Brief Notes

The Passover:
Without and
the House

17 January 2024

The Passover shows us
the two necessary,
and very distinct, aspects
of our redemption
in Christ

To keep the Passover as God had instructed Moses, the Children of Israel needed to slaughter a lamb and strike its blood on the doorposts and lintels of their houses. Then they had to stay inside their houses all night to eat the lamb, with the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs (Exo. 12:3-8).

After giving these instructions, God told Moses,

“Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
—Exodus 12:13

This of course is a picture of how we are redeemed in Christ, the real “Lamb of God” (John 1:29; cf. 1 Cor. 5:7). The blood on the outside of the house signifies that His blood was shed so we could be forgiven; feeding on the lamb inside the house signifies how we partake of Him as our life; and eating it with the unleavened bread and bitter herbs signifies our partaking of the purity of His life, while at the same time repenting for our own sins and sinfulness.

And just as the Israelites, to keep the Passover, had to distinguish between what needed to be done on the outside of the house from what needed to be done on the inside, so we must keep the two aspects of our salvation in their proper place for our experience of redemption to be solid and healthy.

Unfortunately, many Christians run into difficulty in their walk with the Lord because they fail to maintain such a distinction (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15).

On the one hand, if we ever doubt the security of our salvation, we simply need to ask ourselves, regarding the Passover, What was on the outside of the house that caused God’s judgment to pass over it? The answer to this question is, One thing, and one thing only: the blood of the lamb.

But suppose one of the Israelites doubted the blood was enough. Instead, he felt he needed to take some of the unleavened bread and bitter herbs and add these to the door as well. Would that have made his protection from God’s judgment any more secure? Not at all.

And yet, many Christians are indeed just like that. They do not have the assurance of their salvation because, they feel, they are not pure enough, or have not repented enough; they feel they need to add more holiness, or more repentance, to the blood in order to be sure they are no longer under God’s judgment NO! It does not depend in any way upon us. God’s word is absolute and unmistakable:

“When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”

God was not looking for anything else on the door, nor was He checking to see what they were doing inside the house; He simply promised,

“When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”

Sometimes, if we are under the enemy’s accusation regarding our salvation, we may even declare this as a prayer to the Lord: “Oh Lord, You said,

‘When I see the blood, I will pass over you.’”

And so, as the believers in Christ, we can never and should never rely on anything but the blood of Christ for our forgiveness; to do so is actually quite offensive to God, because it shows that we feel the death of Christ on our behalf was not sufficient by itself to accomplish redemption (Heb. 10:29).

On the other hand, suppose one of the Israelites felt that, since he had the blood on the outside of the house, he did not need to take care of his eating on the inside; that would also have been displeasing to God. And in that case, in terms of the type, he would not have had the strength to leave Egypt and begin the journey towards the Good Land. The blood was not sufficient for that; for such a journey, the Israelites needed the inward strengthening that came from eating the roasted lamb.

But again, so many Christians are just like this. C.H. Mackintosh, in his Notes on the Pentateuch, on Exodus 12, puts it very well in speaking of our relationship with the Lord:

Many of us come short here. We are apt to rest satisfied with being saved by the blood, without cultivating holy communion with Himself. His heart could never be satisfied with this.

Such believers are indeed clear that their sins have been forgiven because of the blood of the Lamb, but they do not feel they need to partake of Christ day by day, and so they cannot go on in their Christian life in a healthy way. This does not mean they lose their salvation, but rather, that they won’t reach the goal of their salvation, namely, to come out of Satan’s world-system and be brought into the full experience of Christ, just as the Israelites left Egypt and eventually entered into the Good Land. To quote Mackintosh again:

Practical holiness, though not the basis of our salvation, is intimately connected with our enjoyment thereof.

So, in brief, what we see in the Passover is a wonderful picture of the two sides of our salvation in Christ, both of which are necessary. On the one hand, there is the objective aspect, which takes place outside of us— what Christ has done for us—namely, His death on the cross for our sins. And on the other hand, there is the subjective aspect, which takes place inside of us—what the Spirit is doing within us—namely, imparting Christ Himself into our being to be our life as we feast upon Him day by day (John 6:51-58).

If we are clear about these two aspects of our salvation—of our need for both, and of our need to keep each in its proper place—it will greatly help us to go on with the Lord in a good way.

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— 17 January 2024 —