Jesus is our reconciliation

272 Jesus our reconciliationFor many years I fasted on Yom Kippur (German: Reconciliation Day), the highest Jewish holiday. I did this in the false belief that reconciliation with God was the strict renunciation of food and fluidity that day. Many of us still remember that wrong way of thinking. However, as we have been told, the purpose of fasting at Yom Kippur has been to attain our reconciliation (sonship) with God through our own works. We practiced a religious system of grace plus works - overlooking the reality in which Jesus is our reconciliation. Maybe you still remember my last letter. It was about Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year's Day, which is also known as Trumpet Day. I concluded by saying that Jesus blew the trumpet once and for all and was the Lord of the Year - and indeed the Lord of all times. As the finisher of God's covenant with Israel (the Old Covenant), Jesus, the Creator of Time, changed all times forever. This gives us the perspective of the New Covenant on Rosh Hashanah. If we also look at Yom Kippur with eyes on the New Covenant, we understand that Jesus is our reconciliation. As is the case with all Israelite feast days, the Day of Atonement points to the person and work of Jesus for our salvation and reconciliation. He embodies the Old Israelite system of the liturgy in a new way in the New Covenant.

Now we understand that the feasts of the Hebrew calendar indicated the coming of Jesus and are therefore outdated. Jesus has already come and used the New Covenant. So we know that God has used the calendar as a tool to help us recognize who Jesus really is. Today, our focus is on the four major events in Christ's life - Jesus' birth, death, resurrection, and ascension. Yom Kippur pointed to the reconciliation with God. If we want to understand what the New Testament teaches us about Jesus' death, then we should have the Old Testament models of understanding and worship in the covenant of God with Israel (the Old Covenant). Jesus said they testify of him (John 5,39-40).

In other words, Jesus is the lens through which we can interpret the whole Bible correctly. The Old Testament (which includes the Old Covenant) is now understood through the lens of the New Testament (with the New Covenant, which Jesus Christ has completely fulfilled). If we proceed in reverse order, we will arrive at the assumption that the New Covenant will not begin until the second coming of Jesus because of false conclusions. This assumption is a fundamental mistake. Some mistakenly believe that we are in a transitional period between the Old and New Covenants and are therefore committed to holding the Hebrew holidays.

During his ministry on earth, Jesus explained the preliminary nature of the Israelite worship liturgy. Although God had ordered a special form of worship, Jesus pointed out that it would change through him. He emphasized this in conversation with the woman at the well in Samaria (John 4,1-25). I quote Jesus, who told her that worship by God's people would no longer be central to Jerusalem or other places. In another passage, he promised that wherever two or three would gather, he would be among them (Matthew 18,20). Jesus said to the Samaritan, with the cessation of his ministry on earth, there will no longer be such a thing as a holy place.

Please note what he told her:

  • The time is coming that you will not worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem.
  • The time is coming, and is already, in which the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the father also wants to have such worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4,21-24).

With this explanation, Jesus eliminated the meaning of the Israelite worship ceremony - a system prescribed in the Law of Moses (the Old Covenant). Jesus did so because in persona he would fulfill in almost every aspect of this system - with the temple in Jerusalem as its center - in a variety of ways. Jesus' statement to the Samaritan woman indicates that a large number of worship practices in the previous literal sense are no longer required. Since Jesus' true worshipers no longer need to travel to Jerusalem, they can no longer abide by the prescriptions written down in the Law of Moses, in which the ancient worship system depended on the temple's existence and use.

We are now abandoning the language of the Old Testament and turning to all of Jesus; we change from the shade to the light. For us, this means that we allow Jesus personally to determine our understanding of reconciliation in his capacity as the only mediator between God and humanity. As the Son of God, Jesus came into a situation whose circumstances had been prepared for him in Israel long before and acted lawfully and creatively to fulfill the whole Old Covenant, including the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.

In his book Incarnation, The Person and Life of Christ, TF Torrance explains how Jesus accomplished our reconciliation with God: Jesus did not reject the sermons of John the Baptist on the announcement of the judgment: in the life of Jesus as man and before All through the death of Jesus, God does not enforce his judgment on evil by forcibly sweeping away evil with a mere blow, but by immersing himself fully on the deepest cause of evil, all pain, all guilt, and all suffering to take on. Since God Himself enters to take on all human evil, His intervention in meekness has tremendous and explosive power. That is the true power of God. Therefore, with all its indomitable gentleness, patience and compassion, the cross (dying on the cross) is not simply an act of endured and visually powerful heroism, but the most powerful and aggressive act heaven and earth have ever experienced before: the attack the holy love of God against the inhumanity of man and against the tyranny of evil, against all towering resistance to sin (page 150).

Considering reconciliation merely as a legal settlement in the sense of re-understanding with God, this leads to a completely inadequate view, as unfortunately many Christians have today. Such a view lacks depth in relation to what Jesus did in our favor. As sinners, we need more than freedom from the penalty of our sins. It is necessary to us that even the death blow be transferred to sin in order to be exterminated out of our nature.

That's exactly what Jesus did. Instead of just treating the symptoms, he turned to the cause. This cause can be aptly described as The Undoing of Adam, according to a book by Baxter Kruger. This title states what Jesus finally achieved through the reconciliation of humans with God. Yes, Jesus paid the penalty for our sinfulness. But he did much more - he performed cosmic surgery. He used a heart transplant to the fallen, sins-afflicted humanity! This new heart is a heart of reconciliation. It is the Heart of Jesus - the one who is God and man, who is a mediator and high priest, our Savior and elder brother. Through the Holy Spirit, just as God promised through the prophets Ezekiel and Joel, Jesus brings new life into our dry limbs and gives us new hearts. In him we are a new creation!

Connected with you in the new creation,

Joseph Tkach

president
GRACE COMMUNION INTERNATIONAL


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