God Paid in Full

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Once a year, the high priest went into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for Israel’s sins. After sanctifying himself by bathing and purifying himself thoroughly, he took with him the blood of a bullock and a golden censer held by three chains. The priest then removed some coals from the altar, put them in the censer, took a handful of incense and went into the Holy of Holies.

Inside the Holy of Holies was an ark. Atop it was the mercy seat, and on either side of the seat were two golden cherubim whose wings spread over it. The mercy seat represented the very presence of God where the Lord sat on his throne.

The high priest took the handful of incense and threw it on the fire in the censer. Suddenly, a beautiful aroma filled the tabernacle. The priest waved the censer in front of the ark until the mercy seat was enshrouded in a cloud of aromatic, sweet incense.

Beloved, this is a perfect illustration of what Jesus has done for us and is doing right now. First, it signifies Jesus’s death and ascension to the heavenly Father as our High Priest. Second, this scene of atonement further signifies the time when Jesus began to pray for us, interceding to the Father on our behalf.

The initial work of Jesus’s intercession was the sprinkling of his blood on every bond and debt we owed. A bond is “a sealed note of debt or obligation that is binding upon the debtor and his heirs.” The devil once laid claim to you because you were dead in trespasses and sins.

There must be a cavern somewhere in the bowels of hell containing a mountain of records that are due, including your note and mine. The notes read, “You must pay with your life, and the price is eternal damnation.” However, Jesus was given the keys to hell’s vault! Our High Priest went down to the very pits into that place of records and opened up the vault. He began flipping through the records and pulled out our notes, all the bonds, debts and obligations of those who believe in him and who will yet believe.

Jesus gathered all those notes and took them to glory. There, in the presence of the Father, he sprinkled his blood over them, announcing, “These debts are paid in full by my own blood.”

He Still Prays for Us

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Zechariah 3 describes a high priest named Joshua standing before the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. Also present was an angel, who had to be Christ because angels do not judge.

Joshua was a real man, not just a type of Christ. He was the high priest during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. In Ezra 10:18, it appears that Joshua had married a heathen woman; at that time, the worst way a Jew could defile himself was by marrying a Gentile.

“Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel” (Zechariah 3:3, NKJV). Joshua stands before the throne in his filthy garments, and the devil is at his side, accusing him. Satan argued, “This man has broken your law and sinned against you.” The devil’s accusations were correct; Joshua had sinned, and now Satan claimed Joshua for himself.

Beloved, this is exactly what happens with us. Satan comes before the throne of grace to accuse us. He points at us and says, “You know all things, God, and you see the compromise in this one’s life. If you are just, you must give me his soul.” In Revelation 12:10, Satan is called the accuser of our brethren, and he stands before God right now to oppose you and me, to accuse us of sin.

That is when Jesus, our advocate, steps up and says, “It is true, Father. He has failed, but there is faith in his heart and faith in the power of my blood. I have paid for every sin he has or ever will commit.” Jesus then turns to those standing by. “Take his filthy garments, and put my robe of righteousness upon his shoulders.”

Jesus said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” (Zechariah 3:2). What a picture! The devil was forced to leave with a sound rebuke, and Joshua walked away with a pardon, a new garment and a crown of righteousness on his head.

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Jesus has been in glory for these 2,000 years praying for us, and he is still praying for us.

God’s Unlimited Resources

Gary Wilkerson

When her husband died, a poor widow was left in a frightening situation with two children to support. Unable to meet her obligations, she was threatened by creditors. This woman was desperate, and she appealed to Elisha. “Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, ‘Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.’” (2 Kings 4:1, ESV).

The fact is God uses our dilemmas to glorify his name. For that reason, our own God-story may be formed through pain or delay. One in ten Americans is unemployed, and others have had to take a reduction in pay. In some homes, both spouses work two jobs to keep from losing everything they own. 

Perhaps you have reasoned in your own dilemma, “If I don’t have a breakthrough soon, it’s over. I need a miracle just to survive.” I picture this widow having those very thoughts.

Elisha asked her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” (2 Kings 4:2). He was not asking her to sell her valuables for cash; actually, she didn’t have any valuables left. Elisha was saying, in essence, “God can meet you just as you are. If you have faith, he can multiply even the smallest thing you have.”

