When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. … They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.Isaiah 1:12- 14
Today we worshipped with our Anglican friends on the beach, and then tuned in to our home church via Youtube. What a privilege to get to participate in both services! Our pastor at home is preaching through Hebrews – today’s sermon was particularly uplifting as he preached on the work of Christ on our behalf. In this post I’m processing my sermon notes.
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.Hebrews 10:11-14
Imagine being a priest – daily, over and over again offering sacrifices. Their work was constant, messy. And it required being on their feet all day. There were no chairs in the tabernacle or temple. Chairs were not needed because the priests were standing all day. Standing pictures the idea that the priests’ work was never done.
Imagine the contrast. Jesus is not busy, not frantic. Jesus is seated! Jesus voluntarily offered Himself, dying on the cross, as our sacrifice, the one and only sacrifice needed, one that will never need to be repeated. Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, a place of power and authority.
[Christ] forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.Colossians 2:13-15
Christ was seated at the right hand of the Father because He finished the work He was given. In Him all the Law and Prophets were fulfilled. He triumphed over His enemies by the cross – He’s fought “the” battle, won “the” victory! His work is completed but not yet consummated. He “waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.“
Verse 14 is a celebratory verse … by His sacrifice, He has made us, those who were once dead in transgressions, perfect. God has put away all of our sin, we are forgiven. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” We are perfect in God’s eyes and at the same time, being made holy as we grow in grace.
What God wants for us is what we would want most for ourselves if we were smart enough to know what we should want.Pastor Paul
The author of Hebrews then reminds us that the Spirit is testifying to the work of Christ in our hearts. He draws our attention to Jeremiah 31:31-34.
The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.Hebrews 10:15 – 18
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. As His children, our sins are not just forgiven, they have been removed from us as far as the east is from the west! Our pastor reminded us that if you start to walk east, you’ll always walk east … infinitely forever! Because God removes our sin, sacrifice for sins is no longer necessary!
Coming to Christ is not a transaction, it is a transformational relationship. Christ has done for me, (for you too), what I could never do for myself no matter what rules, what laws I could or could not keep. God is working in me, (in you too), to desire to do His will, but not only that, He is enabling me to do His will. It is not part God and part me! I can act, be who God wants me to be, because He has acted and is acting on my behalf! Christ offered Himself for me, was exalted to the right hand of the Father, and now intercedes for me – so that I can live the life He has designed for me to live! Hallelujah!
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heaven he stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart,
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on him and pardon me,
To look on him and pardon me.
Behold him there! The risen Lamb,Charitie Lees Bancroft, 1867
My perfect, spotless righteousness;
The great unchangeable “I AM,”
The King of glory and of grace!
One with himself I cannot die,
My soul is purchased by his blood;
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God,
With Christ, my Savior and my God.