Blue mountains with clouds and series tiltle superimposed

When it comes to the atonement of Christ, there are certain essentials that all true Christians must be in agreement on. For example, we must believe that Christ actually died on the cross and reject any opposing heresies (a popular one being the swoon theory: a belief that Jesus did not really die on the cross but rather became unconscious and was later resuscitated). We must also agree that Christ’s death was a legal transaction, in that a double imputation took place between Christ and the sinner, for as the Scripture says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Adding to our list of essentials, we must also believe that Jesus died the death we deserved, and became our substitution, a view of the atonement known as penal substitutionary atonement. We must embrace the voluntary nature of Christ’s sacrifice, while rejecting any claims that downplay or deny it (i.e. “Jesus was a victim”, “Jesus died merely as an example of suffering”, etc.). And finally, we must affirm that the atonement of Christ was a complete removal of sin, and not a mere covering of sin as the Old Testament sacrifices were.

The book of Leviticus, and quite frankly the entire Levitical system, can be summed up in a three-word sentence: God demands perfection. He demands perfect sacrifices, a perfect priesthood, perfect worship, perfect purity, perfect justice and righteousness, perfect observance of the ceremonies and festivals, and perfect civility. The children of Israel were indeed to “…be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus 11:44,45, 19:2). To be holy is to be set apart, and God set apart His people Israel from every other nation in the world. Why? Because it is through them that the Abrahamic Covenant will be fulfilled, all made possible through the person and work of Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote in Galatians 3:13-14, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’ – in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith”.

Blog title over blue mountains

As Christians, we live in a world full of unbelievers who view us in a myriad of unfavorable ways. Some would say that we are bizarre and fanatical, while others regard us as foolish, intolerant and offensive. This is no surprise, considering that Scripture teaches us that, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…” (Romans 1:21-22). Elsewhere we read, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:14). We too were once in the dark and were lost before Christ saved us, and many of us would have once responded to the proclaimed gospel in like manner. To lost Jews, our message of salvation is a stumbling block, while to Gentiles it is utter foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23). According to worldly wisdom, it is absolute folly to believe in a message about a crucified Jew who rose again from the dead three days later, and to not only sing songs of worship about bloodshed from the most humiliating kind of death imaginable, but to also actively remember that bloodshed time and time again in a tangible manner!