Keys to Understanding God's Divine Directives!
Keys to Understanding God's Divine Directives! - Study Four
We now focus our attention once more on another of God's directives. As a background, I remind you of an event that occurred many centuries ago. It is recorded in Genesis 22. In summary, this is the story. God said to Abraham, "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and ... offer him ... for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." And Abraham took two of his young men, and Isaac his son, and wood for the burnt offering, and it went unto the place of which God had told him." On the third day, Abraham saw the place far off. And he took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it upon Isaac, and he took the fire and a knife, and they went forth both of them together. And Isaac said to Abraham, "Behold the fire and wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb . . ." "And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand ... to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said ... lay not thine hand upon the lad ... for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham ... beheld a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham ... offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son." God had provided himself a lamb.
Centuries later, the Apostle John said of Jesus Christ, the eternal, living Word of God, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth." And John the Baptist came on the scene, and pointing to Jesus, said, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." What John said of Christ that day was not a mere observation. John, who Luke's Gospel says was filled with the Holy Ghost from his birth, was speaking under inspiration of the Holy Spirit and giving voice to a divine directive addressed to all mankind. "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."
To grasp the significance of that directive, it is necessary to understand two fundamental Bible truths which are affirmed and emphasized throughout both the Old and the New Testaments.
The first is the mystery of blood atonement. You don't hear many sermons on the blood atonement today. Many preachers prefer to preach about Christ's example and how He went about doing good, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, comforting the sorrowing, and practicing the Golden Rule. The emphasis is on our following His example.
This is all well and good. But it ignores the real reason why Christ came to this earth. Let me quote His own words in Luke 19:10. "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Mark 10:45,"The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." The best-known verse in the Bible says "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son." Why? Not that men might be successful and prosperous that their social problems might be solved, not that they be spared the ravages of war and poverty and pestilence and famine. Then why did He come? "That whosoever belive in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Man in his natural state is alienated from God by sin. He is spiritually dead and under divine condemnation. Unless he is rescued, he will perish eternally. God sent Christ to perform that rescue. He came to seek and save that which was lost. He came to give His life a ransom for many, to pay with His life the price of man's redemption. He came to solve man's sin problem which no man can solve for himself.
That brings us to the mystery of blood atonement. In the divine plan and purpose of God, there can be no forgiveness or remission of sin until that sin has been atoned for by the shedding of blood. Speaking of the covenant God made with the children of Israel when He gave them His divine law at Mount Sinai, Hebrews 9:22 says, "Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."
You may say that makes no sense. What has the shedding of blood to do with forgiveness or remission of sins? It may make no sense to you, but it is the requirement of divine justice. We must recognize that it is a divine requirement, whether we can understand it or not. It has been a requirement of divine justice since sin first entered the human race and Adam and Eve first disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. The first blood ever shed on this earth was when God slew animals to make coats of skins to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. The Bible says, "The life of the flesh is in the blood," and "The wages (or consequences) of sin is death." The shedding of blood represents the pouring out of life or the bringing about of death to pay the wages of sin.
The divine law which God gave Israel at Sinai required the High Priest to go into the inner sanctum of the Tabernacle once each year with the blood of a sacrificial animal and to sprinkle that blood on the horns of the altar to make atonement for the sins of the people. Now there was no atoning efficacy in the blood of the animals which the priest sprinkled on the altar, but God accepted it in anticipation of the day Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, would shed His divine blood on the Cross to atone for the sins of all mankind.
The Apostle Paul, in Hebrews 9, speaks of Christ "being come an high priest of good things to come ... neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." The passage goes on to say, "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" "For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified."
No wonder John the Baptist pointed to Christ and said, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." No wonder the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Colossians speaks of "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins."
Notice we have redemption not by reason of our own efforts or good works but through His blood. It is significant that most modern translations of the Bible omit from this passage those three words, "through his blood," which is evidence of the drift to religious apostasy and rejection of the blood atonement as a cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith.
The second cardinal Bible truth underlying John's reference to Christ as the "Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" is the doctrine of divine substitution. When Abraham sacrificed the ram caught in the thicket, he sacrificed it in Isaac's stead. When God sacrificed His Son, Jesus Christ, on the Cross, He sacrificed Him as a substitute sinbearer in the place of the guilty sinners who make up the human race. Christ's death as God's Lamb met the two requirements of divine justice and enabled God to offer forgiveness to all who accept Christ's work of redemption on their behalf.
That's why John the Baptist could say to the people of his day, and why we can say to you today, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."
Think what that ultimately will mean. Some day because of what Christ did and who He is, this entire world once more will be entirely free from sin and sin's consequences. He "taketh away the sin of the world." Think of a world in which there will be no more evil, no more wars, no more violence, no more immorality, no more poverty, no famines or pestilences, no more sorrow or heartache or death. He "taketh away the sin of the world" and the consequences of sin.
Have you ever seriously thought about what that means for you? Whether you recognize it or not, sin in your nature and in your life has alienated you from God and the spiritual life God alone can give. It has put you under divine condemnation and assures that you will be barred from heaven to face an eternity of endless and hopeless remorse, and there isn't anything you can do to save or even help save yourself from sin's power and eternal consequences.
But the good news of the Gospel is that God loves you. In His love He has provided himself a Lamb, a substitute to bear the penalty of your sin in your place. That substitute sinbearer was His only-begoffen Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scriptures say, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." "God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Your responsibility is to believe and receive Him into your heart and life as your personal Saviour and in Him receive the solution to your sin problem He offers you as the "Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."
May you behold Him today as you've never beheld Him before. Behold Him sweating drops of blood in Gethsemane; behold Him being scourged by Roman soldiers while a crown of cruel thorns is forced on His tortured brow; behold Him staggering under the weight of His cross as they led Him to Calvary; behold Him as nails are driven through His hands and feet and as they lift Him up to die an agonizing death by crucifixion. And remember, He endured all that for you when He died as the "Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world," including yours. May you behold Him today as you've never beheld Him before. And may you right now bow before Him in adoration and worship and ask Him to come into your heart and life to be your personal Saviour and sovereign Lord from this hour on.
In Conclusion please "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," and who says to you, "Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is none else."
May God bless you.
Let Us Pray Together--
PRAY: "God be merciful to me a sinner. Receive me now for Christ's sake. Cleanse me from my sin by your precious blood, shed on the cross for me; lead me to be Baptized and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach me to pray each day; to read Your will for my life from your word, the Bible; and help me to worship and serve You in the fellowship of your church. I thank you Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN!
This Ends This Lesson Series!