There are so many things in our lives that we should be and are thankful for, daily…not just when the occasion arises. But if we should be thankful for anything, we should be thankful for the final sacrifice…the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world!
Last night, I finished reading through the book of Ezekial. It is a most interesting, yet very difficult book to read. As I read through the book, difficult as it was, the Lord managed to show me a few things. The first lesson was that from the OT to the NT, God has not changed. He says as much in Malachi 3:6.
“I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”
He did not change, but something changed. What changed was the processes that it took for His children to approach the throne of grace. No doubt, much has been written on the God of the OT. Forgiveness of sins, atonement and such, was an extremely sophisticated process, with no detail left to chance. Anytime that God gave His prophets a message, whether to warn, to build, to destroy, to cleanse, God was very specific. Then, came His Son, Jesus Christ who also came to do the will of His Father, again with very specific details.
John the Baptist referred to Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) the ultimate and final sacrifice.
Before Jesus, some sacrifices were to give thanks to God. Some sacrifices were to make atonement. And only after atonement could God forgive their sin (Lev. 4-26). As I read, I was ever so thankful for the ultimate sacrifice, His Son. Can you imagine conducting such sacrifices in this 21st century? God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us, that we should no longer have to offer up burnt sacrifices or sin offerings and other such sacrifices.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Hebrews 10: 8-18
“First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
The second lesson was the idea of the tower of Babel. I can’t recall exactly how this message came through Ezekial, but it had to do with modern day “Christians.” At first listen, it “appears” as if we are all speaking the same message. Then, it’s as if … we are all clawing our way up the tower to reach God, but we can’t work together because we can’t understand each other. Thus, we try to find our own way to heaven after realizing there’s only one way into the Holy of holies. And all these so-called prophets, pastors, bible teachers, apostles…etc. are for the most part deceiving, divisive, destructive spirits.
A good example: I have known one family, they’re all Christians. Some are pastors, others bible teachers, but they have one rule when they get together – they do not discuss politics, or religion/beliefs. Amos 3:3 “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?”
Gen. 11:1-9 “Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a namefor ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 TheLord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
Another quick lesson, as “Christians” We’ve all become like Jonah…running from the mission God prepared for us to accomplish. Some people don’t deserve salvation.
We are all like John and James, who were brothers, and asked Jesus if they could sit one on each side of him, as an honor. It’s all about status.
We are all like Martha doing works to please God and we get upset, and lay a guilt trip on others, because they do not follow suit, or we gripe and complain about being used, or exploited. There’s something wrong with such a heart.
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ has become so distorted that everything sounds like truth, but truly it is just the ramblings of men, and women. It takes a spiritually discerning spirit to know the difference.
Finally, the last lesson. My bedroom window faces east. It’s always been a nuisance because of the brightness of the morning sun, especially when I worked overnights. Well, in reading Ezekiel 43, I finally realized that every sunrise, every bright and morning sun was a reminder from the living God that He calls me by name every morning. He calls me to the window to behold His glory. I was left speechless.
“Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, 2 and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory. 3 The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he[a]came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. 4 The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east. 5 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
As a Christian, or as I like to refer to myself…a believer in Jesus Christ…my transformation into the likeness of Christ is oftened hindered by the carnal Christian that sincerely believes that “he, or she” has the ultimate, fail proof recipe for a total transformation into the image of Christ. A recipe that yields no less than 100% of God’s blessings (The true focus of transformation). I heard it on Christian radio, “If you are going to trust God for “____” you might as well dream big. Trust Him for exactly what you want.” God is more than able, was the sum of it. And not to say that God isn’t. However, this radio personality forgot Prov. 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Transformation is more than positive thinking. That’s only a superficial transformation. Transforming into the likeness of Christ requires a change of heart, a newness of mind.
God is able to do all He promised, but Christians forget that although God wants to bless us in every way, He wants to use us in every way. He doesn’t have to. He doesn’t even have to bless us. Because of Jesus, He does.
God is faithful. We are not. We are tossed about by every emotional and physical whim.