PRESSING PAST PENTECOST: TWELVE (EXCERPT OF THE FEASTS OF THE LORD)
Copyright © 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
(“Pressing Past Pentecost: Twelve” is taken from The Feasts of the Lord, copyright © 2011 Trumpet Ministries)
Obeying the Lord’s Trumpet
Table of Contents
A Double Wielding
A Warlike Attitude
The Spiritual New Year
The Day of the Lord
Day of Atonement
Day of Atonement Placed in the Latter Working of Redemption
Christians Do Sin
Obeying the Lord’s Trumpet
Exactly how does one obey the trumpet of the Lord? Since the fight is a spiritual one—we are not warring against human beings—we must learn to walk in the Spirit and fight in the Spirit.
Walking in the Spirit is a way of living that appears to be scarcely understandable to many believers. It is time now to pray in the Spirit, live in the Spirit, act in the Spirit, and to put to death the deeds of the body through the Spirit of God.
Unclean spirits use human weaknesses as beachheads, as vantage points from which they can fulfill their evil inclinations:
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:12-14)
The preceding passage describes the correct response to the trumpet call of the Lord. We are to be led by the Spirit of the Lord in combat against the works of the devil in the earth, particularly against the “deeds of the body”—the lusting, coveting, murdering, and other satanic actions that we Christians practice.
When we are led by the Holy Spirit we can overcome the law of sin that binds our mortal body. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (I John 1:8). Sin dwells in our flesh (Romans 7:20). We practice sinful acts to which we do not consent and of which we do not approve (Romans 7:19). Such is the condition of the worshiper under the Law of Moses, and of the beginning Christian.
However, according to Scripture the Holy Spirit is ready to go to war against the evil in our life and to remove it from us.
A Double Wielding
We must cooperate with the Spirit of God in the battle for the control of our sinful flesh and our self-will. It is “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon” It is the Lord’s sword and also Gideon’s that drive the enemy from our land.
The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, it is true, but it is wielded in the hands of the Christian.
This double control and responsibility (the Spirit and the Christian) is an important principle of living and fighting in the Spirit. It is a principle that sometimes is rejected by Christians in favor of, “The Lord will do it (or has done it) by Himself”; or, “The Lord depends on us to do it.”
Listen to the Spirit of God speaking through Gideon:
When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. (Judges 7:18)
The Lord would not do it alone and Gideon could not do it alone. The Lord will not overcome sin in our life by Himself alone and we cannot overcome sin in our life by ourselves alone.
Although in the final analysis it can be shown that in reality God is the One who begins and carries out the plan of redemption in an individual, yet in the day-to-day working out of righteous and holy behavior a great deal depends on the will and efforts of the Christian believer.
We overcome our sins “through the Spirit.” We must learn to live, walk, and fight in the Spirit. It is we who do it, but we do it through the Spirit.
A declaration of faith that we are sanctified by grace is part of the answer to the power that sin has in our life. But after we have declared ourselves crucified with Christ and free from the law of sin and death we keep right on with our coveting, hatred, and backbiting.
Human will power against sinning is part of the answer, and through will power we attempt to resist temptation. However, since will power depends on human efforts to overcome evil spirits, and since our will power may not be coupled with Divine grace and power, we may continue with our adulterous imaginations, hatreds, and covetousness.
It requires an unceasing yielding to and cooperating with the Holy Spirit of God if the Christian is to gain enough wisdom and strength to drive the sin from his or her life.
Anxious struggling on our part will not overcome sin. Christians maintain their spiritual poise and deeply settled peace in the midst of the spiritual conflict by abiding in Christ.
Christ reigns in majesty, having overcome the authority of Satan. Christ is working in us each day to bring all of God’s enemies into subjection under His feet. The victory of Christ is total! final! absolute! We are to rest unflinchingly, consistently, courageously, hopefully, faithfully in that fact. As we do, and walk in the light of God’s will for our life, we are without condemnation.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:12,13)
A Warlike Attitude
When the Spirit of God blows the trumpet it is time for us to follow Him into battle. He is ready to wage war against the sins that dwell in us. He is prepared to enable the church to invade “the land of promise.” The promised land of the Christian is whatever God has given him to possess, particularly his own personality (I Thessalonians 5:23).
