Summary: God has provided our means of salvation from sin. No matter how nice a person we are, we will not inherit eternal life without accepting God’s provision.
Put on your wooly coat (or die of exposure)
25 April 1997
Sometimes an umbrella can come in very useful.
Particularly useful if certain young ladies are about with buckets of water!
A good umbrella can certainly confound their fiendish plans!
I would like to share with you today the message about an umbrella of sorts which God offers us to protect us from the downpour of his own judgement against sin. him hide his face from you."
Over the past few years I have read the "Dragons of Pern" series by Anne McCaffrey. In this series of books, people on a far away world are troubled by a form of rain which eats up all living things that it comes into contact with. That includes the people. Luckily for them, the world in the story happens to be home to friendly dragons who breathe fire which burns up the deadly rain while it is still in the air!
The people had a form of shelter or protection from the inevitable.
The follower of Christ also has a form of protection, in this case, from the judgement of their sin.
There are rules of physics which relate to the physical world and I would like to suggest that the same trend applies to the spiritual world. Specifically, we are told that positive and negative energy cannot come into contact.
Scripture says, "The Lord hasn’t lost his powerful strength; his ability to save us. He can still hear and answer prayers.
But your sins have separated you from God. Your sins have made
"Because you do not repent, you are storing up retribution against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his judgement will be revealed."
From this scripture, it seems clear that God cannot come close to, or be at one with, someone who does not accept him and be like him.
Those who are consciously rooted in obeying God are able to come into contact with God.
Those who are not rooted in God, simply cannot get close to
Our first reading from Ezekiel said,
"I will judge each one of you according to your record," says the Lord God.
Then he says,
"Repent, renounce all your offences, then sin will not be your downfall!"
You see he is clearly saying that more is required than
to have done more good than bad.
We must reject the unGodly things we have done in the past and him. They are "caught in the open" and subject to the downpouring of God’s judgement because he does not recognise them.
You may have heard the illustration of the surrogate sheep.
The ewe accepts the other lamb when she recognises it as her own. God will recognise us as belonging to him, and will be able to come into contact with him in eternal life if we turn our back on our sins and we accept him as perfection in our place, accepting his example and instruction for our lives.
This is how we receive a covering that God will recognise and be able to come close to.
This is quite opposite from the common idea that anyone who is basically good will end up being with God.
Let me share with you an illustation.
I have before me a glass. I fill it half-full with water. Would you like to drink it? Yes of course. Now I fill the remainder of the glass full with bleach. Would you drink it now? No. It is polluted.
Now here is another glass. I fill it half full with water and then add the tiniest fraction of bleach. Would you drink it now? Why not? Obviously, it is still polluted.
It is similar with God. He views us and finds us polutted. We need to be cleansed to his sight.
The Bible tells us that it is not sufficient just to be a good person.make a firm commitment to avoid sin in the future, and to repent should we slip up.
"Throw off the load of your misdeeds," he says.
"Get yourself a new heart and a new spirit."
In other words, change your ways and don’t say, "Well, I’ve done more good than bad in my life so God must like me!"
None of us are perfect and our sin will inevitably be seen by God. We do need some sort of a screen or protection so that our sin and God’s judgement don’t meet.
In Old Testament times, God taught the Israelites that he alone provides the means for us to be with him. He showed this through dictating the ceremony of the Day of Atonement.
Atonement means At One Ment,
in other words, bringing together into harmony of those who have been separated.
In the Old Testament texts Atonement is expressed by the verb Kaphar whose root meaning is to cover over.