Serving up spiritual nourishment for every follower of Jesus
Tag: Sin and Atonement
Sin is the spiritual sickness that has afflicted the human race since the rebellion and fall of Adam and Eve. Sin is manifested in all kinds of evil, idolatry, rebellion against God, and hurt towards other people and all of creation. Sin is “missing the mark” of our God-given fullness of our identity, ministry, and capacity to love. It affects our relationship with God, each other, and ourselves.
Atonement is God’s solution to this fundamental rift in the world God made. Atonement is worked out in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Through it, we are reconciled to God and assured that death will no longer have the final word. Atonement is the spark and foundation for the healing of our relationships, our hearts, our patterns of behaviour, the structures of our society, and all of creation.
We have now come to the end of our Lenten observance. This weekend, we are crossing the threshold into the short but intense season of Holy Week, so called because it brings us closest to the great mystery of God’s love.
Holy Week leads us into Easter by leading us to the cross. Four important church services give shape to the Holy Week pilgrimage. Palm Sunday recalls Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. On Thursday, we remember the last supper and Jesus’ betrayal at the garden of Gethsemane. Good Friday marks crucifixion and death of Jesus. There is no service during the day on Saturday to observe the reality of Jesus lying in the tomb.
What do you find meaningful in Holy Week? How is Holy Week speaking to you in 2021? Feel free to join the conversation and share your thoughts in the comments below.
In today’s podcast we are looking at a passage from the Gospel of John that contains perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.
The passage flows out of a conversation between Jesus and a religious leader named Nicodemus. Our topic for the podcast today comes from this longer passage, John 3:14-21. It hangs on an important question: how to we know heavenly things? And more specifically, how do we attain to eternal life? The answer of the passage is through Jesus.
To help us understand it, the speaker points us back to a much earlier episode in Israelite history. It is a story where, centuries earlier, people were being bitten by poisonous snakes and getting sick. Moses was instructed to put an image of a snake on a pole. Then, if the Israelites looked at it, they would be healed. By referring back to this story, the Gospel of John is telling us that if we look to Jesus and believe in him, we too will be spiritually healed and receive eternal life.
Join us around the virtual table as we talk about what “God so loved the world” has to say about condemnation and love, staying close to God, and what it really means to believe.
Today I want to finish up my series on the healing of the human heart with a celebration of the Atonement (our reconciliation with God through Jesus.) I love the concept, but let me be clear what it means and doesn’t mean for me. Continue reading “Atonement: Healed and Restored”
One of them, a lawyer, asked Jesus a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
I am continuing my series on the spiritual life. Last time, I said that I wanted to go a little deeper and talk about how God, through Jesus, lead us to freedom and abundance of life by healing our hearts. To get there, I need to talk about two concepts that many people misunderstand: sin and atonement.
“Sin” is more than shame. “Atonement” is more than hate.
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
— Jesus on the healing of the human heart (Matthew 9:13)
I hope that what I have been writing about the Rule of Life has been interesting to you. I do believe that it is an invaluable tool in the spiritual life. The last time I wrote, I talked about the purpose of the Rule of Life being to put God at the centre. I also talked about grace being central to the character of God.
In the next few articles in this series, I want to go a little bit deeper. And to go deeper, I need to talk about one of the central dynamics of the spiritual life: the healing of the human heart.