If we are unwilling to respond to the trumpet of the Lord with a readiness to fight we will come under the curse on Meroz:
Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. (Judges 5:23)
The attitude of God is revealed in Deuteronomy:
Understand therefore this day, that the Lord thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the Lord hath said unto thee. (Deuteronomy 9:3)
The Lord does all the fighting when we come out of “Egypt,” although we by faith must sprinkle the Passover blood on the “doorway of our house” and then get up on our feet and move out of the world spirit as the Lord leads us. However, when it comes to entering our land of promise, we must fight. The Lord guides and helps us, but we have to do the fighting.
God is a commander of armies and a God of judgment. We must adopt the attitude of war and of judgment against sin if we hope to press forward with God past the Pentecostal experience of speaking in tongues and prophesying. If we are to possess the riches of God we must be willing to be judged by the Lord and to fight against the spiritual enemies that dwell in our inheritance.
If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy. (Deuteronomy 32:41,42)
We may be comfortable and at ease in Zion (in our church routines) and would rather flee to Egypt (back into the world) than to hear the sound of the trumpet, the sound of alarm (Jeremiah 42:14).
If we are to go on from Pentecost we must arm ourselves for spiritual war (Ephesians 6:12-18). We must be ready to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ, not entangling ourselves with the “civilian” pursuits of the world. Woe to us if we “hold back our sword from blood” in the day of the Lord’s battle (Deuteronomy 7:2; I Kings 20:42; I Samuel 15:8-23)!
As we are proceeding in our study past the feast of Pentecost and are beginning to think about the final three feasts, we may be traveling on ground that is new to the reader. Many of us have not passed this way before.
However, it is not a new way to some of the saints of old, just new to our generation perhaps. Surprisingly, it does not require years and years for the believer to move through these experiences in Christ. A pioneer in a wilderness territory may take five months to travel the same distance that a person two hundred years later can cover in five hours.
We do not mean to imply that redemption works in a human life in a series of neatly placed, separate steps typified by the seven feasts of Israel. Rather the seven observances may be thought of as being seven dimensions of the one salvation in Christ.
The working out of redemption in human beings does not proceed in an ordered sequence of grade levels. The feasts portray seven aspects of the one salvation. The order can be switched around. The experiences are elaborated in each believer somewhat differently depending on the Lord’s working with him or her as an individual.
The feasts are woven into the fabric of our lives piecemeal, all at once, hourly, yearly, in small increments, in unfathomable crises. There is no way in which to organize the spiritual fulfillments of the feasts of the Lord into a system of theology, into a constitution on which to build a new denomination, a new division in the Body of Christ. Today is the day to strive for unity, not division, in that “seamless robe”—the Church of Jesus Christ.
Let us remember also that the saints can experience the spiritual counterparts of the feasts without understanding the doctrinal implications—in fact, while rejecting the doctrine. The love of Jesus rather than doctrinal accuracy, is the most important quality of the Christian discipleship.
The Spiritual New Year
We have mentioned that the blowing of trumpets heralds the Jewish New Year celebration. The trumpet of the Lord that is sounding today in the spirit realm is announcing triumphantly that a new year is at hand, the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:9), the era of the Kingdom of God.
Now is the time for deliverance from the oppressor and a returning to what has been lost. Christ on the cross destroyed every scrap of Satan’s legal rights to us and to the remainder of the creation. The mortgage has been paid to the penny. Jesus holds the title to the creation and has the keys of Hell and of death. It remains for the Church to take possession. The eviction papers are in legal order. The old landlord and the old tenants must be thrown out by force.
There may be those who will question our position that overcoming sin is a process wrought over a period of time in the Christian believer and with his cooperation.
