Category: Salvation

The Sanctuary Service and What it Can Teach Us Today – Part II

In the last issue, we looked at the first promise of salvation God gave to humanity. Today, we will look at the establishment of the sacrificial system and what lessons God intended to teach.

The story of Cain and Abel is one that is known by most, whether Christian or not. By this point in history, it is clearly seen that the sacrificial system had already been established. Abel’s sacrifice was pleasing unto the Lord and accepted, while Cain’s was not. Why? Because God had already set up a type that would keep their eyes fixed on their Redeemer. Abel obeyed the instructions given by God, while Cain created an offering that did not meet the requirements.

There is no direct account in the Bible of what God told Adam and Eve when this institution was established. There is, however, an inference as to when this happened. Shortly after hearing the first promise of redemption, God kills an animal to make coats of skin for them. As you will soon see, there is a lesson to be learned from this act. You will also see how it is inferred that the sacrificial system was set up at this time.

Abel understood the importance of the sacrifice, and in obedience, brought a lamb. On the other hand, Cain brought an offering that was the result of the labors of his hands. Cain had a form of religion, while at the same time, he disobeyed the requirements of God. We must be careful not to enter into the same type of presumptuous worship as Cain. God has given clear instructions on what He requires of us and what pleases Him. We also may please the Lord as Abel did if we will worship in faith and obedience.

So what lessons can we learn from the first dawnings of the sacrificial system? In the account of Cain and Abel, Abel used a lamb of the firstlings of his flock. Many times throughout the Bible, we see a lamb used as a symbol of the Messiah. John the Baptist declared of Christ, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. We will now look at three aspects found in this early account of the sacrificial service. The fourth aspect (the fat) brought to view we will discuss in the future.

A Lamb Without Blemish – Jesus had to be without blemish. Without a single failure. Why? Because He was to take our life of failures and give us His life of perfect obedience and victory. He was to die the death we deserve. In return, He gives us His life, which we don’t deserve. Oh, what love! 

Jesus was to come and live a life without sin. To overcome where we failed, and make a way of escape. By His humanity, He lays hold of our hand. By His divinity, He lays hold of the Father. 

Jacob saw a representation of Christ on his way to Padanaram. He saw a ladder reaching from heaven to earth and angels of God ascending and descending the ladder. Jesus is that ladder. He bridged the gap that our sins created. He made a way for us to be reunited with Him and the Father. Jesus did all this by becoming the Lamb of God, without blemish or fault.

The Firstling of the Flock – In the account of Cain and Abel, we find that the original Hebrew word used for firstling is “bekowrah.” The meaning behind this word and its use throughout the Bible sheds significant light on this subject. Let’s quickly look at its definition.

Birthright, primogeniture, right of the firstborn.”

BDB Lexicon

Here we see two aspects: the primogeniture (right of succession belonging to the firstborn) and the firstborn itself. The lamb used by Abel was a firstborn. So was Christ the firstborn of the human race?

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:…And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.

Colossians 1:15,18

Christ is the firstborn of the dead and the head of the human race. In all things, Christ has preeminence. So what is the birthright that Jesus was to receive? To understand this, we need to look at the original heir of this earth.

Adam was given dominion over the whole earth and every creature in it. Adam was the prince of this world and the head of the human race. So what happened when Adam sinned? He gave this heirship to Satan, who became “the prince of this world.” John 12:31.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:22

Jesus is the second Adam. Although we have received an inheritance of death and suffering from Adam, we may receive eternal life from Christ. The earth is His through creation and redemption. The birthright implied in the sacrifice was the heirship of the earth that Christ would wrest from Satan’s hands. 

The Coats of Skin – These skins would have come from the first sacrifice that God used to institute the sacrificial system.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they became aware that they were naked. They tried their best to cover themselves, but when the presence of God came into the garden, they were afraid and hid. When asked why they hid, they said it was because they were naked. They were unable to make a covering that was suitable for the presence of God. God, Himself had to make a covering for them.

That covering could only come from one source, Jesus. We can only be seen as righteous in the sight of a holy God by becoming covered by Christ’s righteousness. Let’s look at a couple of verses.

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

Revelation 3:18

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Revelation 16:15

Salvation can only come through Jesus. He paid it all. But do you also notice how He also gave a command, “buy of me.” The price is free, but there is a part for us to play. We must ask and seek for these gifts and turn from our rebellion to allegiance to God. God does set requirements of obedience. The whole Bible is full of instructions on what pleases and displeases the Lord. Thankfully we serve a patient and loving God who is willing to take the time to train us in the path of righteousness. We must always remember that God is working for us and wants to see us succeed.

I hope you have received as much of a blessing from this article as I have gained in writing it. Continue to join me next time as we continue our journey into this subject.

