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The Immeasurable Riches of His Grace

Mama always said, “you learn something new every day”. And she is right. If you go through your day and through your life with an open mind, you will learn.

Misunderstood words can be amusing when used in the wrong context.

Take the word, nonplussed. I thought it meant unimpressed or unaffected. It actually means perplexed, extremely puzzled, at a loss.

I thought bemused was to be mildly amused. It doesn’t. It means to be bewildered, confused, baffled or stumped.

I thought unique meant unusual or extraordinary. Nope. It means the only one of its kind, unlike anything else.

Another such word for me was “scapegoat”.

Until just recently I had a misunderstanding of who the scapegoat represented. I thought the scapegoat was Jesus Christ; it is not.

But before we go there, we need to understand why there is a scapegoat. What is a scapegoat? To answer those questions, we need to look at the sanctuary.

The sanctuary has always been a bit of a tough subject for me. It requires in-depth studies to truly understand, but once you begin to see the meaning and the significance of the earthly sanctuary, then the role of the heavenly sanctuary becomes alive in living color.

“The sanctuary is a symbol of God’s government, and the way God deals with the sin of His people affects the public perception of the righteousness of His government.

As ruler, God is the Judge of His people, and He is expected to be fair, vindicating the innocent and condemning the guilty…when God forgives the sinner, He carries judicial responsibility.

The sanctuary, which represents God’s character and administration, is contaminated. This explains why God bears our sins when He forgives. (The original Hebrew for “forgiving” [nōśēʾ] in these verses means “carrying, bearing”).

The system of sacrifices in the Israelite sanctuary illustrated this point. When a person sought forgiveness, he brought an animal as a sacrifice in his behalf, confessed his sins over it, and slaughtered it. The blood of the animal was daubed upon the horns of the altar or sprinkled before the veil in the temple in the first apartment. Thus, the sin was symbolically transferred into the sanctuary. God took the sins of the people and bore them Himself.

In the Israelite system, cleansing from, or atonement for, sins occurred in two phases. During the year, repentant sinners brought sacrifices to the sanctuary, which cleansed them from their sin but transferred the sin to the sanctuary, to God Himself. At the end of the year, on the Day of Atonement, which was the day of judgment, God would cleanse the sanctuary, clearing His judicial responsibility by transferring the sins from the sanctuary to the scapegoat, Azazel, who represented Satan.” – In These Last Days: The Message of Hebrews - Lesson 9 – Jesus, the Perfect Sacrifice (1st Quarter 2022)

When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, the old system was done away with as far as heaven was concernred. Jesus took the place of the innocent lamb or dove and instead our sins were put on Him. He shed His blood in our place. He took the punishment we deserve.

I am so thankful the old system was done away with. I cannot imagine how hard and horrible it would be to slit the throat of a perfect

lamb, catching its blood in a bowl, as a step in having my sins forgiven.

But how much more horrible I should feel that God the Son, the Creator, the one called Faithful and True, would be slain for my sins. How much more horrible that my Jesus suffered in my stead.

I may get meanings of words wrong at times, but there is something I will never get wrong. Jesus loves me. He loves me a great deal! And you know what? He loves you too.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV

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