Lesson Four
Within the Veil

 

  

When everything had been arranged like this,
the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry.

But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.

The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing.  This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able
to clear the conscience of the worshipper.

They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings ¾ external regulations applying until the time of the new order.  When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not manmade, that is to say, not a part of this creation.

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those
who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,
so that we may serve the living God!

Hebrews 9:6-14


 

u  All About Blame

 

Following abortion, we usually seek protective covering to fend off the realities of our sin and to shield ourselves from the all-seeing eye of God.

 

A makeshift refuge is found behind the lacey hedge of others’ guilt.  Our present condition is thought to be a consequence of their action or lack of action.  Those we brand responsible range anywhere from our enemies to our dearest friends and family.

 

Complete the statements listed below that currently pertain to your thoughts:

____________________ didn’t teach me about sexual morality.

____________________ didn’t tell me the whole truth.

____________________ should have known what abortion really was.

____________________ should have told me about the pregnancy before the abortion.

____________________ should have been available to talk with about the situation.

____________________ should have let me make the decision.

____________________ deceived me.

____________________ betrayed me.

If __________________ were more loving and supportive, I could have asked them for advice.

_____ Society for giving its stamp of approval.

_____ My pastor shouldn’t have told me it was okay.

_____ God for not stopping me.

_____ Myself.

 

Is there anyone else that you blame in some way?  If yes, why?

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Blaming one another, even those that are close to us, is nothing new.  Read Genesis 3:8-13.

 

Who, other than Eve, did Adam blame for his sin?____________________________________________

 

Who did Eve blame for her sin?_________________________________________________________

 

Do you think placing blame on yourself or others helps you?  Why or why not?

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How has your attitude changed toward those you find guilty?

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u  The Role of Anger                 

 

Anger plays a major role in our abortion experience.  It is also an emotion that we find difficult to own up to when we have expressed our anger in sinful ways such as yelling, physical abuse of another person, or throwing objects. 

 

What does the Bible say about anger?  Let’s take a look at a few examples.

 

                                                                                                        

 

u  Biblical Examples of Anger  

 

In John 2:13-22, did Jesus have reason to be angry?  Why or why not?

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What changes were brought about as a result of His righteous anger?

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In Samuel 15:12-31, why was Samuel angry with Saul?

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How did Samuel finally respond to Saul?  Verses 28-31.

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u  Is It Okay to Get Angry?

 

In Ephesians 4:26-27, we learn that anger in our lives is a given.

 

But what is the warning that we must pay attention to?

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How do we handle anger wisely?  Proverbs 29:11.

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God tells us how to keep our anger in check.  According to Psalm 4:4, what must we do to shut out sin in our anger?

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Why do you think we are not to let the sun go down on our anger?  Why is time a factor?

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u  The Bitter Harvest

 

What happens when anger is left unsettled?  Bitterness springs forth and produces sour fruit.  It shows up in several forms like resentment, sarcasm, scornfulness, rage, and vengefulness.

 

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up
to cause trouble and defile many.
Hebrews 12:15

 

It is doubtful that we who have participated in an abortion can escape sinning in our anger.  And the bitterness creeps in almost overnight!  What shall we do then?  Well, for starters, let’s fess up to our anger.

 

Following are the most common targets of post-abortion anger.  With whom are you angry?

ÿ    The abortion provider

ÿ    The abortion “counselors”

ÿ   My wife or girlfriend

ÿ    My parents or guardians

ÿ    Her parents or guardians

ÿ    My brothers and sisters

ÿ    My friends

ÿ    Her friends

ÿ    My minister

ÿ    Society and its laws

ÿ    God

ÿ    _____________________

 

What are the reasons for your anger?

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Have you noticed any similarities between those whom you blame and those with whom you are angry?  If yes, what are they?

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Has bitterness taken root in your life?  If yes, what fruit has it produced?

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Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you are sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:29-32

 

 

 

u  Forgiveness Toward Others

 

As children of God, we must get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Whew.  We are obligated to be considerate of one another, full of compassion and forgiveness.

 

To be a Christian means to be Christ-like.  We are to imitate Him.  We are to freely forgive others just as Jesus freely forgave us.  While we were His enemies, Jesus died to pour out His kindness upon us.  Because of our Savior’s love and forgiveness toward us, we are forgiven by Abba Father.

