Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 470 |
Under the old covenant an animal without blemish would be offered
as a sacrifice for atonement, and once a year the High Priest would
take the blood of the sacrificed animal into the Most Holy Place
and offer it to God, but the body was burned outside the gate as a
sign that it had been defiled through the imputation of sin.
In the same way, on the first Easter, our Great High Priest Jesus
entered heaven's Most Holy Place by means of his own blood (Hebrews
9:11,12), but his body suffered outside the gate (outside
Jerusalem), rejected and scorned, having been made sin for us.
Andrew Murray (1828-1917) comments on the roles the redeeming blood
and the suffering body have in the life of a believer. He notes
that Christ's redeeming blood, received in heaven, secures our
place there, while his suffering body, rejected by the world,
depicts our place here. 'Heaven received Him and us in Him; we
belong there. The world has cast Him without the camp, and us with
Him. We belong there. In heaven we share His honour; on earth, His
reproach. . . . There are two places appointed for the believer in
the power of Christ's redemption -- within the veil, to worship,
and without the gate, to witness.' In both places, notes Murray,
the believer is with Christ, and the deeper the believer goes into
one place, the more she or he will realise the other.*
The more hostile a home, workplace, community or state is to the
gospel, the more a believer or a church (members of Christ's body --
Ephesians 5:30) will suffer rejection and persecution. But as was
seen in the cross, suffering can be a powerful thing. For on the
cross Christ redeemed suffering, transforming the instrument of
Satan into the means of God's saving grace. Christ graciously gives
life by means of his death, and to those who by faith receive his
life he says, 'Take up your cross and follow me.' 'Therefore let us
go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.'
(Hebrews 13:13 ESV). In the cross, redemption and rejection,
salvation and suffering are inseparable.
Dear God our Father,
We marvel at your great spiritual victory achieved on a cross
outside the gate some 2000 years ago, and we pray that you will
likewise redeem the sufferings of your persecuted Church so that
the instruments of Satan may be transformed again into means of
Lord, compel us by your Holy Spirit to go to you 'outside the
camp', confessing the name of Jesus even though it may lead to
rejection, persecution or even death. For we know that 'there is
salvation in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven
given among men by which we must be saved'. (Acts 4:12)
And we pray that wherever the body of Christ is suffering
rejection, reproach and violence today, there you would be at work
by your ever-present Holy Spirit, sanctifying and building your
Church to the glory of God, the amazement of the angels and the
utter frustration of the evil one.
* 'The Holiest of All', by Andrew Murray, Whitaker House 1996
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The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this
RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
specifically and regularly for religious liberty
issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.
RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.
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