By Brooke Holt
“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” - Hebrews 10:11-14
Can you imagine having to daily make sacrifices for your sins as well as the sins of those in your community? Just keeping track of daily sins is a bit overwhelming for me, let alone sacrificing for those sins. Beyond keeping track of the sins, there was the need to take another life to atone for all the sin. As one whose daughter loves animals and has had many, many different pets through the years, I cannot fathom having to kill an animal on behalf of my sin. This sacrificial system reminded the people that there are consequences, costly consequences, for sin. An animal’s blood was shed so that men and women could live free of their deserved condemnation. Death for life.
The writer of Hebrews wants us to feel this dilemma, to recognize the ongoing work of these priests sacrificing for their own sins and for others—day after day, week after week, year after year. Until the one final sacrifice was offered on behalf of sins. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, also became the Lamb of God as he took the sin of the world upon himself. Again, take time to understand the irony. The perfect Son of God, the one who had never sinned became sin so that you and I could be made perfect through his sacrifice, so that you and I could be sanctified through his offering. You are cleansed, healed, and fully redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Notice also how after Jesus made this sacrifice, he sat down. He rested. Jesus did this work on your behalf so that you, too, could rest in that finished work. Those words spoken by Jesus before breathing his last, “It is finished” (John 19:30), are for you. Your guilt has been atoned; the payment for your sins has been paid. Do you realize the great gift that has been given to you? Are you resting in that finished work of Jesus?
Through the blood of Jesus, you are being made perfect. The very righteousness of Christ becomes yours. It is not a righteousness that you earn in any way; it is a righteousness that you receive. When the Lord looks upon you, he sees the righteousness of his Son. Beyond that, Jesus makes the way for your sanctification. Sanctification is a theological term that means that you become more like Jesus. Again, Jesus has done the work to make that possible, and you are called to receive and then to participate in the renewing of your mind, heart, and soul.
I can’t help but think of the popular adage: “There's no such thing as a free lunch.” This clearly suggests that there really is nothing free to us; everything has a hidden or implicit cost. Yet, the salvation offered by Jesus Christ breaks down that adage. Jesus made the one final sacrifice for sin so that we can freely be forgiven today and forevermore. As God’s children, we are invited to receive and rest. May we enter that rest today!
Spend some time contemplating what it means for you to be made perfect through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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