Ten days after Rosh Hashana, the first of the annual High Holy Days, Jews observe Yom Kippur (in Hebrew), the Day of Atonement.
Under the original covenant God gave to Moses and the children of Israel, once each year, their high priest entered into the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle (or, later, the Temple) to make "atonement" (or covering) for the sins of the nation (Lev. 23:26-32).
Leviticus 17 goes into great detail about the ceremony, which centered on the vicarious sacrifice of two goats to bring God's people back into fellowship with Him. The sacrificed blood, symbolically spread out on the mercy seat, "atoned" for their sins and they were forgiven and (as Billy Graham once explained) again "at-one-ment" with God. They were restored to a right relationship with Him and His promised blessings for another year!
Jesus' Blood Atoned for Our Sins
In his epistle to the Romans, "Rabbi Saul" (the apostle Paul) explains the significance of our atonement in the context of Yom Kippur:
"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He himself is fair and just, and He makes sinners right in His sight when they believe in Jesus" (Rom. 3:23-26, NLT).
Glory on Your House
Being made right with God through the sacrificial death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, God now wants His presence to dwell with us and in us. He wants His glory to fill our homes and direct our desires and destinies!
With our sins covered by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, wholesome and holy living are to be the practical and spiritual results in our lives, families and homes. We are not to continue being conformed to this world but rather transformed by the renewing work of the Holy Spirit in us (Rom. 12:1-2).
Pastor Jack Hayford, in his book "Glory on Your House," offered seven guidelines to consider in assessing your own life, setting yourself apart to the glory of Father God. I invite you to carefully consider his questions:
1. Have you compromised anywhere in your choice of friends or activities? See Ephesians 5:11 and 1 Corinthians 5:9.
2. Do you maintain the requirement of obedience to parents from yourself and your children? Notice how Romans 1:28-32 includes disobedience to parents in its listing of sinful adult lifestyles. Also, see Proverbs 23:13-14. Homes that tolerate disobedience to parents become spiritually "leprous;" family life putrefies and children rot.
3. Do you participate in any lying, dishonesty or untruthfulness? See Colossians 3:9. The Holy Spirit has a way of keeping us honest if we let Him. He is the Spirit of truth and will keep all manner of compromise out if we will allow truth within our hearts and our homes. Any untruthfulness is unworthy of a place in our homes.
4. Do you participate in impure joking or speech? The Scriptures admonish believers in a culture like ours to put away all evil speaking (Eph. 4:31). Let's make David's cry our own: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer" (Ps. 19:14).
5. Do you sample or practice any known biblical disobedience? Victory over any binding habits of the flesh flows only from true repentance and bold renunciation.
6. Have you given astrology or occult practices any place at all--in the past or present? If so, you may have innocently collected or kept some paraphernalia, gifts or souvenirs. Scripture accounts (e.g. Deut. 18:9-15; Acts 19:18-20) show that such things may need to be discarded (even burned) to disassociate yourself from them and prayerfully overcome any spiritual powers behind them. Pastor Hayford suggested the Holy Spirit will help you know what to do, if you invite Him to do so. "Walk through your house with Him and ask Him to show you what to do."
7. What about the pornographic or obscene? Perverse, sexual depictions and practices were part of the wicked worship of idolatry. Such sensual indulgences can have psychological and spiritual bondage. Reading or viewing pornography can lead to sexual fantasies, which can lead to sexually addictive behaviors. Repent and turn away from these gripping bondages. "...Don't give place to the devil" (Eph. 4:27). Don't make a place, a time, nor a way for these dark, sensual pathways.
More than just a "day" of atonement, may we learn to live as victorious overcomers in the fellowship and freedom of our living Lord, by the power of the Holy Spirit, living in us!
Ordained to the ministry in 1969, Gary Curtis is a graduate of LIFE Bible College at Los Angeles (soon to become Life Pacific University at San Dimas, California). He has taken graduate courses at Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois and Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. Gary served as part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, California, for 27 years (1988-2015), the last 13 years as the vice president of Life on The Way Communications Inc., the church's not-for-profit media outreach.
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