A call to faith

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - RELIGION / COMMUNITY - BY REV. KENT COMP­TON SPE­CIAL TO THE GUARDIAN Rev. Kent Comp­ton is a min­is­ter with the Free Church of Scot­land in Desable and Cape Tra­verse. A guest ser­mon runs reg­u­larly in Satur­day’s Guardian and is pro­vided through Chris­tian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Be­hold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. John 1:29

Per­haps you are a per­son who loves short­cuts!

At least when tack­ling a dif­fi­cult topic, you love to start off with a big pic­ture or bird’s eye view. While our ap­proach with the Bi­ble ought to be in a life­time of study and re­flec­tion, it does give us those big pic­ture state­ments so that we don’t miss the for­est for the trees.

Amaz­ingly, in this one verse, we have all God wants us to know to ob­tain eter­nal life.

When John used the im­age of ‘lamb’ to de­scribe the Je­sus, he was sum­ma­riz­ing hun­dreds of years of bi­b­li­cal his­tory. It em­pha­sized that the only ap­proach wor­ship­pers had to God was through blood sac­ri­fice.

Early in hu­man his­tory, Abel brought a lamb as a sac­ri­fice to God. Later, Abra­ham, be­liev­ing God would spare his son Isaac said, “God will pro­vide him­self lamb.” Dur­ing the Ex­o­dus, the night be­fore Is­rael left, each fam­ily had to ap­ply lamb’s blood around their door posts to avoid the death of the first­born son. Many gen­er­a­tions later, the prophet Isa­iah de­scribed the Mes­siah as, “a lamb that is led to the slaugh­ter, and like a sheep that be­fore its shear­ers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isa­iah 53:7).

So, when John re­ferred to Je­sus in this way, he was get­ting us to see that what God pic­tured through those events he ac­com­plished through Je­sus death on the cross.

But we also see that he is not just a lamb, but the lamb ‘of God’. This is vi­tal be­cause it means that this lamb is one uniquely pro­vided by God. In fact, the lamb is the Son of God him­self! (John 3:16) It speaks of the great love God has for us in that he gave his own Son in our place. But also, that our sins be­fore God are so se­ri­ous that only the death of God’s Son would do. He­brews says, “it is not pos­si­ble the blood of bulls and goats take away sin.” (He­brews 10:3) Nei­ther is any per­son able to atone for their own sins be­fore God. If there is a so­lu­tion, it must come from God. This is fur­ther opened when the Apostle Paul states that “God was in Christ rec­on­cil­ing the world unto him­self” (2 Corinthi­ans 5:19).

No­tice how he con­cludes his great sum­mary. He is the lamb “who takes away the sin of the world.” He doesn’t sin­gle out spe­cific sins, but sins of ev­ery na­ture. This is won­der­ful be­cause it means that I can be confident that when I come to God through the means he has ap­pointed, that all my sins will be dealt with; past, present and fu­ture. So, it says, “he has ap­peared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sac­ri­fice of him­self” (He­brews 9:26).

The ques­tion is not “Is God will­ing or able to save me?” but “Am I will­ing to be saved by him, in his way?”

There­fore, the verse be­gins with this all-im­por­tant word “be­hold”. This is a call to faith. It is a call to con­sider and be­lieve. It is a call to never take your eyes of this once and for all sac­ri­fice for you. What a pro­vi­sion God has made for you and me. It is so great and so fi­nal the Bi­ble goes so far as to ask, “How shall we escape, if we ne­glect so great sal­va­tion...?” (He­brews 2:3). Be­hold the Lamb!

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