Today Monty talked about a difficult term, “Atonement,” and brought out several ideas about what this means. I think most of us don’t think too much about this idea, and when we do, it’s with the vague sense that we’re swimming in rivers too cold and too deep for our water wings.
I’m not going to try to re-explain what Monty said, as you can go listen to him online. It’s really quite excellent.
What I do want to raise is the question of “Now that we know what it means, what do we do about it?” Or, more accurately, what am I going to do about it?
I can explain all I want about what it means to have atonement for my sins. It is the removal of the stain. It is the restoration of fellowship. It is the recovery of sight. It is the redemption of the lost soul, the ransom of the lost.
But—in the end, while I can construct a theology of atonement, I am avoiding the very real question of how do I incorporate this into my own life, into my relationship with my God and my Savior.
That’s where the idea of “making the way clear” is helpful. The roadblocks are removed. The hesitations are smoothed over. The scary idea of rejection and disappointment are gone.
It is that we can choose, right now, to act on the faith that we are accepted. Completely. No matter what our actions have been—no matter what they are, right now.
Atonement is complete. Done. Over with. Coming to God is made clear; no side trips of explaining our actions or painting over our guilt with careful words are necessary.
We are accepted, and loved, and brought to him. That’s what it means, and what I can do with that is to—believe it. Act on it. Come to the presence of God with everything, all the big things and little things, the overwhelming fears and the gnawing doubts.
All that is taken care of. And now—today—we can start again with an open communication with God.
God made the first move. Now it’s up to us to take the next.