I would like to study with you today about God's problem. Now, if you're a physician, or a teacher, or a pastor, you deal with people all the time that have problems. We all have various problems that we meet in life. People have financial problems. They have health problems. They have problems getting along in their family or in their church or in their job--and so people have all kinds of problems, and we often think about our problems.
Not so often do we think that God has a problem, but God has a gigantic problem, and this is what God's problem is. I'll state it to very simply, and then we'll see what is the solution to God's problem. This, in just a sentence, is God's problem. God wants to save sinners, without saving the sin. Why can't God save the sin? Because, (you can read it in Romans 3 or all through the Bible) sin causes misery and destruction, and pain, and sickness and war, and finally death. In Romans 3, Paul is talking about the way of sin, and he says, "Destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace they have not known." The wages of sin, the end result, is death.
And so God cannot save the sin, because as long as the sin is around there's going to be misery and destruction and pain and death and sorrow and trouble and war and strife. As long as you have sin, you're going to have those things. So God can't save that, because, look in your Bible in Nahum 1:9. It says, "What do you conspire against the Lord? He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time." God has made an unalterable decree. God has said, "sin is going to be destroyed, because affliction, this pain and suffering, is not going to go on forever." By the way, do you like that? Do you like the idea that God has decided to end pain, and sorrow, and sickness, and destruction, and war, and death, and all these results of sin? God says, "That cannot go on forever. That has to be stopped, and it's not going to ever happen again." Do you like that idea? In order for that to happen, sin has to be destroyed.
But what is God's problem? God's problem is, how do you save sinners, and not save the sin? If you save the sin, you still have all the trouble. But the trouble is, there's sin in me. Is there sin in you? Well, let's read about that. Open your Bible to Romans 3. Look at verse 23. How many people have sinned? And because all have sinned, are all of us guilty? Look at verse 19. How much of the world is guilty? All the world. Do we all have guilt and sin? Do we have indwelling sin? Yes, we do. And God's problem is, how can you save sinners and not save the sin?
Let's state it two or three different ways. Here's another way to state God's problem. How do you destroy sin without destroying the sinner? When you read about how awful sin is in the Bible, the first impression somebody has is, "Well, why doesn't God just get rid of it?" Well, God can get rid of it, all right, but friend, God loves you, and he doesn't want to get rid of you. And if you have sin in your heart, and God gets rid of all sin, what's going to happen to you? You're going to get destroyed. So how does God destroy sin, and not destroy sinners? That's God's problem. Or to say it a different way, How does God destroy sin, and not destroy you and me?
Friend, God loves you. Are you glad that God loves sinners? God loves people, even that are sinners. He doesn't like their sin, because it causes so much woe and grief, but He loves sinners. Sin results in all this pain and misery and death, and so God has a problem, and this is God's problem. If God is going to save you, some way, he has to get the guilt and the sin out of you, he has to separate the sin from the sinner. Otherwise, you can't be saved, because sin is going to be destroyed.
Does God have a solution for his problem? Well, yes, he does. And God's solution if you're going to be saved--now if you don't want to be saved, God's problem can be easily solved. God can just let you pay the price for your sins, and the wages of sin is what? "Death." So you can die. And that's the second death, and for the second death, there's no resurrection. You're gone. But if you are going to be saved, (and God wants you to be saved!) then some way, God has to separate your sins from you.
So lets study for a few minutes, how does God do this? Look in your Bible in Psalms 77. We're going to see, in just a moment, that the solution to God's problem involves three specific acts, or processes. Psalms 77:13. It says, "Your way, O God is" where? "in the sanctuary." Now what sanctuary is it talking about? In the old covenant, God had Moses build a sanctuary, remember?
They had a courtyard. The first part of the solution is in the courtyard. And then inside that courtyard there was a building, and that building had two rooms. So when you went to the sanctuary, you went into the courtyard, and there was an altar there--and then the priest went into the sanctuary, and the first room was called--sometimes it's called the tabernacle of the congregation. Other times it's called the holy place. He went in there every day. Then the second room was sometimes called the holy place, but to distinguish it from the first, sometimes it was called the most holy place. Those are the three parts of the solution to God's problem. The first part of the solution is in the court. The second part of the solution is in the holy place, and the third part of the solution is in the most holy place. It has three parts to the solution of God's problem.