 

Sounds good.  But what does it mean?  It means that we must resolve to love one another.  Regardless of how abused we feel, regardless of how we justify our anger, we need to see beyond ourselves.  And we need Jesus’ help to do this.  Let’s be open vessels that His pure love may flow through us into the lives of even our worst enemies.

 

Did you know that our hearts are held captive when we harbor anger and unforgiveness toward others?  The same is true if we merely know that someone has something against us.  Bound up hearts hinder a healthy walk with our Lord.  That is why it is so important to settle matters quickly.  How?  Don’t run out and confront those with whom you are angry.  First bring your matters before the Lord.  He will advise you in all wisdom.

 

God requires that we forgive those who offend us, show no remorse and don’t ask to be forgiven.  We must even forgive when they have no clue that we’ve been hurt or wronged by them.

 

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.”  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, “Raca” is answerable to the Sanhedrin.  But anyone who says, “You fool” will be in danger of the fire of hell.  Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.  Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court.  Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.  I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
Matthew 5:21-26

 

 

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him,
so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
Mark 11:25

 

 

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15

 

 

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother
when he sins against me?  Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Matthew 18:21-22

 

 

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people,
but love your neighbor as yourself.  I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:18

 

  

u  The Terms of Forgiveness

 

We frequently set up conditions by which we are willing to forgive those in involved in our abortion experience.  For example:

 

¨ I will forgive her if she admits she was wrong.

¨ I will forgive her if she shows me she is sorry.

¨ I will forgive him when he quits doing abortions.

¨ I will forgive her when she apologizes first.

¨ I will forgive her when she changes her attitude.

 

Read Luke 23:34.

 

Nearing death on the cross, what did Jesus say?

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Do you believe “they” intended to hurt Jesus emotionally and physically?

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What do you think Jesus really meant?

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How can this truth be applied to those who hurt you because of the abortion?

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Besides yourself, who specifically in your abortion experience did Christ die for?

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Read Acts 7:55-60.

 

What do you know about Stephen?

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What do you think was the secret of his ability to face persecution to the point of death with a forgiving heart?

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What conditions did he set for forgiveness?

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In verse 60, what did Stephen cry out?

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Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13

 

Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luke 6:28

 

  

Lord, my heart longs after your ways.
Oh, I want to be like you,
So gentle and kind,
Full of patience and love.

 

To be like you, Lord, is my hope.
Help me to bless and pray
for the ones I have hated.
I forgive them now dear Father

 

And dismiss their offenses
Into the sea of forgetfulness.
How shall I love them like you do?
What makes love grow?

 

 

 

Take time:  This is a good time to talk with Jesus.  Whom would you like to forgive?  Is there anything you’d like to repent of?  How can Jesus help you?  What would you like Him to teach you?

 

 

 

Would you like to write down any special thoughts about the time you spent with your Father?

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Let’s follow Jesus’ example of forgiveness toward others:

 

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

 

 

u  Forgiveness Toward Myself?

 

Peace through forgiveness is what we yearn for, but whose forgiveness produces the lasting fruit of peace?

 

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
Isaiah 26:3-4

 

Post-abortion individuals often refuse to be comforted.  Our emotions play tug-of-war and yank us from the truth.  It is often mistakenly thought that if we could only forgive ourselves, our minds would finally be at rest and we would enjoy peace.

 

So we step out onto a tightrope of self-forgiveness where it takes but a thought, a whispering wind, to topple us from that timeworn cord and plummet us once again into despair.

 

But, thankfully, we are not on such precarious footing with Jesus.  He is our sure Foundation ¾ Our Rock eternal.  In Him, and Him alone is there peace.

 

Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
Psalm 119:165

 

Read Luke 8:43-48.

 

For twelve years this woman was searching for something.  What was it?

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What do you notice about her character?

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What part did faith have in God’s work to heal her?

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What blessings did God bestow upon her?

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What touches you most about this story?

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Therefore, since we have been justified through faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1


 

u  The Everlasting Atonement

 

Atonement literally means “at-one-ment.”  We can only be one with God if we have no sin.  The Lamb of God, who was without sin, offered Himself as the everlasting sacrifice to cleanse our sins and give us the oneness with God that we need.

