Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Passover and the Example of Christ

Tomorrow evening the Church of God will be observing Passover. We will be taking the symbols of unleavened bread and wine to symbolize the sacrifice of Christ to pay the penalty for our sins so we can be forgiven.

Passover and the sacrifice of Christ are vital parts of God's plan for reproducing Himself in mankind.

God is teaching us lessons for eternity, lessons that are to be built into our character for eternity. God is producing children who will be like Him, perfect in righteousness and unable to sin. After we are born into God's kingdom, never again will there be a rebellion against God as Satan and his demons rebelled. Never will there be sin among God's children to spoil the happiness of that kingdom.

One of the lessons God is teaching us is the lesson of love. We are to love God with all our being and our neighbors as ourselves.

One of the ways God teaches this is through the sacrifice of Christ. God is teaching us by example as well as instruction.

God made suffering and death the penalties for human sin. Then he allowed Satan to deceive and tempt all mankind into sinning. All humans who have ever lived have thus sinned. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

That means that apart from the sacrifice of Christ, none of us can escape eternal death.

But God then provided Jesus Christ, God's beloved Son and the Word who was also God and was with God from the beginning of time, as a sacrifice to suffer and die in our place. Since Christ is the creator of all mankind (John 1:3, Colossians 1:15-17), His life is of greater value than the lives of all humans, and His one sacrifice is great enough to pay the penalty for all mankind's sins.

God's purpose is to teach us His perfect way of life and to build His perfect, holy, righteous character in us to prepare us to live eternal lives of happiness and joy in His kingdom.

A defining characteristic of God's character is love. "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love" (1 John 4:8). "And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:16).

Before Jesus was crucified, He told His disciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John 13:34). "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12).

God has used Jesus Christ, not only to save us, but to set an example of love for us to follow. When we take the symbols of unleavened bread and wine at Passover, we are affirming our acceptance of sacrificial love as a way of life. We are telling God not only that we need and accept the sacrifice of Christ, but that we are willing to live the way of life of love that Christ's sacrifice teaches.

God's plan to use Jesus Christ to save us and to teach us by example the way of life we will live for eternity is an awesome and perfect plan!

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