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Thinking about Atonement

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 NIV
It seems that in the days of Oswald Chambers, about 90 years ago, already New Age thoughts we being accepted, for Chambers seems to spend a fair bit of time arguing against them. We are not gods and we are not naturally one with God. In our natural state, we are at enmity with God. We are opposed to him in defiance and rebellion. This is sin—something we are all born into. God does want oneness with us—just as he and Jesus are one—but that oneness isn’t the result of never doing wrong, or of reaching a state of emptiness through meditation. It comes only as a result of Jesus’ atonement for us to reconcile us to God. That reconciliation does away with the defiant rebellion in our hearts so that we can be in relationship with God.

Chambers writes:
If all Jesus came to do was to tell me I must have an unsullied career...then He but tantalises me. If He is simply a teacher, He only increase our capacity for misery, for He sets up standards that stagger us [e.g. “...anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”]. But the teaching of Jesus Christ is not an ideal, it is the statement of the life we will live when we are readjusted to God by the Atonement. The type of life Jesus lived, the type of character He expressed, is possible for us by His death, and only by His death, because by means of His death we receive the life to which His teaching applies.
Later he says, “There is no Christ FOR me if there is no Christ IN me.” It is only when I accept the gift of reconciliation and atonement and welcome Jesus to come inside and change me that I can begin to live the way he teaches. If my life does not manifest the presence of God by the way I live and speak, I need to question if I have truly accepted the gift he offers.

Lord God, I can’t do the good you want me to do unless I have accepted your gift of forgiveness and reconciliation and your Spirit lives in me. I can’t do it on my own. No matter how hard I try, without you I am hopelessly immersed in my own ways and my own desires that take me away from you. I have accepted your gift, Father, and I thank you for it. Fill me with your Spirit and keep me full and overflowing so that your presence in me is obvious to all I encounter.

*All non-biblical quotes are from "How to Think about the Atonement," in "Biblical Ethics" in The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers, pages 130, 131.


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Oh God
You surround me with your love,
with memories
of who you are
of what you've done
of promises you've made
of who I want to be
of who I am because of you.

You give me hope and joy,
peace and gratitude.
You convict me
and teach me
encourage me
and remind me
of what it means to follow you.

You listen to my prayers
and grant my requests
in your time.
You give me insight
and knowledge
and words to write
to share your presence
your goodness
your love
your admonition
with others.

You expand my love
to pray for friend and foe
near and far
family and stranger
people as pins on maps
clustered and scattered
who know you and reject you
for those in need
and those too full to need.

You draw me close
and then release me
to bring you close to others
to serve
and love
and give
all I have received.

You fill my heart with joy
that warms
and glows
and bursts
into laughter,
and even dance.

You wrap me in your arms
and tell me
"You are mine"
with intensity that burns
and smoul…