It is Finished!

Today is Ash Wednesday, and it marks the beginning of Lent. This morning, I was reading through the Bible and accidentally (was it?) came across the passage in Leviticus.

All the rest of the bull—he shall carry outside the camp to a clean place, to the ash heap, and shall burn it up on a fire of wood. On the ash heap, it shall be burned up. Leviticus 4:11-12

This passage talks about the rituals for when a priest or when the whole congregation of Isreal sins against God unintentionally and realizes they have sinned. For atonement, the priest will have to sacrifice a bull for himself or for the congregation, carry the blood of the sacrifice to the incense altar in the Holy Place and sprinkle the blood before the Veil before Most Holy Place. He would then mark the gold incense altar with the blood from the sacrifice. He would then make a burnt offering at the brass altar outside the entrance of the tent of the meeting. After all these rituals for atonement were complete, he would carry the carcasses of the sacrifice and burn it on an ash heap outside the camp. Such a lengthy ritual for atonement for sin?

One commentary reads, “After this, the carcass was burnt outside the camp. When people saw this being done, they knew that the ritual was over: sin had been judged, and fellowship with God was restored.

When Jesus died and shed his blood, he made atonement for us. Atonement for our sins is complete, done, finished. Sin has been judged, and fellowship with God is restored. So this Ash Wednesday, as you are reminded of your “unintentional” or intentional sins, remember also that Jesus has already made atonement for your sins. Your relationship with God is restored. You belong to Him. This is God’s love for you! This is good news! Really good news!! Happy Valentines Day and a thoughtful Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday