August 11, 2020 | Stories by Ray Williams
“A fire shall always be burning on the altar: It shall never go out”
The life of a follower of Jesus is a life of sacrifice.
“I beseech you therefore brethren…. Present your bodies a living sacrifice”
The altar of our lives is our response to life given us by Christ at the cross. There He became sin for us and we received His righteousness. Having been cleansed from sin we now have the responsibility to keep the Fire of our faith burning brightly. The instructions for the Old Testament Priests have spiritual significance for us today.
Three things were included in their responsibility with regard to the burnt offering: First, a lamb had to be sacrificed. The lamb remained on the altar all day until the offering was completely burned up. After which a second lamb was slain. It too had to remain on the altar until only the Ashes remained. The sacrifice reminds us that all our sins were cared for on the cross, past, present, and Future. We are completely free from the punishment of our sins. The Lamb of God was our sacrifice for sin.
The fact that the offering had to be burning continually is a reminder that we must continually guard against sin. But when we do sin Jesus is always willing to hear our confession, and that, according to I John 1:9, Jesus will “keep on cleansing us from all unrighteousness.”
The second responsibility of the priests was to carry out the ashes so that the flame would not be smothered by them. The ashes are symbolic of our sins. In order for the altar of our life to burn brightly, we must not let the ashes accumulate on the flame of our love for Christ or it will become an ember and die. Because of that, the ashes of our sin must be removed from the altar of our life by continuous confession and repentance. So, like the priest, we must monitor our life as he monitored the offering, always removing the ashes of sin that keep us from fellowship with our Heavenly Father.
The third responsibility of the priest was to add fresh wood every morning so that the sacrifice Would continue to burn. It was not enough to remove the ashes that would smother the flame. The flame had to be refueled every morning.
Such is true of our personal altar. It is not enough to simply remove sin from our life. We must also replace our sins with a fresh love for God. What is the fuel that keeps our love for God alive? A strong desire to keep the flame burning. A genuine heart to walk with God and personal time alone with the Father each day.
The flame will be rekindled each time we open His love letter to us. Each time we are in conversation with Him and each time we fellowship with others of like faith.
“A fire shall always be burning on the altar. It shall never go out”
Submitted by Pastor Ray Williams