Everyone once in a while I will have something hit me that is deeper than the norm. Today in my personal Scripture reading a deep thought struck that I decided I ought to share. In my reading plan I read from the Old Testament and New Testament every day. (For those of you not sure what those are, the OT was written and is about times before Christ and the NT is written starting with the time of Christ and the early church. Reading from some of both is a great way to stay well-rounded in understanding the depth of what all God has done in the world through Jesus Christ.)
Today I read Ezekial 44-46 and 46:9 really jumped out at me. “‘When the people of the land come before the LORD at the appointed feasts, whoever enters by the north gate to worship is to go out the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate is to go out the north gate. No one is to return through the gate by which he entered, but each is to go out the opposite gate.”
My question was, “why?” It is obviously not about north or south because you must simply leave through a different gate than you enter in. Here is why I believe God commanded that. At each of these occasions sacrifices would be offered and people would experience the power of forgiveness through obedience to the commands of God. God desired them to leave through a different gate so that they would go out different than they came in.
Then I read 1 John 2:1-6 from the New Testament. It says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
This is a powerful imagery and truth about what Jesus Christ had done for us. He is the “atoning sacrifice.” This sacrifice is the one that is a substitute for the condition of our lives and our own sinfulness. He has atoned for that wrong by actually becoming the perfect sacrifice for the cost of our sin. This in itself is the most amazing act of love in history. Then it says that because of our faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord we should live in obedience. Our obedience does not cause us to be right with Christ we are obedient because we are right with Christ.
We walk out a different gate. We come to Christ and we are changed. Life is lived differently because we are different.
The deep thought was the combination of these two passages in this truth…
Old Testament worshippers walked into the presence of God with their sacrifice and their sin and they walked away without their sacrifice or their sin.
New Testament worshippers come before the presence of Christ with their sin but without a sacrifice and they walk away without their sin but with
(I challenge you to “chew” on that thought for a little while.)
The truth is that Jesus is the sacrifice and when we accept him as our Savior and Lord our sin is no longer ours – it is his. “He died for sin ONCE for all.” We bring him nothing but our sin. He, himself, offers the sacrifice of Himself, yet through his resurrection he is our living Lord. So we come to him with nothing but our sin and we leave with him.
It is Christ himself…his presence…and his power…and his provision for our sin that leaves with us.
John 10:7 wraps the thought up for his when Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate…”
Have you entered? And have you exited different?