Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Saved by the blood!"

Day #107:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - April 14th

Scripture Reading:  Exodus 9 - 12 ...

Reading about Israel's slavery in Egypt and God's deliverance through the plagues, it would be easy to read this only as an interesting story, rather than a picture of redemption ... of our deliverance from the slavery of sin through God's pouring out of His wrath on Christ on the cross.  But a picture it was, and still is.  These were real people, the Egyptians and the Israelites, but God says again that He is going to make a distinction between the people and possessions of the Egyptians and the people and possessions of HIS people, Israel (9:4).

The lie being told and believed by many, inside and outside the church, is that God doesn't make any such distinction.  They misunderstand that while God does not show "favoritism" today between Jews and Gentiles, when it comes to believing in Jesus, ALL who believe in Jesus enter into God's kingdom, while all those who do NOT believe in Jesus are outside of God's kingdom.  A worse judgment than the plagues in Egypt awaits those who are not "covered by the blood."  But redemption, salvation, deliverance is offered to all who come to God through the blood of the Lamb offered on the cross.

God DOES make a distinction!  Furthermore, God raises up people for His own purposes to accomplish salvation for those who are His.  He sends Moses to say to Pharaoh, "I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth" (9:16).  When the Bible says that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, it means that God was using the sinful arrogance and willful disobedience of Pharaoh to reveal His power and judgment on Egypt, while at the same time revealing His mercy and compassion toward those whom He had chosen.

The Apostle Paul speaks of this in Romans 9 when he writes of God's sovereign choice.  He writes in verse 16:  "It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy ... God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden" (verses 17-18). Were it not for the compassion and mercy of God, Israel would have been left in Egypt ... and we would be left in our sin.  The blood of the lamb spread over the doorpost pointed to the blood of Jesus shed on the cross.  By an act of faith the Israelites needed to put the blood on the doorposts of their home and trust that the angel of death would pass over them (12:23).  By an act of faith we receive the blood of Jesus as our payment for sin and are freed from our slavery to sin and eternal death.

When judgment comes, the whole world will know that the LORD makes a distinction between those who are in Christ and those who are not.  The picture of the Passover reveals God's sovereign choice of a people for Himself.  God has not forgotten Israel, the Jews, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  God's promises remain for His chosen people, and we who believe in Jesus become part of God's plan to gather for Himself a people to spend eternity with Him in the new heaven and the new earth.

Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples and then told them, "This is the new covenant in My blood; do this in remembrance of ME!"  When we celebrate the Lord's Supper we are testifying that Jesus is OUR Passover Lamb and we are resting in His blood for forgiveness.  As Peter writes in I Peter 1:18-19:  "You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed ... but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."

The writer of Hebrews says that "by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy" (10:14).  "Therefore ... we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus ..." (10:19).  Praise the Lord for the picture of salvation in the Passover, and the fulfillment of His promise to send the Savior, the perfect sacrifice for sin!  Imagine the joy of the Israelites as they left Egypt ... so what should OUR joy be in leaving sin and death behind as we head for the final promised land?!!!

"O, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  His love endures forever!!!"

"Father, the picture of judgment and salvation in the Exodus happened to real people.  The present judgment and salvation that you offer in the Gospel happens to real people.  And the future judgment and salvation that leads to eternity will happen to real people.  Thank You for choosing ME to be one of Your children through faith in Your Son Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God whose blood covers my sin in Your sight and gives me LIFE!!  To YOU I give my praise and thanks, now and forever.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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