Now let me ask a quick question before we look and see what this means. Have you ever had a mathematical problem? Some of you here have gone to college, and you've taken college algebra or college mathematics, and you had a problem where they had several parts in the solution. Have you ever had a mathematical problem, and you got about one or two thirds done, and then you couldn't quite figure out how to finish it to get the answer? Have you ever been in a fix like that? Some of you have. Now let me ask you this question. Have you solved the problem when you don't have the answer yet? No. You haven't solved it yet. It's not solved yet. Now remember this as we study the solution to God's problem. It's a three part answer, and you have to have all three parts to solve the problem. We're going to see that in a moment. You can't solve the problem with just one part of the solution. It takes all three. If you remember that, it'll all make sense.
Now let's look at the fist part of the solution. The first part of the solution is what happened in the court, and this is described in Leviticus 4, 5, and 6. When a person sinned, he had to come and bring an animal, and he had to come in there to the very first part in the court. There was an altar, a brazen altar, or an altar of sacrifice, and the sinner had to kill that animal.
Now let's think about that. That was all to teach them something. We read in our scripture reading this morning that the blood of bulls and goats can't take away sin. What is God's problem again? God has to take my sins away, or I can't be saved. That's not easy to do. I say it reverently, but, that is a problem, even for God, for individuals that have the power of choice, freedom of choice.
But the first part of the solution is in the court, where the animal is killed, and why does the animal have to be killed? Because somebody sinned. Because somebody sinned, the animal has to be killed. The sinner must bring an animal and kill it. Before he killed the animal, he confessed his sins over the head of that animal. Why did the animal have to die? Again, because somebody sinned. And so, when you sinned, your guilt was transferred to that animal. Now you're not guilty anymore.
The Bible speaks of sin as something that can be transferred from one person to another person, from one place to another place. So, the sin now is taken away symbolically from me, and it's transferred to this sacrifice, but when the sin is transferred to the sacrifice, what has to happen to it? It has to die. "Oh," somebody says, "isn't there any other way that's not so bloody?" No, there's no other way. There's no other way. There is no way that's not so bloody.
Let's read in John 1:29, and see what John the Baptist said about this. This is a fascinating text. I wish that the translation (English translations) would translate it just literally, and then people would catch on to exactly what it's saying quicker. John 1:29 says, "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, 'Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away"--or more literally--"Behold the Lamb of God who bears away" "the sin of the world." Can sin be borne away? Evidently. That's what it says. Is that what it says? It said "takes away", literal translation "bears away." He is the Lamb of God. He is the true sacrifice and He bears away the sin of the world.
Now who killed the sacrifice--again? Back there when they brought a lamb or a goat for a sacrifice, who had to kill it? The sinner had to kill it. Did you kill Jesus? Did I kill Jesus? Yes we did. You see, the wages of sin is what? "Death." Why did the sacrifice have to die? Because somebody sinned. Why did Jesus have to die? Because of a world that sinned. It was our sin that killed Jesus.
Let's read that in the Bible. Look first of all in 1 Peter 2:24, "Who Himself bore"--that's past tense from the word "bear"--he bore "our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed." When Jesus died on the cross, what was on him? He bore, that means He was carrying--what was on Him? Our sins. Is that what it says? That's what is says. He bore our sins, and as a result of bearing our sins, what did it do to Him? It killed Him. Now always remember, friend, Jesus did not die because He was nailed to a cross. Pilate was astonished to hear that He had died in just 6 hours. People didn't die on a cross in 6 hours. The others that were crucified beside Him weren't dead in six hours. Why did He die? He died because of our sins. Our sins killed Him.
Let's read another text or two on this. Look in 1 Corinthians 15:3, "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for" what? For "our sins". Can my sins be taken away from me and somebody else pay the price? That's what the Bible teaches. That's what the gospel is. If I have to pay the price, I'm going to die forever. And so God says, "I am willing to bear your sins myself, and I'll take them away from you and I'll bear the penalty myself."
Look in Isaiah 53. It was prophesied here that Jesus would do this. Isaiah 53 verse 6: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him" what? "the iniquity of us all." Our sins, our iniquities, our transgressions, have been laid on Jesus. He bore them on the cross.
