Today we continued our study of the Book of Leviticus as we looked at Leviticus 11-16. Our focus however was on chapter 16 in which God gives instructions regarding a special sacrifice on the annual Day of Atonement. In establishing the annual Day of Atonement, God gave the Israelites a picture of how costly their sin was and how generous and powerful His grace is. That power removes the sin guilt of those who place their faith in Him.
Since I’m saved, is it really necessary for me to continue to confess my sins to God? Before you answer, consider this question: Are salvation and forgiveness the same thing? If your answer to the second question is ‘No’ then you have to answer ‘Yes’ to the first question. When I accepted the Lordship and Saviorship of Jesus Christ something marvelous occurred – I was adopted into God’s heavenly family. As such, God sees me as His righteous child. That righteousness is Jesus’ righteousness imputed to me, which means that I’m declared not guilty (justified) and therefore no longer subject to the penalty for my sin – eternal separation from God. That’s the first part of salvation (Justification). At the same instant in which I’m justified, my sanctification begins. This is the process whereby the Holy Spirit indwells me and helps me to live in a Christlike manner.
While I’m going through sanctification, what happens when I yield to temptation and sin against God? Do I lose my salvation? Does God take back the “not guilty” verdict and condemn me? Romans 8:38 gives us the answer – “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NKJV). Nothing, including myself can separate me from the love of God. Does that mean that I don’t have to confess my sin anymore? – No! 1 John 1:9 answers that question – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (NKJV). When we confess our sin to God we are being open and honest with Him which is how our relationship with Him deepens. Salvation has already occurred. It’s our personal relationship with God through our Great High Priest, Jesus in whose name we ask for forgiveness, that God is “faithful and just to forgive” us allowing us to get even closer to Him. How much more powerful and effective was the sacrifice that Jesus made than were the sacrifices that Aaron made?
Please note that next Sunday, Nov. 26, we will conclude our study of Leviticus with a focus on Leviticus 17-27. In these chapters we see how God instructed His people to be set apart by how they live their daily lives. These chapters have been called the “Holiness Code” because they consist of a list of regulations related to acquiring and maintaining holiness among the Israelites.
To this email I have also attached my brief notes from Dr. Stanley’s Nov. 12 sermon “Following Jesus”. It’s formatted so that you can print it out as a twice daily reminder next to your bed.
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