The widow answered, “All I have is one jar of oil.” We know from scripture that oil represents God’s blessing and provision. At this point, Elisha gave her a strange instruction: “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few” (2 Kings 4:3).

She did as the prophet instructed, and Elisha said, “Go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside” (2 Kings 4:4). Once more she followed Elisha’s word. As she poured oil from her own jar, it filled a borrowed jar. The same thing happened again as the next borrowed jar was also filled. It happened again with the next and the next. There was an endless supply of oil!

Here is the point: When God tells us he has our needed supply, it is not just a meager amount. God has everything we need. His ability to meet our situation is endless.

Forgiveness vs Trust

Mark Renfroe

Betrayal happens. That’s a tragic reality. It occurs in marriages, families, churches, and in the workplace. I’m a Christ-follower, so I believe forgiveness is non-negotiable. The Bible makes that abundantly clear. “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:12-13, ESV). 

Most of us understand this; we simply struggle with the application, myself included. If I’ve forgiven the person in question, does this mean I have to trust them now? The short answer is no, but we all know it isn’t that simple. 

Forgiveness is often misunderstood and wrongly applied in the church. Does the woman whose husband has cheated on her need to forgive him? Yes, as much for her sake as his; but that doesn’t require that she remain with him. Does the individual whose boss has repeatedly taken credit for his or her work need to forgive the offender? Yes, but they don’t need to keep working for that person.

Betrayals may occur in a moment, but restoring trust will require a process.

I spent hours on the phone with a man who’d felt betrayed by the leaders and the organization to which he has given years of his life. In essence, he said, “This feels gross.” He knew he needed to forgive, but like most of us, he was struggling to do so. However, the bigger question was “Is this going to continue to happen?” Sadly, the realistic assumption was yes. If you, like me, are a Christ-follower, this feels complicated and, as my friend put it, “gross.”

We perhaps see this best illustrated in the story of Joseph reuniting with his brothers. He didn’t entrust himself to them immediately; first, he determined whether their lives had changed, if they were trustworthy. Although the Bible doesn’t spell it out, I feel confident that Joseph had forgiven his brothers. His response would’ve been very different if he hadn’t. 

Forgiveness isn’t an option for us. God has forgiven those who come humbly to him seeking a new life in Christ; however, forgiveness and trust don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. Navigating this is never easy, so if you’re struggling with this, pray for wisdom and seek godly counsel from those you can trust.  

Mark Renfroe and his wife, Amy, have been involved in field missions work for 30 years. Mark served as the area director for Assemblies of God World Missions and currently serves as the chief missions officer for World Challenge. 

Our High Priest

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

God the Father appointed his Son to become our High Priest. Jesus is in glory right now as both Man and God on our behalf. He is arrayed in the garments of a high priest, and he stands before the Father interceding for us, even as I write.

No doubt the Father takes great pleasure in having his Son at his right hand. The Bible does not say, however, that Jesus ascended for the sake of his Father. Nor does it say he ascended to regain his glory. No, scripture says Christ ascended to heaven on our behalf as the High Priest. “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24, NKJV).

John caught a glimpse of Jesus in his ministry as our High Priest in glory. He writes that Jesus appeared in the midst of seven candlesticks, which represents his church, and ministered among them “…clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band” (Revelation 1:13).

In the Old Testament, God gave us an illustrated sermon of the ministry of a high priest (see Exodus 30). Everything he did illustrated the work and ministry of Jesus in glory.

Between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle was a veil, and just before the entrance to the Holy of Holies stood an altar made of gold, three feet high and eighteen inches square. Incense was placed on this altar and burned at all times.

The high priest was commanded to take care of the lamps and wicks. Every morning when he went into the Holy Place to light them, he put incense on the altar. The altar had to have coals of fire in it always, so the fire would never go out. Incense in the Bible represents prayer, and the ever-burning incense on that altar in the Holy Place represents the prayers of Jesus while he was on earth.

Jesus prayed constantly in the morning and in the evening; in fact, Jesus said he did nothing without hearing it first from his Father in prayer. There was not a day in his life that Jesus did not pray for his disciples (see John 17:8-11).