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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The peace offering

The peace offering was a ceremony the Lord ordained to signify justification. As Paul wrote, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The SDA Bible Commentary has this to say:

The distinguishing feature of the peace offering was the communal meal held within the precinct of the sanctuary, in which joy and happiness prevailed and in which people and priest held converse. This was not an occasion where peace was affected, but a feast of rejoicing that peace existed. It was generally preceded by a sin offering and a burnt offering. The blood had been sprinkled, atonement had been made, forgiveness extended, and justification assured. 1BC p. 723.

Peace and rest is all that God wants in His children. But to have this there must be pain and unrest. In Paul’s words, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.” (Heb. 4:11). As the innocent animal died in the hearts of the worshipers before the peace meal could be acceptable, even so the Spirit of God must convict the sinner of his sin before he can know and celebrate peace with God and rejoice in life.

Real faith is what comes out of the wrestling match with God. Pain and suffering, both in the conscience and in the life, His word convicting us and our life condemning us, is the only ordained method by God to come to the peace He has to offer. The seeker after God’s mercy will know the chastening of the Lord. This is unavoidable because we are all so corrupted. We are all like the apple that looks red and so delicious, but is all mushy and rotten to the core. We throw away those kinds of apples. Yuck! We don’t have a second thought about eating them. But God seeks to save and rejuvenate them.

But the sacrificial animal was a substitute for the person. We may suffer grievously before coming to peace with God, but we don’t suffer the second death; we don’t suffer hell. This is because Somebody has taken our place. Somebody has been our substitute in hell. That Somebody was Jesus. He took the full force of God’s wrath and sorrow and grief toward sin. God made Him to be sin so that God could unload on Him, instead of on us, the infinite hatred and anger we deserve. All of divine wrath was diverted from us to Him, the innocent Lamb of God. He was treated as we deserve, so that we could be treated as He deserves.

This should sting our consciences and mar our hearts for life, even for eternity. If we suffer at all, it is only a miniscule degree of what we deserve. God has been the one who has suffered. Beyond all human comprehension our Father has suffered. Let’s not complain when we suffer for our sin.

“The people shall be as the burnings of lime.” “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” (Is. 33:12;32:17,18).

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