Archive for April 4th, 2011

FWIW:  I like doing crossword puzzles. Many times they will have clues/answers of a religious nature for which I am vocationally alert.  In a N. Y. Times crossword 6 letter answer for the clue:  “Does penance”?  Answer:  ATONES.  For this puzzle the answer is correct, but Biblically it is plain wrong.  In the Old Testament,  atonement was accomplished for the sins of the people by a sacrifice, not of the human, but of an animal for the sin. Penance is, “a punishment undergone in token of penitence for sin”, in other words:  penance,  supposedly resulting  in atonement is all on YOU.  If it is all on YOU, then there is no need of Jesus Christ (see:  Galatians 2:20-21).   But there is.  Just as in shadows and types of the sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem for sin (see Hebrews 10:1-3) , so now, once and for all He has carried your sin in His Body upon the tree:  Behold!  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (see John 1:28-30 and John 1:35-37)  Note what a burden it is to think that penance and the  supposedly resultant atonement puts on you:  you better get right with God!  Tell me something I don’t know!  I will:  Behold, your Savior with the print of the nails!  He alone atones, literally, makes at-one you and God.  He alone reconciles. To Him alone can we turn to with our sins and cry out, Lord,have mercy.   All of the penance we can do can not atone and as the sturdy hymn Rock of Ages sings:

Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfil Thy Law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly,–
Wash me, Savior, or I die!

And as the prophet Micah spoke the Word of the Lord:

Chapter 6: 6 “With what shall I come before the LORD,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

There is nothing from our side we can do to atone for our sin, big or small.  The Lord has been there, done that.  Atonement is in one  Person and happened in one place:  Jesus on Golgotha, the place of the Skull.  He has so done  and  so as the prophet continues:

8He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

To which the Lord’s People say: Amen.

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