Written by Cory Lamming

The Sanctuary Service and What it Can Teach Us Today – Part I

From the very day that Adam and Eve sinned, God made a way of escape for fallen humanity. Yes, there were consequences to their actions, but with them came a beautiful promise.

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

Genesis 3:15

Let’s take a moment to dissect this verse. It is important to note that this is a prophecy – the first prophecy given in scripture. The context also tells us that the contention will be between the serpent and the woman. Let’s look into what a serpent and woman can represent in Bible prophecy.

The Serpent – Many verses in the Bible can be used to show what a serpent represents, but this one is so clear that it will suffice. 

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

Revelation 12:9

The Woman – In Ezekiel 18, we see God’s church represented as a harlot. Of course, this was because they had entered into idolatry with the heathen nations around. We see similar examples in the book of Hosea. In Revelation, we see both a faithful, pure woman (church) and an unfaithful church described as a harlot. These examples clearly show the use of a woman to represent the church. It is between the church and Satan that enmity would exist.

There is also another interesting point which must be considered. In this prophecy, we see a seed (posterity) coming from both the serpent (Satan) and the woman (God’s Church). Let’s look at the posterity of both sides to see if we can glean some light.

The Seed of Satan – I think it is safe to say that the devil, who was once known as Lucifer before his fall, is the leader in the rebellion against God. Jesus said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44. If the devil is the head of the rebellion against God than all who choose to follow him in this rebellion become his seed. 

The Seed of God’s Church – The Bible is very clear on this subject. Christ is both the foundation and the head (Matthew 21:22-24; Ephesians 5:23). All those that accept Christ as their Savior become the children of God. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Paul also states in his letter to the church in Galatia, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29.

So now that we understand the context of this prophecy, what hope does it give us? Satan would strike a blow at the church by killing Jesus, but it was a wound that would heal at the resurrection of Christ. It was not a deadly wound. The promise comes that Satan would receive a fatal wound to his head, and he did. Christ has broken the power of Satan over us if we will accept the help and strength Jesus offers. 

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me…For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Philippians 4:13; 2:13

Here is the first glimpse we get of the plan of salvation in the Bible. God had tempered the judgments that came as a result of sin with mercy. Humanity did not have to move forward in a hopeless state. God was to make a way of escape, and all those who lived before Christ came to this earth were able to live by faith in this promise.

We have only just begun our journey, and you will soon be able to see where I am going with this. For now, we must end our study. But join me soon as we continue on our journey into this subject.

Written by Cory Lamming

Meaningful Devotions

Personal devotions and Bible study is an area where I have struggled all my life. So often we hear sermons preached urging lay-members to study their Bibles. But how does a person practically apply that to real life?

When I was a pre-teen, I remember having a desire to study my Bible but didn’t know where to start. I would pick it up, read a little out of Proverbs, maybe something from Romans. But that’s where my studies began and ended. I had no real direction as to where my devotions should lead.

 After giving my heart back to the Lord as an adult, I found that I struggled with the very same issue. I had not grown or developed in this area of study one bit. I could tell you all the right answers to the major doctrinal topics presented in the Bible. I could even direct you to the proof texts. But again, I lacked the resources needed in meaningful Bible study. The real nuts and bolts of applying it to my daily life. I felt as though I lacked something vital to my Christian experience.

One aspect of devotions that hinders many of us is that we sometimes fall into a pattern of rituals. We go through the motions of reading our one chapter per day, sometimes even rushing through it. The words go in one ear and out the other. We pray for the same so-and-so. The same request for protection throughout our day. The same words in the same order over and over and over. It becomes so hum-drum that by the time our day is over, we can’t even remember what we studied that morning. The Lord desires us to have a much richer experience!

God has filled the Earth with a plethora of diverse individuals. And what a tremendous blessing! How wonderful that the Lord saw fit to give us different tastes, unique talents, and colorful personalities. As a result, we are not all wired the same intellectually. Different minds have different learning styles. We all grasp and retain information in a manner that best suits our strengths. My husband, for example, is a very deep thinker. Very technical and dissecting. By cross-referencing scripture with the aid of concordances, commentaries, and other study resources, he can formulate a very well-rounded picture of the topic at hand.

I, on the other hand, am not as confident in my abilities in this area. I tend to need more guidance and structure when it comes to understanding scripture. I even have trouble choosing which topic to study on any given morning. In a perfect world, the Lord would email me a daily homework assignment, and off I’d go. But since sin entered the world, that’s not how it works. The Lord wants us to seek after Him diligently and of our own free will. Which brings us back to square one: “Show me how, Lord.” 

