The Church of God will soon be observing Passover and the days of unleavened bread.
Passover represents the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins so we can be forgiven and accepted by God into His kingdom. We observe Passover by taking the symbol of unleavened bread to represent Christ's broken body and the suffering He endured and the symbol of wine to represent Christ's shed blood and His death.
After Passover, we observe the days of unleavened bread, avoiding leavening and eating unleavened bread for seven days. This teaches and reminds us of the lesson of repentence and putting sin out of our lives and putting the righteousness of Christ into our lives. We also observe the night to be much observed at the beginning of the seven days of unleavened bread to remind us of and celebrate God's calling and His mercy in bringing us out of the bondage of the deceptions of this sinful world, as God brought ancient Israel out of the bondage of Egyptian slavery.
Passover and the night to be much observed will be more difficult for many brethen this year because of the coronavirus. Many COG groups, because of government restrictions as well as a desire to protect the elderly from the coronavirus, have cancelled meetings and get-togethers.
Families can observe Passover at home (your COG group can provide intructions), and likewise the night to be much observed. It will be more difficult for singles who must keep these days alone. But Passover can still be observed by one person, minus the foot washing, and likewise the night to be much observed. The night to be much observed can be kept by eating special food that one enjoys on special occasions to help rejoice and make the evening special as one meditates on the blessing of God's calling and gives thanks to God for opening our minds to come out of this world and its ways.
We have been correctly taught for years that the shed blood and the death of Jesus Christ paid the death penalty for our sins so we do not have to permanently die. This makes it possible for our sins to be forgiven and for us to receive eternal life in God's kingdom.
And we have been taught, I believe correctly, that the broken body and suffering of Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our physical sins - our breaking of the physical laws of health - so that we can be healed of our physical sickness and ailments. See Isaiah 53:5-6.
The Passover wine we take is a symbol of Christ's shed blood. It represents His death and that part of His sacrifice that reconciles us to the Father, makes forgiveness of sin possible, and removes the death penalty from us so we can be given eternal life and not have to pay the penalty for our own sins in the lake of fire.
The Passover unleavened bread we take is a symbol of Christ's broken body and suffering, and it represents that part of Christ's sacrifice that makes healing of our diseases possible.
We need to be reconciled to God through the death of His Son so God can forgive us and give us eternal life. We often need physical healing in this life for our diseases and injuries.
We also need spiritual healing.
What do I mean by spiritual healing?
Our character needs to be cleaned up. We need to be healed of our sinful nature. Our tendency to give into temptation and sin must be rooted out (Romans 7:14-25).
We need to develop holy, righteous character through the help of God's Holy Spirit.
It is the power of the Spirit of God dwelling in our minds that heals our character, and that healing becomes complete in the resurrection to immortal life.
Lucifer was not created evil. He was perfect in his ways before he sinned (Ezekiel 28:12-15). Then he sinned (Ezekiel 28:15-16). When he sinned, his mind became corrupted and he sinned more and more. He practiced the way of vanity, and he corrupted his mind and wisdom (Ezekiel 28:17).
Mr. Armstrong taught in Mystery of the Ages that when Lucifer and his angels who became demons sinned, something happened their minds. They became corrupt. They acquired a sinful nature.
When Adam sinned by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, something happened to his mind. His mind became perverted and he became receptive to Satan's deceptions as Mr. Armstrong pointed out in Mystery of the Ages.
Mental and spiritual corruption is one of the penalties of sin. Sin produces a mental state that leads to more sin.
We need to be spiritually healed for God to give us eternal life.
Suppose God removed the death penalty and gave us eternal life so we would live forever, but did nothing about our evil human nature, which is really Satan's nature. What kind of eternal life would we have if we kept sinning? It would be an eternal life of conflict and misery. Sin causes suffering. We would not be happy.
So we must be healed spiritually, and that healing comes about through the power of God's Holy Spirit working in our minds. But we also have our part to play. Our part is to believe and trust in God and Jesus Christ, to repent of our sins, and to make the effort to resist temptation and stop sinning.
It is the combination of our choice to resist sin and obey God plus the work of God's Spirit in our minds that produces that spiritual healing. That spiritual healing then becomes complete at the resurrection to immortality when Christ returns.
Then will can live forever in the kingdom of God in joy and peace, not subject to temptation and sin as in this life. Our minds will be completely healed and we will no longer want to sin.
This is the happiness we can look forward to.