Joshua 13:14                      An Inheritance Made by Fire                               6/3/2012        

·        Abraham’s Inheritance (Gen 12:1-3, 15:1,18, Rom 8:32, 4:13, Heb 11:10)

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#1.       Levi’s Inheritance (Num 18:20, Deut 18:1-2, 2Sam 12:13, Luke 23:25,43, Zech 12:10)

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·        Why Is it Called an Inheritance? (Josh 11:23, 1:1-2, Num 20:8, Rom 7:4, Gal 3:13)

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#2.       A Sacrifice Made by Fire (Josh 13:14,33, Heb 10:1-4, John 1:31, Matt 11:11, 3:11, Rom 3:11)

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#3.       This Is the Inheritance (Eph 2:1-3, John 8:36, Heb 3:19, Rom 7:4, Eph 1:3-5, Rom 6:7, Josh 7, 4, 10, 11, 1Sam 2:8, Gen 15:1, Rev 3:21)

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·        An Inheritance Made by Fire (Matt 12:36, Rom 6:23, Rev 21:8, Rom 3:11, Matt 25:34, Psalm 5:5, 7:11, 11:5-6, 2Pet 2:1, Gal 3:13, 4:5, Rom 8:2)

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Genesis, Gen 15:1 (2X). Today we are going to talk about inheritances, for we have arrived at Josh 13 where the Lord commanded Joshua to divide the land by lot to the children of Israel for an inheritance. Let us begin with Abraham’s inheritance.

·        Abraham’s Inheritance (Gen 12:1-3, 15:1,18, Rom 8:32, 4:13, Heb 11:10)

What did Abraham need? Abraham needed assurance of the promises God made earlier that God would make of him a great nation, and that all the tribes of the earth would be blessed in him. God promised him that in Gen 12:1-3. But now 15 years later Abraham still did not own any land and he still had no children. Then God reinforced the promise He had made earlier, and God said in Gen 15:

Gen 15:1, “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” What is God saying? Paraphrased God says, “In this life I am your shield; I will protect you from evil men who will try to do you physical harm and from the devil and his angels who will try to do you spiritual harm. And in the life hereafter I will be your exceeding great reward; I will give Myself to you and all I have will be yours, so that you will have the greatest reward possible.” Translated into the words of the New Testament we can restate this promise into the words of Rom 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all (meaning: all the elect), how shall he not with him also freely give us all things, both in this life and in the life hereafter?” And so, where I am driving at is that the promise given to Abraham, who is one of God’s elect children, is just as great as God’s promise to everyone else of His elect children.

What other promises did God make to Abraham? We read in Gen 15:18, drop down to verse 18,

Gen 15:18, “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:” Did God promise to Abraham all the land of Canaan? And now if you turn to Rom 4:13, we can see that Abraham knew what God promised a whole lot better than many theologians do these days, for we read in Rom 4:13,

Rom 4:13, “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” In other words, Abraham understood that he would be heir of the world; no not this sin cursed world, but the New Heavens and the New Earth where Abraham would meet those from all the tribes of the earth who would be blessed in him. We also read in Heb 11:10, “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” You see, Abraham was looking forward to the city of God, the New Jerusalem. Then, in a simplified fashion, Isaac and Jacob were given also the promise of inheriting the land of Canaan, and so the 12 sons of Jacob received their portion of the inheritance in the land of Canaan.

#1.       Levi’s Inheritance (Num 18:20, Deut 18:1-2, 2Sam 12:13, Luke 23:25,43, Zech 12:10)

