Monday, May 10, 2021

Pictures of redemption

For so long as we are anchored to the earth in this life, we have a choice to embark on.  We can choose our way or God's way.  The Bible provides pictures of men and their failed attempts at redemption contrasted to God and his perfect way to salvation. In a man's fallen nature the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life cause him to love his darkness rather than light.  Men like to make life about themselves, so it comes as no surprise that they like to construct a destination that seems fit for them.  Men want to avoid their creator, enjoy the pleasures of this life, and ultimately create a belief system unto themselves.  Men love working their way through life in what seems right in their own eyes, instead of yielding and trusting in a loving God who draws all men unto Himself.  

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. -Proverbs 14:12

    I can recall being tethered to the chains of addiction.  I was seeking to cover the sin in my life in my own way.  I felt in spite of my mental affair with alcohol and drugs, that I was a pretty good person and it would all pan out in the end. However, at the end of the day, the bottle in my hand served as a metaphor for what I felt inside, empty and without hope. I was trusting in myself instead of my creator.  Nothing is new under the sun, in fact, men have been attempting to cover their sin since the beginning...

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. Genesis 3:6-7

    After disobeying God, and in effect doing things their own way, we find the parents of all living men marinated in shame.  We then see a vain attempt to cover up their sin and shame by the works of their hands-- stitching fig leaves together to make aprons. This is a picture of man's attempt of working to cover sin and shame by their own power. Luckily and shortly thereafter, we find God presenting his picture of redemption: 

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. -Genesis 3:21

    God provided his own covering, a covering that required the blood of an animal.  Years later in ancient Israel, an unblemished Lamb would be used to temporarily atone for sin.  The shedding of blood in both these cases ultimately pictures the future fulfillment of the Messiah's blood shed on the cross for the redemption of man.  Christ's sacrifice is the ultimate covering.   He was the final sacrifice, the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world (John 1:36).

    Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first [covenant], that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. -Hebrews 10:8-10

    Christ's sacrifice was the ultimate and final sacrifice, our trust in Him offers redemption, the works of our hands only offer condemnation. We see this picture again in the historical account of Cain and Abel:

    And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. -Genesis 4:3-4

In bringing God the works of his hands, we see Cain trying to please God by his own works. This pictures man's attempt to please God. In contrast, we see Abel trusting God, by bringing the firstlings of his flock.  Abel's offering illustrates innocent blood being shed for the remission of sin, another picture of the Messiah.  We can know God had instructed Cain and Abel in this story as God tells Cain in Genesis 4:7: "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?" Abel did it God's way, Cain did it his way.  One was accepted, the other rejected.

  The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. -Ecclesiastes 1:9

    Some men feel if they're good enough they'll make it out okay, some men feel you can't know God so it's best to live in the moment. Some men say there is no God while speaking in a perpetual complaint of Him. Some men will follow the ritual of his religion, while all God requires is a relationship. What does a true relationship with God require?  Only trust. Christ died for you, and His Word says you can know Him (1st John 5:13).  Believe what is written in His Word, and he promises he will save you. Believe that he died, was buried, and rose again for your sake. All those who come to Him He will in no wise cast out.  

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. -John 6:35-40

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