The first thing that you and I have to learn--if we're going to be saved, if God's solution for the sin problem is going to work--we have to learn how much sin cost. You know there's a lot of people in the world today that don't think sin is too expensive. If they did they wouldn't keep doing it all the time. But they don't think that much about it. I've often thought that in the old covenant, you couldn't keep living the way many Christians live today, because pretty soon you wouldn't have any livestock left. One thing they did understand was that it was serious. But the first thing that we have to understand, if God's solution for the sin problem is going to work, is, we have to understand how much sin cost.
How much did sin cost? "Oh," somebody says "it's terrible that Jesus had to suffer for my sins there on the cross for 6 hours." No, friend, you don't understand it at all if that's what you think. Revelation 13:8 calls Him the Lamb of God that was slain from when? From the foundation of the world. In the book Education page 263, Ellen White makes the following comment: she says "The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God.".
See, all we know, is what's happening in our little world--what's affecting us, but God feels the pain of all the sins of all the world. If a man beats his wife, does that make any difference to God up in heaven? Does it? If a parent abuses their child, does God have any feelings about that? Let's read what the Bible says. Look in Isaiah 63 verse 9. It says, "In all their affliction, He was" what? "afflicted." Do you realize, friends, that every time that any human being hurts or feels pain, that that pain vibrates to the Father in heaven, and He feels the same pain? When we talk about the cross, "the cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that sin, from its very inception, brought to the heart of God," and until you understand this, you cannot have a right understanding about sin, and you don't understand how horrible it is and how awful it is, because every sin brings pain to the heart of God.
Now, lets go quickly to the second part of the solution. The second part of the solution is in the first apartment of the sanctuary, and when they brought the animal, and they confessed their sin over the head of the animal, and then they killed the animal--that had to be done because they had sinned--that was not the end. That was just the beginning.
The priest took that blood--now what does the blood represent? Let's look in the Bible. Look in Leviticus 17. Look first of all at verse 11. Leviticus 17:11, it says, "'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the alter to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul." The life of the flesh is where? In he blood.
That, incidentally, like all other statements in the Bible, is both spiritually true and literally true. We have no idea how many millions of people have died because they just had circulatory collapse. You lose enough blood, you die, in circulatory collapse. Your life is in your blood. So when you're talking about the blood, what are you talking about? You're talking about the life.
Look again in verse 14. It says, "'for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life." So, the blood is the life. Now, the priest took that blood and that represented what? The life. The life of that animal was substituted for my life. The life of Jesus was substituted for my life on the cross.
The blood is taken into the first apartment of the sanctuary and sprinkled. Now let's try to understand--what is that talking about? What does that mean? Turn in your Bible to the book of Hebrews, and let's look first of all in Hebrews 6. It says in verse 19; Hebrews 6:19, "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil." (there were two veils in the sanctuary) "where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchezadech." Notice, Paul says in Hebrews 6:20, Jesus has gone into the sanctuary; and he's done it for what reason? He's done it for us.
What is He doing there for us? Look in Hebrews 8. It's talking again about our great high priest, and it says, "For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and" what? "sacrifices." Now what was the sacrifice for? What was the sacrifice for? Look at Hebrews 5:1: "every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins." What are the sacrifices for? For sins.
In Leviticus chapters 4, 5, and 6, ten times, God mentioned something. Now let me ask you a quick question. If, in three chapters of the Bible, God told you something ten times, do you think that that might be important? Do you think that might be important? OK, now I'm going to tell you what God says ten times, in Leviticus 4, 5, and 6. He says, ten times, that the priest is to take the blood, and sprinkle it before the veil in the sanctuary, and it's going to make atonement for you. Now there's something important about that or God wouldn't have said it ten times in three chapters.
Atonement--what is atonement? Well, let's see what sin does. Look in your Bible in Isaiah 59:2. It says, "your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear." What does sin do? It separates men from God. What does the atonement do? It brings man and God back together again, because the sin has been taken away. Sin has been forgiven. That's what atonement means.
If you want a memory device so that you'll understand what the word atonement means, you can break the word down: at-one-ment. God and man are one again. Sin separates man and God, but the atonement will bring man and God together again, because the sin has been taken away.
