God’s Sacrifice to Save

By John Thiel, mp3

Scripture reading: Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Our exploration into the infinite love of God takes us now to the Hebrew sanctuary to explore a particular element of God’s love. The holy God, the one that we sing of, where we use those words of His greatness as revealed in the starry skies:

Lord of all being throned afar…
Lord of all life, below, above.

This holy God, far removed from sin and sinners, came to the Hebrews. And what did He have to witness in reference to the Hebrews? This is an aspect of the Hebrews that really makes my head swim to think what they were already like in Egypt, before He took them out.

Ezekiel 20:5 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I [am] the LORD your God; 6 In the day [that] I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which [is] the glory of all lands: 7 Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I [am] the LORD your God. 8 But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. 9 But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they [were], in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. 10 Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.

What were the Hebrews like? Were they a people special in their behaviour, in their attitude towards God? Were they any different from the rest of the wicked world? While they were in Egypt, God already revealed the condition of these people; and they revealed it for themselves by their response when He asked them to cast away their abominations and their idols. Instead of them listening to Him and doing what He said, they rebelled. What did God do? Listen to what He says to these rebellious people whom He took out of Egypt in such a powerful manner, in such a demonstration of His kindness and love.

Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

To rebellious sinners, people who would not do as God had said, He said, I want to come and dwell among you.

Leviticus 26:11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. 13 I [am] the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.

“Let them make Me a sanctuary. I have set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you.” But they were sinners, as He described them in Egypt. Then afterwards He goes on in Ezekiel and continues to describe their rebellious nature. “I want to come and dwell among you.” Here, in living example, the God of heaven displays a dimension of His character, His glory, that we want to fully appreciate. We want to study it in the gift of Jesus because when Jesus came to this earth, who was He?

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

“I will set My tabernacle among the Hebrews; My soul shall not abhor them.” Here was the prophetic story of Jesus to be born and tabernacling with us. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. He so loved rebellious sinners that He placed His sanctuary among them; He tabernacled with them.

God commanded Moses for Israel, “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8), and He abode in the sanctuary, in the midst of His people. Through all their weary wandering in the desert, the symbol of His presence was with them. So Christ set up His tabernacle in the midst of our human encampment. He pitched His tent by the side of the tents of men, that He might dwell among us, and make us familiar with His divine character and life. “The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.” John 1:14, R. V., margin. {DA 23.3}

It’s so easy just to read that. It is so easy just to pour over those words and just let them affect a little interest, but what did this mean to God, that He, the holy God who was far removed from sin and sinners, would come and dwell among them, at close range? As we sang, My glory-circled throne I left for earthly night. Do we really comprehend the sacrifice that God made? God with us. With whom?

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

God came to dwell among them. The comparison of someone who lives in a castle with a queen coming down and living with the paupers in the street, is only so small to what God did. It would be more in terms of someone who is in glowing health, living up there in the high position of a king or queen and coming down and dwelling in a sewer of disease. That’s even more so, but still doesn’t reach it. I am praying that the Lord will help us to see a dimension of God’s love that will burst our pride bubbles.

There is none righteous, no, not one; but we who are sinful don’t want to admit that. But when we look at God’s love in regards to what He has done, who has He come to dwell with? Someone who doesn’t really, really want Him in the first place, but who is feeling miserable because the consequences of sin have put him into the sewer.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

What is God’s love like? He came to dwell, abide, among enemies. When we look at Jesus dwelling among enemies, He has this wonderful state of mind that we can read in Zechariah, This is what happened to Me in the house of My friends. That is a subtle way of saying, These are My enemies; My friends are My enemies.

Try to comprehend, stop long enough to look at this, and may the Holy Spirit help us to understand what this sacrifice was and is. He who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” came and dwelt and tabernacled among us, and exposed Himself to what? This pure, undefiled, harmless, holy God shudders in any contact with sin. Yet here is Christ, God with us.

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

He has come to dwell among us as He dwelt among the Hebrews in the tabernacle. God was in Christ. Christ was the tabernacle. God was in Him. And as God was in Him, what did He expose Himself to?

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

He has tabernacled in a body that was made to be sin for us. What kind of an experience do you imagine this could be? Let the Holy Spirit really reveal it to your mind. Are you in tune? God’s untouchable nature, holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, exposed Himself to sin itself, although He knew no sin. “Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” Dwell! Not only pop in and pop out again, but be there, and dwell, abide, among them, exposing Himself.

Remember why He wanted to do that. He wanted to help us, He wanted to save us.

