What Now Can Be A Sacrifice? January 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — beyondtheoutside @ 9:54 PM

I have just started a group Bible Study at church on the book of Hebrews. The leaders are great and I’m super excited about what we will learn as a group and to get to know the book of Hebrews better. Our first class was two weeks ago and our homework, among other assignments, was to read through the book of Hebrews in one sitting. It took my two sittings, because of a lack of time management today. But after reading the first half, I couldn’t wait to sit down and read the second half. I have many comments and questions and topics I can’t wait to discuss with my classmates and facilitators. But one thing I just keep thinking about is from Hebrews 10. Well, it’s really emphasized throughout the entirety of the book, but the part that sticks in my mind is from chapter ten. Specifically verses 1-18, posted below.

10:1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5 Consequently, when Christ [1] came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ [2] had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”

17 then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Verse 18, read it again. I was thinking about this and how it applies to real life. I thought, why, after so much time, is the author of Hebrews telling the audience, and ultimately me, that there is no longer any offering of sins? Why does he talk about the process that the people and priests went through to sacrifice for their sins? Why is all of this important?
It really did not take me long at all to realize something. I try to sacrifice for my sins. I do not sacrifice animals for my sins, to atone for them. I take my life and try to offer it up to God, as a living sacrifice for Him. Now, this is what we’re called to do, as Christian’s, right? Well not how I live. We are under the new covenant. The old one has been put to death. Because of my love for and gratitude to the Lord, I should live my life for Him. But I find myself so often trying to do things to be an offering for my sins. If I remember being anxious in the morning, later that day I will make sure I’m listening to Christian music, reading more Scripture, and talking about God with others. Not so that I’ll trust God more and learn not to worry, but to make up for the sin of worrying that I had committed earlier that day. I am continually making sacrifices for my sins. If I recall getting angry with a friend earlier, or judging them for something, I will try to make up for that sin at a later time. I will sacrifice time, money, relationships, food, work, etc. to pay for my sins. This is not the life I am called to live.

Consider what Hebrews says:
9:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, [5] then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify [6] for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our [7] conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

What a great God I serve. Christ came to the earth, broke the old covenant, fulfilled the prophecies–and in a better way than the former priests. Let me just state verse 14 again: How much MORE will the BLOOD of CHRIST, who through the ETERNAL Spirit OFFERED himself WITHOUT BLEMISH to God, purify our conscience from DEAD WORDS to SERVE THE LIVING GOD.
I feel that it may be a rhetorical question. But sometimes we all might need to say the answer out loud. Reminding ourselves daily that Christ’s sacrifice was total-complete-a finished work is a necessary act. We cannot rely on our flesh to keep us in line with what God has for us. There is more to life than pridefully trying to pay the Lord back for your sins.
Thank God that I can turn from my pride. Offerings are no longer need, praise God! I am painfully aware of God’s grace on my life. I’m overflowing with thankfulness that there is nothing I can do to make myself deserve the love I have been shown. I am so glad that this has nothing to do with what I have brought to the Lord. I am overwhelmed by the Spirit’s gentle touch, opening my eyes to my immense pride in this area of my life.
As I venture into this study, trying to more effectively kill sin, and muster more glory for the Lord, I hope to keep this blog going again. I make NO promises, of course. A busy season is fast approaching, but I’ll do what I can.

I leave you with the lyrics from a familiar Christian song by Stuart Townend-GRACE

Lord, I’m grateful
Amazed at what You’ve done
My finest efforts are filthy rags
But I’m made righteous
By trusting in the Son
I have God’s riches at Christ’s expense!

‘Cause it’s grace!
There’s nothing I can do
To make You love me more,
To make You love me less than You do
And by faith
I’m standing on this Stone
Of Christ and Christ alone
Your righteousness is all that I need
‘Cause it’s grace!

Called and chosen
When I was far away
You brought me into Your family
Free, forgiven
My guilt is washed away
Your loving kindness is life to me

Freely given
But bought with priceless blood
My life was ransomed at Calvary
There my Jesus
Gave everything He could
That I might live for eternity

Grace loves the sinner
Loves all I am and all I’ll ever be
Makes me a winner
Whatever lies the devil throws at me


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