A HIDING PLACE FOR SINNERS
By Lucien LeSage
Why would anyone need a hiding place someone may ask? Well there is coming a day when “the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man” will be frantically looking for a place to hide. How do I know that? Because the Book of Revelation tells us so. Listen to the words of the prophecy. “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:12-17).
So we see that men in the great day of God's wrath will be looking for a place to hide. And from what? Well the passage tells us from the FACE of God. Lost men can not stand before God. In fact no man can stand before God in his natural condition. Psalms 130:3 states, "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"
Moses Needed A Hiding Place
In Exodus chapter 33, when Moses was speaking with God he desired to see God's glory. Here is what we read concerning that. Moses was a meek man. In fact the Bible tell us “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Yet as we shall see Moses could not look upon the face of God. Notice what the scripture tells us. “And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen” (Exodus 33:18-23).
Notice that the LORD told Moses that he would see all his goodness and mercy and that the LORD would bestow it sovereignly. The LORD told Moses that he could not see His face and that no man could see His face and live. But there was a place by the LORD God that He would place Moses. It was a rock that Moses would stand upon and there was a clift in that rock. Notice carefully that God Himself put Moses in the clift of that rock. Notice the words, “I WILL PUT thee in a clift of the rock.” Not just any rock but the rock at a place that was by the LORD. And his cover was the hand of the Lord himself. As he said, I “will cover thee with my hand.”
So what does this all mean? Well, let me tell you about that PLACE that is besides Jehovah God even at His right hand. About that ROCK to stand upon and the CLIFT OF THE ROCK. Not a earthly rock but a heavenly ROCK. A spiritual ROCK. We read of a rock that the children of Israel drank from during their wilderness journey. It was a physical rock but it pointed to a spiritual rock. The Apostle Paul tells us, “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that SPIRITUAL ROCK that followed them: and that ROCK WAS CHRIST” (1 Corinthians 10:4).
We sing a song in many churches that goes like this:
ROCK OF AGES, CLEFT FOR ME,
LET ME HIDE MYSELF IN THEE;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from WRATH and make me pure.
Paul says to the Christian who believes on Jesus that our life is hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). What a place to be hid. This is what the song writer was speaking of. That Jesus Christ is the rock and we are hid from the coming wrath upon this earth IN Him. It was His blood that he shed on the cross that not only saves from wrath but makes the sinner pure with the righteousness of Christ. How is that possible you might ask? And why would I need such a thing? The Gospel is “good news” but only to those who see the need. The Bible plainly states that all men are sinners. Paul tells us in Romans 3 that the Jews were no better than the Gentiles (Romans 3:9). That every man born into this world is unrighteous in himself. That there is not one righteous human being, no not one (Romans 3:10). That none understand or seek after the true God of scriptures (Romans 3:11). In fact in verse 12 of the same chapter we see that none even do good, no not one. That may seem hard to believe but it is true. That which is not of faith, God given faith, is sin. Many will come to Christ one day and tell him of the great works they did in his name but he said unto them “I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).
The Bad News
So all men have sinned as the scripture declares but most men do not see that as much of a problem. They may even brag about their sins and their sins do not make them uncomfortable. Not now at least. Herein lies the problem. The blindness of their own hearts. Paul wrote of this when he said, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19). Paul gives the reason for this in an earlier chapter in that same epistle. He even states that the Christians in the church at Ephesus were in the same state until God worked in them. He said to them, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:1-5). Notice he included himself when he said “Among whom also we all.”
The Problem Further Stated
Jesus told the religious Pharisees “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). He told this to the most religious men of his day. Right before he said this to them he called them a generation of vipers (Matthew 12:34). These were men that though they dotted every “I” and crossed every “T” were called vipers by our Lord and were as lost as can be. They trusted in themselves that they were righteous (Luke 18:9). The Lord Jesus said this about righteousness: "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:20). They were the best of their day and yet it was not good enough. Would you dare trust that you are better than they were? Men like to compare themselves with others but the Bible tells us that this is not a wise thing to do. Paul says, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12). There is only one that you should compare yourself to and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. When we compare ourselves to him we find ourselves severely wanting. So the problem further stated is that we all have sins that we will give an account for and the wages of sin is death. James says that if you offend the law in one point you have broken it all. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). Who shall be able to stand? And remember what the Psalmist said, "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"
The Uncomfortable Day Is Coming
“Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). In the Book of Revelation we read this: “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15). Psalms 76:7 tells us, "Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?" The Psalmist again said, "How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors" (Psalms 73:19).
How can anymore be said concerning that day? And yet there are multitudes of scripture verses describing this awful day that awaits those that do not know Jesus Christ as savior. These words are enough to strike fear into the heart of anyone who believes the Bible is the Word of God. When that day comes where will sinners hide then? Elihu gives us the answer. "There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves" (Job 34:22). In otherwords there is no where to hide when that time comes. It will be too late!
The Good News for those Uncomfortable with Sin
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). Knowledge of the Holiness of God is understanding and it is this sort of fear that is the beginning of wisdom. It is the fear of the Lord not fear of punishment only but to fear HIM. When Isaiah the prophet beheld him and the seraphim “cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” what was Isaiah's response? “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). If that was the response of a prophet of God how much more someone who has never trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation.
The word “gospel” means “good news” and that good news is that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. The Apostle Paul stated, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). How did He do that I might ask? By substitution! By taking the sins of all who will ever believe on Him upon himself and bearing the full punishment for those sins in his own body and soul. Isaiah the prophet is plain about this when he declared concerning the coming Messiah, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:10-11). Philip confirms that Isaiah's passage spoke of Jesus Christ in Acts 8:32-37. The Ethiopian eunuch was reading this very passage and asked Philip who the prophet spoke of. We read, “And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:34-35). Paul in many places in his epistles states the same thing concerning Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. Here are a few scriptures that explain what Christ did when he hung on that tree and resurrected from the grave. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). So the sins of the “us” were imputed to Jesus Christ who knew no sin and yet he stood in the place of sinners bearing their sins. Peter said, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Paul said the gospel was the message of “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Paul again said, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” (Galatians 3:13).
Concerning Christ's Priestly Work
During the Old Testament economy there was a tabernacle made and within the second veil a place called the “holiest of all.” The old testament high priest would enter that place once every year. Hebrews 9:7 states “But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:” But Hebrews plainly states all this was a figure. Notice the apostle's words that follow. “Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Hebrews 9:9-12). So, just as Aaron represented the children of Israel when he went into the holy place so Christ does the same for all who believe on him. And where was this holy place that Christ entered into? “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:” (Hebrews 9:24). Let us add that He did this only ONCE. There is no need for any repetition. “Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:25-28). Listen to Hebrews 10:10-14. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
We Are Saved By Faith But Faith Has An Object
The Bible clearly says that salvation is by faith. But faith has an object that it looks to. The object of true faith (the faith of God's elect) looks to the work of Christ mentioned above. It is a resting in what He has done in the place of sinners and not resting in ones own works and own righteousness or even faith itself. How can we trust in ourselves when Isaiah said, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;” Isaiah 64:6)? Dear reader, there is only one place to flee. There is only one object for a sinner to place his faith in. It is the Lord Jesus Christ and His high priestly work.
The call is for sinners to come to Him for salvation. John the Baptist told the religious Pharisees of his day, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" We plead with sinners to flee unto Christ for shelter. Jesus is the shelter and hiding place from the coming wrath of God. Knowing this will bring rest to your troubled soul. Jesus himself said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Is there anyone that is laboring under the load of their sins? Is there anyone heavy laden with their sins? Is there anyone that sees themselves as the “chief of sinners?” If so then that is not a natural thing. It is “godly sorrow” that “worketh repentance to salvation” as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 7:10. I speak not of worldly sorrow but godly sorrow. Paul said in that same verse that “the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Do you have godly sorrow? If so then know that God is dealing with your soul and flee to Christ and be hid IN him. If you have and that is your testimony then know that “ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:10).
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726