Hebrews 2:11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified [are] all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

The church was the Hebrews. The church were the people who accepted and walked with Jesus; and that included the seventy; that included Judas; it includes every sinner who acknowledges that He is among them. And He calls them brethren. “My friends.” “This was done to Me in the house of My brethren.” Are you picking something up here? How easy just to read through this material. As I have experienced many times, when I try to get this material across to people I have studied with, it’s a bit of a burden as a minister to do this. People would rather study prophecy; they would rather study something exciting, but this, in my experience, has been a battle to get across to people to really get them fascinated with this. I find this amazing. That is why we need the Holy Spirit to help us here.

Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

God was in Christ, reconciling us to Him. God was in Christ, who was made to be sin. In all things it behoved Him to be made like unto us, not just to come and dwell with us as an immaculate being. You know what the teaching is – the immaculate birth of Christ. No, no, no. Satan has deceived the minds of people right down to the Adventist circles, and the reform circles, saying that Jesus was a notch above us. This makes me shudder that the pure gospel has been so contorted. Because this pure gospel gives us a manifestation of God who is so harmless, so undefiled, so holy that He would actually expose Himself to feel and experience sin, which was His divine horror – abomination, dreadful to a pure being. Consider this with me as we try to appreciate and comprehend.

How few have any conception of the anguish which rent the heart of the Son of God during His thirty years of life upon earth. {TMK 66.2}

How long? Dwelling among us for thirty years. What anguish rent His heart right down the track.

The path from the manger to Calvary was shadowed by sorrow and grief. He was the Man of Sorrows, and endured such heartache as no human language can portray.{TMK 66.2}

I can’t even do it. It’s the Holy Spirit who has to portray it to you. He endured the path from the manger to the cross, a heartache that cannot be portrayed.

He could have said in truth, “Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow” (Lamentations 1:12). His suffering was the deepest anguish of the soul; and what man could have sympathy with the soul anguish of the Son of the infinite God? {TMK 66.2}

Remember, God was in Christ.

Hating sin with a perfect hatred, He yet gathered to His soul the sins of the whole world, as He trod the path to Calvary, suffering the penalty of the transgressor. Guiltless, He bore the punishment of the guilty; innocent, yet offering Himself to bear the penalty of the transgression of the law of God. The punishment of the sins of every soul was borne by the Son of the infinite God. {TMK 66.2}

What is it? He hated sin with a perfect hatred; He was undefiled. There was not the slightest impurity in His mind, and yet He exposed Himself to sin.

The guilt of every sin… {TMK 66.2}

How many? Every sin

…pressed its weight upon the divine soul of the world’s Redeemer.{TMK 66.2}

Who is the divine soul? God Himself.

He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. In assuming the nature of man, {TMK 66.2}

In assuming the tabernacle of man,

…He placed Himself where He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, that by His stripes we might be healed. {TMK 66.2}

In His humanity Christ was tried with as much greater temptation, with as much more persevering energy than man is tried by the evil one, as His nature was greater than man’s. {TMK 66.3}

When you and I are tempted, our nature is already grotty, and for us be tempted by grottiness is nowhere near as painful (even though we are trying to get out of it) as it was for the one who was completely pure, who hated sin with a manner that you cannot comprehend. And He had to go through with what we have to go through.

This is a deep mysterious truth, that Christ is bound to humanity by the most sensitive sympathies.{TMK 66.3}

What were those sensitive sympathies?

The evil works, the evil thoughts, the evil words of every son and daughter of Adam press upon His divine soul. The sins of men called for retribution upon Himself, for He had become man’s substitute, and took upon Him the sins of the world. He bore the sins of every sinner, for all transgressions were imputed unto Him. . . . “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3). {TMK 66.3}

Most people don’t want to look at this long enough because it hurts too much. But let it hurt, and at the same time let it touch our hearts to do something. I thank God for this description because it qualifies perfectly that when Jesus, the man who was the tabernacle for the most High God, went through this, the most High God, the divine soul, was exposed to our sinfulness.

The mind of man cannot conceive of the unutterable anguish that tortured the soul of our Redeemer. {BEcho, August 1, 1892 par. 13}

It has to be revealed to you; it can’t be conceived.

