Do you believe Jesus atoned for your sins on the cross?
If you claim to be a follower of Christ, you would probably answer yes without hesitation. The cross and the cross alone will always be sufficient for our atonement. Hebr 7:27 “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his sins, and then for the sins of the people sins. He sacrificed for their sins once and for all when he offered himself.”
Here in Hebrews, the Bible says ,Jesus as our high priest sacrificed for the sins of the people, just as Isaiah 53 prophecied the Messiah would do. What we then need to do is ask is this: Who are God’s people? In the book of Exodus, we learn all who obey the Torah (the law of Moses) are God’s people. If Jesus is the Messiah and our high priest, he can only atone for those who obey the Torah. This is why Paul says in Romans we first need to repent from lawlessness and come back to the Torah so we can become people of God and then by faith have our sins atoned for by the blood of Jesus.
As you might have noticed, Hebrews 7:27 reads “for the sins of the people.” Isaiah 53 reads the Messiah will atone for the sins of the people of God. Nowhere in the Bible does it say the high priest atones for individual sins, only for collective sins committed by the people as a group. This is why each Israelite still had to make individual sacrifices throughout the year even though they had participated in the day of atonement.
The third thing we need to look at is this: Nowhere in the New Testament does it actually say Jesus died on the cross for our sins/atoned for our sins on the cross. This should not come as a surprise to us because we all know the Torah (the law) says the sin sacrifice has to be done in the temple and the blood has to come in contact with the altar. Jesus died outs of the temple, and his blood was not shed on the altar.
After having looked at these three pieces of evidence, we know the cross of Christ does not atone for our sins. But this does not mean Christ did not atone, for the Bible teaches Christ as our high priest atoned for the sins of the people before the foundation of the world. He did this by taking his blood into the holiest of holy in the heavenly temple. So the blood of Christ does atone for our sins, but only for our collective sins.
How then do we atone for our individual sins today in the year 2023?
By repentance from lawlessness and coming back to the Torah. This is what King Solomon asked for in his prayer when dedicating the second temple, and this is what we see exemplified in the book of Esther. Esther lived with her family in Persia at a time when the first temple had been destroyed and the second temple was not built yet. Because them living their lives in repentance, the Bible says they were righteous and forgiven even though they had no temple to sacrifice in.
We serve a God who does not expect us to do the impossible, he knows the temple is gone and we are unable to travel to Jerusalem to sacrifice. The only thing he expects of us is to repent from lawlessness and come back to the Torah (the written law of Moses). If we repent we will become a part of God’s people, those who obey the Torah. If we are a part of God’s people, the blood of Jesus will already have atoned for the collective sins of God’s people.
So do the right thing today and repent from lawlessness and come back to the Torah.