“Since that day I have spent thirty-two years, a changeable man, in a changing world, but John 3:16 has never changed and never will. All those years have only served to endear to me my blessed Saviour and His Holy Word. His unchanging LOVE, unchanging WORD and all-atoning BLOOD is where I rest today”.
from the book ‘Seen and Heard’
(which I miraculously found on my own bookcase, having no idea of how it came to be there)
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.” Isaiah 6:1-3
In the presence of the awesome holiness of God, Isaiah’s sinfulness was utterly exposed. He stood naked before a Holy God.
“ So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5
In the presence of God, our true state is exposed, just as Hebrews 4:13 says:
“And no creature is hidden from His sight but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”
Where we once considered ourselves as pretty ok or good enough, in the light of the glory of God, we see ourselves as we really are: sinful, sinners and deserving of hell. I had this experience myself when I met the Lord. For six months afterwards I felt the weight of my sin and sinfulness. No matter how often I repented I couldn’t get rid of it.
In this place Death is certain, there is no way we can stand before a holy God. Yet it is here that the Altar comes into operation.
“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs
from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.” Isaiah 6:6, 7
The Throne of God in His holiness does not operate apart from the Altar. It is by the Altar that we can make our approach to God, and it is by the Altar that His Throne reaches out to us in grace.
“The throne, in all its wonderful power, moves by way of the altar”. T Austin Sparks
Grace works only through the shed blood of the cross (ie. altar)
“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:11-14
It is on the basis of the shed blood of Christ that we can now come in to God’s presence, and there is no other way. After carrying my guilt for six months the Holy Spirit showed me that it is through the shed blood of Christ that my sins are forgiven and my guilt removed. Once I received that revelation I knew I was forgiven and ‘the burden of my heart rolled away’.
Because of the shed blood of our Saviour, the throne of judgement becomes the throne of grace to all who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“ Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:16
The Contents of the Ark & How They Reveal Christ
There were three items contained in the Ark: the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded and the unbroken tables of the Law.
These items reveal not only Christ’s work, but also His very Personhood.
The Golden Pot of Manna: reveals Christ as Prophet
The Manna in the wilderness was sent from heaven to feed God’s people. Christ Himself is the true Bread of heaven, sent to feed the world.
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:32, 33
He not only is the Bread of Life, but He also gives bread ie. The Word of God, to others as Prophet.
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” Hebrews 4:14
Just as Aaron presented the blood of the atonement before God and sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat in the Tabernacle of Moses, so too has Christ, as our Priest, presented His blood before the Father in heaven and sprinkled it on the mercy seat there before God. (see John 20:17 & Revelation 11:19)
Aaron’s rod budded and blossomed as proof that God had chosen him as High Priest in Israel (see Numbers 17). The life which sprang from his dead rod is a picture of the resurrected Christ Himself. Christ’s resurrection proves He is God’s chosen priest on behalf of sinful humanity.
The Tables of Law: reveal Christ as King
These were the two unbroken tables of Law. The first two were broken by Moses when he found the people in the sin of idolatry. These are a picture of humanity’s constant breaking of God’s law.
However the second set of tables were not broken, representing the one Man who never broke God’s law – Christ. These tables of law were constantly in the midst of Israel as the standard God required. This is a picture of Christ as the holy standard. He is the law-giver and the law-keeper. He is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Yet these tables of Law were under the blood. The blood-stained mercy seat was above the Law and it was through the blood that God beheld the Law.
As we consider the timeless truths contained in the Tabernacle of Moses, let us be reminded that the way is open now in to the Holy of Holies for every believer in Christ. No longer do we have to stay outside in the outer court, we are welcome to enter into the place of fellowship and commune with God around His table. But let’s not stop even there, let us go on into that most intimate place with the Lord, the place of worship in the Holy of Holies.
“ Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, …” Hebrews 4:16
Because of the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, we are able to approach a high and holy God, the God of Israel and know that He is delighted with us when we come to worship Him. Let us look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, let us seek Him and spend time with Him, because the way through the Veil has been made at the expense of the Son of God’s life. This is no trifling matter, but one of great importance and privilege. Let us not squander so great a privilege but go in to the presence of the King and meet with Him there at the Mercy Seat.
Through the Veil, once a year on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would enter the Most Holy Place, or the Holy of Holies.
Hands shaking slightly, trying not to spill the precious blood he carried with him in a vessel, the High Priest slowly pulled back the Veil. Immediately the brightness of the light from behind the Veil pierced through the opening. He was standing in the Holy Place, the place that was lit by the seven lamps of the Golden Lampstand: the place where the gold panels on the walls caught the light of the Lampstand and the whole room shimmered around him. Yet the light that emanated from behind the Veil caused even the shimmering gold light around him to seem dark in comparison.
