For the sake of illustration, let us liken the blood to a detergent, and our sins as dirt. It is pretty obvious from our everyday experiences that there are stains that cannot be removed by some detergents. Some detergents only remove the stains partially, leaving faint marks of the dirt. However, there is usually a stronger detergent that can wipe off all the dirt. Detergents are used in physical realm to remove dirt. In the spiritual realm, the detergent used for cleansing is blood. The blood of an innocent lamb may be likened to the detergent that partially removes stains. That was not enough to take away the sins of the world. Jesus, the Lamb of God, was crucified to take away the sin of the world.
What does it mean to atone?It means to compensate for something or to make up for something or to pay the penalty for something. For every broken law there is a compensation. For instance, companies compensate their customers because they may have failed to keep their promises or contracts with their customers. Here, the company has two options, compensate the customer, or be sued by the customer. In the same vein, mankind owes God some compensation. This is where God's mercy shows. From the Old Testament, God has been instructing mankind on how to pay this compensation. Take some time to imagine how many animals could have died by today just to cleanse mankind from their sins. Perhaps, God knew continually sacrificing innocent animals would cause chaos in years to come. So He planned for the greatest sacrifice that would be once and for all. Instead of just subjecting us to judgement, He has given us an option.
Even so, it is proper to say that a beautiful relationship was broken after disobeying God's command. In a relationship, if one breaches an agreement, it distorts the relationship. There would be less trust, less communication, unease or suspicion. This is what happened after Adam and Eve disobeyed God. They suddenly had something to hide from God. They were suddenly uncomfortable around God. When relationships are broken something has to be done to fix it. To atone also means to amend. The atonement or amendment for our relationship with God, is Jesus.
Propitiation is somewhat similar to atonement. To propitiate means to make favourably inclined, appease or conciliate. This is somewhat similar to the definition of atonement as the settlement. Reparation, or transfer of guilt to innocent animals.
Do you know Jesus? Do you believe that His blood can remit your sins?