What was going on with Levi? Levi is a descendant of Abraham; why has he been left out of the inheritance that God gave to the other sons of Jacob? Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Numbers, Num 18:20 (2X). When Jacob returned from Padanaram where he obtained four wives and twelve sons and one daughter Jacob settled in front of the city of Shechem. Then one of the princes of Shechem fornicated with Dinah, the daughter of Jacob. The result was that Simeon and Levi took their swords and murdered all the males of Shechem. Therefore God cut them out of the inheritance that He bestowed on the children of Jacob. Simeon’s inheritance in the land of Canaan was absorbed in the inheritance of Judah, and Levi’s inheritance in the land of Canaan was eliminated. Instead, the priests and the Levites were commanded to take care of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to take care of the animal sacrifices that God commanded the nation of Israel in the worship of Him. We read in Num 18:20, “And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.” And so, the tribe of Levi did not receive a land inheritance, but instead the physical service of the Lord was the portion of their inheritance. Was this the penalty that God bestowed upon Levi and his descendants? Well, that would be a penalty from God from an earthly point of view; from a materialistic point of view. But that is not the end of the story. Please turn a few pages to your right, to the Prophecy of Deuteronomy, Deut 18:1 (2X). In Deut 18 God gave a little more information about the tribe of Levi. But now we are seeing the inheritance of the tribe of Levi from a Godly perspective. What is the Godly perspective? It is that God may have mercy on a murderer. Do not scoff at this idea. If the murderer is one of God’s elect, then God promised before the foundation of the world that He will have mercy on this murderer. Think, for example, of King David, who was the murderer of Uriah the Hittite, but the Lord said through the prophet Nathan in 2Sam 12:13, “The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” Think of Barabbas who was a murderer, Luke 23:25, and who was set free because the Lord Jesus took his place. Think of the thief on the cross next to the Lord Jesus; he had killed people when he robbed them, but the Lord also had mercy on him, as we can read in Luke 23:43. Think of all of us whose sins were the cause that the Lord Jesus was crucified. We too were the murderers of Jesus, as we read in Zech 12:10, “And they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” And so, if the Lord will have mercy on us, then He may have mercy also on Levi; except we must distinguish between those who are elect in the tribe of Levi, and those who are not elect. But the elect will be in the minority. Now, let us return to Deut 18:1-2, and there we read, “1 The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance. 2 Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.” This is the gift of God to the Levites instead of a piece of land. Wow, is this a better gift than land? Did God give Levi a greater inheritance than most in Israel? First we must ask:

·        Why Is it Called an Inheritance? (Josh 11:23, 1:1-2, Num 20:8, Rom 7:4, Gal 3:13)

Please turn to the Prophecy of Joshua, Josh 11:23. Joshua and the children of Israel conquered almost all the land of Canaan. Then Joshua divided the land to give inheritances to the children of Israel. But again we see that there was no land for the tribe of Levi. And again we shall see that the tribe of Levi received for an inheritance the offerings of the Lord made by fire. We read in Josh 11:23, “So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war”

Why is it called an inheritance? It is called that way because God says that it is an inheritance. Death has occurred and the possessions of the one who has died were now distributed among the heirs. Please turn a few pages back to the beginning of the Prophecy of Joshua, Josh 1:1-2,

Josh 1:1  Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,  2  Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.” Notice the timing of this inheritance. It was after the death of Moses. God waited to have the children of Israel cross the Jordan until Moses was dead. Why did God wait this long? You would say that Moses was forbidden to enter the land of Canaan because he struck the Rock instead of speaking to the Rock as God has commanded in Num 20:8. But let us think about this. Are the actions of God dictated by what people do? Is the God of all the universe bound hands and feet by what His creatures decide to do? That is a silly view of who God is. Last week we saw that one of the attributes of God is His Omnitemporality. It means that everything is viewed by God at the same time. When God commanded Moses to speak to the Rock, God also saw that Moses would strike the Rock, because God saw Moses’s heart, and God had His plan ready long before God commanded Moses to speak to the Rock. So, what did God have in view when He asked Moses to speak to the Rock? We have the answer from the New Testament revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You see, Moses represented the law of God. The land of Canaan represented the Promised Land, the Kingdom of God that we enter in as a gift from God after the Lord Jesus Christ has suffered and died for us on the cross. The Jordan River represents death and hell that Christ, represented by the Ark of the Covenant, had to cross before we could cross over. He bore the main burden of death and hell, and we walk on dry ground. And because He died we died with Him, Rom 7:4. That is why Moses had to die, because in our new regenerated life the law had to die. God says in Gal 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” Here is the real reason why Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. This is what God had in view all along when He commanded Moses to speak to the Rock. And thus, only after the death of Moses where the conditions ripe for the children of Israel to enter the Promised Land. Why is it called an inheritance? It is called that way because Moses had to die; it was an inheritance after the death of Moses. But what does this mean to us? It is nice that we learn a bit of history from Josh 11:23, but what value does that have for us? Can we learn something from this about our inheritance?