Ten times, in Leviticus 4, 5, and 6, it's mentioned that the priest sprinkles the blood, and that brings atonement, and your sin is forgiven. So your sin is forgiven. That's what happens in the first apartment of the sanctuary.
Now let's just follow through what we've studied, for a few minutes. If I sin, what has to happen? Somebody has to die. The wages of sin is death. But my sin can be transferred to the sacrifice. Jesus is the only true sacrifice that can really take away sin. In fact, friends, Paul said animals can't do it.
The truth is there's no other person in the whole universe that can take your sins away from you. But Jesus can. He bore your sins in His own body on the tree. And when you confess, (remember, in Leviticus 5:5 it says they had to confess, in the old covenant), He takes your sin away. He bears your sin for you, and he bears it.
Where is he now? He's in the sanctuary. He is bearing our sins. Let's read about that in 1 John 1, see how this works. 1 John 1, look at first of all at verse 9. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." Verse 9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive to us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." If we confess, He will cleanse us. How does He cleanse us? By His blood. That's in verse 7-- the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from sin.
Well, let's see what happens to the sin. If I sin, I'm guilty. Is that right? God can't take me to Heaven if I have sin. That would ruin it. My sin has to be taken away from me if I'm going to be saved. Jesus bore my sin on the cross, and when I confess my sin, he takes it away by means of his own life. Remember, the blood represents the life. His life stands for my life. He takes away my sin.
I've confessed my sin to Him, my substitute, so I don't have it anymore. Where did the sin go? Jesus took it away. And where is He? He's in the sanctuary. So where did my sin go? I don't have it anymore. Jesus took it away from me, and He's in the sanctuary. Now, if my sin is taken into the sanctuary, what does sin do to anything? It defiles it. It defiles it. So, the record of the sins is accumulated in the sanctuary. The sin is transferred from me to the substitute, and the priest takes the blood into the sanctuary and sprinkles it before the veil, and that represents forgiveness. So, my sin is forgiven if I confess.
Let's read one more text, we've read several, let's read one more text on that very subject. Jesus bears my sin away from me, and He takes it into the sanctuary. Hebrews 9:28, "so Christ was offered once" to do what? "to bear the sins of many", but it says there that He's going to come the second time.
Are you looking forward for Jesus to come the second time? Well, when He comes the second time--now look at the text carefully--when He comes the second time, is He going to be a sin bearer? What does it say? "apart from sin".
Well, now that's scary. You know what's scary about it? Jesus is the only person in the whole universe that can bear your sins away from you, and if he's not a sin bearer, then you don't have any. Then your sins can't be taken away. Well, how's that going to ever happen? Well, you see, the sanctuary is going to close. The sanctuary is going to close.
What is the purpose of the sanctuary service? It's to deal with my sins. I can't deal with it without dying. The sanctuary is a picture of the plan of salvation. How is God going to deal with the sin problem and take my sins away from me so that when sin is destroyed, I don't have to be destroyed too? The sanctuary service is going to close.
See, right now, if I am a sinner--and therefore, I am unrighteous; I am filthy--I can come to Jesus and confess my sins, and He will take my sins away from me. He will take away all of my filth, all of my unrighteousness. He'll take it all on Himself. But, the time is coming when that won't be available anymore.
Let's read that in the Bible. Look in Revelation 22:11,12. It says, "He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still. He who is holy, let him be holy still. 'And behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work."
Is there a time coming, according to this text, when the sanctuary system is going to close? Is there? Yes. It's going to close. Now this is scary, because the only way in the whole universe that your sins can be taken away from you, is going to close.
What's going to happen? That involves the third part of the solution, God's solution, which is in the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. In the first apartment, it involved getting the sins in. I'm a sinner, but Jesus will take my sins upon Him, and He will take them into the sanctuary. That's where they're going to be dealt with. But the second part, the service on the Day of Atonement, or in the most holy place, doesn't deal with getting the sins in. It deals with getting the sins out.
Now this makes perfect sense in our own everyday speech, and thinking and language. I'll give you a simple illustration. We have laundry, and we have dry-cleaning establishments. And if I get some spots on my clothes, I can take my clothes to a laundry, or to a dry-cleaning establishment, and I can say, Look, I want to get this out. So I bring it in, but then a day or two or three later, I come there and I get it out. I bring it in defiled, but it gets changed, so that when you bring it out, it's all clean. That's what the sanctuary does with sin.
