For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. Leviticus 17:11
The Basic Bible Truth
God has had a hard and fast rule since day one. Without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sin. It’s His game, and He makes the rules. We could ask why such an odd requirement, but the answer we would be given is that God hates sin and sent His Son as the supreme sacrifice, to offer us redemption. Without the blood, you have nothing. And Jesus’ blood covered it all.
A Large Roaster Marshmallow Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup A Paper Plate.
In church, we often use big words to describe spiritual truths. I have been in church my entire life, and not once have I ever used the word “atonement” outside of a church building. It just never comes up in casual conversation. So I thought spending a little bit of time describing this word might help our comprehension when we hear it again. I would like to give you two definitions of the word, a short one and then a longer one with a demonstration. First, the short one—atonement simply means “to cover”. When God atones for our sin, He “covers” our sin. As you might guess, though, when God does something, He always does it quite spectacularly.
My favorite example of atonement is found in Genesis, chapter four. There we find Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve’s oldest sons. They were each bringing a sacrifice to God. Cain was a farmer and brought grain and such. Abel was a husbandman, and brought a lamb from his flock. Abel’s offering included blood, Cain’s did not, and the Bible uses the phrase that “God looked with favor upon” Abel and his offering.
That phrase, “looked with favor upon” is a difficult one to translate in just a few words. The translators did a wonderful job given the parameters that they had to work under. But they couldn’t do a demonstration. Allow me to show you a giant roaster marshmallow. You will notice that it is not perfectly shaped. Looking at it from the end, you can see clearly it must have been smashed up against some other marshmallows, and it is not a perfect circle. It is not perfect. Looking at it from the side, you will notice that it is not a perfect cylinder. It is supposed to be a perfect cylinder. It is not perfect. You and I are not perfect. Even as Christians, we are not perfect. And God cannot look upon anything that is not perfect. That is a huge problem. Luckily, God has a solution—atonement.
As I place this marshmallow on a plate, let me introduce to you, the most amazing product on grocery shelves today—Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. I love this stuff. Now watch closely. As I drizzle the syrup, covering every square millimeter of this marshmallow, I am “atoning” this marshmallow. When it is completely covered, do you still see the marshmallow? You see its shape, but not the marshmallow itself. What you are looking at is the syrup covering the marshmallow. One more thing. As I touch my finger to the chocolate covering and taste the wonderful chocolate, I can’t describe to you adequately how amazing this tastes. And you are no doubt envious of my position as taste tester. At this very moment, you are “looking with favor” upon this marshmallow. That is exactly what the word there means!
When God atones for our sin, He does it extra, extra spectacularly. The precious blood of Jesus covers our sins, and when God looks upon us as Christians, He sees the perfect, wonderful blood of Jesus covering our sins completely. So the next time you hear someone talk about atonement, remember our little marshmallow demonstration and how we covered it in wonderful chocolate syrup, and you’ll have a pretty good understanding of the word.