The late Derek Prince, my dear friend, wrote in his remarkable book, Atonement: Your Appointment with God:
That is what atonement really means — that God and the sinner are brought into a relationship in which they are one. A more common word today is reconciliation. Through the cross, God and the sinner are reconciled to each other.
It’s true! Christ’s sacrifice ensures that every believer, including you and me, can partake in the unique blessings He imparts on us during these feast days. Of course, there are still two steps for us to take to follow the Israelites’ example about the Day of Atonement:
The Israelites set aside a time of repentance. This wasn’t simply a time of rehashing every ungodly thing they had done during the previous year. It was a time of cleansing, of letting go of anything that prevented them from honoring and worshiping God with their whole hearts. It included fasting, weeping, mourning, rending hearts, and turning to the Lord (Joel 2:12-13).
You must remove anything that stands between you and the Lord. This is a vital step in the Day of Atonement.
Then, God’s people gave a special offering in appreciation for all the Lord had done and in anticipation for all He was going to do in the future (Joel 2:14). It was an act of faith.
These two steps—repenting and giving—resulted in the following promise: “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things” (Joel 2:21).
What exactly are those “great things?” We find that answer in the remainder of Joel 2.