A Place Of Life and Death

“You shall make an altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide—the altar shall be square—and its height shall be three cubits.” Exodus 27:1

The tabernacle was a place of life. Here the sinner came to meet with God. In confession he would admit his sins and in answer God would grant forgiveness, releasing the sinner from the consequence of his sin, death.

But the tabernacle was also a place of death because the ability to be forgiven and saved was purchased by the sinner through the death of a sacrifice.

I find it profoundly significant that God doesn’t have the ability to forgive sin simply because he’s God. This fact alone tells us just how serious sin is and how correspondingly precious the gift of forgiveness also is. Sin, all sin, is of such a character that only the death of the sinner or the Son of God would suffice to pay the penalty for sin. So only God’s willingness to give his only Son could open the door for forgiveness to be extended to the sinner. That’s why we call the sacrificial path to forgiveness the plan of salvation because through the sacrificial death of the Son the sinner is saved from his or her penalty of death.

Yesterday we considered the tabernacle and how it represented God’s heavenly court with its gold paneled walls and its curtains with the figures of cherubim woven into the fabric. God’s plan is that one day he would be able to welcome us into that heavenly court and into his very presence.

Today sin separates us from the courts of heaven and the throne of God but because of Jesus and the working of the Holy Spirit we have a hope and an opportunity to be able to one day stand blameless before our Heavenly Father.

But friends forgiveness doesn’t just require the death of the Son of God. It also requires that we repent of our sin. That means that we not only admit our guilt but also turn from that sin and live the righteous life of Christ. This we’re not able to do on our own but the resurrection and ascension of Christ has opened the door for the Son to request that the Holy Spirit be sent by the Father to do that work for us.

O how precious is all that Christ has purchased for us! O How wonderful is the love of God for giving such a gift.

The apostle Jude celebrates all that God has done through Jesus as he concludes his letter to the church with this benediction, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

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