I want to make one thing very clear before I continue. Morning/evening devotions do NOT have to be rigidly structured. Before you get the wrong idea, hear me out. It is my opinion from personal experience that giving ourselves permission to get creative with our daily devotional life keeps our experience from becoming ritualistic and hum-drum. It’s ok to switch up our methods of study from time to time. I fear that at times in my devotional past, I’ve allowed my time with God to go into the realm of mere “works” or “duties” because I felt that if I got too creative, it would be betraying that precious time with Jesus. This is very “inside-the-box” thinking and often does lead to cold formalism and a dead faith-life.

In this article, I would like to address one method of study that has greatly benefitted me.

Recently I listened to a series of lectures on how to achieve meaningful devotions. The speaker gave a very simple technique that really appealed to my sensibilities. Basically, you go through a story in the Bible. Perhaps the story of Elijah and the rain. Going very slowly, even just two or three verses at a time, really getting a feel for what is happening in that scene. For example, let’s take the verse that relates the prophets of Baal attempting to get the attention of their false god by means of cutting themselves:

 “And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gush out upon them.” -1st Kings 18:28

1. What’s Happening – we establish what is taking place in this particular scene.

2.  Perspective – try to look at the scene through the eyes of those witnessing it. Who was there? How would I react if it was me watching these mad-men mutilating their bodies in a desperate frenzy to prove their false methods of worship?

Most of us see stories in pictures, in our mind’s eye. By placing ourselves in that situation, empathizing with its characters, imagining what they saw and felt, it makes Bible stories come to life. Sometimes we go through the story too fast and focus on quantity instead of quality. Taking our time and seeing these events through the eyes of real people makes each account more real to us. Because they aren’t just stories. They really happened! And to people just like you and me. What a drama!

3. Application – try to find the application each account can have in our own life. What is the lesson here for me? In the account of the Baal prophets, I’m reminded of how low sin can degrade a person. Even to the point of hurting our bodies. It shows me that, apart from Jesus, I am just as vulnerable of falling into fanaticism. This is the personal application I’ve gathered from the surface. Perhaps the Holy Spirit would lead you to a different application specific to you.

There are so many gripping stories in the Bible, and the possibilities are endless! Go as slow as you need. I spent a whole week on the story of Jonah because I went scene by scene, really feasting my imagination on the details. It’s really becoming a delight, and I find that I really look forward to that special time in study every single day.

Again, this is simply one method of Bible study. It appeals to me and works for my personality. I hope you will give it a try.

  “Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Savior, be glory, majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” – Jude 24,25

By Rachel Lamming

The Ultimate Coronavirus Cure

As we look at the world today, we see widespread panic and uncertainty. Many things in this world can strike fear into our hearts, but few can match the terror that an invisible army can bring. War, famine, and natural disasters are all terrible, but pestilence seems to top them all. Disease is not something you can easily hide from or see coming. It quietly waits for its next unsuspecting victim.

One thing that I have noticed as this epidemic has progressed is how quickly our normal way of living can fall apart. The way we interact and go about our daily business has drastically changed. Essential supplies have become hard to find. Many are buying all they can to try to prepare for the worst. But do we need to fear? Is there a solution that can bring back peace and hope?

There is a solution to not only this epidemic but any other problem we may face in the future as well. The solution is not a miracle cure but a Person. There is One who has never lost a battle with disease. He can calm the storms and even supply our basic wants. His name is Jesus Christ.

There was a time in my life when I tried to do things my way. I tried to fill my life with possessions and entertainment to find happiness. All I found was misery and hopelessness. 5 Years ago, I gave my whole heart to Jesus Christ. I have never experienced happiness and peace as I have now. I don’t need to fear like I once did.

The Bible holds the solution to every problem we may face. There were many times that Jesus healed the lepers. This was a disease that left its victim in a hopeless condition. Those that contracted leprosy were feared by the population and quarantined. They had no hope of recovery, but only had to look forward to a slow, painful death. Jesus was able to heal all who came to Him, and you know what? He still lives.

We put so much faith in the medical staff who are human like us but shrink from putting our faith in One who never lost a case. It is good that we trust the medical staff. They became doctors and nurses because they love to help people. God often works through these men and women and blesses them with wisdom to know how to help. But we must realize where our faith must lie; in Jesus Christ. 

Here is a promise that was given to the disciples shortly before Christ returned to heaven. “They will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:18 (NKJV). Did the disciples have anything to fear? No! They had a promise of divine protection. As they followed the commission to spread the good news, they didn’t have to fear or worry. And what was the record of how this was fulfilled? In Acts 28:2-6, Paul was bitten by a venomous viper. He shook the serpent off and was left unharmed. Those that were looking on were convinced that he must be a god, for no man could be bitten by that snake and not suffer the results. We also can rely on the promises of God.