Let's read a few verses in the Bible and see how efficient this process is going to be. Look at Ephesians 5:25-27. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her, that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that he might present her to himself a glorious church not having any" what? "Spot." Now that's what you do with the laundry--you want all the spots out. That's what you want to happen at the dry-cleaning establishment. All the spots out. "Not having spot or wrinkle" you want it to be ironed; you want that all taken out. "Or any such thing, but that she should be holy and" what? "Without blemish."
What's the sanctuary for? So that my sins can be taken away. But now, as long as I keep sinning, whenever I sin, do I need to confess my sin? Yes I do, so that Jesus can take my sins away from me, and take them into the sanctuary, but, if the sanctuary system is going to close down, that would be like putting up a sign at the laundry and saying, "Look, this place is going to close down, at the last of this year, this place is going to close down.
Well, now, if that was the only laundry in town, and you didn't have an automatic wash machine, that might be very serious, couldn't it? What are you going to do then? Now there's no way to get the spots out, and there's no way to get the wrinkles out, if the laundry's going to close down, and that's exactly what the sanctuary is going to do because we read it in Revelation 22:11, 12, it has to happen before Jesus comes again.
So what's going to happen before Jesus comes again? One day of the year, on the Day of Atonement, let's read it in Leviticus 16. They had a Day of Atonement one day of the year. They'd been bringing the sins symbolically into the sanctuary all year long. But now notice what's going to happen on the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 16, and it says here, this is on the Day of Atonement, verse 16, "He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions for all their sins. And so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting, which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness."
Look at verse 19, "Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his fingers, seven times, cleanse it and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel"
So when he came in on the Day of Atonement, and sprinkled blood on the mercy seat to cleanse it from all the sins of the children of Israel that had been brought in there symbolically all year long, then what did he do? Well, let's read a couple verses down. Look in verses 20 and 21. "And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat," now notice what he does, "confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel" What did Aaron do over the head of the live goat? He confessed over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel.
Now during the year, all the sins had been come into the sanctuary, but now the sanctuary is going to be cleansed, and the sins are all going to come out. Aaron's going to bear them out, and what is he going to do? He's going to confess them over the live goat that's called the scapegoat goat. And then, when he confessed the sins over the live goat, a man took that live goat, and that live goat was separated from the children of Israel forever. Now where are the sins of the children of Israel? Where are they? They're gone. They're gone.
Now, what happened there symbolically is that going to happen really, in the heavenly sanctuary. Yes it is. Read Daniel 8:14. Daniel 8:14 says, "he said to me, 'For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed."
Now let's think this through. In the daily service, I come and I confess my sins; the priest takes the sin by means of the blood into the sanctuary, and I am forgiven. If I do it again, I can do it again. If I sin again, I can come and confess again. But on the Day of Atonement, the sin in the sanctuary is taken out. So, and it's taken, confessed over the head of the scapegoat, and then it's gone.
Now let me ask you this question. How much good would it do on the Day of Atonement if God took my sins away--they're taken away--and then I sin again. Now I'm guilty again. I've got to start the whole process over again. Think this through. You cannot cleanse the sanctuary and take all the sin out of it as long as we're sending the sins into the sanctuary by committing and confessing them all the time.
Let's read what Paul says about that in Hebrews 10. "the law, having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, [that's the animal sacrifices on the Day of Atonement] make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered?" Why would they have ceased to be offered? If the people really had had their sins taken away, and they weren't sinning anymore. Then they wouldn't be bringing animal sacrifices anymore, then there would no more sins be taken into the sanctuary, and the next Day of Atonement, they wouldn't have a Day of Atonement anymore.
He goes on to say that they actually couldn't take away sins in the earthly sanctuary with animal sacrifices. But what about the heavenly sanctuary? Can Jesus take away your sins? Well, it says He's going to. Look in Hebrews 9:26. It says, "now, once at the end of the ages, he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."
