One of the glorious realities of Jesus Christ as typified in the Old Testament, is how He has become our great High Priest. Hebrews 2:17 notes that He was “made like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people.” Astounding. Merciful and faithful, to the undeserving and rebellious. It is almost too much to take in.
Now given how the Old Testament Priesthood typifies Christ, we are especially drawn to the High Priest as a prefiguring of Jesus. And so it is in Leviticus 21 we find a curious aspect of what the Priesthood required. There we read: “‘The high priest—who is greater than his brothers…He must take a wife who is a virgin. He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or one profaned by prostitution; he may only take a virgin from his people as a wife, so that he does not profane his children among his people, for I am the LORD who sanctifies him.’ ” And the question which emerges then, is how is it Christ can make the Church His Bride, when we are anything but a virgin? We came into this world already defiled in sin, sin which we confirmed by our lifestyles. How we prostituted ourselves with the World, and served the false gods of self, the flesh, greed, envy etc.. How can He marry us?
And the answer, the simple, glorious, astounding, amazing profound answer is simply this: Grace. The grace that brought Him to earth from His Heavenly throne. The grace saw Him obeying the Father in perfect holiness. The grace which led Him to the Cross to die in our place, for our sins. The grace which brought Him out of the grave, ascending to the Father to fulfill His High Priesthood on our behalf – until we are brought to glory ourselves.
Grace. Amazing grace.
Grace which cleansed us from all our sin.
Grace which clothed us in His righteousness.
Grace which found us in our defilement, and cleansed us from every spot and blemish. Grace, which for all intents and purposes, is so astounding and so complete – that we are in His eyes and before His throne, virgins once again.
Pardoned, but not just pardoned. Reborn. Made new. Recreated. And in Him, pure, holy and unblemished. Sadly, it is a loss of how completely this grace makes us fit for our Groom, that leads so many to fail to mark the difference between remorse for past sins, and some remaining sense of guilt over past sins.
In Him, our guilt was fully met. God forbid we should ever fail to retain remorse over our past sins, but beloved, because of grace, the Believer is no longer guilty. Get that, no longer guilty. Irrespective of our past, we are now chaste virgins before Him.
This is the power of the Cross. This is what the Spirit works in us by applying Christ’s cross-work to us.
It is because of this grace – we “rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy.” (1 Pet. 1:8)
Christian, rue your past sin, but not as though still guilty. The astounding reality of the Cross and grace of Christ is that He actually makes the Believer guilty no more!
Let remorse remind you of where you do not want to return, but only in the light of the Cross.