So, what is the promise given to those that love the Lord? “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Psalms 91:10, 11. Even death is nothing to be feared if you love the Lord, for the promise comes to us; “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:3.

Will you turn with me to the One who can banish all our fears and worries? Who will never leave us or forsake us? Jesus cares just as much about us as He did the lepers 2000 years ago. I hope you will join me in finding peace in Jesus in these uncertain times.

Written by Cory Lamming

From Filthy Rags to a Spotless Robe – Part I

Imagine a man wearing white clothing. He gets the clothing filthy, covering them with oil, grease, tar, soot, paint, and anything else you can imagine that will forever stain them. What are the chances of getting them entirely white again? Most of us would throw them away and get a new pair. But, what if you could not afford to buy or make a new pair of clothing? This is our case; we have lives stained with sin. Nothing we do can make us clean again, and there is nothing we can do to change our filthy garments. However, there is one who can help us. One who has promised an entirely new spotless robe. Free to all who will accept it.

 In the bible, a robe or garment can represent righteousness. Our righteousness is the filthy clothing stained with sin. The spotless robe is the perfect righteousness of Christ.

To receive this new robe, we must first realize our need for it. Jesus told a parable that shows us the importance of seeing ourselves as we indeed are. He said, “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14).

 Where did the Pharisee’s problem lie? The verse preceding this parable tells us, “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” (Luke 18:9). Their problem was that they trusted in their strength and righteousness. They felt that their deeds made them acceptable in the sight of God, while at the same time, in their hearts, they despised others.

 What they did not understand is what leads a man to break the law of God. Jesus said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:20-23). God wants not only our actions to be pure but also our hearts. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day did not see their need for any change or help from God. In their heart, they harboured hate against the Son of God, and eventually, this led them to commit murder.

 Now, what about the publican? What did he do, right? He saw his sins and cast himself at the feet of a merciful God. He realized that he needed a new heart; that he needed to be purified and cleansed. 

Here is the condition of all of humanity. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6). The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). And Paul, in his letter to the church in Rome, said, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7). Man in the garden of Eden decided to join Satan’s rebellion against God. Because of this, we are in a degraded position. If we read Isaiah 14:12-14, we will see how sin initially began. Lucifer attempted to exalt himself above the throne of God. He wanted to be God. In doing this, he fell far below his position as covering cherub and became Satan.

 We see the same thing happen in Genesis 3:4-6. Satan tempted Eve with the idea that she could rise above her position and be as God. She yielded to that temptation, and in turn, tempted her husband. Oh, how far we fell as a result.

 God, in his great mercy, made a way that we can escape this degraded position. Genesis 1:26,27 reveals that God created both man and woman in His image. The whole plan of salvation is a process of restoration, a process where the image of God is to be restored in man.

 We have looked at two classes of people. Some do not see the need for a greater righteousness than their own, while others see the utter worthlessness of their righteousness. So what made the difference between these two classes? What makes some blind to their real condition, while the other becomes aware of it?

 Speaking about the Holy Spirit, the apostle John said, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” John 16:8. It is the Holy Spirit that brings conviction home to the heart. God works to soften the hearts of men through the Holy Spirit, and when we reject the pleadings of God, there is no other method God can use to reach us. God never forces; it is the kingdom of Satan that uses force. Thankfully we serve a long-suffering and merciful God that doesn’t give up on us right away. He doesn’t leave or forsake us the first time we resist Him, but persists in His pleadings and does all He can to soften our hearts. It is by the continual rejection of light that we eventually harden our hearts and fully grieve the Holy Spirit.

 So this is where the Pharisees made their mistake. They continually stifled conviction. Heavenly light was pouring out upon them, and they had every evidence they needed to realize their need for something more than they had. Just like Pharaoh reigning in the day of Moses had every evidence before him, so did the leaders of the Jewish nation at the first advent of Christ. Just like Pharaoh repeatedly rejected the evidence and light God presented before him, so also the Jewish leaders rejected the evidence that Jesus was the Son of God.

 God does not harden the heart. He only seeks to soften it, but when we reject the attempts He makes to soften our hearts, they become harder and harder. Eventually, they become hard as granite, and we become blinded to our condition.

 The publican received the pleadings of the Holy Spirit. His heart was softened, and his eyes opened to his condition. Now he was in a place where he could throw himself at the feet of a merciful God and receive salvation.

 Brothers and sisters, let’s allow God to soften our hearts and open our eyes. We must realize our need for a new, spotless robe and our need for Jesus Christ as our Saviour.

 In part two of this series, we will touch on how to receive the spotless robe of Christ, and how that brings about a complete change. We will see how it brings wonderful peace, hope, and joy into our life. May the Lord bless each of us today.

Written By Cory Lamming