One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they view the Bible as a cohesive whole. I will explain. Though it is one book, written by one supreme author, the Holy Spirit, and it does have one central theme, the fall and restoration of man, it is one book made up of two books. There is an Old Covenant and there is a New Covenant.
The Old Covenant focuses on the law, and the emphasis is on what man must do. The goal, of course, is to reveal to man that he cannot do as he needs to do and transform his thinking from the lie that he can be like God so that he instead will cry out in his need for God to save him and make him whole again.
The New Covenant emphasis is on grace, with the glory that man receives instead of achieves and the focus is on what God has done and longs to do in and through man as man now chooses to live by faith. I would be so bold as to say that people are NEVER going to understand the Bible until they realize that God works in covenants.
There was an Old and it is distinct from the New, and the two should NEVER be mixed. When we mix the law with grace, the law loses its holy terror, and grace loses its freeing power! They are separate and distinct and must be kept so when we translate and interpret the Bible.
The reason I state this, is that I hear a lot of people who fail to make this distinction of books or covenants within the one book, and interchange the terms of the old covenant with the new. For example - take the word "atonement" - so many Christians use that term to refer to the death of Christ for our sins and this is NOT the word to use when we herald the glory of what Jesus has done for us! JESUS DID NOT ATONE FOR OUR SINS! Atonement is an Old Covenant word. The Hebrew word is kopher and it means to cover. In the Old Covenant the sacrifice of lambs "covered" the sins of the people when those lambs were offered in faith that God would "cover" their sins. The book of Hebrews tells us though, that those lambs could never remove people's sins. They were only "covered" until the real Lamb of God could come and remove those sins from them.
Let me state it simply, that word "cover" or atonement is NOT to be
used of Jesus because He did something much better than "cover" our sins,
HE REMOVED THEM!
Remember the glory of the statement that John the Baptist made, "Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the earth!" Now, that is glorious and it is a major error to say that Jesus atoned for our sins - HE DID NO SUCH THING! HE REMOVED THEM --- Hallelujah!
Unfortunately, many translations put that Old Covenant word into the New Testament. PLEASE hear me on this. That word "atonement" is never used in the New Testament, It is only found in the Old Testament. The word used in the New Testament is katalaggo, the root meaning of which is to reconcile. Jesus reconciled us to God by removing our sins, not covering our sins. Why the New Testament translators put the Old Covenant word into their New Testament translations I do not know, but they should not have done so because they are robbing Jesus of the fulness of the glory of what He did for us at the cross!
Take great care my friends to interpret the Bible in light of the two covenants. The glory of the New Covenant will shine brighter in your heart and mind. Better yet, the glory of our Lord Jesus Who established that covenant, will shine even brighter in your hearts, ushering in greater praise to Him for the greater work that He has accomplished, and you will walk confidently, KNOWING that your sins are forgiven completely and you do not have to worry that you are ever out of fellowship with God! IT IS FINISHED! That is what Jesus said on the cross. And do you know what that means in Greek? It means, "IT IS FINISHED!"
Isn't that exciting?
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