Atonement: Not Legalism...
A New Teaching Article On The Day of Atonement
We are not bound to the ritualistic chains of religion. We are bound to the life-changing power of the blood of Jesus Christ, which He shed at Calvary for you and for me. We are bound to the principles of God in salvation through Christ alone, and trusting in Jesus Christ alone for our eternal salvation. We are the righteousness of God “in Christ!”
The key elements of our faith – faith in Christ alone - will produce a mysterious change in our outward actions: repentance. Repentance is speaking the truth in our own hearts and asking, “If there is anything in me that doesn’t line up with You, God, I’m willing to change it.” Repentance is when we examine ourselves, consider our ways and go in the direction we know Jesus Christ would have us go in. A heart of obedience and alliance to God is what His heart seeks after. He wants relationship.
Israel’s annual feasts constitute a beautiful type and pattern for the church. All of these Biblical celebrations contain deep treasures of understanding. They unveil the Lord’s intense desire for FELLOWSHIP with His people, as living parables and paint a prophetic picture of the Lord’s eternal redemptive purposes on the earth.
All Israel’s Worship centered around three feasts. They were occasions of great convocations, keeping Sabbath, ordinances, consecration and sanctification. In other words, they were huge parties with extreme attention to every detail! And we think planning a modern-day wedding is hard – (it is!) The intricate details of these feasts reveal the complex, detailed thoughts God has towards His relationship with us and His plans for our lives. The details to the feasts alone show the depth of thought God has towards our lives and our relationships. God cares about every little thing in your life!
God designed seven feasts (Lev 23) that are His own holy days with specific instructions given for their observance. These specific instructions are all imagery for the details of the fulfillment of the feast - JESUS. Leviticus 19 states that the feasts and holy days are eternal - they transcend the limit of time.
Legalism could be described as trying to earn God’s favor by performing a set of behaviors and abstaining from others. Legalism is when man assigns weights to certain actions and gives his own self credit for performing or not performing said actions, resulting in a system of self-righteousness inside the heart and creating a separation from God because now the person is following after their own system of self-righteousness. See the book of Romans for an exposition and breakdown of this evil stronghold. Legalism implies that we can act in strict adherence to laws, even Church laws, and be considered righteous by GOD. This stronghold of thinking ultimately results in negating the revelation of the need for Jesus Christ in the human conscience because he is too busy assigning himself credit for his deeds. This is why the stronghold of legalism is at its heart pure evil. Legalism is man’s own righteousness apart from God…an oxymoron if we ever heard one.
If meticulous observance could win His approval, the Pharisees would have won first prize! But in Matthew 3:7, Jesus, who is true holiness, refers to them as a “generation of vipers!” Their doctrine, legalism, was labeled by Him as pure evil and demonic. Jesus asks them to their face HOW they would escape the fires of hell! (Matthew 23:33 “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”)
What God desires is a heart after Him in obedience. That’s why Psalms 51:16 and 17 proclaim, “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou will not despise.” He desires a heart that burns for relationship with Him. He desires a heart that burns to be right with Him at all costs!
It’s the attitude of the heart that makes the critical difference between the Lord’s acceptance or rejection of our “RIGHTEOUSNESS.” We are only the righteousness of God when we are in Christ Jesus!
When all worries about rules, legalism and bondage have finally been put to rest, we see that our Father designed the biblical feasts to be opportunities for Him to commune with His children in intimate relationship. We celebrate by obeying the principles and patterns we find embedded in the feasts because it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep “exactly” the feasts. We hear the heart and Spirit of the Word and we act on it, and the Word works! We hear the heart of the Father revealed, and we are cleansed as we mine the treasures out of His Word by faith.
Come with us on the journey of atonement this month! The Lord is saying through these Feasts (His divine appointments), “Remember Me, Remember what I have done for you… Most of all, Remember my LOVE for you!” The atonement season is about reconciliation and a rebuilding of bridges that were once burned. We are going to come face to face with the love of a Father so great that He sacrificed His one and only Son to have a relationship with us forever! Let’s hear the heart of the Father in the day of Atonement during this month as we study His holy feasts together!
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