Jesus put everything right between us and God.
Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners…and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ…This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. Romans 3:23-24, 1 John 4:10, The Message
Sometimes we make mistakes and we have to make things right. For example, if you were the kid who broke Grandma’s window, you’d probably have to sweep up the broken glass, pay for the repairs, and tell her how sorry you were. That’s what atonement means—fixing a mistake and making things like they were before.
Sadly, some mistakes aren’t that easy to fix. Sometimes things feel like they’ll never be right again. But God’s plan for “making things right” goes far beyond anything a human being could have dreamed up.
To understand, we have to review a little history. In Old Testament times, people came to the Temple to seek God. His presence literally inhabited its inner chamber, the Holy of Holies. In that room statues of two angels stood over the Ark of the Covenant, a beautiful box containing holy objects like the actual Ten Commandments. These objects represented God’s faithfulness to man—and man’s unfaithfulness to God. They captured our problems in a nutshell.
Once a year on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies and covered the Ark with blood from sacrifices. Every time God looked down at our unfaithfulness, it was covered by this sacrificial blood.
The writer of Hebrews explains that these things were copies of actual articles in Heaven. After Jesus died on the cross, He entered the real Holy of Holies in Heaven, where He offered His own blood as a permanent sacrifice to atone for all our sins. His blood was so powerful that it did what we could never do. It didn’t just cover our sins. It canceled them:
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. … For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:10-14, NIV).
No matter what you’ve done, Jesus has paid for it. Grandma may have looked at you with suspicion for a while, but Father God doesn’t. He looks at you with absolute love. Jesus’ perfect atonement means that He made a way for things to be right between you and God forever!
Lord Jesus, thank You for making things right for me. I don’t have to hide from God in the shadows anymore! You paid so much to make this possible, and You did it because You loved me. Show me how to think and live in this new kind of way.