Thursday, April 21, 2011
Jesus, Our Mercy Seat.
Leviticus 16:12 And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil 13 and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die. ESV
Wow, the covering of the Ark of the Covenant was serious business! One had to have it covered by smoke or he would be killed. The covering of the ark, and the blood sprinkled on it, was the propitiation for the people of Israel. This was bloody business. Both a bull and a goat were sacrificed, and the blood of both were for the sins of the people. This happened during the Day of Atonement which happened once a year. In addition to the sacrifice of the bull and goat, a live goat was also required. Aaron would place both hands on the goat confessing the sins of the people and send the goat into the wilderness. Even after all that, the work is not done, because a ritual cleansing was also ordered by the Lord.
Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. ESV
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus shed his blood to form a new and better covenant. No animal sacrifice is needed; no goat being released to run into the wilderness; no threat of death to any man serving God. Jesus became our high priest and gave His life on the cross to make us right with God. The laws' requirements are covered by the fact that our Lord has become the mercy seat, the propitiation, for all our sins. This happens for a person whether or not he or she believes. Apart from faith in the finished work of Jesus, one does not receive these benefits. Such a tragedy when one refuses the only salvation provided; their eternal death is so unnecessary since their sin debt has been paid in full.
1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. ESV
Since the shed blood of Jesus has atoned for our sins, let us let go of them after confessing them and realize the books are balanced. Our Father, in His wonderful grace, will not hold us accountable for our sin, so we have no need living under the guilt in our minds. In His mercy, He will not reward us with eternal death, but through faith we receive the right to be called children of God and have an eternity of life awaiting us. Let us believe this good news and live in the peace it gives.
In the name of Jesus. Amen. †