Atonement, the easiest way to explain what it means is to offer a mental picture of what it stands for. Atonement represents a reconciliation to someone or something.
It refers to the condition of being one with others. Atonement is a reference to the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made to reconcile sinners to a Holy God. We read in the Bible. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Another way is to understand what a ransom is, the best illustration on how atonement works. For example, someone close to you has been kidnapped. They are being held captive and their captors are demanding money in exchange for their release. So ransom is the money that is being demanded so that the person can be freed.This becomes profoundly personal when it is a loved one or a dear friend.
We understand God is our creator and father. He loves us deeply, but we became captive to evil and sin. This brought about a separation between God and man. Separated and in rebellion against our father, we were on a road to destruction. But God decided to pay a ransom price so that we would be in a proper relationship with him. He achieved this by his son Jesus Christ, who became the ransom which was paid on our behalf.
We read a similar and notable kind of ransom in the Old Testament; a foreshadow of Christ's act of redemption for man.
32 if you will forgive their sin, but if not, please remove me out of your book that you have written.” 33 But the Lord said to Moses,“Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book.
Moses is beseeching God to allow him to be a ransom for the people, due to their rebellion and sin against God. In the same way, Christ Jesus became a ransom, by offering up himself for us. Another way to appreciate this, is Christ became sin so that we could become sinless. Honestly, no man can redeem another or give to God the price of his life, Psalm 49:7.
Christ Jesus paid the price to liberate all who have been held captive, by sin and the devil. Once one offers their heart to God, they live knowing that they were ransomed by the death and resurrection of Christ.
Which brings us to the Day of Atonement, a festival or holy day that God established. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were to set aside one day of the year to fast and implore God to forgive their sins. It was a day of atonement for their sins. It was a time for Aaron the high priest to present to God the blood of an innocent animal, by offering it on the ark of the covenant. A symbol of Jesus who was crucified as an innocent sacrifice, to redeem us from sin to salvation.
In remembrance of this event, it behooves us to honor God by making this a memorable holy day. Not so that our sins are forgiven since Christ already remedied that. But a time to pray and fast for others, and ourselves. A day similar to a holiday we celebrate, but a time of sacred separation commemorating God's atonement for us.
This is a time from sundown to sundown, a twenty-five-hour period of prayer and fasting, ending with a celebration. Honoring our Lord for his great magnificent sacrifice, which granted us eternal freedom.