Archive | February, 2016
The Lamb Over Me

The Lamb Over Me

agnus deiJohn the Baptist declared that Jesus was “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  He clearly used the title and imagery of a sacrificial lamb based on its frequent use in the Old Testament.  Most prominently, in Exodus 12, the Israelites were instructed that in order for the angel of death to pass over their homes and spare the first born, they had to sacrifice a lamb and smear its blood over the doorpost.  The first mention of a lamb as a sacrifice is found in the account of Abraham walking up Mt. Moriah to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Gen. 22:7-8- “[Isaac] said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”  The question Isaac asked is in the background of the entire Old Testament- “Where is the Lamb?”  The people in Old Testament times knew that the sacrifice of animals would never suffice as an atonement for human sin.  The people were looking for an ultimate sacrifice that would once for all redeem mankind.  The Old Testament ends with no better answer than the one Abraham gave to Isaac- “God will provide the lamb.”  But as the New Testament begins, John the Baptist declared an answer that had been centuries in the making- “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, sacrificed his life on the cross as the final and sufficient sacrifice for the sin of mankind.  1 Pet. 3:18- “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God.”  We are made right with God on the basis of Christ’s work as the sacrificial Lamb of God.

Recently someone showed me that the symbol for the word “righteousness” in the Chinese language is the symbol for the word “lamb” placed over the symbol for the word “me.”  What an amazing thought- being right with God is the Lamb over me!

Lamb

At the cross, Jesus Christ died in our place shedding his blood as a payment for sin and covering us in his righteousness.  This results in salvation and eternal life for all who believe and follow Christ as Lord.  How grateful I am for the wonderful testimony of John the Baptist regarding Jesus- “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Learning About Law and Grace from the Chicago Cubs

Learning About Law and Grace from the Chicago Cubs

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 1.27.49 PMI am often asked by people about the relationship of law to grace in the Bible.  What is confusing is how Scripture seems to contradict itself on the value of the law.  In one verse we may read that the law is bad (Rom. 8:3), but in another that it is good (Rom. 7:7).  The answer is that the law is both of these.  The law is good in that it reveals our sin to us.  None of us can live up to the demands of the law on our own and achieve God’s perfect standard.  However, the law is weak in that it is unable to save us.  The law can only point to something greater than itself, grace, for our salvation.

A helpful way to view the relationship between law and grace is to look at the Chicago Cubs in 1988.  In that year, the Cubs traded for third baseman Vance Law and brought up a new first baseman from the minor leagues named Mark Grace.  For two straight years, the Cubs infield was anchored by Law and Grace.  When a batter hit a ground ball to Law at third, he would scoop it up and throw it to Grace at first (I chuckle at imagining Harry Caray make the call!)

In the same way, the law scoops us up and tells us we have failed to perfectly meet God’s righteous standard as written in the law.  So, it throws us over to grace whereby we can be saved, not by our own sin-tainted deeds, but by the perfect work of Christ at the cross and resurrection.  The apostle Paul explains this in Eph. 2:8-9- “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

It’s good to be informed we are lost in our sin and even better to know that in his grace, Jesus provided for us the salvation that we could not provide for ourselves.  Take a moment today and thank God for his amazing grace!