Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

In this series of posts on the vocabulary of the resurrection and surrounding events, today we consider redemption.

Here’s your assignment:

  1. Consider the dictionary definition of the words redeem and redemption.
  2. Consider the following verses and what they add to your understanding of redemption:
  • Psalm 49:8, 15
  • Lamentations 3:58
  • Galatians 3:13
  • Titus 2:14
  • Hebrews 9:12
  • Revelation 5:9


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For this Christian (and I hope it is the same for others), words and the proper use and understanding of terms is key to the discussion of issues of faith, belief and the Bible. With that in mind, before I begin my series of studies in preparation and leading up to Resurrection Sunday, I want to look at some of the vocabulary that is central to the events and their implications for believers and non-believers.

For this post, I want to start with the word ATONEMENT.

I will share some of the insights I have in tomorrow’s post, but in preparation for that, here is your assignment:

  1. What is the dictionary definition of atonement? Consider looking in a traditional dictionary as well as a Bible dictionary. You might also consider an online resource like http://www.dictionary.com.
  2. Consider Leviticus 17:11. What does it add to your understanding?

nothing but the blood

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As promised, here’s some of what I found and thought on the issue of atonement:

Paul E. Little in Know What You Believe says “atonement means, “at-one-ment”–that is to say, a bringing together of those who are estranged.” He concedes that in the Old Testament, atonement referred more to a covering. The covering for sin provided under the sacrificial system would suffice until the death of Christ. In the New Testament, Little says that atonement encompasses several ideas, namely reconciliation (as mentioned in Romans 5:10), and appeasement or propitiation–“the removal of wrath by the offering of a gift.” (See Romans 3:25).

According to Grudem in his Systematic Theology, two aspects of the character of God are at work in the atonement: His love and His justice. The love we see explained in John 3:16 and the justice we find in verses such as Romans 3:25. Grudem says, “the love and the justice of God were the ultimate cause of the atonement. . . . without the love of God, he would never have taken any steps to redeem us, yet without the justice of God, the specific requirement that Christ should earn our salvation by dying for our sins would not have been met. Both the love and the justice of God were equally important.”

For me, atonement brings to mind imagery of the Old Testament, blood filling the Kidron Valley at Passover and other high holidays as it flowed from the Temple, from the sacrifices killed one after the other on the bronze altar in the court yard–the blood flowed out of the animal and met the sin of the offeror. God had established the blood as a means to cover the offeror’s sin. It was His law.

So it was with Jesus, with His blood on the cross. His blood met my sin–it satisfied the debt my sin represented in the economy of God. It was a permanent solution to my sin problem.


Perhaps a hymn by William Cowper can best express the idea:

There is a fountain filled with blood 
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains

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He’s Alive

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERADolly Parton singing He’s Alive

“He’s Alive”

The gates and doors were barred
And all the windows fastened down
I spent the night in sleeplessness
And rose at every sound
Half in hope of sorrow
And half in fear the day
Would find the soldiers breakin’ through
To drag us all away
And just before the sunrise
I heard something at the wall
The gate began to rattle
And a voice began to call
I hurried to the window
Looked down into the street
Expecting swords and torches
And the sound of soldiers’ feet
But there was no one there but Mary So I went down to let her in
John stood there beside me
As she told me where she’d been
She said they’ve moved Him in the night
And none of us know where
The stone’s been rolled away
And now His body isn’t there
We both ran towards the garden
Then John ran on ahead
We found the stone and empty tomb
Just the way that Mary said
But the winding sheet they wrapped Him in
Was just an empty shell
And how or where they’d taken Him
Was more than I could tell
Oh something strange had happened there
Just what I did not know
John believed a miracle
But I just turned to go
Circumstance and speculation
Couldn’t lift me very high
‘Cause I’d seen them crucify Him
Then I saw Him die
Back inside the house again
The guilt and anguish came
Everything I’d promised Him
Just added to my shame
When at last it came to choices
I denied I knew His name
And even if He was alive
It wouldn’t be the same
But suddenly the air was filled
With a strange and sweet perfume
Light that came from everywhere
Drove shadows from the room
And Jesus stood before me
With His arms held open wide
And I fell down on my knees
And I just clung to Him and cried
Then He raised me to my feet
And as I looked into His eyes
The love was shining out from Him
Like sunlight from the skies
Guilt in my confusion
Disappeared in sweet release
And every fear I ever had
Just melted into peace
He’s alive yes He’s alive
Yes He’s alive and I’m forgiven
Heaven’s gates are open wide
He’s alive yes He’s alive
Oh He’s alive and I’m forgiven
Heaven’s gates are open wide
He’s alive He’s alive
Hallelujah He’s alive
He’s alive and I’m forgiven
Heaven’s gates are open wide
He’s alive He’s alive He’s alive
I believe it He’s alive
Sweet Jesus

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Poem for For Lent

LEngleMadeleine“For Lent, 1966”           By Madeleine L’Engle

It is my Lent to break my Lent

To eat when I would fast

To know when slender strength is spent

Take shelter from the blast

When I would run with wind and rain

To sleep when I would watch.