 

Jesus was mocked, scorned, hated, beaten, and whipped beyond recognition.  This is love: That He laid down His life for us.  We were separated by sin.  We were dead in our sins and trespasses.  He translated us into life and brought us near to Him.

 

The full penalty for our sins was settled on the cross.  God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus for our each and every transgression ¾ past, present, and future, including every abortion.

 

Many individuals, however, find it extremely difficult to trust completely in this truth when it comes to abortion.  Participating in the death of an unborn child is so grievous a thing that we feel compelled to do something to atone for it.

 

We may, for instance, involve ourselves in pro-life activities or in working with children.  No one would question the merit of these deeds.  However, let’s make certain that we rely fully on Jesus’ everlasting atonement to make us approved by God before we become engaged in these activities.

 

Sometimes, too, we insist on our own system of justice: self-punishment.  We may shackle our feet in chains of unbelief.  Our steps must forever be guided by our offense.  We’ll just muddle through life.  Forgiveness and freedom through Christ are neatly tucked into some distant corner next to the long-forgotten collection of fairy tales.

 

And then there’s the wrath.  With whip in hand, we resolve to lash out at ourselves. The force of the snap is deserved.  Must not cry.  With sealed lips, we bear our own scorn.  Our destiny is set.  There can be no healing.  No forgiveness.  No peace.  Or so we think.

 

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  If yes, in what ways?

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Drink in this truth:  Jesus loves you with immeasurable love and wants to forgive, comfort, and help you.

 

He proved it on the cross.  Your Friend and Advocate laid down His life that you might draw near to Him and know the richness of His glory and grace.

 

Now is the time to rely wholly on what God has already done and not any longer on your own efforts.  What do we really say when we proclaim, “Jesus may forgive me, but I won’t forgive myself?”  We are saying we do not completely trust that God is able to forgive through and through nor that He is able to cleanse our consciences sufficiently.

 

Truly, though, there is nothing that you can add to His perfect atonement for you.  Will you unclench your hand and lay the whip at Jesus’ feet?  Go ahead.  Abandon yourself to His care and yield to His forgiveness toward you.  Let His true and lasting peace fill you completely.

 

Read Luke 7:36-50.

 

What risk do you suppose this woman was taking by going to the house of a Pharisee?

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What does this tell you about her emotional state? *

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*Serendipity House, see Acknowledgements

 

What did Jesus see in this woman that Simon did not?

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Why do you think the woman went to Jesus?

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How important would it be to this woman that Jesus forgives her?  Why? *

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How difficult is it for you to be demonstrative in your relationship with Jesus?

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What hinders you from being more open with your love? *

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What did Jesus say to the woman after He forgave her sins?

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In what ways are you like the woman?  Unlike her?

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*Serendipity House, see Acknowledgements

 

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:17

 

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience,
not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
Romans 2:4

 

The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
Psalm 145:14

 

I said, “O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
Psalm 41:4

 

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:7

 

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD.  “Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Isaiah 1:18

 

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me, for I have redeemed you.
Isaiah 44:22

 

Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him,
if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.
Job 11:13-15

 

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is
¾ his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

 

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

 

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

 

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Psalm 106:1

 

u  On Bended Knee

 

Do you remember the story of David and Bathsheba that you read about in Lesson Two?  If necessary, read 2 Samuel 11:1-27 to refresh your memory.

 

David committed adultery and then consented to murder to cover up his sin.  Yet, according to 1 Samuel 13:14, he was a “man after God’s own heart.”  How can this be?  It was David’s response to his sin that showed him to be such a man.

 

Please read David’s prayer for mercy in Psalm 51.  Can you see his repentance and how he was broken before our Lord?  Create in me a clean heart, O God.

 

 

 

Take time:  Now is a good time to devote yourself to your Lord.  Go to your prayer closet and commune with Him, get on your knees or lay face down.  Whatever you do, pour out your heart to Him.  If there is a thing or two that you haven’t been willing to tell Him, will you go to Him now?  Extinguish every thought in your mind and pray.

And if there is anything that you would like to repent of, please do so.  Did you know that none of us who are truly repentant are ever really satisfied with the way in which we repent?  Though you may weep silent tears, it isn’t necessary, nor is relentless sorrow.  The gist of repentance is to turn your heart from sin to Christ.

 

  

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

 

 

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!
Isaiah 30:18

 

 

 

Meditations

  

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

 

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13



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