The radiance was almost palpable and it made him shake in fear. The awesome presence behind the Veil was almost too much to bear.
How can we even put into words what the awesome Shekinah presence of God would have been like for the High Priest as he approached the Throne of God?
“Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Exodus 40:34
The Holy of Holies
The Holy of Holies was the place of the awesome presence of God. It was the place where He dwelt amongst His people, above the mercy seat, in between the Cherubim.
“O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim…” Isaiah 37:16
It was a place of infinite holiness, the Throne of God’s majesty. It was the place where none could enter, except the High Priest, once a year on the Day of Atonement, and not without blood.
From the sunshine of the Outer Court with its Brazen Altar and Brazen Laver: the place of judgment for sin, to the Holy Place which shimmered in the light of the Candlestick with its gold furniture: the place of fellowship with God. Now to the Holy of Holies: the place that had no natural light and no lamp but was the brightest by far, and lit only by the glory of God Himself. This was the place of worship.
“…He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light…” 1 Timothy 6:15, 16
Here we stand finally before the most majestic piece of furniture in the Tabernacle of Moses: the Ark of the Covenant.
The Ark of the Covenant, or the Ark of the Testimony
The Ark was the most majestic item of furniture in the Tabernacle. This item not only speaks of Christ’s work in atonement, but of who He really is, ie His Personhood.
The Ark was a box made of Acacia wood, overlaid with gold. It measured 2.5 cubits in length, by 1.5 cubits in width and 1.5 cubits in height.
“And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around…. And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you.” Exodus 25:10-16
The Ark was the same height as the grate on the Brazen Altar. More on this later in the article.
This was the first piece of furniture, the very first item that God told Moses to make.
“In the beginning God…” Genesis 1:1
God begins with Himself, the place of His presence, because without Him all else is meaningless religion and ritual.
Once again Acacia wood of the Ark, overlaid with gold, reflects the dual nature of Christ, the God-Man: the incorruptible acacia wood, His sinless humanity; and the pure gold, His deity.
The Mercy Seat
On top of the Ark was the Mercy Seat. It was sculpted of pure gold, with two Cherubim facing each other, wings outstretched. The Mercy Seat covered the tablets of the Law which were contained within the Ark and was from where God met with Moses and spoke to him.
“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” Exodus 25:17-22
It is of divine importance that the altar where the blood was shed was the same height as where the blood was taken and sprinkled before God.
This is because the Ark of the Covenant was the earthly seat of God’s glory, His majesty and Almightiness. But more than that even, it was also the Throne of His holiness. God is not only a potentate upon His throne ruling in absolute majesty because of His loftier position to all of creation, but He is the One who also has made a way of redemption from sin. He is our Creator and He is our Holy Redeemer.
“Something has been done in relation to sin, which establishes that throne in holiness, and gives that throne a right, the right to judge sin. It is not just the judgement of men as creatures under the hand of an Almighty God. It is the judgement of a sinful state under a holy state” T Austin Sparks
God is ruling from His Throne in Holiness and Righteousness. The basis of His judgment is within the contents of the Ark: The Law.
To come into His presence is to meet the divine judgment of the Ten Commandments written on the two tablets of stone. Since we have “all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, this means certain death, for the “wages of sin is death”. None can stand before the utter holiness of God.
Yet God in His mercy has provided a way. Over the top of the tablets of Law is the golden Mercy Seat.
The Mercy Seat is a Picture of Christ Himself
The two Cherubim facing inward toward the mercy seat is a picture of the Godhead (or Trinity). All of one piece of gold, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit facing towards the Mercy Seat, which is a picture of God the Son, Christ Jesus.
The word used in Hebrews 3:24 for “propitiation”
(“…Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood through faith…” )
is “hilasterion” and is translated as “mercy seat” in Hebrews 9:5 : “and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat…”
So the same word is translated both as “propitiation” and as “mercy seat”.
“He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world… In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins” 1 John 2:2; 4:10 NASB)
Jesus Christ is the Mercy Seat, “the place of propitiation, or satisfaction, for our sins.” (Theodore H Epp)
Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would take the blood of the slain animal behind the Veil on the Day of Atonement. He would sprinkle it on the Mercy Seat in the presence of God.
“He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins…” Leviticus 16:14-16
Because the Cherubim faced inwards towards the Mercy Seat, they were constantly looking upon the blood. The holiness of God and the demands of the Law meant that to enter the presence of a holy God meant certain death for the wages of sin is death.
