Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world

9 Jan

Behold, the Lamb

Our pastor preached an excellent sermon Sunday evening on Exodus 12, the great Passover event.  I had to offer some highlights from it and a few additional comments.  Here, Yahweh instructs the children of Israel about how they are to shield themselves from the awful wrath and justice of God when He punishes their Egyptian masters.  It is important to note that the death angel visits all households (not just Egyptian ones).  Their ethnicity, their nationality, their membership in the covenant community, their goodness, their social status, will not save them.  What will?  The blood of the lamb shed upon the doorpost of their homes.  It’s upon that basis and that basis alone that the death angel of the Lord will “passover” to the next family of sinners.  And what kind of lamb must they use?  One without spot or blemish, a perfect lamb.  It reads:

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb[a] for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month,when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.

12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

We too are in such a precarious position before a Holy God.  The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life eternal.  How must we be pardoned, passed-over, from death to life?  In a similar way, but better!  It took a sacrificial lamb to come in between the wrath of God and the Israelite home when judgment fell on Egypt.  It took a lamb to come in between the knife of Abraham and the flesh of Isaac laying on the altar.  It took a lamb to come in between the people of God and the wrath of God after the high priest pleaded for mercy from God in the Jewish sacrificial system of the temple.  But these lambs, as perfect as they could be, and though necessary, were insufficient.  And yet, it still takes a lamb.  But fear not, for John the Baptist has told us of a greater Lamb!  Seeing Jesus the Christ in the distance, John the Baptist cries out “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29)!  The blood of this Lamb is “the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without spot or blemish” (1 Peter 1:19) on the inside and out.  So must anything be added to the blood of this Lamb to accomplished forgiveness for the sinner?  God forbid it, lest we be left to ruin!  The writer of Hebrews explains the difference in the old sacrificial system and the the final sufficient sacrifice of Christ well.  He explains what the old system accomplished, what it failed to accomplish, what it symbolized or pointed to, and what has gloriously taken its place.  Consider chapter 9 of Hebrews:

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover.[a] But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

The Blood of Christ

11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here,[b] he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,[c] so that we may serve the living God!

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

16 In the case of a will,[d] it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19 When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”[e] 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Marred by guilt, conscious of sin, afraid to face the holiness of God, sensing the wrath to come?  Look to Christ.  Look only to Christ, whose blood alone can atone for sin.  Do you lack faith that Jesus paid it all?  Do you think that surely you must add to the sacrifice of Christ?  Perhaps you’ve been told, even a church, that you must do more.  I admonish you, lean not on your own understanding.  We have just read that the blood of Christ is enough.  We just read that nothing man brings is “able to clear the conscious of the worshiper.”  What is sufficient?  Only the blood of Christ will cleanse our conscious!  He entered the Most Holy Place ” once for all.”  He is the sole mediator between God and man.  He alone brings us near to God.  He offered Himself as a ransom, a complete and total ransom, for many, for the forgiveness of sins.  And He is done, as demonstrated by His sitting down at the right hand of God’s throne, a position of victory and a posture of rest.  Indeed, under the old system, “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this Priest [Christ] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Heb. 10″11-14).  He is not, He must not, He need not, offer himself again and again.  “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people.”  There is nothing more to add.  Nothing more to do.  Do not listen to those who would direct you to add to the precious finished work of Christ on your behalf.  “It is finished.”  Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.  That is all.  That is enough.

 

 

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2 Responses to “Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”

  1. B Hodges Jacobs January 9, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    This day’s blog will not allow printing. This has been an ongoing problem with WordPress. YOU NEED to ask them to ASAP address this ONGOING issue.
    dtd: Jan, 9, 2012

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    • thereformedmind January 9, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

      Did you selection “print” under the “share” button at the bottom of the blog post?

      Like

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