I enjoyed a nice summer day. I attended my Tuesday morning prayer connection with some of our county leaders. This was the first time in about a month for me to make it to the meeting. After some office work and lunch (and a nap) I made another trip to our neighborhood pool. I can at least tell a difference in my strength this year compared to last year. At this point some of my improvement is so gradual, it can be hard to notice. So I look for all the cues that I can pick up along the way.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “For this reason Christ brings a new agreement from God to his people. Those who are called by God can now receive the blessings he has promised, blessings that will last forever. They can have those things because Christ died so that the people who lived under the first agreement could be set free from sin.” Hebrews 9:15
Hebrews presents a “better way” to God than through the law of Moses. It is found in the person and work of Christ. Christ is better than the angels, He is a better high priest, He is a better sacrifice.The sacrifices the law called for were many and varied, had to be repeated often, but Hebrews declares, “…Christ came only once and for all time at just the right time to take away all sin by sacrificing himself.” (Heb. 9:26)
Christ’s sacrifice for our sin offers a better way than pleasing God through our own efforts, which is impossible. The result is a clear conscious. Hebrews declares through Christ’s sacrifice “…we have been made free from a guilty conscience…” (Heb. 10:22) Paul would declare to the Romans, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1) When we receive Christ’s forgiveness, it changes us; it frees us to live for the Lord and not for ourselves,
The Holy Spirit also tells us about this. First he says: “This is the agreement I will make with them at that time, says the Lord. I will put my teachings in their hearts and write them on their minds.”(Jeremiah 31:33) Then he says: “Their sins and the evil things they do—I will not remember anymore.” (Jeremiah 31:34) (Heb. 10:15-17)
Christ’s sacrifice gives us confidence before the Lord. “…we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place without fear because of the blood of Jesus’ death. We can enter through a new and living way that Jesus opened for us…Let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith…“ (Heb. 10:19,20,22)
Under the law, it was “don’t come close to God, keep your distance from the Holy God.” Now through Christ the way has been made open and with the temple curtain torn when Christ was crucified, God says, “the way has been made open…draw near.”
Christ’s sacrifice offers a hope and a future. “Christ was offered as a sacrifice one time to take away the sins of many people. And he will come a second time…to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Heb. 9:28) Our salvation is two-fold, relationship with the Lord through forgiveness of sin available by the sacrifice of Christ and an eternal home in His presence. With this in mind we are encouraged to “…hold firmly to the hope that we have confessed, because we can trust God to do what he promised.” (Heb. 10:23)
Christ’s sacrifice gives us perseverance. “You must hold on, so you can do what God wants and receive what he has promised.” (Heb. 10:36) Our faith and hope can tested by our own failures and frailties and the trials we face in this present world. Our call is to continue to follow, to obey knowing that we will receive the promise of the full salvation Christ died to give us.
Christ came to bring a “better way” a final sacrifice. We can receive the blessings of what the “new agreement” has made available. I like the expression of confidence the writer of Hebrews declares when he says, “…we are not those who turn back and are lost. We are people who have faith and are saved.” (Heb. 10:39) As the old song says, “I have decided to follow Jesus, I won’t turn back….”