But the blood proved that someone had died for the broken law. The death had to be an innocent substitute, someone who had not broken God’s law. The death of the animal foreshadowing, of course, Christ’s substitutionary death for sinful humanity. This blood was what expiated the sin of Israel, because they could not meet the requirements of the Holy Law within the Ark and ultimately it was in Christ that justice received full payment. . It was the blood-stained mercy seat that expiated God’s wrath against sin and meant that the High Priest could enter His presence, with the blood of the one who had died for sin.
To Remove the Mercy Seat Meant Certain Death
Therefore to remove the mercy seat meant certain death. In 1 Samuel 6 the people of Beth Shemesh looked into the Ark after the Philistines returned it. Removing the blood-stained mercy seat meant literally that mercy was removed and thus they were exposed to the Law and God’s judgment against sin. The result was that God struck 50,070 men dead, because the “wages of sin is death.”
This foreshadows Christ as our Mercy Seat. He met the demands of the Law of God and His blood was shed in our place. To attempt to approach God apart from the work of His Son means certain death as our own righteousness is as filthy rags compared to His holy standard. There is only one way into the Holy Place, the place of God’s Throne and that is to first come to the Brazen Altar, ie the cross.
Give me the old-fashioned power of the blood, that old rugged cross and the exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord and there’s nothing that can stand in my way as a blood-bought child of God.
The old fashioned power of the Blood of Jesus Christ is still there on the mercy seat in Heaven before the Father. It has never been removed, it has never lost its power and it never will.
But the devil doesn’t want the Church to know the power of the blood. In particular there has been a sustained effort to cover it up over these last few decades. So let’s have a look at it.
What power does the Blood have?
What gives the Blood its power?
And how can we experience the Blood’s full power in our lives?
The Power of the Blood of Jesus
Peace is made between man and God Colossians 1:20
“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.”
Forgiveness of sins Colossians 1:14
“in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
Eternal Life John 6:54
“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Satan is Overcome Revelation 12:11
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
Continual Cleansing from all Sin 1 John 1:7
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Set Free from bondage to a Guilty Conscience to Serve God Hebrews 9:14
“how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Liberty to Enter and Remain in the Holy of Holies of God’s Presence Hebrews 10:19
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,”
What Gives the Blood its Power?
Like the old hymn says “There’s power, power wonder-working power in the Blood of the Lamb”…
The Blood of the Lamb surely has power even now. We can testify to its power to cast demons out of people, save people and set them free..
But it is the power of the blood of the Lamb.
Jesus Became the Lamb of God
Not a mighty warrior, a conquering superhero, but a Lamb. A lamb has a meek and humble disposition. A lamb doesn’t fight. A lamb is led to the slaughter quietly, a lamb doesn’t protest.
It is the power of the blood of the Lamb
“So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Rev 7:14
Jesus became the Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world. He was the final Lamb in fulfilment of all those thousands of lambs in the Old Covenant that were killed on the altar for man’s sin.
He literally became the physical Lamb as an atonement, but it was more than that.
The Disposition of the Lamb
He was also the Lamb in disposition. Jesus was meek and unresisting. In total submission to the Father He allowed man to do whatever they wanted to Him and He didn’t fight back, He didn’t resist, nor protest. He yielded the whole time, even to death.
“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Phil 2:8
“He’s not merely the Lamb because He died on the cross, but He died on the cross because He’s the Lamb.” Roy Hession
Hebrews 9:14 says “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God…”
Truly Christ was so humble that He offered Himself to God as the Lamb, willing to do whatever the Father wanted.
It was because of this disposition of utter self-denial, of the complete surrender of the Lamb and of His deep humility that God exalted Him and gave Him the Name above every name.
So we see how valuable this disposition is to God. This was the disposition He was after when He created Adam. But Adam rebelled against his Creator and took the path of Self instead. Thus all mankind has followed Adam down this path of Self and rejected submission to our Creator and God. This is the essence of sin: self and pride.
But God found that disposition in one Man: the Man Christ Jesus.
And His shed blood is the ultimate expression of this humility.
“It was because the shedding of His blood so supremely expressed this disposition that it is so utterly precious to God and so all-availing for man and his sin” Roy Hession
How can we Experience the Blood’s Full Power in Our lives?
Just as the shed blood’s power comes from the Lamb’s disposition, so too in our own lives, the power of the blood becomes available to us as we follow the Lamb and partake of His divine nature.
Just as He submitted fully to the Father’s will and yielded up His life to Him, so we too can know the full power of the Blood as we submit to the Father, willingly and quietly obeying His will, laying down our own wants, desires, rights and ambitions. As we offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice to Him, He fills us with His Spirit and the disposition of the Lamb becomes ours.
