What should we do once our past sins have been covered by the shed blood of Christ? "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" asked the Apostle Paul. "Certainly not!" was his emphatic answer.
Our acceptance of Christ's sacrifice in payment for the penalty of our sins is only the first step toward salvation. Once we have repented of our sins and been forgiven by God, He wants us to forsake sin! God commands us to come out of this world's ways of sin (Revelation 18:4). We must be striving to come out of all sin. That is OUR PART, with Christ's help, in God's plan of salvation. To keep us in the knowledge of the second step in God's plan, Christ, the LORD of the Old Testament, instituted the second annual festival--the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The observance of this Feast impresses upon us that we must do our part to keep the sins Jesus covered with His shed blood out of our lives henceforth.
Leaven is also a symbol for sin (I Corinthians 5:8). God commanded the ancient Israelites to put all leaven out of their homes and off their property and eat unleavened bread during this seven-day festival. And so the Feast of Unleavened Bread is to remind God's people today that they are to strive to put SIN completely out of their lives!
The Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures the keeping of God's commandments, which is another way of saying the putting away of sin. To observe only the Passover, and then fail to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, is comparable to accepting Christ's sacrifice and then saying the law of God is done away--that because we are "under grace" we have permission to continue to sin. Your Bible shows Christ is not a "minister of sin"!
Sin enslaves! Those who are not God's Spirit-begotten children do not realize they are now the slaves of sin. Sin tends to increase in the one who indulges in it. Sin punishes! It brings sorrow, remorse, and anguish. It afflicts us with physical injury, sickness, and disease. It produces anxiety, frustration, and hopelessness. It leads to death. Man does not realize that only real repentance-- turning from sin to obedience to God through the living faith of Jesus Christ--can free him from that penalty! (Romans 8:2).
The Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures, through symbols, the fact that God wants New Testament Christians to come completely out of the slavery of sin into obedience to Him! Just as the Israelites had to walk out of Egypt, we must willingly, of our own accord, start out of sin. Even so, it is God's goodness and mercy that leads us to this repentance from sin (Romans 2:4; John 6:65), just as He led His chosen people from Egypt to freedom.
Eternal life is clearly a gift of God (Romans 6:23), but it is also clear that God wants us to be willing and actually striving to obey Him. That is our part in His Master Plan.
The seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread following Passover picture the putting away of sin--the keeping of God's law--after past sins are forgiven. This festival of God also pictures the life and work of the resurrected Christ, who ascended to the throne of God, where He is now actively working on our behalf as our High Priest, helping us put the leaven of sin out of our lives. Understanding this vital aspect of the Feast is crucial to our developing the character of God and being born into His universeruling Family at Christ's Second Coming.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
For a more in depth study of this annual Holy Day see Lesson 2 of the Holy Day Series.
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