Fitness is a $27 billion industry. Every January, gym memberships shoot up, but 80% of those who join a fitness center at the beginning of the year quit by the second week of February. Apparently we love the idea of being fit, but we lack the discipline to do what it takes to actually be fit.
In Leviticus 16:21, God is looking for a fit man: "And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away by the hand of a designated man into the wilderness."
In Old Testament times, God had a system to take away the sins of the people. On the Day of Atonement each year, the high priest had to choose three things:
- The Lord's Goat. This goat was offered as a sacrifice for sin. Sin cannot be forgiven without the shedding of blood. The Lord's goat had to die as a sin offering for forgiveness of every sin committed that year.
- The Scapegoat. In the days leading up to the Day of Atonement, each family came to the priest to confess out loud every sin committed in the previous year. At the end of all the confessions, the priest laid his hands on the head of the scapegoat and transferred all the sin and evil the people had committed onto that goat.
- The Fit Man. The fit man took the scapegoat carrying the peoples' sins deep into the wilderness, so far away it could never find its way back. If the scapegoat ever came back, it would bring a curse on the nation. It took a certain type of man to make the journey.
So, one goat had to die to shed the blood needed for forgiveness of sin. And one goat had to live to provide separation from sin. And each year the priest went through the process again. The confession, the sacrifice, the scapegoat and the fit man were needed year after year.
But then Jesus came to earth and everything changed.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is powerful. He is the Lord's goat; He died and shed His blood so our sins could be forgiven. He's also the scapegoat because after three days, He rose from the dead. He takes the place of both the goat that died and the goat that lived. And He's also the fit man, removing our sin so far away it can never come back. Because of Jesus, not only can our sin be forgiven, but we can be released from its bondage.
Through Jesus' death and resurrection, you can be rid of shame, guilt, depression and fear. You can be delivered from addiction, alcoholism and immorality. Not only are you forgiven of your sins, you are set free. Hallelujah! It's not God's plan for us to say a prayer asking for forgiveness and then to keep living in our sin. Salvation requires separation from our old way of living.
Giving your heart to the Lord and being forgiven of sin is amazing. It's a miracle. But if you go right back to what you were doing and living how you were living, you haven't experienced the fullness of salvation. When you get saved, there must be separation. There are things that leave your life. You didn't get saved to stay in the filth you were rescued from. Separation matters.
Remember, Jesus was the forever fit man. No more goats were needed. Jesus was the Lamb who paid the price once for everyone and for all time. He was fit to be the sacrifice for sin. He was blameless and without sin. He alone was able to lay down His life to redeem ours. He was "cross fit" to offer His life as a sacrifice.
Because Jesus was cross fit, our sin can be forgiven and removed. We become a new creation. The old person is gone, and the fit man takes up residence in us. He makes us fit to say "no" to what is wrong and "yes" to what is right. You can never be fit enough relying on just your own willpower. You can never be strong enough to be a "good person" on your own. You must be born again. You must have the fit man living in your heart.
The only way to really change is from the inside out. Get the fit man in your heart and He will make you what you need to be. He will transform you. He will change your life. He will change your attitudes. He will change your family and your circumstances. He will make you fit for His use and prepared for every good work.
Jentezen Franklin is the senior pastor of Free Chapel, a multicampus church. Each week, his television program, Kingdom Connection, is broadcast on major networks all over the world. A New York Times' best-selling author, Jentezen has written nine books, including his most recent Love Like You've Never Been Hurt, the groundbreaking Fasting and Right People-Right Place-Right Plan.
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