“Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
Hebrews 9:23-28 NKJV
The devil is a crafty sort. He is a master of the full court press, constantly sending his minions against the minds, bodies and spirits of those who call upon the name of the Lord. In the battle many people find themselves doubting their salvation, becoming locked in a cycle of running down to the altar, or taking communion in order to reaffirm that they truly know the Lord.
There are whole denominations who believe in the volatility of Christ’s sacrifice, that some how the actions of mere man can negate the grace of God. There are some sects that have daily rituals available where one can “accept Christ” in tangible form, as if God can be reduced to a wafer.
Then there are others who offer sacrifices of works, as if their efforts will have some impact on their salvation. This is faulty, as the grace of God is offered freely and Jesus paid it all.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV
In Hebrews, I was reminded of the excellence of the sacrifice of Christ. Before the cross, the death of sheep, goats, and bulls was required to cover the sins of the people. It did not remove the sins, only covered temporarily. But when Jesus come and died, His blood paid the sin debt in full.
His sacrifice was excellent, and completed the work.
Because Jesus died once for all, we have the opportunity to rest, and rejoice in the sufficiency of Christ. We can cease our striving, and focus on being the ambassadors that we are called to be.
There is danger in endless striving, as it can cause fatigue. I have seen many over the years, struggle to maintain what they believe to be the standard that God has for us. They struggle against a mighty yoke of bondage, created by themselves. They press on until, finally, they give up, and eventually leave the faith.
They have been robbed of the joy of the Lord by the thief of endless work.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
John 10:10 NKJV
Jesus paid it all, and in addition, has left us a helper, in the Holy Spirit who give us the power to complete the work. We have His word, and the body of believers who walk alongside us as we go into the world.
Brothers and sisters, let us consider that Jesus was able to do in one moment in time, what many could not before. His as a most excellent sacrifice. The priests before worked constantly, but there was no salvation, no sanctification.
“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”
Hebrews 10:11-14 NKJV
Because of Jesus, when we entered the faith, we received everything we need to live godly lives. As we mature and grow in the faith, we unlock deeper understanding of the Lord. It is like a comely video game, where we unlock new levels as we gain experience.
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,”
II Peter 1:2-3 NKJV
Thanks to the perfect work of Jesus, even the new believer can go and witness immediately. The presentation may not be perfect, the life behind the testimony may not yet reflect Christ, but the one who has believed and been forgiven has a story to tell.
I remember years ago, on Easter Sunday 1998, standing in the middle of the Des Moines Register sports section press room telling of my salvation just hours before. There was some mocking, a few smirks, but the Lord gave me a story I had to tell.
We have the story of God the Son, being made a lower, that He come and be the propitiation for humanity, paying our sin debt, replacing us in condemnation.
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
Hebrews 9:27-28 NKJV
For His obedience He is glorified. Let us glorify Him and tell the nations of what He has done, that many come to be forgiven. Time is short, for He is coming again, not to pay for sin, but to bring judgement.
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