Originally scheduled for July 5
If we had only the Old Testament, it would be a
reasonable conclusion if we determined that the salvation of God was
a very exclusive thing.
For example, Noah took 100 years to
build an ark in which to save his family — and nobody else. A great
deal of expense, a great deal of effort for a very small result.
Of the more symbolic nature is the
Ark of the Covenant. You will recall that Moses got the pattern for
the Ark from God himself, directly. Its major ingredient was gold.
It was therefore a beautiful thing, and extremely expensive thing —
and seen once a year in the Tabernacle. Precious and rare was the
Ark of the Covenant.
Solomon’s Temple was quite a bit
larger, but note that there was only one of them and it had to be
built on the exact spot where God specified. It was large but it was
incredibly expensive; even today the amount of gold specified for
the Temple runs into several billion dollars. It was the place where
God had placed his name, and the only place where you could truly
In the New Testament the matter changes quite a
First, there are no geographic
limits. You don’t have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca nor bring your
sacrifices to Jerusalem. Rather, God told his church to go into all
the world with his salvation.
If the materials symbolizing
salvation in the Old Testament were precious and rare, such as gold,
the materials in the New Testament are common and plentiful — bread
Indeed, there seems to be only one
qualification you have to meet before you can have the grace of God.
You must be a sinner first. As a practical matter, this does not
seem to be much of a difficulty.
In the Old Testament God’s grace is
distinguished by the fact that it is exclusive, rare and precious.
In the New Testament, the first thing you see about God’s grace is
its abundance. This does not mean that God’s grace is cheap;
anything but. The price of God’s grace was Christ upon the cross, a
price beyond our measure. So it is that when we approach communion
we must do so with a calm reverence of someone who was approaching
the Temple, or the Ark of the Covenant. It is a great and solemn
thing, and our hearts should reflect this. At the same time we
should remember that the greatness of God is shown in the fact that
this high and holy offering of grace is poured out abundantly, even
to the least of sinners.