They will maintain that the sin question was settled once for all time on the cross, and that if the believer takes a proper attitude toward the finished work of Calvary, sin as a result will no longer be a force in his life. Or if it is a force, God no longer sees or regards it.
There is truth in this doctrine. Christ on the cross did conquer Satan (Colossians 2:15) and our old man (first personality) was and is crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6). Clearly, this is scriptural.
Continuing along the same line we would caution against the believer’s wrestling with the sin in his personality. It is impossible for us by our own will power, even our will power in prayer, to master the sinful tendencies that we observe in our behavior.
It is godly to use self-control in all things as much as we are able and to resist our fleshly lusts and appetites. If we do not we never can make a success of the Christian discipleship.
However, struggling against sin may result in the resurrection of our old nature rather than its death. The cross and the resurrection of Christ are God’s remedy for our sinful, self-centered nature. We reckon (count) that we are crucified and resurrected with Christ, and by faith we are to rest securely in this established fact.
There are two realities that cause us to believe reckoning ourselves dead to sin (Romans 6:11) is not the entire answer to the fact of sin in the acts, words, and thoughts of the believer in Christ.
First, we Christians who believe wholeheartedly in Romans 6:11 still find ourselves committing sins, and God is concerned about sin and judges it whether practiced by believer or nonbeliever (Romans 8:13).
Second, there is Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments to indicate the overcoming of the enemy, of sin, is a continuous process in the life of the saint (Deuteronomy 7:22; Romans 8:13; I Corinthians 15:25; II Corinthians 7:1; 10:5; Galatians 5:16,17; Ephesians 4:22-32; and many more).
A substantial portion of the texts of both the Old and New Testaments is an exhortation to righteous, holy, and obedient behavior. The New Testament passages that exhort us to holy living would be vain and misleading if upon the adoption of an attitude of reckoning, sin ceased to be an active force in the believer’s life or God ceased regarding with concern the sin in His people.
If sin were not a problem with the saved peoples of the Christian churches, no doubt the letters of the Apostles would be quite different in content from what they are.
The fact is, a major part of the New Testament writings is devoted to exhorting the Christian people to overcome sin, to put sin from their lives because of and by means of their relationship with Christ. The penalty for not doing so is expressed as (spiritual) death—separation from Christ.
It appears, from what we can observe today, that a scriptural, workable, practical, effective process for the development of righteousness has not been widely understood nor used by the majority of the believers in Christ. By righteousness we mean doing the things pleasing to Christ, and not doing, in imagination, motive, word or deed, the things displeasing to Christ.
The things displeasing to Christ are the thoughts and actions of the flesh and of unclean spirits. We have not understood the provisions Christ has made for the development of righteous and holy behavior in us, and many have given up trying to overcome sin because of the seeming impossibility of doing so.
As we press forward through the last three feasts we will discover God indeed has included sufficient power and virtue in the Christian redemption to enable us to overcome the world, Satan, the lusts of our flesh, and our rebellious self-will and self-centeredness.
The Day of the Lord
There are two aspects of the Day of the Lord, as far as the saints are concerned. The first aspect is the coming of the Lord to the individual saint in a personal fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets.
The second aspect is the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven such that every eye can behold Him. According to our understanding of the Scriptures, there is no other coming.
The second aspect is fairly well understood by many Christians. The blessed hope of the Church is the appearing of Christ in the clouds of heaven to raise His victorious saints and witnesses from the bondage of physical death and to call them up to Himself in the sight of Antichrist and the nations of the earth.
The first aspect, that of the personal coming of the Lord to cleanse His saints, is not nearly as well known. The personal coming is, as we have stated, an individual experience that follows Pentecost.
The blowing of the trumpet announces the coming of the King, the Lord Jesus Christ. We lift up the everlasting doors of our heart and the Man of War enters and deals with His enemies:
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. (Psalms 24:7,8)
Now we shall learn how to fight in the spirit realm. Now the enemies of God will be cast from our personality in an act of eternal judgment. Now we shall be prepared by the Spirit of God to ride with the Lord Jesus in the Battle of Armageddon.