#2.       A Sacrifice Made by Fire (Josh 13:14,33, Heb 10:1-4, John 1:31, Matt 11:11, 3:11, Rom 3:11)

Please turn to Josh 13:14 (2X). The tribe of Levi was not left out in the cold. First of all, the priestly line came out of the tribe of Levi. And here we see the first deviation from the New Testament rules of conduct. The priests did not have to be saved individuals; they just had to be descendants of Aaron. Furthermore, the function of the priests was primarily to offer the animal sacrifices to God. And as a reward for their honorable labor they could eat the meat that was offered, and that is why it was a sacrifice made by fire. We read in Josh 13:14, “Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as he said unto them.”

The title of this sermon is not “A Sacrifice Made by Fire”, but “An Inheritance Made by Fire”. And thus we must make our way from the sacrifice to the inheritance, and we will see what role the fire plays in all of this. First we observe that all the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament were types and figures of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. We read that in Heb 10:1-4. And thus the task of the priests was most honorable, for they were pointing to the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus every day. John the Baptist also had this honorable job, for we read in John 1:31, “And I knew him not: but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.” John tells us here what his primary job was. This was such an honorable job that the Lord Jesus said of John the Baptist in Matt 11:11, “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist:” Furthermore, if all the animal sacrifices were such perfect pictures of Christ on the cross, then where is the fire? Almost all those animals were roasted in the fire, but where is the fire in the atonement of Christ on the cross? And then we remember the words of John the Baptist in Matt 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” He shall baptize you, or wash you, with fire? The only time the Lord Jesus has washed us was at the cross. He washed us from our sins, or He atoned for our sins, or He paid for our sins when He suffered on behalf of us from Thursday night in the Garden of Gethsemane until Friday afternoon at about 3 O’clock. We do not see any fire there. But God said there was fire. It must mean then that the fire was only observable to the Lord Jesus in His human soul. To satisfy the righteousness of God He had to pay the equivalent of what we would have to pay for our sins. And since we would have to pay an eternity in hell, the Lord Jesus had to pay for our sins the equivalent of an eternity in hell. He had to suffer as if He was paying for our sins in the fires of hell. Only then was the righteousness of God satisfied. Let me say a few words about this verb, “To Satisfy” since there is presently much nonsense proclaimed about satisfaction. We hear often through hymns or through the pulpits from other preachers, “Only Jesus can satisfy”, as if in all our striving for happiness, and in all our efforts to worship the only true God we have tried everything, but nothing satisfies us. Then one day we stumble on Jesus and then we discover that only Jesus can satisfy our desires and our longing for worship and service. Only Jesus can satisfy our inward desires and happiness, as if there was a spiritual cavity in our soul and only Jesus can fill this cavity, and now we are fully satisfied and happy. That is a bunch of nonsense, and it has spread too almost all the denominations. Who does the Lord Jesus satisfy? He does not satisfy us! O No He must satisfy the righteousness of His heavenly Father, or else he would not be worth anything, and He would not qualify to be a Redeemer. The doctrine that the Lord Jesus satisfies us is a selfish doctrine. It does not come from the Bible. It is a doctrine sowed by Satan. We should throw it out of our memory as soon as possible. But in order to satisfy the righteousness of God the Lord Jesus had to suffer in His human soul the equivalent of an eternity in hell. Man has sinned, and man has to atone or those sins. Christ in His human nature could pay for those sins, because He was the sinless Son of God, and He was perfectly righteous, and He had the strength to endure the torments of hell without being consumed in the process. Any other person in this universe, including angels, would fail in the process. This is why His perfect sacrifice was a Sacrifice Made by Fire.

Please turn to Josh 13:33, and here we gain a little more insight into this perfect sacrifice.

