Friday, July 3, 2009

Staying in the House

2 Old Testament stories are in my mind today, both highlighting our need to cling to Christ till the end.

The first is the story of the Passover's institution in Exodus 12. God commands his people to prepare a lamb, put the blood of the lamb on the lintel and 2 doorposts, and eat the lamb in the house. While they ate, the Lord passed through and killed the firstborn in every house in Egypt (v29). When he saw the blood on the doorposts he passed over that house - they were safe from God's judgment! But part of the command was to stay in the house:

"None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning," Exodus 12:22b, ESV.

What a glimpse of man's responsibility in salvation! We know that God is sovereign, even in the salvation of man, and that he initiates conversion in each soul that comes to him. But Scripture clearly teaches that man must come in order to be saved. Praise God that he draws us, but still we must come! And not only must we come to Christ, the true lamb of God who shed his blood for sinners, we must also remain in the house; that is, we must continue to cling to Christ! Again, the Lord keeps and preserves all who are his (and I'm so thankful he does!!!), but we are still commanded to endure to the end. If an Israelite had gone out of the house into the streets, he would not have been safe from the judgment of God, for God gave specific instructions for their salvation from death.

"For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end," (Hebrews 3:14, ESV).

The 2nd story that brings out this truth is in the book of Joshua. Moses has died, and Joshua is preparing to lead the people into the promised land, beginning with the conquest of the city of Jericho. Joshua sends 2 spies into the city, who enter the house of Rahab the prostitute. She hides the spies from the officials and gives an awesome declaration of faith in the God of Israel ("I know that the LORD has given you the land...for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath" Joshua 2:9, 11).

She asks the men to spare her family when Israel takes Jericho. The men agree, but give specific instructions. If Rahab's family wants to live, they must come into her house and stay there while Jericho is destroyed. And just as there was an outward sign in the Passover account (the blood on the doorposts), Rahab is commanded to hang a scarlet cord from her window:

"Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father's household. Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head," Joshua 2:18-19, ESV.

Believer, we must cling to Christ with all diligence! Hide in the house of Christ's substitutionary death; Escape from God's wrath and righteous judgment to the protecting blood of Jesus Christ; and never, never, NEVER go out of the house! Live under the blood by faith. Remain in the refuge of his redemption. Stay in the shelter of his wings. Knowing all the while that it is God who keeps you!

"Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen."
Jude 24-25, ESV

"...who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice..." 1 Peter 1:5, 6a, ESV

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