Notice what it says down here in verse 11 and following, it says, "Every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins, but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till his enemies are made his footstool, for by one offering, he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified," and then look at verse 18. "Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin." Once this has been done, once the sanctuary has been cleansed, there's no more offering for sin anymore. It's all over.
Notice there are three steps. First, the blood has to be shed. There has to be a sacrifice. Otherwise, there's no forgiveness without shedding the blood (Hebrews 9:22), but then I have to confess my sins, and Jesus takes away my sins, and takes them into the sanctuary and sprinkles them, and I'm forgiven. That's a provisional or conditional atonement. But that can't keep going on forever.
If Jesus is going to come back to this world and take his people home with him, the sanctuary has to be cleansed first. And remember, the sanctuary can not be cleansed as long as God's professed people are sinning. That can't happen, because it's our sin that defiles it. For the sanctuary to be cleansed, and for the sins to be brought out and confessed over the head of the scapegoat--who is the scapegoat? Remember, the scapegoat is separated from God's people how long? Forever. That couldn't be Jesus Christ, as some people think. That's the devil.
It won't do any good for God to blot out my sins if I keep committing them. That's impossible. God cannot cleanse the sanctuary as long as His people are going on sinning. That can't happen. So what's going to happen? One of two things is going to happen.
If I go on deliberately sinning, and I don't overcome my sin, here's eventually what will happen. Look in Exodus 32:32,33. Moses says, "Yet now, if you will forgive their sin--but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book, which You have written, And the Lord said to Moses, 'whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.'"
The person that keeps sinning is eventually going to be cleaned out of the church, because they won't be cleaned up. We're all going to either be cleaned up, or we're going to be cleaned out. That's what some of the trials of the last days are going to do, it's going to clean a lot of people out. Other people are going to get cleaned up.
Now if we overcome, then here's what will happen. Look in Revelation 3 verse 5. "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.'" Notice, in the book of Revelation, incidentally, if you look through the book of Revelation, you will find all the way through, from the beginning to the end, eternal salvation is only promised to the overcomer, because that's the last part of the solution to the sin problem.
So what's the first part? Well, the first part is that Jesus died for the whole world, so that everybody could have salvation if they wanted it, but that doesn't save you. The second part is when you confess your sins. Your sins are forgiven. You have conditional, or provisional salvation, or forgiveness. But you still have to have the third part. What is the third part? The third part is when your sins are taken away, or a biblical term for this is blotted out. Your sins are taken away. But sins can only be taken away from people who have overcome sin.
When the sins of all of God's professed people are taken away, then Jesus is going to take off His priestly robes, and He's going to put on his kingly robes, and He's going to come in the clouds of heaven.
Often times, people ask preachers, especially after they've studied Bible prophecy, "Here we've been living in the last days for over a hundred years. What is between us and the second coming of Christ? Does there have to be all kinds of prophecies be fulfilled?" Friends, the prophecies could be fulfilled in a matter of weeks and months. That's not the problem. What is Jesus waiting for? Oh, friends, He's looking over all the people that profess His name.
Friends, do you know what He wants to do for you? He doesn't want to just forgive your sins. That is not a final solution to your problem. He wants to take your sins away from you, so that He can come and take you home. But friends, Jesus can't take my sins away from me if I'm not willing to give them up and overcome them, and quit doing them.
Let me state it a real simple way. If my besetting sin is drinking alcohol--now remember, the Bible says no drunkard will be in the kingdom of heaven--I am not saved from alcohol while I'm still drinking. Is that right? And I'm not saved from sin, while I'm still sinning.
The tragedy today is there's so many Christians, but all they want is the first part of the plan of salvation. They say, "Yes, I want Jesus to take my sins away from me, and I want to just keep confessing them." and there are people saying, "I'm just going to sin and I'm going to keep confessing them." But there's going to come a time, friend, it's going to be too late to confess. Did you read what it said in Revelation 22:11,12? There's coming a time that they're going to have to be taken away, or if you keep sinning, you're going to be defiled, and lost.
You have to have the third part of the plan of salvation to be totally saved. And this is the thing, unfortunately, so many people don't want. They want to be saved in their sins. They want to go on and sin and confess and sin and confess, but friend, that'll never save you. See, the reason for confessing your sin, and for Jesus taking your guilt away from you is so that you can overcome and live a different life. That's the reason for it. The reason is not so that you can go out and do it again.
