Daily Christian Living

KEY VERSE: “To do good and to communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” —Hebrews 13:16


IN THESE texts in Hebrews Paul identifies those who are dying with Christ as foreshadowed in Israel’s typical Atonement Day sacrifices. He writes, “The bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the Sanctuary [Most Holy] by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.”

In the typical Atonement Day service, two animals were sacrificed—a bullock and a goat. And the blood of each, in turn, was taken into the Sanctuary and sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat. The bodies of both these animals were taken outside the camp to be burned. So Paul explains that just as Jesus ‘suffered without the gate’, we are to ‘go forth’ unto him and share his reproach and suffering. Since the bodies of only the two animals were involved in this picture, it is obvious that the bullock was a picture of Jesus, while the goat foreshadowed the church.

The particular part of this service which revealed God’s pleasure, was the offering of incense on the golden altar in the first Holy. Paul refers to the antitype of this as “the sacrifice of praise to God.” But how can we offer a sacrifice of praise to God that will be holy and acceptable? Paul explains that it is “by Him,” that is, by or through Christ.—vs. 15

In verse sixteen of this chapter, Paul gives us the practical application of this revealing typical lesson of the Tabernacle and its services. He says, “To do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” We read in Galatians 6:9,10: “Let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” The greatest good we can render to any and all is to communicate to them the glorious Gospel of Christ, the word of reconciliation. Laying down our lives in such a service is a ‘sacrifice of praise’ which, through Christ, is well-pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

Doing good by communicating the truth in this present evil world means sacrifice and suffering. But Peter explains that it is better to “suffer for well-doing, than for evil-doing.” Then he makes the revealing observation, “for Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” (I Pet. 3:17,18) The words for and also are the important ones here. For Christ also hath suffered—suffered, that is, for well-doing. But Peter says more than this. It is better for us to suffer for well-doing, for Christ also once suffered for sins. Suffering for well-doing in the Christian way is thus, as Peter explains, suffering for sins; in other words, a dying unto sin, suffering without the camp.

Peter explains further that Christ’s suffering for sin was to bring us to God. His ransom constituted the basis of reconciliation, and this, followed by the word of reconciliation, has brought us to God. Our suffering for well-doing is also to bring about the reconciliation of members of the sin-cursed race to God—not to ransom them, but to extend to them the word of reconciliation. We have been given the ministry of reconciliation, and as Peter explains, in the laying down of our lives in this service, we are suffering for sin that we might bring people to God.

As we have seen, the testimony of the ransom, the word of reconciliation, is to reach all in due time. (I Tim. 2:3-6) During the present age it effectively reaches only those called to the heavenly reward. Thus our suffering is now for his body’s sake. But in laying down our lives for one another, we are being trained to minister the truth to the whole world during the thousand years of Christ’s reign; for the ministry of reconciliation will not be completed until the end of the kingdom period.

Yes, we are dying sacrificially, laying down our lives in the greatest cause mankind has ever known. Few indeed even yet know about it. It is the cause of reconciling the fallen race to God. Jesus made it possible, giving himself in death as a ransom for all; and we have the privilege of dying in the same cause by sacrificing time, and strength, and means, to publish the word of reconciliation. While only a few in this age are thus brought to God, we rejoice that the testimony will yet reach all mankind, so that “whosoever will” may accept, obey, and thus be reconciled.—Rev. 22:17

Dawn Bible Students Association
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