07
Jan
16

Atonement

Micah 6:6-8 (NIV)
With what shall I come before the Lord
    and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
​How can we atone for our sin?  This is what Micah wanted to know in verses 6-7.  How could he make up for his transgressions and sin?  What could possibly make up for the myriad of sins we commit each day, week, month and year during our brief lifetimes on this planet?  We are sinful and we know it.  There’s something wrong with us of which we are fully aware.  We lie and lust and lose our tempers.  We cheat and steal and covet.  We do, think and say the most awful things to and about each other.  God could have demanded all kinds of sacrifices to make up for our sinfulness.  He could have struck us all down several billion times over for our transgressions.  But He didn’t.  
Instead of asking us to sacrifice our firstborn, God did it instead.  He sacrificed His own Son, Jesus, for our sins.  He gave up His one and only Son so that we could have our sins washed away.  Now what does He require of us?  Not sacrifices, but mercy.  Not mindless obedience, but faithful devotion.  Not fearful servitude, but doing right by others.  Not pride and arrogance at being a part of His family, but humility in the way that we live.  God’s desire is that we would love Him and love our neighbors.  When will we learn that God is less interested in us controlling our sin than He is in how we love Him and others?  He doesn’t want sacrifices of money, animals or even our children.  He wants our hearts to be sold-out in full surrender and devotion to Him.  He wants a relationship with people, not an army of mindless robots.  If only we could get it through our heads that God cares more for the inner condition of our hearts than He does for the outer expression of our religion.  When we do, we’ll find a more deeply satisfying relationship than we could ever dream of in this life.  
 
PRAYER: Help me, O God, to love You more this day than I did yesterday.  Help me, O God, to love my neighbors as I love myself.  Help me, O God, to live humbly before you, showing mercy and loving justice to everyone I meet.  I ask this in the name of Jesus, my Savior, amen.
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