Keep Close to Him.

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
A Word for the Sin Tempted.
AN important point as to sin—whether in its character of self-will or of uncleanness—is to get an estimate of it in the soul, not merely as it may affect myself, but according to God's holy judgment of it in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. I may feel humiliated and ashamed at the working of evil in me, and hate myself for allowing it, or feel defiled by the indulgence of the flesh, and hide the bitterness in my soul while I struggle against it; but all that is more or less my estimate of it. Blessed be God, in the cross of Christ I see God's estimate of it, and in our path down here we need to have our consciences exercised continually by that which took place on the cross.
If I think of heaven and a place there, then I read, "By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:1414For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)). The precious blood of Jesus on the mercy-seat is the witness before God of how completely God has been glorified about the whole question of sin and sins in that one offering of the body of Jesus, so that the believer can have a place within the veil. But actually we are down here with sin in us. If I look up to heaven, I see that no question of sin is before God. The blood of Jesus is the witness that God has been glorified about it, and I can be in peace before Him; but down here, in the daily walk through this world—ah, that is another thing Now we may look at the holiest of all, where the mercy-seat was, as a figure of "heaven itself," and the court, where the brazen altar and the laver were, as being connected with our walk down here; a holy, separate place, but not heaven. Let us look at the altar and the laver as bearing upon our conduct down here. The great feature of the altar was that "the fire shall ever be burning upon the altar, it shall never go out" (Lev. 6:1313The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out. (Leviticus 6:13)). It was consequently the place where good and evil were tested by the fire of God's holy discriminating judgment; the blood of the victim was sprinkled upon it, the man who brought it thus owned that God's judgment of sin was right—"the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Blood alone made atonement for the soul; the man who came to the altar had thus God's estimate of his sinful condition. Secondly, in burning of the sacrifice there was God's estimate of the good in Christ—evil in us, good in Christ, for in Him all was a sweet savor to God. "In Him is no sin.”
Now there is not a victim still upon the altar; good and evil have been settled forever in the cross. But we need to have the judgment of the altar maintained in our consciences continually; "our old man has been crucified with Christ... that henceforth we should not serve sin." God has taken fully into account what the evil is which is in us; and as those believing in Jesus and knowing the grace of God, He would keep our souls in the abiding sense of His holy judgment of our sins and of the appreciation He has of the offering of Jesus. It is a great thing to have our consciences quick and lively in the sense of the teaching of the cross, instead of being constantly waging war with our sinful flesh and finding ourselves overcome by it.
Secondly, there was in the court the brazen laver, typifying the action of the Word of God upon our conduct and ways. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word." It is not now the word of the law, but the Word which tells me of God's love and of the grace of Christ. It is by the Word of God that we get our minds imbued with the grace of God, and thus preserved from their natural tendency to entertain evil. The Lord prayed, "Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy Word is truth." It is the way of keeping out vain and foolish and sinful thoughts by feeding on God's Word, and having the heart established with grace.
Let me add that He who died now lives—our Savior and Lord. He has not only brought salvation by His work, but He is our Savior, able to save completely those who come to God by Him. He has rights over us, and His power and hand are for us. Abide in Him, keep close to Him. The uncleanness of the leper flew before the touch of the blessed Lord. His presence detected Satan and cast him out.
“O Savior, teach me to abide
Close sheltered by Thy wounded side;
Each hour receiving grace on grace,
Until I see Thee face to face.”
It is well never to parley with evil desires. Treat sin its sin, and as judged in the cross of Christ. We have liberty to turn away from it and to depart from it without taking up the question. Christ has done this in His cross, because we were utterly incompetent for it. "Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away." So Israel did figuratively; they left Egypt and the way of evil behind, as those redeemed to God.
T. H. R.