Christ Died for Our Sins
Thomas Jefferson did many great things during his lifetime, but he wanted only three of them mentioned at his grave for posterity to remember. Number three was the founding of the University of Virginia. Number two was the authorship of the Virginia statute for religious freedom. And number one was the authorship of the Declaration of Independence. He did not even want it mentioned that he was the President of the United States of America!
We know how the Declaration of Independence states this matter of freedom. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The "Declaration of Independence" for Israel was the Passover. "In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's Passover" (Lev. 23:5). This was a declaration for them of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It meant life because those who were protected by the blood were not slain by the Lord. It meant liberty because Israel was delivered from bondage. And it meant the pursuit of happiness because deliverance meant they were on their way to the Promised Land.
I. Lamb Needed
Exodus 11 and 12 gives us a full explanation of the Passover Feast. First, we are told that the lamb was needed. The Lord said to Moses, "Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt" (11:1). They had just gone through three days of terrible darkness, darkness that was so thick you could feel it. The lamb was needed because God's people were in bondage. Over and over again in the Book of Exodus the bondage of Israelis mentioned. You must remember that the nation of Israel was a nation of slaves in Egypt. They were not down there on vacation, they were not sight-seeing! They were in bondage. Every unsaved person is in bondage in bondage to the world, to the flesh and to the Devil (Eph. 2:1-3).
The lamb was needed because there was a darkness over the land and because there was bondage. But even more than that, death was coming. "And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt" (Ex. 11:4-6).
God has condemned our first birth. The firstborn of Egypt were condemned to die. God rejected several firstborn individuals in Scripture. God rejected Cain and chose Abel. God rejected Ishmael and chose Isaac. God rejected Esau and chose Jacob. God cannot accept your first birth. You may be proud of your first birth. You may say, "I was born into a wonderful family. I was born with a great deal of talent. I was born such a fine person." But God rejects your first birth and affirms that you must have a second birth—you must be born again. This new birth is brought about through faith in Jesus Christ.
The lamb was needed because Israel was in bondage. The lamb was needed because death was coming to the land. The only people who could be saved from death were those protected by the blood of the lamb. Just think of it, a little lamb was worth more than all the wealth of Egypt! All of the wisdom of Egypt could not save anyone's life! Only the lamb could do that, and the lamb had to die.
II. Lamb Chosen
In Exodus 12 the lamb was chosen. "And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months" (vv. 1,2). The Jewish civil calendar begins in the autumn of the year, but the Jewish religious calendar begins in the spring. Passover meant the beginning of months. When you are born again, it is a new beginning for you. You are born spiritually into a whole new schedule, a whole new program. You enter into God's calendar. "It shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: and if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month" (vv. 2-6).
Please note that it was God's Passover, not man's. All of this was wholly of God's grace. God said, "Select a lamb. That lamb must be without blemish; it must be the very best that you have." This speaks to us of our Lord Jesus Christ. In I Peter 1:19, we are told that He is a lamb "without blemish and without spot." They chose the lamb on the tenth day and watched it until the fourteenth day to make sure that it was perfect.
While our Lord Jesus Christ was here on earth, people watched Him. They studied Him, they tested Him, they questioned Him. They even accused Him. When it was all over, they had to admit that the Lamb was perfect. He was approved by God. God said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17). He was approved by men. Pilate said, "I . . . have found no fault in [him]" (Luke 23:14). Even Judas said, "I have betrayed innocent blood" (Matt. 27:4). The religious leaders had to hire false witnesses to condemn Him because no one could find any fault in the Lamb. Even the demons knew that He was the Son of God.
Jesus Christ is God's perfect Lamb. He knew no sin (II Cor. 5:21). He did no sin (I Pet. 2:22). In Him is no sin (I John 3:5).
III. Lamb to Be Slain
Exodus 12:6,7 makes it clear that the lamb was not chosen to be admired. The lamb was not chosen to be studied or to be imitated. The lamb was chosen to be slain. "And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it."
I hear people talking about the life of the Lord Jesus, and we have every reason to appreciate His life, to admire it, to imitate it. But the life of Christ is not what saves lost sinners. Death is coming. Darkness is upon you. You are in spiritual bondage, and the only deliverance there is comes through the blood of the Lamb. It is not the life of the Lamb or the beauty of the Lamb that saves you but the death of the Lamb.
The lamb had to be slain and the blood had to be applied. A Jewish father could know all about this, and his firstborn could still die. Unless the blood was applied, the blood could not protect the first-born from the condemnation that was coming. They took hyssop, dipped the hyssop into the basin where the blood had been caught and sprinkled the blood on the doorposts. Hyssop is a frail little shrub that has no special beauty or strength. Your salvation is not based on the strength of your faith—your salvation is based on the power of the blood. Even a weak, frail little shrub could be used to apply the blood to the door. It is not the strength of your faith that saves you; it is the power of the blood.
God made a promise: "When I see the blood, I will pass over you" (Ex. 12:13). The blood had to be applied to the doorposts of the house, and the people had to be gathered within the house. In the house, the people were eating the lamb, getting ready for their pilgrim journey.
I would like to remind you that it was the blood that purchased their safety. However, their assurance came from the Word of God. God said, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." I can just see some little child sitting in the house and saying, "Father, is the blood on the door?" The father says, "Yes, the blood is on the door." The boy says, "Oh, but I don't feel safe! I'm the firstborn. I just don't feel safe." The father would reply, "Now, Son, you are safe whether you feel it or not because the Word of God assures us that you will not be slain."
The blood was for their safety, and the Word was for their assurance. They could be sure that they were safe because God said so. Some people say, "I've trusted Jesus Christ, but there are times when I just feel so afraid." Well, my friend, you don't have to feel afraid. Regardless of how you feel, regardless of what your circumstances may be, if you have trusted Christ, you are safe under the blood. The Word of God gives us this assurance. When you believe what the Word of God says, the work of Christ on the cross is applied to your heart and you can have that perfect peace that comes to those who have trusted Jesus Christ.
IV. The Lamb Today
Is the lamb needed today? Yes, because our world is filled with spiritual darkness, spiritual bondage and death. Has the lamb been chosen? Yes, and there is only one Lamb the Lord Jesus Christ. In Genesis 22:7, Isaac asked, "Where is the lamb?" The answer ultimately came centuries later from John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). In Revelation 5:12, the hosts of heaven are singing, "Worthy is the Lamb"! Has the Lamb been slain? Yes, Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried, and He arose again the third day. Now He is in heaven, and He still has on His body the marks of Calvary. He is the Lamb slain for you and for me.
The question is this: Will you make this Lamb your Lamb? You will notice a progression of thought in Exodus 12: "Every man a lamb" (v. 3). "If the household be too little for the lamb" (v. 4). "Your lamb" (v. 5). A lamb, the lamb, your lamb.
Can you say of Jesus Christ that He is not simply a Lamb, He is not merely the Lamb, but He is my Lamb? Have you made His death applicable to your own heart? In other words, have you put the blood on the door? Are you trusting Jesus Christ? The Lamb was needed, the Lamb was provided, the Lamb was tested, and the Lamb was slain. The Lamb was victorious!
Calvary is where it all begins. Faith in Christ can mean "the beginning of months" for you. You can be set free to serve God and enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the will of God!
Be God's guest! He offers you life, liberty and the pursuit of spiritual happiness.