Do you see why I said at the beginning, "God has a problem"? What is God's problem? Oh, do we have what the Bible calls "besetting sins? What is a besetting sin? A besetting sin is a one that just you naturally fall into it. With some people, it's appetite. With some people, it's sexual passion, with some people it's their thoughts, with some people it's love of money--different things for different people.
So I come to the Lord, and I say, "Lord, please, forgive me for doing this." The Lord says, "I'm glad to forgive you for doing it." He takes it away. And then I fall into it again. I feel so bad, I say, "Lord, please forgive me. I did it again." The Lord's glad to forgive me. But now think this through. Can that keep going on forever? No, friend, it can't, unless you want Jesus to stay in the sanctuary forever, and unless you want this world of sin to go on forever, and the problem to never be solved.
What's God's problem? God's problem is separating sin from sinners. That's God's problem, and He can only do it if you and I cooperate.
When we come to the cross and see how much it cost, we then have different thoughts about sin. We're motivated to cooperate. We want to be done with it. God doesn't just want to forgive your sins, friends, he wants to actually take them away, so they'll be gone forever.
Did you know, friends, if you're saved, God will never, ever, throughout all eternity, hold up your sins in front of you? He already knows all what they are and He's already taken them away. They'll never be held up in front of you again. He wants to take them away.
Do you know what Jesus wants more than anything in the world? He wants to take away the sins of His people, so he can come and get them. He's coming to get a church that is without spot or blemish, that has no spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. The sin has been taken away. Do you want to be one of that group? Is God's solution to the sin problem going to work for you? I want to tell you, friend, there isn't any other way. It is bloody, and it is painful, but it's the only way that your sin can be taken away. And I want to appeal to you. Maybe the devil's been tempting you, and you think there's some sin that you have that can't be taken away. You don't know what's going to be done with it. Whatever sorrow or pain it costs, friend, your sin has to be separated from you or you cannot be saved. Jesus died to give you the opportunity to be saved. He lives and He is your sin-bearer, to take your guilt away from you, but, in order for Him to come again, this sanctuary system has to be closed down, and in order for it to be closed down, God's people have to quit sinning. Do you want Jesus to come soon? Well, if you want Jesus to come soon, then you have to want to stop sinning now.
Oh, friend, remember what we studied about the algebra problem? If you're two thirds done, do you have the answer? No, it's still wrong. It takes all three parts, it takes all three parts. The blood has been shed. Jesus is my priest in the sanctuary, but Jesus wants to quit doing that. He wants to come as a king and take you home and take me home, and in order for that to happen, we, by His grace, have to quit sinning. And that's what the gospel is about, the power to overcome sin.
I wonder--you can go over this in your own mind--is there something special in your mind that you need to pray about, and say, "Lord, I need not only to have forgiveness for this, but I need to overcome this, so this is not part of my life anymore."? Is there anything like that in your life?
If our sins are going to be taken away, we have to stop committing them, or otherwise they can't be taken away. And that's new testament Christianity. That's what Paul and Peter and James and John all preached, and if you want to ask the Lord to take your sins away, that is to give you the power to quit doing that or thinking it, or speaking it, or whatever your besetting sin is, I want to invite you before we sing our closing song to kneel down with me. Let's ask the Lord to work out this miracle in our life.
Father in Heaven, we thank you for Jesus. We don't comprehend His love and that He has been willing to die in our place, and we know that He has suffered the anguish of Calvary and pain now for thousands of years in our behalf. We thank you for His love, and His kindness, and the fact that He is willing to bear our sins away from us and take them away.
Lord, You have told us that the sanctuary must be cleansed. Our sins must be taken away, and we know that we must have perfection of character according to the conscience. So Father, we pray that you'll work in each of our lives through Your Holy Spirit, that we may not just go through life just sinning and confessing, but that we might become overcomers, that we might overcome every besetting sin, so that our sins can be blotted out and so that we will have the wedding garment on and be ready to meet Jesus in peace. May that be our happy experience.
I pray for anyone here who is discouraged. Help him or her to realize that in Jesus there is power to overcome any sin problem in our lives. We thank You for hearing and answering our prayer for we come to you in His all-powerful name, amen.