My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light.
…….Edna St. Vincent Millay, “A Few Figs from Thistles” 1920
Candles do give a lovely light, and some of them give a lovely aroma. The problem is that a candle is not permanent; it soon burns itself out. When it consumes itself, the light and aroma are gone; and another will have to take its place. We can even hasten its demise by “burning it at both ends.”
Not so, the sun. It gives its lovely light and warmth 24 hours a day to someone somewhere in the world. We don’t have to light it nor replace it to benefit from it.
This reminds me of the animal sacrifices that the BC (before Christ) people had to offer on the Temple altar. The animal and grain sacrifices were consumed and the aroma reached God, thus atoning for their sins and offering up praise, pleasing Him that His people were obedient and serving Him. Unfortunately, these sacrifices burned up and were temporary and had to be repeated. In addition to the daily altar burnings, once a year the high priest had to offer a sacrifice for himself and another for the people in the Temple Holy of Holies; and the next year he had to do it again, repeatedly.
This was done because God had given instructions for its practice; but it was just a temporary solution to the sin problem, just in place while waiting for Messiah.
“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins…For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices” (Hebrews 5:1, 8:3).
“For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second [Jesus]” (Hebrews 8:7).
God’s eternal plan was implemented when Jesus came to earth, died on the cross for the sins of the whole world, saving all who would accept Him; and then after His resurrection, became a Priest forever after offering Himself as the sacrifice for our sin on the cross. Once the perfect sacrifice of Jesus was completed, the atonement was permanent like the sunshine, not like the candle that exhausts itself. Never again would God require animals’ blood to stain the Jerusalem Temple altar to atone for sin; instead, the blood of Jesus rests on the heavenly altar. It will never dissipate or have to be replaced. God sees it and is pleased with its aroma.
“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” (Isaiah 53:10).
Unlike Edna’s candle that “will not last the night,” the sacrifice of Jesus Christ will stand and buy eternal salvation for all who are cleansed by it. We can look to the “Sonshine” and the effects of His warmth will give unending comfort. The sun is essential for our daily life; it produces our food, keeps us from freezing to death, provides our body with necessary nutrients; in short, life on this earth would end without the sun.
“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9).
So as the sun provides for life on earth, the Son is totally responsible for our salvation, maintains our spiritual life here and has made all necessary arrangements for the next life.
“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell” (Colossians 1:19).
God has also made a way for us when we stumble, when we fail. He “knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103.14). John was inspired to write (1 John 2:1) and admonish that we “sin not.” But knowing our frailty, he went on to say if we did sin that “we have an advocate with the Father.” That Lawyer is a righteous Attorney who cannot be bribed or bought off. The devil cannot compromise our protection in any way with this Advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous. When we confess and repent of sin, Lawyer Jesus takes our case, stashing our sin in His briefcase and takes it to the Judge. He has a great advantage, since the Judge is His Father! While they cannot tolerate sin, they are always ready to receive our contrition and repentance and forgive us.
The sin in the briefcase has become the sin of the Attorney, no longer ours; and He paid the ultimate penalty for all the sin so that we could stand before the Judge innocent! Not just pardoned (still guilty, but freed from prison); we have been declared innocent! When Jesus takes our case to the Father and opens His briefcase, it is empty! He had already taken our sin upon Himself, nailing it to His cross; so He can tell the Judge we have no sin. He stands before the Father in our place exonerating us so we can be accepted by our God.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). They are in a place of forgetfulness where the blood of Jesus dissolved them, leaving no trace.
In Bagdad, the sun is used to power a water filtration system producing potable water which they so desperately need. The sun whitens and brightens clothes hung on an outside clothesline. On and on we could go about the life-saving benefits of the sun. But our Sonshine in which we bask doesn’t just renew our sin-dirty lives; He gives new life; we are not the same after our new birth; we are a new creation.
Yes, the effect and benefits of the ‘Sonshine’ is permanent; Jesus has dissolved all our repented sin in His blood. Forgiven sins will never be remembered again by our Lawyer nor by the Judge. If we are determined to miss Heaven, we will have to sin again and not repent; because the forgiven sins are gone! The candles have burned out and are forgotten, but the Son shines on eternally!
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him [Jesus], seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
After a long winter of inclement weather, looking at dark overcast skies and deep snow on the ground, we begin to wish for the change to bright sunshine for our days. When trouble stalks us on all sides and we feel overwhelmed with life’s battles, we can turn to the Son for warmth and love. He is the light and in Him is no darkness at all! We can bask in His presence and be renewed and reminded that His love is unconditional and eternal!
We are saved “to the uttermost”!
Hallelujah! The Son shines forever!