Day of Atonement


The Day of Atonement

 “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Romans 5:7-11

    When I was a girl, my mom, brother, and I trotted off to temple annually for the Jewish Day of Atonement. We got to skip school, didn’t eat until sundown, played with my mom’s bangle bracelets during the service, pronounced strange Hebrew words we didn’t understand, and pigged out at sundown when the fast ended. We said the same prayers every year asking someone called God to forgive us for a list of stuff we may or may not have done wrong. My family didn’t believe in God, but we were taught to honor our ancestors by doing what Jewish people were supposed to do. We were like Christians who go to church on Christmas and Easter. When the Day of Atonement was over, we hurried back to our everyday lives and forgot all about God and this forgiveness business. We didn’t know Jews are God’s chosen people, that God is reserving His wrath against all of humanity for our sins, that we are all sinners in need of a  Savior, and that our sins need to be atoned for – or else. Or else we will spend forever apart from God in hell. We didn’t know countless people who call themselves Jews and Christians because of their ancestry and traditions have never opened the Bible to learn the Truth, don’t know the first thing about God and how to follow Him, and are headed for hell.

Jesus Christ, a Jew, is the Messiah the Jews have been looking for, prophesied by the Jewish prophets, who died on the cross to be the atonement for the world’s sins and to provide a way for Jews AND non-Jews through repentance, faith, and a life committed to God to have a relationship with God now and forever. It’s not about ancestry and traditions, but about a lifestyle of faith in and commitment to God. Observing traditions won’t earn us God’s love, forgiveness, and heaven. Calling ourselves Jews and Christians means nothing without faith in Christ and a rock solid commitment to God. Temples and churches have revolving doors for those of us who want to observe traditions and honor our ancestors.  The only door that leads to God and eternity is Christ who sacrificed His life to be our atonement. Enter in, my friend, enter in!


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