There is a coming of the Lord to His royal priesthood that will take place before He appears to the world. It is for the purpose of creating righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God in the personalities of God’s saints:
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:1-3)
Notice that when the King, Jesus, entered Jerusalem in His Glory, He immediately went into the Temple of God and began to cast out that which does not glorify the God of Heaven:
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, (Matthew 21:12)
The Lord Jesus is coming to us today in just this manner. Judgment has begun in the house of God (I Peter 4:17). All that is not of God must be purged from every individual who would be part of the godly remnant of the last days, who would escape the deceptions of Antichrist.
The Gospel of John describe several aspects of the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. The Lord tells us there are many dwelling places in the Father’s house (which is Christ—Head and Body), and that He will come to receive us after He has gone to the cross and then has ascended to God with the atoning blood, thus preparing a place for us in Himself in God:
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3)
Again: I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:18)
The context of these two verses, particularly John 14:18, reveals that the Lord is not referring to His coming in the clouds of glory. He is speaking of His coming to the individual believer in the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets:
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)
“We will come.” this is not the coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven but is an individual coming to the disciple in order to make of him a tabernacle, an abode (a “mansion,” in archaic usage) for the Father and the Son.
The Day of the Lord rises in the heart of the conquering Christian:
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)
There is a personal day of the Lord, a personal Presence of Christ, that comes to the believer who is keeping Christ’s Word (John 14:23). The personal revelation, or coming, of Christ is announced by the trumpet of the Lord “blowing” in our heart. The King comes, we pass through the cleansing of the spiritual fulfillments of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, and then the Father and the Son settle down to rest in us in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
Christ appears during the last days, the time of the church of Laodicea, and expresses His desire to enter the saint:
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)
If we open the door, Christ enters and establishes the Throne of God in us. The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles makes of us the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the eternal Throne of God and of the Lamb. We sit with Christ in His throne as He sits with His Father in His throne—in our heart.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
When the rule of God, the Kingdom of God, has been established in our heart, the Day of the Lord, the Kingdom Age, has come to pass in us. When the holy remnant, the firstfruits of the Body of Christ, has become the Throne of God, Christ will appear in the clouds of heaven, bringing with Him the entire company of the firstfruits—those who stand with Him on Mount Zion.
It is the worldwide appearing of Christ—Head and Body—that results in the Kingdom Age in the earth. The Kingdom Age comes in Christ and His Body. Therefore it is useless to discuss the possibility of the Lord’s return until the firstfruits have grown to maturity and are in union with the Head and with one another.
The worldwide appearing of Christ will occur at the sounding of the last trumpet (Revelation 11:15). The coming (parousia) of the Lord will include the first resurrection, of which Paul speaks in Philippians 3:11 and I Corinthians 15:52. It is the Day of the Lord: the return of Christ to the earth and the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:28-30; Colossians 3:4).
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (I Thessalonians 4:16)
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)
The trumpet of the Lord announces a personal day of Christ in our hearts, which is the absolute dominion of Christ over our thought, motives, imagination, deeds, and words. Also there will be an earth-wide blowing of the trumpet of God—the sounding of the seventh angel, at which time Christ will return to the earth, glorify His Body, and extend His rule from the hearts of the saints until His will and glory cover the creation.
There is a personal day of the Lord, a spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets, when Jesus comes to us in the Spirit, judges us, drives the enemy from us, and then, with the Father, settles down to rest in us. The ministries and gifts given by the ascended Christ are for the purpose of creating the saint as the place of God’s rest (Psalms 68:18). Every eye will not see Him at the personal coming, only those who are looking for Him.
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)
Then there will be a historical, worldwide Day of the Lord in which every eye will behold Christ.