The holy Son of God had no sins or griefs of his own to bear: he was bearing the griefs of others; for on him was laid the iniquity of us all. Through divine sympathy he connects himself with man, and as the representative of the race he submits to be treated as a transgressor. He looks into the abyss of woe opened for us by our sins, and proposes to bridge the gulf of man’s separation from God. {BEcho, August 1, 1892 par. 13}

He looks into the abyss and He says, “Right, I will become the ladder. I am going to be the God that I am and I am going to come and touch the human nature” the way we have just described, touching us right down to the lowest rung, to experience the evil works, the evil words and the evil thoughts in Himself. Is that a sacrifice? But let’s not rush away from it, let it sink in. Let it be our meditation as we spend time with Him here and when we go out from here, and let it not lose its impact on our soul. Why did He do it? Why did He expose Himself? Why did His divine soul become so bruised by something that indeed would bruise a divine soul who hates sin so much? Why did He do it?

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin;

That what?

2 Corinthians 5:21 …that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The righteousness of God who hated sin, the righteousness of God whom we didn’t have because we were separated from God. There was the tabernacle, Jesus Christ, and there was God inside of Jesus. And as He dwells among us with our sinfulness, He says, “Let me exchange. Your sin is Mine and My righteousness is yours – My godly hatred for sin, My godly purity, My undefiled nature in Jesus Christ, is exchanged in the man.” That’s why He did it.

He hates sin; but from love to sinners He gave Himself, in the person of Christ, that all who would might be saved and have eternal blessedness in the kingdom of glory. {5T 633.1}

Can you appreciate what that means? He gave Himself in the person of Christ. God was in Christ. He gave Himself in the person of Christ, that all who would might be saved and have eternal blessedness, that all who would might be made the righteousness of God in Him. This is His purpose, “that all who would.” I want to pose this thought very heavily upon our conscience. Read in Lamentations the actual disastrous experience of the divine God appealing to us, “Do you care? Would you care to appreciate My sacrifice? Is it nothing to you?” Here is that plaintive cry of God:

Lamentations 1:12 [Is it] nothing to you [what I have sacrificed], all ye that pass by?

How many have passed by this story? Is it nothing to you?

Lamentations 1:12 …behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.

Try to get your head around that. God was in Christ, and the Father was pouring His anguish and grief and anger upon Himself. Is it nothing to you? Do you struggle with certain requirements of God’s will?

This is the purpose of my whole ministry from here onwards, that we come face to face with every aspect of God’s will, and it’s going to cut you right to the core. It’s going to strike you right at the root of all that motivates you in sinful self, and me too. As I share this, with the repetition of God’s love continually, the language will be, Is it nothing to you what Jesus has done, what the God of heaven has done to sacrifice His comfort so that you will sacrifice, and I will sacrifice my comfort, to do His will? I have often heard people say, It’s too hard. It’s too hard, I can’t. That is why God did the hard thing. As we struggle with the requirements of God’s will, reflect whether it was too hard for God to expose Himself to such dimensions as I have described through His word. Is your burden of sin so hard to drop in comparison to what He dropped and what He suffered under? The exchange is just out of balance.

He wants us to drop the indulgences of self, which are our destruction, by Himself coming and exposing Himself and proposing to take my guilt and evil upon His divine soul. It’s too hard for Him; it caused the human tabernacle to die. Was it too hard for Him? He could have said, I can’t any more. Isn’t that what Jesus said? As the divine nature felt the detail of being exposed to the sin, what did He say? Father, I can’t anymore; but if it’s Your will, I will. Have you ever said that in reference to something you must give up, in reference to something that is so dear to you it feels like it’s the life-blood in your soul? That is what Jesus felt. And He poured his life-blood out to submit to the will of God. What will you and I do? Sin that teems around us, that is indulged because everybody is doing it, certain aspects of life that we have become used to – they have become our mode of action, they have become our norm. And we realise, If I continue down this path I’m going be destroyed! and I want to stop, but I can’t because it’s so much my norm.

But the fear of destruction doesn’t do the trick, does it? Have you found that? It doesn’t change a thing because I will keep on plunging deeper. This is what I see this in the people I care for who are in the drug world. And that is what Jesus felt. An attachment of sin to the human so strong that He could hardly give it up – He felt that in Himself. In this story of what we have just contemplated there is something more powerful than the fear of destruction, when we contemplate the sacrifice of God.

We are living in an age when wickedness prevails. The perils of the last days thicken around us, and because iniquity abounds the love of many waxes cold…. The shortness of time is urged as an incentive for us to seek righteousness and to make Christ our friend. This is not the great motive. It savors of selfishness. {TMK 320.3}

Selfishness must be totally uprooted out of our life. So if I am going to give you messages of warning that Jesus is coming very soon and you better get ready because otherwise you will be destroyed, you will be motivated by selfishness. “I want to be saved, therefore I better do what’s right!” You will not succeed. This is not the great motive. It savors of selfishness.

