by Jackie Houchin
The Blog-in-January question WordPress.com asks for today is, “Has a book changed your life?”
What a leading question that is for a Christian!! YES! A book has changed my life and continues to change it as I read and apply its truths.
It’s THE book, God’s Word. The Bible.
In it, I learned that God is holy and perfect and that I fall horribly short of His glorious standard (which is perfection). I learned that I was born that way. Nothing I did or said or neglected to do made me imperfect. The Bible calls that being a “sinner.” It is in my DNA from Adam. Now THEY were perfect. Every evening, they walked in the perfect, weed-and-thorn-free garden and they talked with God. They TALKED with God. In person!
Then, they believed a lie of the Devil, mistrusted the perfect goodness of God for them, and lost their perfection and those precious evening times of fellowship with God. And they passed down that propensity to doubt the goodness of God and to think I know better. (Pride)
So in that “Good Book” I learned that God is holy and I (all of us) are not. Next, I learned that imperfection, sin, doubting God’s goodness, ends in death. Oh, yes, Adam lived over 900 years, but it was a life of hard work, heartache, pain, loss, and dissatisfaction. And he died. (That’s why we all die today…sin.)
But you know what else I learned in the Bible?
I learned that God loves His human creation so much, that He provided a way that we can overcome sin and death (the earthly kind) and live eternally. If everybody who sins (falls short of God’s glorious perfection) dies, then, what if someone, who has never sinned, would die in our place? All of our earned death could be paid for by that perfect person.
In the Old Testament (the first 2/3 of the Bible telling the history of man and Israel), God provided a “picture” of how that would work. God gave His very strict LAW to Israel – how to live godly, loving lives – and said if they could keep those laws perfectly, they would gain His favor and LIVE. Well, they couldn’t (just like we can’t, I mean how can we love God wholly and completely, and other people – even our enemies – like we love ourselves!!??).
So, God told them they could choose a perfect (same word again), spotless lamb from their flock, bring it to the Tabernacle or Temple of God. They were to lay their hands on its head and confess their sin, which would symbolically transfer their sin to the innocent animal. Then they (or the priest) would cut its throat, catch it’s blood and sprinkle it on the alter. (Gory, right? But it’s symbolism, because God had told Noah, way back when, that the LIFE of a creature was in the blood. Bleeding would symbolize giving up its life.) In doing this, they would be symbolically free of sin….temporarily.
That was the problem. These confessions, transfers of sin, and bloody sacrifices were only temporary.
But…they pictured the way God would deal with our sin PERMANENTLY!
How? God became flesh and lived among us in the form of His Son, Jesus, born of a woman (but not of a man). Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, and represented God in all He said and did. A prophet named John said when he first saw Jesus, “Behold! (Hey, look there!) The “Lamb of God” who takes away the sin of the world.” WOW!
After living perfectly before God and man, Jesus was “sacrificed” for the sins of the world. Oh, yes, the world (Jews and Romans) thought THEY killed Him, but it was God. God transferred onto Jesus all the sins of all the people who would ever trust Him (just like the man did with his lamb), then God killed Him. (Isaiah, chapter 53, tells me that God laid on HIM “the iniquity” (sin) of us all, and then crushed Him.)
Jesus died, just like all those lambs in Israel’s history. BUT… God raised Him back to life! Why? To prove that God was satisfied with his sacrificial death. It satisfied, atoned for (covered), and washed sin out of God’s sight for everyone who would trust in that ultimate sacrifice for sin.
That’s what I learned from the Bible. That’s the book that changed my life, because when I believed God and trusted in Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross for my sin, God made me His own child. He put His Holy Spirit in me to guide me, teach me, convict me, and ultimately bring me to Heaven when I die. Yes… I will die physically (that old damaged DNA), but I will live for eternity with my God and Savior.
I learned that in the Bible. It changed my life.