The Lamb of God and Assurance of Salvation
A few passages in the Bible identify the Passover lamb (Exodus 12) with Jesus, our Passover Lamb par excellence. The apostle Paul, for example, clearly identifies them with each other when he writes the following to the Corinthian church:
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. (1 Corinthians 5:6-7)
John the Baptist also identified them:
The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
We know that the death of Jesus took place at the time of the Passover celebration (Mark 14; John 19). Curiously, just like one could not break the bones of the Passover lamb, the soldiers did not break the legs of Jesus like they did those of the ones crucified together with Him (compare Exodus 12:36-37 and John 19:31-37). So even that detail establishes the identification.
Now, we find the instructions for the first Passover in the book of Exodus:
Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. 4 Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. 7 Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. 10 And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. 11 Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover. 12 For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 ‘Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.
On the basis of this an author from some time ago imagined what the ambiance might have been in the house of the israelites during the original Passover in Egypt. He brings to light principles applicable during our own times. Let us now enjoy and learn from his writing:
Before you turn to the verse which I shall ask you very carefully to look at, which speaks of how a believer is to know that he has eternal life, let me quote it in the distorted way that man’s imagination often puts it:
These happy feelings I have given to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
Now, open your Bible, and while you compare this with God’s blessed and unchanging Word, may He give you from your very heart to say with David: “I hate the double-minded, but I love Your law” (Ps 119:113). This verse just misquoted is the thirteenth verse of the fifth chapter of the First Epistle of John, and reads thus in our version:
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life [emphasis supplied]. How did the firstborn sons of the thousands of Israel know for certain that they were safe the night of the Passover and Egypt’s judgment? Let us take a visit to two of their houses and hear what they have to say. We find in the first house we enter that they are all shivering with fear and suspense. What is the secret of all this paleness and trembling? we inquire. The firstborn son informs us that the angel of death is coming around the land, and that he is not quite certain how matters will stand with him at that solemn moment.
“When the destroying angel has passed our house,” says he, “and the night of judgment is over, I shall then know that I am safe, but I cannot see how I can be quite sure of it until then. They say they are sure of salvation next door, but we think it very presumptuous. All I can do is spend the long dreary night hoping for the best.”
“Well,” we inquire, “but has the God of Israel not provided a way of safety for His people?”
“True,” he replies, “and we have availed ourselves of that way of escape. The blood of the spotless and unblemished first-year lamb has been duly sprinkled with the bunch of hyssop on the lintel and two side-posts, but still we are not fully assured of shelter.” Let us
now leave these doubting, troubled ones, and enter next door.
What a striking contrast meets our eye at once! Joy beams on every countenance. There they stand with girded loins and staff in hand, enjoying the roasted lamb. What can be the meaning of all this joy on such a solemn night as this?
“Ah,” say they all, “we are only waiting for Jehovah’s marching orders, and then we shall bid a last farewell to the taskmaster’s cruel lash and all the drudgery of Egypt.”
“But hold. Do you forget that this is the night of Egypt’s judgment?”
“Right well we know it; but our firstborn son is safe. The blood has been sprinkled according to the wish of our God.”
“But so it has been next door,” we reply, “but they are all unhappy because all uncertain of safety.”
“Ah,” responds the firstborn firmly, “but we have more than the sprinkled blood, we have the unerring word of God about it. God has said, ‘When I see the blood I will pass over you.’ God rests satisfied with the blood outside and we rest satisfied with His word inside.”
The sprinkled blood makes us safe.
The spoken word makes us sure.
Could anything make us more safe than the sprinkled blood, or more sure than His spoken word? Nothing, nothing.
Now reader, let me ask you a question. Which of these two houses, do you think, was the safer?
Do you say No.2, where all were so happy? No, then, you are wrong.
Both are safe alike.
Their safety depends on what God thinks about the blood outside, and not on the state of their feelings inside.
If you would be sure of your own blessing, then, dear reader, listen not to the unstable testimony of inward emotions, but to the infallible witness of the Word of God.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47, emphasis supplied).