Basic in the plan of salvation is Christ's sacrifice for sin, which provides both ransom and reunion.
From the day that man fell, God sought to reveal His wonderful plan through the sacrificial system. In this system, He showed that He would accept a substitute in the sinner's place. In His wisdom God gave man an opportunity to exercise both faith and choice by participating in the sacrificial ceremonies. When, through Moses, God instituted the sanctuary service in the wilderness, He more fully revealed the significance of the plan of salvation.
Let us visit the court of the Old Testament sanctuary and observe the worshipers as they enter, longing for freedom from their burden of sin. One man leads a bullock, another has a goat, a third brings a lamb. We watch the man with the lamb approach the altar and place his hand upon its head. Leviticus 4:33 makes the meaning clear. The laying of his hand upon the lamb implies confessionóand genuine confession is specific (see Leviticus 5:5). In symbol his sin has thus been transferred from himself to the lamb. And so the lamb must die.
Now let us note the lessons that this ceremony has for you and me. "It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). In all ages, man's only hope has been Jesus Christ, the True Sacrifice. Hence, to every sinner the message comes, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). The lamb represents Christ in His role as sacrifice.
In the typical service, when the contrite sinner transferred his sin to the innocent lamb, it became a sin bearer. So concerning Christ the Scriptures state, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24). As the repentant sinner brought a substitute that died in his place, so every penitent person can come to Calvary and, looking at the crucified Son of God, say, He "loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
But there is more. The man who sought forgiveness slew the sacrifice. It was not enough that the penitent should confess his sins and transfer them to the substitute. He must raise
the lamb's lift bring our sins and lay then His head, v are to linge at Calvary and behold what our sins do to our Substitute. Here we can fin true repentant
When you and I come to Calvary, we see Jesus slain by our deliberate sin. We learn two lessons from this. First, as we see Him die, the just for the unjust, the horrible nature of sin begins to dawn on us. And second, we confront a love so deep that God took our sins upon His innocent soul. No wonder Satan tries to keep us from looking at the cross!
People sin because they want to sin. Something must happen that will cause sin to lose its hold.
As we behold the Lamb of God upon the cross of Calvary, the goodness of God leads us to repentance. In dying for sinners, Christ manifested a love that is incomprehensible; and as the sinner beholds this love, it softens the heart, impresses the mind, and inspires contrition in the soul.
If we will come to Calvary, we will see what sin has done to Christ. When we look at what sin did to Jesus, we see what it will do to us if we hang on to it. It will take us into the darkness of separation from God.
[In the light of the cross we see what sin costs, how its resulting pain, suffering, and death have broken God's heart of love. We understand that the nail wounds didn't kill Jesus. He died of a broken heart, broken under the weight of your sin, my sinóbecause He loved us.]
If, as you look into the mirror of God's holy law, you see yourself a transgressor, will you not come and put your sins upon the Lamb? God has no other way to separate you from your sins. And no matter how little your sin may seem to you, it murdered the Son of God.
"Just as I am,
Without one plea,
But that Thy blood
Was shed for me,
And that Thou bid'st me Come to Thee,
O Lamb of God,
I Will Give You Rest
"Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
You who in heart long for something better than this world can give, recognize this longing as the voice of God to your soul. Ask Him to give you repentance, to reveal Christ to you in His infinite love, in His perfect purity. It is as we behold Him, as the light from our Savior falls upon us, that we see the sinfulness of our own hearts.
How shall a man be just with God? How shall the sinner be made righteous? It is only through Christ that we can be brought into harmony with God, with holiness; but how are we to come to Christ? "Repent... and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19).
Jesus has said, "l, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me" (John 12:32). Christ must be revealed to the sinner as the Savior dying for the sins of the world; and as we behold the Lamb of God upon the cross of Calvary the mystery of redemption begins to unfold to our minds and the goodness of God leads us to repentance.
If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better. We can do nothing of ourselves. We must' come to Christ just as we are.
The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and reasonable. He that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy (see Proverbs 28:13).
True confession is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular sins. It should be definite and to the point, acknowledging the very sins of which you are guilty.
There must be decided changes in the life; everything offensive to God must be put away. This will be the result of genuine sorrow for sin.
Jesus loves to have us come to Him just as we are: sinful, helpless, dependent. We may come with all our weakness, our folly, our sinfulness, and fall at His feet in penitence. It is His glory to encircle us in the arms of His love and to bind up our wounds, to cleanse us from all impurity.