It is late afternoon, and everyone scurries about getting ready for company.
Mother is mopping the kitchen floor. She is nearly finished when Mary comes in with muddy feet and runs across the floor. What will Mother do now? Some more mopping—if she wants a clean kitchen.
Just as she gets almost through again, Johnny bursts in with muddy feet too! Now what will Mother have to do? Some more mopping. When will she get through? That depends on how long the family will keep tracking in mud.
God intended that in looking at a bleeding bullock or dying lamb, the sinner should behold the suffering of the promised Messiah. But many saw in it only the death of an animal, and some even came to look upon those sacrifices as the way to pay for their transgressions. If a man wanted to sin badly enough, he would be willing to lose a lamb or a bullock. So the stream of sin continued, and the rivers of blood flowed on.
Today multitudes knowingly transgress God's law, ask God to forgive them, but keep right on sinning day after day and week after week. What is the problem? If the sacrifice of the cross and Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary cannot take away sin, if they only offer a repeated program of sinning and repenting, is the new plan really better than the old?
[God wants to give us new natures that are in harmony with and delight in His law. "I delight to do thy will, 0 my God: yea, thy law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:8). He is not looking for some sacrifice, whether it is bringing a lamb, doing some penance or a careless prayer at night, so that people can continue breaking the law. God doesn't want to be paid off; He wants their hearts in harmony with His law.]
Christ longs for His children to reach the place where they are in harmony with His heart. His goal is not the repeated forgiveness of sin, but the putting away of sin.
What the blood of beasts could never do, the blood of Jesus will accomplish for all who yield themselves. We must sense the pain that sin brings to God. When we have a deep love for Christ, when we realize what our sins did to Jesus and what they do to Him now, there will not be money enough in this world to bribe us to break God's law. No threat of punishment can scare us into transgression. We would rather die than sin. If we love Him, we will keep His commandments, for we cannot bear to break His heart by breaking His law.
Perhaps somewhere in your past you did something wrong, and then, as you looked into the face of your loving father or mother and saw tears, you began to realize something of how your disobedience had hurt them. Whatever pleasure you felt was spoiled.
Sin is not funny. Sin brings pain. You and I may not feel it instantly, but God does, and the pain never stops until the sin is gone. This is the message of the sanctuary. And this is the cure for sin. Sin brings separation between man and God, and this hurts God so much that it breaks His heart. God will never rest until sin is taken away so that man and God can be restored to perfect harmony, full unity, and complete fellowship.
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of' Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to one a people" (Hebrews 8:10).
[What does it mean to have the law written in the mind and heart? The law written in the mind is knowing God's will. A person who knows nothing of God or His laws goes through life unwittingly transgressing the Ten Commandments. Through God's providence, he comes face to face with the requirements of God's law. As he studies his Bible and his relationship with Christ grows, he becomes more and more aware of God's will for him. What is happening in his mind? The law of God is being written there. The same hand that inscribed upon the tables of stone the precepts of the commandments traces the will of the Eternal in our minds.]
If the law written in the mind is knowing God's will, the law written in the heart stands for the experience of loving His will. Then obedience becomes not a burden but a joy. The true Christian sings, "I delight to do thy will, 0 my God: yea, thy law is within my heart " (Psalm 40:8).
For example, suppose I ask a mother with a crying baby, "Why don't you kill that child?"
Would she answer, "Why, don't you know there is a law in this state against that? If I should kill the baby, the police would arrest me, and I might have to spend my whole life in prison. So I'm quite careful how I treat the little fellow. At times I wonder if I can control myself, but when I think of that jail, I don't dare give in to my feelings."
Or suppose she answers, "Don't you know that the law in the heavenly temple says, `Thou shalt not kill"? If I were to kill the child, I would burn in the lake of fire-and I don't want that! Sometimes I have to pray hard to control myself, but when I think of those burning flames ..."
Do you think the baby is safe?
Is there a law in the statehouse against murder? Yes. Is there a law in the heavenly sanctuary against murder? Yes. But where is the law written that protects the little child? In the mother's heart.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the commandments were written in your heart the same way? They can be. "I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will! write them" (Hebrews 10:16).
You see, if parents love their children, it isn't hard to keep from killing them. When husbands love their wives, it isn't hard to keep from committing adultery, either in outward act or inward thought. And children who love their parents don't find it hard to obey them. The Scriptures tell us, "Love is the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:10). How strange that anyone ever concluded that if he had enough love he didn't need to obey the law! Jesus urges, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15 RSV).
Christ says, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:30). Love is all we need, to do all that God has said in every one of His commandments. To know His will and to love His will result when God writes His law in our minds and hearts.
Some people would like to find a copy machine through which they can run their minds and hearts and in five minutes have it all done, but Jesus offers no such program.
True, Jesus will forgive our sins as soon as we confess them, but sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, but of a lifetime. And this doesn't mean that if you wait long enough, either death or translation will take care of everything. Mere passing of time will not satisfy. Mere passing of time will not write God's law in the mind and heart. But if you and I will spend time with Jesus every day, He will not only forgive our past sins but will also write His law in our very souls so that we will love righteousness and hate iniquity. By beholding Him we become changed until the sins we once loved, we can now truly say we hate.