Lord, help us to truly submit to You. To lay down our life for you as You lay down Your life for us. As we do, fill us with your Spirit and may the fruits of the Spirit, such as meekness, gentleness truly become evident in our lives. We thank you for becoming the Lamb who took away our sins, may we become lambs now and follow You wherever you go. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
*Based on teaching from Roy Hession’s book “The Calvary Road”
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
Jesus is the fulfillment of the Passover feast, the Passover lamb and the feast of Unleavened Bread. Whilst these Old Testament shadows pointed to the One to come, He is the reality behind the shadow. There is so much in the feast of Passover that foreshadows Christ that I don’t have a hope of covering all of it here. So this is just to skim the surface of these treasures:
Type: A lamb was selected for the Passover sacrifice on tenth of Nisan. “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying “On the tenth of this month (Nisan) every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.” Exodus 12:3
Anti-type: Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem on the tenth of Nisan. As He entered the city, so too were the Passover lambs being brought into Jerusalem in preparation for the Passover sacrifices.
Type: The Passover lambs were reared in Bethlehem and brought into Jerusalem for the feast
Anti-type: Jesus was born in Bethlehem and came up to Jerusalem for the feast
Type: As the Passover lambs were ushered into Jerusalem the crowds cried out “Hosanna!”
Anti-type: Jesus was greeted with “Hosanna!” as he entered Jerusalem. (Hosanna means “Save now” or “Please save”)
Type: “Your lamb shall be without blemish….you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.” (Exodus 12:5, 6). The lamb was kept by each family until the fourteenth of Nisan when it was sacrificed. During this period of four days the lamb was inspected to ensure it was without spot or blemish, which would preclude it from being offered to the Lord.
Anti-type: Before Jesus Christ, was offered to God as a sacrifice He too was also examined – by Annas, by the High Priest, by the Sanhedrin, by Pontius Pilate and by Herod. No spot nor blemish could be found in Him, indeed He was wholly without sin.
Type: “For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses….” (Exodus 12:19). Homes needed to be cleansed at this time. (For Jews it is still a time of spring cleaning). Leaven needed to be searched out in each home and removed as this was also the time of the Feast of Unleavened bread. Leaven in scripture is, of course, a picture of sin.
Anti-type: Jesus having arrived in Jerusalem, goes straight into the temple and begins to cleanse the leaven from House of God, driving out those who bought and sold in it. (Luke 19:45) Jesus, of course is the fulfillment of “Unleavened” bread, Him being without sin.
Type: Jesus’ fervent desire is to eat the Passover seder with His disciples. The Passover was a remembrance of what God had done in setting the Israelites free from their bondage in Egypt. The blood of the lamb was painted on the lintels and doorposts so that the angel of death would pass over the Israelite’s homes and they would be saved.
Anti-type: It is at Passover that Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper. “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” As Jesus broke the matzah He was telling them that His body would also be broken. Just at the Passover lamb’s blood was shed and painted on the lintels and doorposts – so too would His blood be shed. Under the covering of Christ’s shed blood we are set free from our bondage to sin and the judgment of God passes over us so that we are saved.
(The Jewish day begins at sundown. Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples at sundown as Passover began. He was crucified the next day before sundown, therefore, on Passover.)
Type: During the time the temple was standing in Jerusalem, three lambs were sacrificed on Passover.
Anti-type: Jesus was sacrificed on the cross at the same time that the first Passover lamb was killed in the Temple. Around the time the second lamb was being slain in the Temple, everything went dark. At the time of the third lamb’s sacrifice, Jesus gave up the ghost on the cross and the veil in the Temple was ripped in two.
God had commanded in the Law that everyone was to be in Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. That means that everyone got to witness the veil being ripped from top to bottom. The New Covenant was now instituted through Christ’s shed blood and the way into the Holy of Holies was made open by the death of the spotless, perfect, sinless Lamb of God – Jesus Christ.
Oh if we could only truly comprehend what He has done for us! He laid down His life for us – Him who never sinned. His body broken, His blood shed so that we could enter into communion with the Father. The veil of His flesh torn so that the way to God is open for us now!
“For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.… Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD….For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:1-14
By one offering Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, took away all the sins of the world…. Hallelujah to the Lamb!
This year I have been surprised by the strong sense of anticipation I have felt as Passover has drawn near.
While I have been aware for a long time of the eternal truths that shine forth through the feast of Passover, this time it is different. Recently I have come to see that the story of Passover in a striking way reflects my own story. The external truth of the Passover, to me, has become an inward reality.