There is a personal kingdom age in the individual believer, and then there will be a worldwide Kingdom Age. The persons who will rule with Christ during the worldwide Kingdom Age are those who establish a personal kingdom age, a rulership of Christ over their own personalities, in advance of His worldwide appearing (I John 3:2,3).
The section we have just completed is the fulfillment in the Christian of the Levitical Blowing of Trumpets, as we understand it. Trumpets is number five in the series of seven feasts.
Now we have come in our study to the sixth feast of Israel, the most sacred day of the religious year, the Day of Atonement.
Day of Atonement
Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:27,28)
And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. (Leviticus 16:2)
For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. (Leviticus 16:30)
Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. (Leviticus 25:9)
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Romans 5:11)
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: (Hebrews 9:22-24)
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (Hebrews 10:19,20)
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:7-9)
Day of Atonement Placed in the Latter Working of Redemption
The feasts of Israel are seven in number. The Day of Atonement, the observance having to do with the purging of sin and self-will from God’s people, was placed sixth in order.
If we are following a logical pattern, why wasn’t the Day of Atonement placed first or second in the order of the feasts? It seems reasonable that the first thing to occur in the plan of redemption should be that our sins are taken care of completely.
The blood of Passover, the first feast, is not a removing of sin from Israel but a protection from the judgment that falls on the gods of the world. The Passover blood is a shield, a wall of protection from the judgment of God. The first and true Passover was celebrated in Egypt.
The Day of Atonement, the feast having to do with the purging of sin from God’s people, was never celebrated in Egypt. The Day of Atonement could not be conducted until the Tabernacle of the Congregation had been erected and the priesthood anointed.
Isn’t this order of placement of the Day of Atonement somewhat out of line with our traditional concept of the relationship between the Christian and sin? Wouldn’t we expect the feast that represents cleansing from sin to come at the beginning of the seven feasts?
God’s remedy for the sinful condition of His people is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has made an atonement for us, just as He covered Adam and Eve with coats of skins (Genesis 3:21). God has covered us with the blood of Christ so the shame of our nakedness does not appear when we come into His Presence (Revelation 3:18).
The blood of Christ, the sacrificial Lamb of God, is applied to our lives in five different ways:
- As the Passover blood that protects us from the judgment of God as it falls on the gods of the world.
- As the blood of appeasement that cancels the debt of guilt incurred because of our sins.
- As the blood of deliverance and restoration, through which the Holy Spirit of God is enabled to remove the tendencies and repair the consequences of the sin in us, to give us the strength to resist sin, and to fill us with the indestructible resurrection Life of Christ so we are lifted above the realm where sin abounds.
- As the blood of the covenant that we drink when we receive the body and blood of Christ in the Communion service, the Lord’s Table.
- As the blood of union with Christ so we live by Him as He lives by the Father.
The atonement that God made for us by the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary is so comprehensive that it is difficult to describe in a few words. One definition of “make atonement” would be: restore to Divine favor. We think the word that comes the closest to summing up the various shades of meaning is reconcile.
The Day of Atonement (Reconciliation) is the sixth of the seven feasts. The seven feasts do not proceed in order in our lives like the grades of an elementary school. The spiritual fulfillments of the seven feasts are experienced by us at the moment of receiving Christ into our life and then should be working in us each day of our discipleship.
The several facets of the Divine Atonement, which include the Passover protection, the canceling of guilt, the washing away of unrighteous tendencies, the restoration of what was destroyed by sin, the partaking of the body and blood of Christ, are ours at the moment of receiving Christ as our Savior and Lord.
As we move along in the plan of God for our lives the feasts are fulfilled in our personalities to an ever greater degree. The full weight of authority and power contained in the body and blood of Jesus becomes increasingly manifest in our lives.
Our day-to-day Christian walk brings to us an enlarging consciousness of what the blood of Christ really can do concerning the grip that sin and self-will have on us. We become better able to appropriate the body and blood of the Lamb and thereby overcome the accuser (Revelation 12:11).