Jos 13:33, “But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as he said unto them.” And remember that this verse sounds almost like the promise of God to Abraham in Gen 15:1, “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” In other words, this is the fulfillment of the promise given earlier in Josh 13:14, “the sacrifices made by fire are their inheritance”. And here in Josh 13:33 we read, “The LORD God of Israel was their inheritance.” What do we conclude from all this? We conclude that God gave to the tribe of Levi something that looks like the Lord’s Supper that we have in our New Testament time. It was a perfect sacrifice made by fire, and the sacrifice represented “the Lord God of Israel”, much like the body and the blood of the Lord Jesus was given as a perfect sacrifice on behalf of our sins. The sacrifice was made by fire on behalf of the sins of Old Testament Israel, just like the Lord Jesus endured the equivalent of an eternity in hell on behalf of our sins. The Lord God of Israel became the inheritance of Levi and his descendants, just like the Lord promised to Abraham and to us that He will be our inheritance. The tribe of Levi had to eat of the sacrifice made by fire, like we have been commanded to partake of the Lord’s Supper, but in both cases we have been instructed to partake only of a symbol of the Lord, not the Lord Himself. And how do we arrive at our inheritance? We arrive at our inheritance because the Lord Jesus Christ has washed away all our sins, and that makes us qualified to come into the presence of Almighty God, and thus we shall inherit all that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to inherit. But He washed our sins by going through the fire, and thus our inheritance is also one that is made by fire. In Old Testament times the fire on the altar was symbolizing the fire of hell. In New Testament times the “baptism by fire” also represents the fire of hell that Christ had to endure, but that we only endure by being present IN Him. Christ, represented by Moses, walked through the Red Sea, but the children of Israel walked on dry ground. Christ, represented by the Ark of the Covenant, walked through the Jordan River, but the children of Israel walked on dry ground. When the Lord Jesus Christ endured the torments of hell while He was hanging on the cross, we remain on dry ground, outside the fires of hell. But legally we were in Christ from before the foundation of the world, and thus legally we have already gone through hell and came out the other end, and thus God will never send us to hell, because we have already been there. God uses all this symbolism to justify His actions, for God is infinitely righteous, and He must uphold His righteousness at all costs. And God imputes all this symbolism to those who shall believe it, because it is God the Holy Spirit who has given us this faith. We do not believe it by our own volition, because God says in Rom 3:11, “There is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE that seeketh after God.” When we believe that we shall inherit eternal life with Christ, we know by faith that it is a gift of God’s grace that He has given us faith and understanding, and it is not a result of anything we might have done, and it is not that we might have taken the initiative to believe, for we could not believe.

#3.       This Is the Inheritance (Eph 2:1-3, John 8:36, Heb 3:19, Rom 7:4, Eph 1:3-5, Rom 6:7, Josh 7, 4, 10, 11, 1Sam 2:8, Gen 15:1, Rev 3:21)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 2:1 (2X). Now listen carefully, for you will not hear this from any other preacher of the Gospel. Let us now consider all these historical events. It was not God’s intention to teach us just some historical events. It always was God’s intention to bring us the Gospel. And when we consider the spiritual meaning of these historical events, we do see the Gospel there. There is an amazing analogy between the historical events of our salvation and our inheritance, and the actual history of the nation of Israel as recorded in Joshua and in other parts of Scripture. Let us begin with the Exodus out of Egypt, which was a stupendous picture of the salvation of the children of God out of their bondage to Satan. The Bible tells us in Eph 2:1-3 that when we were born into this world we were born as slaves to Satan.

