The ten days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are commonly known as the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim) or the Days of Repentance. For the Jewish person this is a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur.
God’s Record Book / Book of Life
The Days of Awe are based on the Jewish belief that God has books that He writes a person’s name in on Rosh Hashanah – who will live, who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life during the next year. The belief goes on with the idea that a person’s actions can change the decree. They feel that repentance, prayer, and good deeds can alter what God writes down concerning their life. Their belief is even reflected in a common greeting during this time – it is, “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”
God does have a book that lists all true believers – the Book of Life. The Book of Life, is also referred to as the Lamb’s book of Life. It is a record written by God, listing people who will live forever in heaven, in His presence. Those who’s names are not written in the book will not have everlasting life in heaven, but will spend eternity in the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:15 NKJV
“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
According to the Word of God, neither prayer or good deeds will atone for a person’s sin. Only Jesus, the Son of God can take away sins. However, the majority of the Jewish people do not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, the only one who can take away their sins. Through the atonement that Jesus’ blood made on the cross we can have forgiveness of all our sins. Faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior is what saves us, not works.
Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Romans 11:6 NKJV
“And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.”
Galatians 2:16 NKJV
“knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”
A person can work for God and not have a relationship with Him – people can even work for God with sin in their life.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15 NKJV
“each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
Works that won‘t be burnt up only come out of our intimacy / relationship with God. Each believer will have their works / actions evaluated.
2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
Reconciliation is important to God. He desires for us to be reconciled with Him, for us to be reconciled with others, and for us to be active in the ministry of reconciliation.
Reconcile: to make friends again; settle a disagreement or difference; make agree; bring into harmony, make satisfied; make no longer opposed.
Reconciliation: a reconciling; bringing together again in friendship; settlement or adjustment of disagreements or differences.
A.. Reconciled With God
Man was separated from God because of sin.
Isaiah 59:2 NKJV
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.”
Ephesians 2:12-13 NKJV
“that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Sin caused man to be alienated, isolated, and separated from God’s presence.
Colossians 1:21-22 NKJV
“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight”
Jesus entire reason for taking on the form of man and coming to this earth was reconciliation – His purpose was to reconcile us to God. It was as if He provided a bridge between us and God.
Colossians 1:19-20 NKJV
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
Ephesians 2:14-16 NKJV
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”
Romans 5:8-11 NKJV
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”
The story of the prodigal son is a wonderful example of reconciliation. In the parable, the father looked at the youngest son’s future – what it could be, not at the son’s present or his past. God, our heavenly Father does not look at our past or present, He looks at our future, what it can be. He is ever waiting with outstretch arms to welcome us back home.
Luke 15:11-32 NKJV
“Then He said: “A certain man had two sons.
And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”
B. Reconciliation With Others
One of the Jewish customs of Yamim Noraim is to seek reconciliation with people you may have wronged during the course of the year. The Talmud maintains that Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and God. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible.
Matthew 5:23-24 NKJV
“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, Leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
God always desires for us to be reconciled with others.
Ephesians 4:32 NKJV
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Hebrews 12:14 NKJV
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord”
We must forgive others, just like God has forgiven us. Jesus is the perfect example of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Colossians 3:12-13 NKJV
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
C. Ministry of Reconciliation
At salvation we become a new creature. Our relationship with God changes. We become reconciled to God and we have the privilege of telling others that they can receive the same reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NKJV
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
The ministry of reconciliation has been entrusted to believers. They are to tell all people that God wants to restore them to a right relationship with Himself.
2 Corinthians 5:20 NKJV
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
Believers should regularly have a time for serious introspection. Self-examination should be part of our life. We are instructed to judge ourselves, and there are benefits to examining our own feelings, thoughts, and motives. If we judge ourselves, God will not have to.
1 Corinthians 11:31 NKJV
“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”
A believer should always be reviewing their actions to see if they are in right standing with God.
Galatians 6:4 NKJV
“But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another”
2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves…”
Many times we may not be able to see our own faults and weakness, so we must rely on the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to show us. As we read God’s Word it gives us a clear reflection of ourselves.
James 1:22-25 NKJV
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”