It is my Lent to smile at pain

But not ignore its touch.

It is my Lent to listen well

When I would be alone,

To talk when I would rather dwell

In silence turn from none

Who call on me to try to see

That what is truly meant

Is not my choice.

If Christ’s I’d be

It’s thus I’ll keep my Lent.

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Throughout the history of the Jews, many told of the coming Messiah, Promised One.  The following is not intended to be an exhaustive list but rather a representation of some of the Old Testament Prophecies that were fulfilled in the life and suffering of Jesus Christ:

Psalm 2:7-9

“I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.  Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Psalm 110:1-2, 4

The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”  The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! . . . The LORD has sworn And will not relent, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”
Psalm 22:1; 6-8

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning? . . . But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people.  All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, “He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”

Psalm 69:20-21

Reproach has broken my heart, And I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; And for comforters, but I found none. They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Isaiah 50:5-7

The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away. I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.

Isaiah 53:1-10

Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 

 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.  He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked-But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.

In the next post, we will consider the prophecies that Jesus made Himself about his betrayal, prophetdeath and resurrection.

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Temple slaughter_area_2In Exodus, God gives Israel the law.  The law was a gift to man, to help him to realize his total inability to meet God’s standard and his obvious and ongoing need for a Savior  . . . who bleeds.  According to Paul, the “law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”  Galatians 3:24

The atonement provided for under the law was only intended as a temporary fix, to cover the sin. It doesn’t take sin away.  The sacrificial system sets up the foreshadowing of the lamb slain to cover the sins of men. In Leviticus, an often overlooked book of the Bible, God lays out a means by which man may atone for sin in order to be able to have restored relationship with God.  He sets up the place for fellowship (Mercy Seat) – where He will meet with man – through His representative (the High Priest).  He carefully details every piece of wood, precious stone, curtain, garment, utensil of the worship.

The starting point of the worship of God was the bronze altar where the sacrifices were made.  It was a bloody place.  At the time of the feasts, the valley behind the temple would have been flowing with blood from the many sacrifices being offered.  Shed blood was a central part of the worship and approach to God.  No one entered the presence of God without a blood covering, a sacrifice to atone for sin.

God told His people in Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”

All this was looking forward to the cross, the shed blood of the Lamb of God, the blood that would atone for the sin of the whole world.

We’re out of space for today.  Check out our next blog for more about Easter.

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Easter – Part 1 (Genesis)

adam-and-eve-cast-out-of-paradise-after-eating-from-the-tree-of-knowledge-in-the-garden-of-edenBefore Creation, before man was in need of a Savior, there existed God who loved.  Easter is about God’s love.

The need for Easter is first revealed in Genesis 3:15.  When man violated the one rule God had given him, man’s perfect fellowship with God was broken.  Easter represents  his one way back to that fellowship.

God is holy.  Sinful man cannot approach or have a close relationship with a holy God.  Such sin is an abomination to God.  Just as darkness and light cannot co-exist in the physical realm, so too holiness and sin cannot co-exist in the spiritual realm.

In the chapters of Genesis, the reader is given plenteous evidence why a Savior is needed.  In only a few generations, the heart of man was so far from God that God Himself said, “the wickedness of man [is] great in the earth, and  . . . every intent of the thoughts of his heart [is] evil continually.”

Man, without God, is hopelessly unable to maintain his own righteousness.  God shows He is just. He will judge evil and sin as seen in the worldwide flood, the confusion of language at the tower of Babel and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The wages or payment for sin is death.  Romans 6:23.

It is appointed for men to die once, but after this, the judgment.  Hebrews 9:24

Don’t lose hope.  This is not the end of the story.  Check out our next post for more of the Easter story unfolding.

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In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.
When the woes of life o’ertake me,
Hopes deceive and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me:
Lo! It glows with peace and joy.
When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more lustre to the day.
Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.

by John Bowering

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palm sundayHosanna, loud hosanna,
The little children sang;
Through pillared court and temple
The lovely anthem rang.
To Jesus, who had blessed them,
Close folded to His breast,
The children sang their praises,
The simplest and the best.
From Olivet they followed
Mid an exultant crowd,
The victor palm branch waving
And chanting clear and loud.
The Lord of earth and heaven
Rode on in lowly state
Nor scorned that little children
Should on His bidding wait.
“Hosanna in the highest!”
That ancient song we sing,
For Christ is our Redeemer,
The Lord of heav’n our King.
Oh, may we ever praise Him
With heart and life and voice
And in His blissful presence
Eternally rejoice!

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