Is it necessary that the terrors of the day of God be held before us to compel us through fear to right action? This ought not to be. Jesus is attractive. He is full of love, mercy, and compassion. He proposes to be our friend, to walk with us through all the rough pathways of life. He says to you, I am the Lord thy God; {TMK 320.3}

Isn’t that what He said to the Hebrews? “Make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell with you.”

… walk with Me, and I will fill thy path with light. Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, proposes to elevate to companionship with Himself those who come to Him with their burdens, their weaknesses, and their cares. He will make them His dear children, and finally give them an inheritance of more value than the empires of kings, a crown of glory richer than has ever decked the brow of the most exalted earthly monarch. {TMK 320.3}

“I want to dwell among you, so that you may dwell with Me. I want to dwell with your iniquity, so that you may dwell with My purity.” Is it nothing to you when it comes to giving up our precious comfort zone?

As I mentioned already, the messages that I will be passing on in the future will lay the requirements of God’s will vividly before us while this love will be replayed all the way through. We are to be inspired by His love to be:

…like-minded with God, pure, holy, sincere. {20MR 370.3}

God wants us to be like-minded with Him, pure, holy and sincere. That’s what He is like.

Our standard is to be the character of Him who is pure, holy, undefiled. {CT 392.3}

That is the righteousness that was in Christ who is connected with us in our sinful condition. This is His wonderful proposal by His powerful infinite love.

Romans 8:31 If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?

Can you appreciate what that means? What did He do? He gave us everything in Jesus Christ. Everything. There is nothing that He doesn’t give us by becoming one with us in sin. Never forget, I didn’t say in sinning, but in experiencing my sin. He who hates it. That was the suffering, and with that suffering He brings us His righteousness so that we might suffer in sin instead of enjoying it, so that I will suffer like He does with contact with evil, so that I will suffer and be sinless, as it is written.

1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

What a profound message that is. It gives you a practical understanding of what it means to suffer with Christ. It means to hate sin as He hated it. And the only way you can hate sin as He hated it, is to see that He who hated sin became part of your and my sin.

The ransom has been paid, and it is possible for all to come to God, and through a life of obedience to attain unto everlasting life. {FE 234.1}

How are we going to attain to everlasting life? By a life of obedience, as Jesus obeyed.

Then how sad it is that men turn from the immortal inheritance, and live for the gratification of pride, for selfishness and display, and through submission to the rule of Satan, lose the blessing which they might have both in this life and in the life to come. {FE 234.1}

Isn’t this what man is doing? They do not let this strong compelling force of God’s love in touching us in the sacrifice He has made; they do not permit that this should break the gratification of pride, of selfishness and display. So every time this pride and selfishness and selfish desire of reaching out for things, is totally broken in us, that is what is going to save us so we can obey.

They might enter into the palaces of heaven, and associate on terms of freedom and equality with Christ and heavenly angels, and with the princes of God; and yet, incredible as it may seem, they turn from heavenly attractions. The Creator of all worlds proposes to love those who believe in His only-begotten Son as their personal Saviour, even as He loves His Son. Even here and now His gracious favor is bestowed upon us to this marvelous extent. He has given to men the gift of the Light and Majesty of heaven, and with Him He has bestowed all the treasures of heaven. {FE 234.1}

He has given us all things.

Much as He has promised us for the life to come, He also bestows princely gifts upon us in this life, and as subjects of His grace, He would have us enjoy everything that will ennoble, expand, and elevate our characters. It is His design to fit us for the heavenly courts above. {FE 234.1}

That was why He paid the sacrifice, why He made the sacrifice of such dimensions. And this is what is expressed by someone who understands, like E. G. White:

What love! What amazing condescension! The King of glory proposes to humble Himself to fallen humanity! He would place His feet in Adam’s steps. He would take man’s fallen nature, and engage to cope with the strong foe who triumphed over Adam. He would overcome Satan, and in thus doing He would open the way for the redemption from the disgrace of Adam’s failure and fall, of all those who would believe on Him. {AG 23.6}

What love. May this love fill us with determination to sacrifice our comforts for our salvation, as God sacrificed His comfort for your and my salvation. This is my prayer. May we grasp it.


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Sabbath Sermons is a small resource information ministry in Australia standing upon the original platform of the Adventist truth. We are dedicated to spreading the special 'testing truths' for our time and are not affiliated with the various denominations. This website is administered by lay members only

Posted on 21/09/2012, in Divine Service Sermons, The Love of God and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

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