“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28, emphasis added
Why is Christ better than any earthly city of refuge? While those cities were only for temporary refuge, Christ offers only permanent refuge. Even though the cities of refuge were strategically placed to be easy to reach, because of angry relatives, they could still only be reached after a hard and dangerous journey. Christ, however, can only be reached through simple childlike faith in His sacrifice on the cross, which makes Him forever closer than any man-made refuge.
Christ is so much better because He died only for the guilty, but the cities of refuge protected only the innocent. They were reserved for the man who killed by mistake. When the slayer came to the city, he was admitted and then tried, for the elders of the city only protected someone who was innocent of murder. With us, there is no trial. We are already condemned in our sins, but Christ welcomes and receives guilty sinners. What grace!
Christ died for the deliberate sinner. Who is that? Every one of us can say, “It is I!” How can a holy and righteous God accept those who are guilty? It is not by giving up His holiness; He does not devalue that, or we would have no moral absolute in the universe. Rather, the reason Christ is able to be our Redeemer is that He is the High Priest, and the sacrifice He gave was His own death. Now, think about your life today in these terms: Christ is my refuge-Jesus found me guilty in God’s court and convicted me of first-degree sin. Because I am a sinner, God’s penalty (or wages) for my sin is death. But instead of forgetting my debt to God’s holiness, it was paid in full by another. Jesus died in my place, bearing my sin. That payment made me free.
Because of Christ’s death in my place, I will never face God’s wrath. Now I can boldly come before God’s throne and, surrounded by His mercy and grace, find all that I need to live life and serve Him. When I sin, I have a Savior who is also my High Priest who actually lives to speak to God on my behalf. It is this powerful picture of Christ that Paul taught the Corinthians: Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come (1 Corinthians 10:11).
Christ, our High Priest, died once for all, and lives forever. Although we are legally guilty before God, when we cast ourselves upon Christ we are free forever. (Hebrews 7:23-27 says this strongly.) When you humbly come to Christ with a repentant heart, His arms will open wide! If you have not already done so, I urge you to accept His embrace and start living for Him today!