The Mercy Seat.
“God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed.” Romans 3:25, NET. Paul, in Romans 3, refers to Jesus Christ as both, the atoning sacrifice, and the place where the atonement takes place. Paul’s practice presents many challenges for the translators who find it difficult to visualize how could Jesus be both at the same time. Paul employed the Greek word “hilasterion” which translates the Hebrew word for “mercy seat.” The emphasis here is on the removal of the sin from the sinners to justify them and make them righteous in God’s eyes, which could be accomplished in Christ Jesus only.
To understand Paul, correctly, we must view Jesus on the cross at Golgotha as both the one who removes the sin and as the one through whom the sin was removed from the sinners. The “Day of Atonement,” in the earthly temple, was the shadow pointing to the reality that will take place in the body of Jesus Christ, on the cross at Golgotha. Jesus Christ on the cross gave up His perfect life; He put it aside. The fact that Jesus Christ separated His perfect life from His sanctified body constitutes the sacrifice for sin. Jesus Christ, by offering His sanctified body as the mercy seat removed from the sinners. God removed our sin by having the sinful life of the humankind, and the sin, die in the sanctified body of Jesus Christ forever. God put our sin and our inclination to sin into the body of Jesus Christ on the cross and destroyed them forever by abandoning Jesus on the cross. “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21, NET.
God put into Jesus the sin we committed in the garden of Eden, the father of all sins against the law the past, present, and future sins. In addition to our sin, God also put into Jesus our natural bent toward sin. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6, NIV. By abandoning Jesus Christ on the cross at Golgotha, God removed our sin into the eternal Abyss from where it shall never come back and be counted against us again. Our sin has died forever!
Continued in the next blog.