March 31, 2023 Brethren Letter
“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (I Corinthians 10:16).
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ instituted the use of unleavened bread and wine as the New Testament symbols for the Passover observance. The bread symbolizes Christ’s broken body as payment for our physical sins, and the wine represents Christ’s shed blood for the payment of our spiritual sins.
Jesus Christ lived a perfect life as a human being. It was a life entirely without sin. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Think of it, if He had sinned even once, He would not have qualified to pay the penalty for OUR sins. “For the wages of sin is death [eternal death], but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Christ’s sacrifice must not be taken lightly. His willingness to be beaten, crucified on the stake, and to have His blood shed for US, are blessings beyond compare.
12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
We can see in Galatians 2:20 how the apostle Paul viewed Christ’s sacrifice and what it meant for his spiritual growth and way of life. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Christ dwells in US through His Spirit.
Brethren, I will quote a few paragraphs from a WCG Personal Correspondence Letter, dated 1988, on the subject of Christ’s sacrifice. What is written here is also what Mr. Armstrong taught on the subject. It contains some excellent information for us to think about.
Except for Jesus Christ, all humans have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Sin, the breaking of God’s law, requires the penalty of death:
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
Sin also cuts one off from God: “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him” (John 9:31, RAV). Isaiah wrote: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2, RAV).
Nevertheless, when one does repent — change, turn around, go the right way, and overcome — God will hear and answer that person’s request.
…Jesus was perfect. He never sinned. Notice: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (I Pet. 2:21-22). Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, willingly took on our sins and, by His shed blood and death, suffered the penalty of sin for us.
While He was on the cross, Jesus bore the sins of all of humanity, paying the penalty for them. Therefore, Jesus was cut off from God while on the cross because sin separates man from God. If God the Father was going to accept Jesus’ one supreme sacrifice as payment for the sins of all mankind, He had to turn His back on the sinbearer — Jesus. He had to forsake Jesus and let Him pay the full penalty for our sins.
God so loved the world that He was willing to cut Himself off from His perfect, loving, and obedient Son so that the Son could bear the sins of the world.How great and wonderful God’s love is toward us!
I hope that this year’s Passover will be the most meaningful one for us, and that we will be meditating deeply on Christ’s tremendous sacrifice.
Have a good night’s rest!
Your Brother in Christ,