not yet come. In his death, Christ fulfilled atonement at a type, and as a type, atonement is transitional, but the sacrifice of Christ which it typified is permanent. When the Antitype had come and His sacrifice had been accomplished, the place and use of the type passed away.

In atonement, men made an offering to God, but Christ's sacrifice was God's offering for men. The latter is "the gift of God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Christ with His sacrifice of Himself entered into the heaven of heavens, the heavenly Holy of Holies. Atonement was made on an earthly altar. The Lord Jesus Christ offered Himself. Only the blood of animals was taken into the earthly holy of holies. But with the blood of His sacrifice of Himself, Jesus passed into the heavenly One.

"For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Hebrews 9:24-26

Atonement was made by the blood of beasts, but Jesus shed His own blood to redeem us. The blood of divinely appointed sacrifices atoned for the sins that were unintentional by virtue of its sacrificial and life-giving quality. The blood of an unwitting animal atoned for unwitting sin. An innocent victim involuntarily died for involuntary sin. As its unwitting sacrifice covered unwitting sin, the conscious sacrifice of Christ was voluntarily offered for all sin. He sacrificed Himself to take away the sin of the world.

The Lord Jesus Christ laid on the altar not merely His blood, but all His Person, His entire deity and humanity. The blood shed on Calvary was the visible part of an infinite sacrifice made by God Himself.

Not all the blood of beasts,
On Jewish altars slain,
Could give the guilty conscience peace,
Or wash away the stain.

But Christ the heav'nly Lamb
Takes all our sins away,
A sacrifice of nobler name,
And richer blood than they.

John B. Champion, 1927

3 comments:

Bill Hardecker said...

"Guilty, vile and helpless, we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
"Full Atonement!" can it be?
Hallelujah! what a Savior!"
(Philip Bliss)

Good post! Thanks.

Jerry Bouey said...

The blood of an unwitting animal atoned for unwitting sin. An innocent victim involuntarily died for involuntary sin. As its unwitting sacrifice covered unwitting sin, the conscious sacrifice of Christ was voluntarily offered for all sin.

Very interesting comparison.

Sonya said...

I have to agree with the comment above the comparison really stood out to me. Thank you for the post.