And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
    after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
    and write them on their minds,”

17 then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Hebrews 10: 15-18

Atonement. This is a very big word. It is also a word that seems to me to be rather ornate, that is fancy. For certain, it is a word that is found in the world of theology and is mostly put to use in a religious context. This is what Jesus did for each of us; He provided atonement for all of the ways that people have turned away from God and are living out of conformity with the Lord’s perfectly righteous way of conducting our lives. Jesus became that ultimate sacrifice for anyone who is willing to accept that gift of salvation. So, He redeems us from a state of perpetual and eternal lostness and brings us into a fully formed relationship with God. This is a relationship wherein we have all rights, privileges, and permission to enter in to the presence of God that could possibly be granted to anyone at any time. 

The form of relationship that is discussed here is one that was long ago predicted by the prophet Jeremiah. Before Jesus, we had the law and ordinances that required an ongoing process of sacrifice and repentance for sin in order to be in a form of right standing before God. Although God was intended to be the central focus of all of these practices, in our human frailty we frequently placed ourselves at the actual center of it all as we sought the seemingly more convenient way into God’s good graces through working for redemption. This approach to living out just and godly lives was never going to be successful, for it was truly powerless against all of the forces that are arrayed against God in this world. Human capacity and might alone are not able to stand up in opposition to the other worldly but demented and devious power of God’s adversary.

So, Christ made that complete and absolute sacrifice to pay for, to atone for, each and every sinful thought and action that people have engaged in or that we have even contemplated. There is nothing that is left out of the work that Christ did for all people through the entire scope of time. God then granted to us the gift of the Spirit so that we would not be engaging in the struggle of life alone. We no longer need to do anything beyond accepting Christ as Savior of our souls and Lord over our lives, for He has done everything. In Christ, the power and the capability to live in a just, holy, and righteous manner is given to us as well by the presence of the Spirit and through Christ’s efforts alone. Although we are to be fully engaged in living out the grace, love, and truth that is contained in God’s Word and that is revealed to us by the Spirit, Christ goes before us in all of this to show us His will and way, to empower our actions, and to receive all of the glory for the outcome of this redemptive work.