My Passover story began about six and a half years ago. I had been a church-going Christian all of my life. I loved God and knew He loved me and had guided me throughout my whole life. I lived my life the best that I could and everything had turned out pretty well. I had married a wonderful man, had a lovely baby girl and was really quite happy with my life and with myself. I had no need for anything more and I certainly was not looking to change myself or my life in any way.
Then one day someone gave me a tape-sermon from a fiery old preacher-man and everything changed.
Mainly I listened to the sermon out of curiosity, with absolutely no clue as to the ramifications it would have on my life forever. By the time that sermon was over I was on my knees on the floor. I was in the presence of God and I was borne down under Holy Ghost conviction. What happened that night changed me forever. I saw myself clearly for the first time in my life. For me, a young woman, satisfied with things as they were currently in my life – to be absolutely confronted with the state of my own heart was devastating. My sins were right in front of my face – the things I had done and shouldn’t have done and the things I should have done and didn’t. Not only that, but I also saw that I had inherited a sin-nature from Adam and that there was nothing that I could do about it.
The only way to explain what I experienced (and words cannot do justice) was a death. I was crushed under the weight of my sin. I wept and wept. I was in mourning. An hour before that my life was good and fine, no major issues, all smooth sailing, and now everything was different, I was different. This was not something that could be dismissed or forgotten. I was utterly undone. For the person I was before this to continue to exist was no longer a possibility. In the light of truth there was no option for me but to repent of my sins and cry out to God for His grace and mercy.
And God came to me in mercy. I knew that Jesus had taken the penalty for my sins upon Himself at the cross. That He had already paid for them there and that I was forgiven. I arose from the floor a changed woman. Out of the ashes of that mourning and death God had raised up something different, something beautiful. It was Life in place of death.
From that moment I was different. In all honesty prior to my meeting God face-to-face, I had been rather hard and cold-hearted, although I didn’t see myself that way at the time. I used to say that “I love animals but hate people”. I saw what people did to each other and I hated them for it. (I didn’t really include myself in that category though, I was pretty ok.) I was capable of feeling compassion towards suffering and needy people of course, but to be actually inconvenienced by going out of my way in order to help them, was an irritation to which I would not, nor could not, subject myself. To actually lay down my life for others was a concept so foreign to me that it simply would never have entered my mind. (My husband can attest to the hardness of heart that used to be mine, to my shame).
But now, because I had been “born-again” I was a new creation. I was now a child of God and was full of Him. I became tender-hearted, as He is. I began to reach out to others, as He does. Although I am obviously not perfect, I can honestly say that the total and complete change in the state of my own heart is the biggest proof to me that there is a God, and that He is in the business of changing hearts. I know what I was before, and I know the difference to what I am now. Of course until God exposed the truth of my heart to me I had no idea.
Going back a little at this point, although I was convicted, forgiven and changed that night, I actually continued to struggle under the weight of my now-revealed sin for quite a few months. Whilst I knew that Christ had died for my sin and that God had forgiven me, I still experienced a heavy weight of guilt and I couldn’t seem to be able to walk in the forgiveness for which I knew Christ had died. Whenever I messed up that just added more weight to the guilt. I even came to think that perhaps I was meant to remain in this state. However, once again, God met me in His mercy. He simply revealed to me one night that my sins past, present and future are “under the blood”. He showed me that no amount of fussing or of feeling guilty changes the fact that I am covered by the blood of the Lamb. He actually showed me that guilt was a waste of time and energy because the blood of a righteous Redeemer is what God sees when He looks at me.
In that moment of time, all the burden of my guilt vanished. Now I knew experientially that I was forgiven, I knew that I was free from guilt! A load lifted from me, never to be experienced again. I now walk in the “glorious liberty by which Christ has made (me) free.” And all because of the blood. I could now truly say, as the old hymn:
“’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved”
God said to the Israelites at the very first Passover:
“Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you…” Exodus 12:13
Just as God’s judgment “passed over” the Israelites because they were covered by the blood of the Passover lamb, I too have been covered by the blood of the Lamb, so that I have escaped God’s judgment for sin. The Bible says:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal Life”
About 1300 years after the first Passover lamb was sacrificed in order to redeem Israel from slavery in Eqypt, another Lamb was sacrificed in order to redeem humankind from the bondage of sin. This Lamb was slain on Passover too, crucified on the cross. John the Baptist said of Him: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” He was blemish-less, unleavened by sin and He tasted of the “bitter herbs” of suffering. Jesus, the Son of God, chose to come to earth to be the sacrifice for our sins, in order to redeem us. He was the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” and all because “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
May God bless you with His grace this Passover season!
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