At this point in our book we will dwell for a bit on the need for us who have been Christians for awhile to learn to draw on the authority and power of the atonement made by Christ so we can fight our way through to greater freedom from the “sin which doth so easily beset us” (Hebrews 12:1).
The “living bird” of Leviticus 14:7 and the “scapegoat” of Leviticus 16:10 show us that God intends that our sins not only should be forgiven but also removed from us. We Christians need to learn more about how to have our sins removed from us so we can be made perfect in the sight of God (Hebrews 10:1).
Perhaps it is the reader’s understanding that sin is purged from our personality at the time of our initial experience in the Lord Jesus Christ. Is that belief actually borne out in our own experience and in the lives of the Christian people whom we know?
We may have started out on our Christian pilgrimage many years ago. Is it true that we now are free from the bondages of lust, of the love of money, of murderous hatred, of deceit, of occult practices, of the love of pleasure more than the love of God, of backbiting and gossiping, of pride, of haughtiness, of jealousy, of foolishness, of lying, of boasting, of stealing, of divisiveness, of fear, of self-pity, of complacency?
If we still are behaving in these ways, the redeeming authority and power contained in the atoning blood of Christ have not as yet completed their work of cleansing and reconciliation in us. But there is no doubt about the fact that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have been baptized in His name.
There is a reason why the Holy Spirit placed the Day of Atonement, the observance having to do with the committing of sins by God’s people, as number six in the series of seven feasts. A person must receive Christ and then walk with Christ for a season before God is able to destroy the many bondages of sin and rebellion—to root out the tares from among the wheat, so to speak.
Christians Do Sin
Two facts seem evident:
The cleansing of the Tabernacle and of the priests and people occurs toward the end of the series of seven feasts, coming just before the observance of the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus, Chapter 16).
The longer the fervent disciple walks with Christ the more conscious he becomes of the problem of sin in his own life, showing that righteousness, holiness, and obedience of behavior are not achieved at the time of our first acceptance of Christ. An increasing consciousness of sin and in some cases an increasing ability to overcome sin have been the testimony of the sincere disciples of Christ throughout church history.
When a Christian sins the wickedness may not be of the gross, obvious nature of drunken brawling, robbery or selling drugs. The wickedness may be of a more deceitful quality. The sinfulness of the house of God tends to be that of the heart, the murderous hardness, jealousy, stubbornness, pride, spitefulness of the heart.
Such is the heart-sin of Israel, the murderer of God’s prophets and witnesses from ancient times. Whenever Israel sees her Beloved she is apt to cry, Away with Him! Crucify Him! Let the guilt of His murder fall on us and our children!
Perhaps we shouldn’t blame the Pharisees too much for the murder of Jesus Christ. It is possible that the leaders of the churches of today would resist Christ were He to appear. We might find fault with His words or deeds or have Him discredited in some manner or put out of the church while we are singing “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.”
If someone thinks we are being too harsh, please refer to the manner in which some of the churches greeted the early proponents of the gift of tongues—a gift that was restored to the Body of Christ only after prolonged intercession had been made by burdened saints.
“It is the devil,” some proclaimed, knowing nothing of what they affirmed, having no consciousness of the fact that they were attributing to the devil the gift of Christ, caring little for the fact that they willingly were relegating to Satan their brothers and sisters in the Lord. It was confusion.
Jeremiah may be as current as the morning paper when he warns, “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars” (Jeremiah 17:1).
It may be quite difficult for us Christians to believe there actually is a great amount of sin and rebellion in the churches, when the Church of Christ is God’s own institution in the earth. A review of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation will emphasize the fact that the golden lampstands of God contain much sin and rebellion. Only a few of the believers are fit to walk in white with Christ.
Perhaps we Christians do not understand God continues to work with us and among us even though we are not seeking His holiness and righteousness.
Think about the implications of Leviticus 16:16, for example:
And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.
“That remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness”!
(“Pressing Past Pentecost: Twelve”, 3176-1)