Sabbath, September 13, 2008
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians5:21.
Cleansing of sin in the Levitical ministry
1. Is sin a stain that can be easily removed? What is required for its atonement or remission?
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11.
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22.
“To many it has been a mystery why so many sacrificial offerings were required in the old dispensation, why so many bleeding victims were led to the altar. But the great truth that was to be kept before men, and imprinted upon mind and heart, was this, ‘Without shedding of blood is no remission.’” –The Signs of the Times, January 2, 1893.
2. What sacrifices in the Old Testament typified the coming Redeemer?
“For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.” Leviticus 16:30.
“And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall make atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.” Leviticus 4:26.
“In every bleeding sacrifice was typified ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’” –The Signs of the Times, January 2, 1893.
“The Jews saw in the sacrificial offerings the symbol of Christ whose blood was shed for the salvation of the world. All these offerings were to typify Christ and to rivet the great truth in their hearts that the blood of Jesus Christ alone cleanseth from all sin, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Some wonder why God desired so many sacrifices and appointed the offering of so many bleeding victims in the Jewish economy.
“Every dying victim was a type of Christ, which lesson was impressed on mind and heart in the most solemn, sacred ceremony, and explained definitely by the priests. Sacrifices were explicitly planned by God Himself to teach this great and momentous truth, that through the blood of Christ alone there is forgiveness of sins.” –Selected Messages, Book 1, pp. 106, 107.
Jesus’ suffering on the cross for us
3. According to the counsel of God, what was Jesus to suffer?
“Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” 1 Peter 1:20.
“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Acts 2:23.
“And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.” Luke 24:46.
“Thus Satan strove to gain control over the human mind, that he might wreak his hatred and revenge on the only-begotten Son of God. But the last act of the tragedy was yet to be enacted. The Son of God was yet to be killed by the unfaithful stewards.” –The Signs of the Times, February 17, 1898.
4. Why did He have to suffer to the point of death on the cross?
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1, 2.
“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17.
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” Romans 3:25.
“In order for man to be saved, and for the honor of the law to be maintained, it was necessary for the Son of God to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin. He who knew no sin became sin for us. He died for us on Calvary. His death shows the wonderful love of God for man, and the immutability of His law.” –Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 240.
“‘And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.’ ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ The conditions of obtaining mercy from God are simple and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order to gain forgiveness. We need not make long and wearisome pilgrimages, or perform painful penances, to commend our souls to the God of heaven or to expiate our transgression. He that ‘confesseth and forsaketh’ his sin ‘shall have mercy.’ Proverbs 28:13.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 552.
Making intercession for men
5. After His atoning sacrifice, what ministry of peace did He continue to perform?
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25.
“Christ is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him in faith. He will cleanse them from all defilement if they will let Him. But if they cling to their sins, they cannot possibly be saved; for Christ’s righteousness covers no sin unrepented of. God has declared that those who receive Christ as their Redeemer, accepting Him as the One who takes away all sin, will receive pardon for their transgressions.” –(Manuscript 142, 1899) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 931.
“Let the glorious conceptions of God possess your mind. Let your life be knit by hidden links to the life of Jesus. He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness is willing to shine in your heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will take the things of God and show them unto you, conveying them as a living power into the obedient heart. Christ will lead you to the threshold of the Infinite. You may behold the glory beyond the veil, and reveal to men the sufficiency of Him who ever liveth to make intercession for us.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 149.
6. What great assurance may we therefore have as those who are at peace with God?
“Herein 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 4:10.
“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Romans 8:34.
“Thank God that He who spilled His blood for us, lives to plead it, lives to make intercession for every soul who receives Him. ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. It speaketh better things than the blood of Abel, for Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us. We need to keep ever before us the efficacy of the blood of Jesus. That life-cleansing, life-sustaining blood, appropriated by living faith, is our hope. We need to grow in appreciation of its inestimable value, for it speaks for us only as we by faith claim its virtue, keeping the conscience clean and at peace with God.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 947, 948.
Our one true Example
7. Who is the only atoning sacrifice for sin in whom one may have hope?
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” 1 Timothy 2:5, 6.
“The heart belongs to Jesus. He has paid an infinite price for the soul; and He intercedes before the Father as our Mediator, pleading not as a petitioner, but as conqueror who would claim that which is His own. He is able to save to the uttermost, for He ever lives to make intercession for us. A young heart is a precious offering, the most valuable gift that can be presented to God. All that you are, all the ability you possess, comes from God a sacred trust, to be rendered back to Him again in a willing, holy offering. You cannot give to God anything that He has not first given you. Therefore when the heart is given to God, it is giving to Him a gift which He has purchased and is His own.” –Messages to Young People, p. 407.
8. On whom should our look of faith be fastened as our only hope and perfect Example in all things?
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2.
“Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.” Psalm 25:15.
“Many make a serious mistake in their religious life by keeping the attention fixed upon their feelings and thus judging of their advancement or decline. Feelings are not a safe criterion. We are not to look within for evidence of our acceptance with God. We shall find there nothing but that which will discourage us. Our only hope is in ‘looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.’ There is everything in Him to inspire with hope, with faith, and with courage. He is our righteousness, our consolation and rejoicing.
“Those who look within for comfort will become weary and disappointed. A sense of our weakness and unworthiness should lead us with humility of heart to plead the atoning sacrifice of Christ. As we rely upon His merits we shall find rest and peace and joy. He saves to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 199, 200.
An object lesson
Searching for a person worthy of her love
In one of his dramas, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, a playright of the Spanish Golden Age, wrote about a young Roman girl in the early centuries of Christianity who had vowed not to enter into marriage with anyone but a man who would prove his love for her by risking his own life for her.
A member of the Roman nobility, the young girl one day heard an itinerant preacher tell the story of a man who, because of His great love for sinners, had given his life as an atonement, dying on the cross.
She knew she had found the person worthy of her love and was converted, becoming one of His faithful followers. The poet presented this heroine, Daria, as faithful until the end, dying a martyr’s death. This was her heart’s answer to the love of the One who had died for her.