Eph 2:1-3  1  And you (hath he quickened,) who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3  Among whom also WE ALL had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” We were in the kingdom of Satan, under his rule, and we were not able to escape; just like the children of Israel were born as slaves of Pharaoh, and were unable to escape. But then came the first Passover; the lambs were slain, which were all anticipating the Lamb of God that would be slain on the cross. God promised Moses that this was the last of the Ten Plagues, and “The Blood of the Lamb shall make you free,” and all those who smeared the blood of the lambs on their doorposts and who ate the Passover lamb were set free that same night. This was anticipating the words of the Lord Jesus in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” And so, when we look at the Exodus out of Egypt, it was a picture of our delivery out of the house of bondage to sin and Satan. We must understand that it was only a picture of the salvation of God’s elect out of the house of bondage, for in reality most of the children of Israel remained unsaved. God said that He was grieved with that generation. God said clearly in Heb 3:19, “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” The majority of the children of Israel who came out of Egypt were unbelievers, and unbelievers go to hell. Unbelievers have no inheritance in the Promised Land. But it was a picture of our salvation, and Christ, the Lamb of God, purchased us out of the house of bondage and set us free. Then He sent us into the world. But our doctrines were still in the stage of formation. We did not understand everything yet. Then followed the 40 years of wandering through the wilderness, a picture of our wanderings as saved human beings through the wilderness of this world. When are we ready to cross the Jordan River? We need to understand what the death of Moses symbolized and what the Jordan River was a symbol of. The Jordan River is a symbol of death and hell; for bodies it means death and the grave, and for souls or spirits it means hell, for spirits cannot be contained in a grave. In order for us to enter our Promised Land our body needs to die, and Moses had to die. Why did Moses have to die? Moses represented the law, and in order to set us free there had to occur a separation between the law and us. God tells us in Rom 7:4, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” Why were we set free from the law when Christ died? God tells us in Eph 1:3-5 that God chose a group of people who are called the elect of God, and who were placed IN Christ before the foundation of the world, and we still are IN Him at the present time. But when Christ was crucified we were crucified with Him and in Him, and when Christ died we also died with Him and in Him, and when Christ rose from the grave we rose with Him and in Him, and we were glorified with Him and in Him. God tells us in Rom 7:4 that when Christ died we also died, so that there was a separation between us and the law, for God says in Rom 6:7, “For he that is dead is freed from sin.” That is why Moses had to die, because there had to be a separation between us and the law. Everyone who has been Born Again has been separated from the law. In this condition we are ready to die, symbolically to cross the Jordan River of our life, either by the death of our mortal body at this present time, or during the rapture on the last day. But after we have crossed the chilly Jordan River of our life and have safely arrived on the other side we shall witness the separation between the righteous and the wicked. Do you remember wicked Achan, the son of Zerah, who was stoned and burned with all his household in the valley of Achor? (Josh 7) For this reason all his possessions were also burned. Not one of the unrighteous shall join in the inheritance of God, and all their possessions shall go to waste. In fact, they shall be left in Jordan, in hell. Do we remember that in Josh 4 there were twelve stones taken out of Jordan, but another twelve stones were left in Jordan, they were left in hell. This was indicating that after we have crossed our Jordan we will witness the death of our enemies, both in the spiritual sense by the twelve stones left in Jordan, and in the physical sense when the army of Joshua, symbolizing the armies of Jesus Christ, destroyed all the Canaanites, even to the last man, woman and child (Josh 10 and 11). And notice how vividly the Lord portrayed this fact: The Sun stood still (lit: was silent) and the moon stayed (lit: stood still) until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies, and God said, “there was no day like that before it or after it.” It was only then that the children of Israel received their inheritance, which was symbolizing when we will receive our inheritance. First all the unrighteous have to be cast into hell, and then the Lord will open the gates of the New Jerusalem, located in the New Heaven and the New Earth. And what an inheritance it is! Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of 1Sam 2:8 (2X). We cannot comprehend the totality of all the blessings contained in God’s promises. God said in Gen 15:1, “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Did God really mean a “reward”? A reward for doing what? No, it is a reward for doing nothing! Salvation and the consequences of salvation are a totally free gift from God. This word “reward” in Gen 15:1 really means “inheritance.” God Himself is our inheritance. God is our inheritance, meaning that all that He is and all that He possesses will be given to the saints for our inheritance. Christ said in Rev 3:21 that we shall sit with Him IN His throne, even as He also sits with His Father IN His throne. And this promise will not be fulfilled collectively, as if we will have to share that lofty position with all the other 50 million saints in heaven, but this promise is to each one of the saints individually. Leave it up to God how He is going to accomplish that. Furthermore we read in 1Sam 2:8, “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne (singular throne) of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.” This is such a great inheritance that we simply cannot comprehend what great blessings God is going to bestow upon us. But we can thank Him for it, and we shall thank Him in a timeless eternity forever and ever. And so, shall we have any desires other than thank Him and love Him and adore Him? I do not think so, for there is nothing else in the new universe that will be as worthwhile as to love and adore the One who saved us by His grace. All this comes as a totally free gift, and even our desires will be given to us as a totally free gift, for God’s purpose in all this is that He will be glorified.

·        An Inheritance Made by Fire (Matt 12:36, Rom 6:23, Rev 21:8, Rom 3:11, Matt 25:34, Psalm 5:5, 7:11, 11:5-6, 2Pet 2:1, Gal 3:13, 4:5, Rom 8:2)

