As a new believer, I was plagued by the thought that my sin made me unclean, and becoming acceptable before God after failing had to be earned. This came through a misunderstanding of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous… to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I did not understand how clean and unclean work, how atonement works, so I was sin-focused and that led to bondage. I have found that for some people the month of Elul, traditionally understood, is sin-focused, and that can lead to spiritual bondage. A proper understanding of atonement can help with that.
The key verse in understanding atonement is Leviticus 17:11, “It is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.” Atonement is infusing with life that which has been stained with death. In atonement, death is wiped off while life is infused. That renders you and me clean. That’s what the blood of Yeshua accomplished for us. Elul can be a time in which we are infused with life in areas of death in our lives. Think of death as “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing” (Galatians 5:19–21). And think of life as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23).
Yeshua, I thank you for life. I thank you for the atoning sacrifice of your blood on the cross, shed on our behalf. Adonai, I thank you for Yeshua’s resurrection, and for the gift of eternal life. Ruach HaKodesh, thank you for not only being the evidence of the redemption in my life, but also the one who grows the fruit of life in me. Infuse me with the fullness of life, Oh Lord, as a living testimony to those who have yet to be reconciled to you. Focus my heart on you.