Letter From Andy Diemer
September 14, 2021
A Fast for Liberty
The thought of fasting may not seem altogether pleasant to you. Abstaining from food and water for a whole day is not something to which most people would willingly subject themselves. Yet, God says that this holy day "shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath" (Leviticus 23:32).
The meaning of Atonement helps us to look beyond the temporary physical discomfort of fasting on this day. Truly, the Atonement fast pictures our liberty in Christ. Through Him we are "no longer slaves of sin" (Romans 6:6) which "brings forth death" (James 1:15). Fasting on Atonement helps us to focus not on the carnal things, but on the spiritual. "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6). Therefore, let His Spirit comfort you during your brief, 24-hour affliction, reminding you of your liberty from the bondage of sin. For "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Corinthians 3:17).
The Day also pictures the time when Christ will free all of mankind from the same bondage to which we were once enslaved. Presently, the "whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one," Satan the Devil (1 John 5:19). He is a cruel taskmaster who never intends to free mankind from his grips. As Atonement foretells, an angel will lay hold of "Satan, and bound him for a thousand years," and then "cast him into the bottomless pit" (Revelation 20:2-3). Mankind's Chief Adversary will remain there, unable to deceive the nations, while Christ sets up His kingdom on earth!
These are monumental events in the plan of God. Knowing these things, we can look beyond the temporary discomfort of fasting on the day of Atonement. We can content ourselves with the liberty in Christ that this day represents. "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty" (Galatians 5:13). And one day the entire world "will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Romans 8:21)!
So, let your Atonement fast draw you closer to God as you consider what this Day means. And let it remind you of the Day when the whole world will be free from Satan's influence and from the bondage of sin!