New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 30

new church life: march/april 2017 – Gospels or Epistles! 1 Rather it comes from the Old Testament where it is a Hebrew word that means “a covering,” and that refers to the use of sacrifices to cover for the sins of the people. In those cases there definitely was a vicarious element to the matter: animals – most notably the so-called scapegoat of Leviticus 16 – were cursed or beaten or burned on altars to appease the anger of God and “take away” the consequences of the people’s wrong-doing. But as we know now, this was all simply representative, and the representative use of sacrifices was abrogated (done away with) when the Lord Himself came to do His redeeming work. 2 So again, the first thing the Lord accomplished in His life in this world was that He amended the evil and made things better. How? By learning the truths of the Word and using them to subjugate the hells, that is, to get the hells that were corrupting life in this world under control. But again, how? Of course He confronted the evils and falsities of the people in Israel who were corrupt, but more importantly through His own inner combats against the evils and falsities of His own hereditary nature He acquired the power to control the hells themselves by taking away their ability to distort the truth which they were using to justify their own depravity. A simple example is in Matthew 4 where we read that the devil tempted Him by abusing ideas and quotations from the Word – to which the Lord responded with other Scriptures that completely disarmed him. But many other examples occur throughout the Gospels as the Lord throughout His life cast out demons, corrected misrepresentations of the Word, explained and illustrated the true meaning of its contents, and clearly demonstrated the healing power of His Divine love. All this, of course, is what the Lord continues to do for us every day since then if, as and when we believe in Him, appeal to Him, and do as He teaches: He subjugates or controls the hells for us. We don’t. We can’t. But He did and He can – every day. So first of all He redeemed the world from destruction by repairing the connection between heaven and earth within Himself, and then He extended that redemption to all who would come after Him by making the power of His love and wisdom fully accessible in the Word. But now, how can we understand this concept of ransom? It’s not just an 1  The one New Testament reference, Romans 5:11, that uses the word, atonement, in the King James Version actually means reconciliation, and so refers to a truly just and human way of covering for our sins. 2  The English word, atonement, is actually pretty clever in that we can see it as “at-one-ment,” suggesting the very process of reconciliation, which the Lord accomplished through the glorification of His Humanity, bringing worldly things into harmony with spiritual things by subjugating the former to the latter in Himself. 96