We have seen the sacrifice made by fire, which was the earthly inheritance of the tribe of Levi, but now we want to find out why this is inheritance is spiritually called an inheritance made by fire, and this is the title of the sermon today. It is related to the righteousness of God. Do we know God, and do we know that He is infinitely righteous? What does that mean? It means that He is a righteous Judge who will not pass by any sin, but every sin, even sins as small as an idle word, shall have to be given account of in the day of judgment (Matt 12:36). Shall Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin, and Idi Amin have to give an account of their sins? Yes they do, and I would not want to be in their shoes when they will receive the penalty for their sins. But more importantly, what will God do with your sins and with my sins? Will Christ forgive us our sins? Does Christ forgive sins by some hand waving? Absolutely Not! The only way a righteous God forgives sins is by atonement, for every sin must be accounted for and for every sin God must receive the payment that is required. Either you will pay for your own sins in a place called hell, or if you can find a sinless and righteous substitute then this substitute can pay for one of your sins, but after he is done paying for one of your sins he has been consumed in the process. To be able to pay for more than one sin this substitute must be God. And so, when God commanded the children of Israel in the Old Testament time to select a sinless animal to make atonement for their sins, they understood that this was pure symbolism. An animal cannot substitute for man in the payment for sins. The millions of animals sacrificed in the Old Testament could not take away one sin. They were all types and figures of the atonement of Christ on the cross. If man has sinned, then man must pay for those sins. And thus the Substitute must be both man and God. In the entire universe there is only one man who can fulfill these qualifications, and that man is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is both God the Son and the man Christ Jesus, both in one Person; He never committed even one sin, and He is able to satisfy the righteousness of God on behalf of many sinners who have committed a very large number of sins. What is the payment for one sin? God says in Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death;” and the death that God has in view is the second death, which is spending an eternity in the Lake of Fire (Rev 21:8). But since the penalty is infinitely great, and the reward of eternal life is also infinitely great, it is not up to man to ask the Lord Jesus Christ to go and spend for him the equivalent of an eternity in hell in order that his sins might be atoned for. Besides, since there is NONE that seeketh after God (Rom 3:11), we should not expect that Gods salvation plan would begin with man taking the initiative. Therefore God had to arrange a different route to salvation. Since man is not able to pay even a small fraction of the penalty for sin, God gives this payment to us for free. This is truly salvation by grace, for grace means the unmerited favor of God. But now God had to make the decision whom to give this gift of salvation. Does God have to wait until the proper time has arrived? Absolutely not, for our God is omniscient; He knows the end from the beginning, for He causes the end from the beginning to come to pass. Therefore, from before the foundation of the world God chose whom He was going to save. And everyone whom He will save He will also give them the great inheritance, which He has already prepared from the foundation of the world (Matt 25:34). But what does it cost God to save us, and what does it cost God to give away all these gifts. God is a righteous Judge who will not give away anything to those who are unrighteous and whom He hates. God says in Psalm 5:5, “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” And God says in Psalm 7:11, “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” And God says in Psalm 11:5-6, “5  The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. 6  Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.” And so, the only ones who will be saved and who will receive this great inheritance are those for whom the Lord Jesus Christ atoned for their sins. But in order to atone for their sins successfully the Lord Jesus had to satisfy the righteousness of God for those sins. And this meant that He had to suffer the equivalent of an eternity in hell on behalf of everyone whom the Father had chosen. This is why it is an inheritance made by Christ going through the fire. The Lord Jesus purchased us out of the house of Satan by Himself going into the house of Satan and snatch us out of there. And then He set us free. This is the meaning of the Greek word “exagorazo”. The “agora” is the market place. When we read the Greek verb “agorazo” it means that someone goes to the agora simply to buy something. But when we read the Greek verb “exagorazo” it means that Christ has gone to the market place to buy a slave, and then He sets him free. That is the meaning of the English verb “to redeem.” Those whom Christ redeemed (exagorazo) are those whom He purchased for all eternity and who are guaranteed to inherit eternal life in the New Heaven and the New Earth. But those whom He bought (agorazo) are not necessarily redeemed for all eternity. We can see this, for example in 2Pet 2:1, where false teachers are said to be “denying the Lord that bought them,” which is the Greek word “agorazo,” and this is the same word “agorazo” that we find in Matt 13:44. This was a whole different purchase than Christ made in Gal 3:13 where we read, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:” or in Gal 4:5 where we read, “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Both in Gal 3:13 and in Gal 4:5 the Greek word is “exagorazo”. And so, how can we become “redeemed” by the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer is: You must be born as an heir of the covenant of God, and be in Christ from before the foundation of the world. How can we know IF we were born as a child of the covenant of God? If we know that we have been “Born Again” and have been delivered from our former sins, and that God has given us the love of God for Him and for the brethren, and the faith to believe and to love the entire Bible, including all the passages that we do not like, then we can be sure that we have been born as a child of the covenant of God, and we can rejoice in this every day. Remember it is not “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be saved”; this is the Old Covenant, for this is the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2); this is the bondage of the Judaizers. But rather we should say, “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus”; this is the New Covenant, for this is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:2); it is the liberty that we have in Christ. It is a blessed life, full of joy and confidence.

AMEN                   Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.