Derek Prince said you can summarize Passover with this statement, “we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb out of the hand of the enemy.” Prince is one of my favorite Bible teachers, and I can’t think of a better quote to begin this year’s Passover series.
Passover has many elements, but I felt led to focus on the four cups of Passover this year. The first cup is the cup of sanctification. To be sanctified means to be set apart1. God can set us apart, and we can set ourselves apart for God. The righteousness of Noah enabled him to be called by God to build an ark and preach the message of repentance. Before God changed his name, Abraham was known as Abram, who called out from his home, his family, and the way of life he had known. God called him out and set Him apart to be the father of the Jewish nation.
Let’s look at the events of the Hebrew people being freed from bondage. Exodus 12:14-17 CJB “This will be a day for you to remember and celebrate as a festival to Adonai; from generation to generation you are to celebrate it by a perpetual regulation. 15” ‘For seven days you are to eat matzah — on the first day remove the leaven from your houses. For whoever eats hametz [leavened bread] from the first to the seventh day is to be cut off from Isra’el. 16 On the first and seventh days, you are to have an assembly set aside for God. On these days no work is to be done, except what each must do to prepare his food; you may do only that. 17 You are to observe the festival of matzah, for on this very day I brought your divisions out of the land of Egypt. Therefore, you are to observe this day from generation to generation by a perpetual regulation.”
The first instruction is to remove the leaven, which is a picture of sin. The first cup is sanctification to remind us of our duty to present ourselves and walk rightly before God.
God told Abraham to walk blamelessly before Him. The Complete Jewish Bible says, “walk in my presence and be pure hearted2.” We have an obligation to walk in the ways of God. Now we remember Paul’s words in Romans chapter seven. Paul wanted to do what was right but struggled between the flesh and the spirit. Through salvation and the Holy Spirit’s help, we can now overcome temptation and sin and walk in the ways outlined by Scripture.
Jesus prayed in John 17:17 CJB “Set them apart for holiness by means of the truth — your word is truth.”
Ephesians 5:25-27 TLV “Husbands, love your wives just as Messiah also loved His community and gave Himself up for her 26 to make her holy, having cleansed her by immersion in the word. 27 Messiah did this so that He might present to Himself His glorious community—not having stain or wrinkle or any such thing, but in order that she might be holy and blameless.”
The Word of God sanctifies us. When we submit to the Lord instead of temptation, we sanctify ourselves. When we deny our flesh through fasting, we consecrate ourselves.
Hebrews 10:10 CJB “It is in connection with this will that we have been separated for God and made holy, once and for all, through the offering of Yeshua the Messiah’s body.”
Jesus came to save us from our sins through His atoning death on the cross. But He didn’t just save us from sin; He united us to the Father and gave us the ability through the Holy Spirit to walk in His ways.
The will of God is that we are sanctified, set apart for God, and good works. Our deliverance and redemption have a goal, and that is our sanctification. To be a disciple of Jesus is to love Jesus, and to love Jesus is to obey Him (John 14:15). Let the first cup of Passover serve as a reminder all year to be dedicated to God, His Word, and His works.
“And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)3.”
- Strong’s Concordance, H#6942 and G#637
- Genesis 17:1 CJB
- 1 Thessalonians 5:23 AMPC