Christianity 201

May 30, 2020

God’s Sacrifice and What it Means to You

In the daily quest to highlight new devotional writers to you, I often find articles which are very well written but shorter than our usual format. For that reason, today I’m introducing two new websites. Click the headers to read the respective devotionals.

The first is from the website of CTCI, Christian Training Center International.

Does Jesus innocence allow for him to sacrifice himself for us?

I have missed God’s goal for my life (aka sin). A penalty must be paid. Jesus, the innocent lamb of God, takes my place as a sacrifice. Now that is some very good news.

When Jesus is called the Lamb of God in John 1:29 and John 1:36, it is referring to Him as the perfect and ultimate sacrifice for sin. In order to understand who The Messiah was and what He did, we must begin with the Old Testament, which contains prophecies concerning the coming of The Messiah as a “guilt offering” (Isaiah 53:10).

The whole sacrificial system established by God in the Old Testament set the stage for the coming of Jesus The Messiah, who is the perfect sacrifice God would provide as atonement for the sins of His people (Romans 8:3; Hebrews 10).

The sacrifice of lambs played a very important role in the Jewish religious life and sacrificial system. When John the Baptist referred to Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), the Jews who heard him might have immediately thought of any one of several important sacrifices.

With the time of the Passover feast being very near, the first thought might be the sacrifice of the Passover lamb. The Passover feast was one of the main Jewish holidays and a celebration in remembrance of God’s deliverance of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.

The slaying of the Passover lamb and the applying of the blood to doorposts of the houses (Exodus 12:11-13) is a beautiful picture of The Messiah’s atoning work on the cross. Those for whom He died are covered by His blood, protecting us from the angel of (spiritual) death.

  • Luke 23:41 — And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
  • John 12:32 — And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.
  • Hebrews 4:15 —  For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
  • Hebrews 7:26 — For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
  • 1 Peter 2:22 — who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;
  • Isaiah 53:9 — His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

The second reading for today is from Dennis at the site Luke 252. (I love the analogy here!)

Is Your Life A Derailed Train?

Revelation 3:15-16 says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold or hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

There are a couple of reasons why God would prefer Christians to be cold rather than lukewarm: First, it is important to realize how much God loves each of us as individuals. John 3:16 teaches us that God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for me! When I live a lukewarm lifestyle, it hurts Him when I only want part of what He sent His Son to die for.

He came that we may have life more abundantly! But, there is even a greater reason why our lukewarmness bothers God enough that He would spew us out of His mouth. That reason is that He see a much larger picture of mankind and he sees the destruction caused by being halfhearted. Yes, Jesus dies for us individually, but He also died for all of us. 1 Timothy 2:4 says, “He desires all men to be saved.” The problem is that halfheartedness and inconsistency in our lives cause other people to fall away from God.

Let suppose we are in an area of the world where the main avenues for commerce are by rail. Suppose a train on a major railway were to halfway derail, part on the track and part off. In most cases it will take at least 3 days to get a crane to the area to clear away the wreckage, so that the track would be usable. But suppose this same train had completely derailed. Other trains could immediately continue on schedule. The first situation would probably not seem so bad, but it could cause 30 to 40 trains schedules to be cancelled and affect business all over the country. Hospitals could be waiting on blood or medications, and some waiting on food. In the second situation, although the train totally derailed, the only train affected was that one.

Your friends are watching and you cause the most harm to God’s kingdom when we are living a life that is partly on the track and partly off. In other words, are you keeping them from wanting to get closer to Christ? Live a life that would honor Jesus Christ. Reflect His glory and love to others today. God bless!

 

April 21, 2013

What is Progressive Revelation?

No specific scripture today. Out of about a hundred questions in a 1969 booklet I’ve been reading, Bible Questions Answered by John I. Paton, this one really struck me.

What is meant by the expression “progressive revelation”?

That all depends on who is using it.  The attitude of Bible critics of the last century or so has been that man gradually evolved in a spiritual understanding of God.  According to them early men believed in many gods but after a long period of time some came to see that there is only one God.  This approach to progressive revelation makes the Bible out to be a record of man’s progressive discovery of God.

This is far from what the Bible means with regard to progressive revelation.  In Hebrews 1:1 we learn that bit by bit and in many different ways, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets. All of this revelation and information was truth.  None of it was ever withdrawn.  God added to the body of truth from time to time, speaking finally in His Son (v. 2).  Just before He went to the cross our Lord promised that after His resurrection and ascension the Spirit of truth would come and He would guide God’s people into all truth (John 16:13).  It was not many years after that that the New Testament writings were finished.  God’s revelation of Himself and His will is presented fully to man in the Bible.

Perhaps the following example of progressive revelation will serve to illustrate how God gradually revealed His truth.  He first gave a basic element concerning a truth and then added to it as the Bible proceeded to its completion.

We learn from Genesis 4 that Abel “brought of the firstlings of his flock” (v 4.), sacrificing a lamb to the Lord.  This was a “by faith” offering (Heb. 111:4).  Later on in Genesis we learn through Abraham’s preparation to offer up Isaac that “God will provide himself a lamb” (22:8).  God, not Abraham, would furnish a lamb.  At still a later time, in Exodus 12:7, we are told that after slaying the Passover lamb, its blood had to be applied.  According to Leviticus 16:5 Aaron was to take two kids of the goats for a sin offering, one to die and the other to be sent away from the camp of Israel.  Finally, in John’s Gospel we learn that the Lamb is a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ (1:29).  He is provided by God for us.  It is through the application of His shed blood by faith that we are saved from the wrath of God against sin.  We are justified in God’s sight through Christ’s death and resurrection (Rom. 4:25).

In Abel’s sacrifice we see a lamb provided for an individual.  In Egypt the lamb was needed for a family.  Then when the Passover Sacrifice was fully constituted, the Passover lamb was slain for the nation.  But God’s Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, was slain on Calvary, not only for an individual, not only for a nation, but also for the whole lost world. (John 3:16).


Bonus item today:

Head over to Thinking Out Loud and watch a 5-minute video on different ways of interpreting the book of Revelation.