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The Atonement of Jesus Sets Us Free

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

Leviticus 17:11
The Atonement of Jesus Sets Us Free Book Cover

go straight to jail

In the board game Monopoly, one of the most frustrating consequences is to wind up in jail. Players must pay a fine in order to be released. Luckily, a Chance card can help you get out of tricky situations. One of the most valuable Chance cards is the one labeled “Get out of Jail Free.” Each card is good for a direct trip out of the slammer, without penalty. Most Monopoly players, however, don’t have this card on hand, so they wind up paying the fee to get out of jail. It’s not unlikely for a player to be sent back to jail and have to make the payment again.

Like paying the fee and crossing your fingers that you aren’t sent back to Monopoly jail, the sacrificial system of the Old Testament only provided a temporary solution for the Israelites’ debt of sin. Israelites would take an unblemished animal and kill it in payment for the sins that they had committed. Priests would then take the blood of the sacrificed animal and sprinkle it around the walls of the temple. This payment allowed God to forgive His people for their sins against Him. This was an act of grace, because God made a way for His people to be forgiven for their sin. They had to make the payment to escape the punishment.

Unfortunately, animal sacrifices only paid the Israelites’ debt for a limited time. Following the law was necessary for righteousness, but the Israelites were stuck in their sin. Animals were continually sacrificed on their behalf. A debt had to be paid before God would see the Israelites as righteous. By God’s grace, the animal’s life was given in place of their own.

get out of jail free

All sacrifices in the Old Testament were used to point to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus (Hebrews 10). Animal sacrifices covered the current debt that was owed. Jesus’ sacrifice sets us free from all past, present, and future debt. By the atonement of Christ, we are free from the death we deserve. Our own sins are no longer counted against us. “The Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

Sacrifices teach us that where there is blood, there is life. The blood shed by the animals gave the Israelites hope of being spared from the wrath of God. By Jesus’ blood, we have confidence that our debts are paid and we have been given access to the fullness of life (Colossians 2:6–7). There is nothing we can do to obtain righteousness for ourselves. That burden was lifted and paid for by the atonement of Christ.

Even as we wait for His second return, we get to live in the freedom that the atonement provides for us. Jesus’ blood has made us right with God. By Jesus’ blood we have been washed clean. It is no longer our responsibility to clean up our own mess or to pay off our own debt; we are incapable of doing so. The most perfect sacrifice has been given on our behalf. We have been handed an unlimited supply of “Get out of Jail Free” cards.

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Daily Question

How does the atonement of Christ give you hope in the present and hope for the future?

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Comments (2)

It’s comforting to know that it is not my responsibility to clean up my own mess or to pay off my own debt. Because of Jesus, I don’t need to get caught up in trying to do everything right and looking perfect to God – He is the only one who is perfect. I struggle with comparing myself to others and worrying that I’m not enough, but I have to remind myself that I am enough in God’s eyes and I don’t have to prove that to Him through some kind of checklist of behaviors that are "right."

Even though I mess up on a daily basis I know that Christ has paid the price for me and that I get a new chance each day to be the person he plans for me to be.

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