Saturday 26 April, 2014

Hebrews 9:23-28

23 So the copies of the heavenly things had to be made pure with those sacrifices. But the heavenly things themselves had to be made pure with better sacrifices. 24 Christ did not enter a sacred tent made by people. That tent was only a copy of the true one. He entered heaven itself. He did it to stand in front of God for us. He is there right now. 25 The high priest enters the Most Holy Room every year. He enters with blood that is not his own. But Christ did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again. 26 If he had, he would have had to suffer many times since the world was created. But now he has appeared once and for all time. He has come at the end of the ages to do away with sin. He has done that by offering himself. 27 People have to die once. After that, God will judge them. 28 In the same way, Christ was offered up once. He took away the sins of many people. He will also come a second time. At that time he will not suffer for sin. Instead, he will come to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Two phrases in this text are powerful for me. Christ came, according to my TNIV translation, to “once for all…do away with sin…” Add to that, Christ was sacrificed once to “take away” the sins of many. There is such a sense of finality, and clear and force-able removal of sin in these phrases. Sin is not something Jesus came to leave hanging around. Sin is not a reality that Jesus was content to leave traces of. Jesus came to wipe sin away, completely. It is challenging to think this through, because I know that I still sin. As do all human beings, around the world. And yet Jesus has done away with, and taken away, once for all, our sin. There is clear tension here for me.

In reflecting on this text and the tension between my experience and this text, I realize a few things. God’s vision for the world is a world without sin. Jesus has made that way possible. Only through faith in Jesus can I hope to one day live that vision completely when He returns to bring salvation. And so, my expectation towards my sin, and the sin in this world, has to align with His vision for me and the world. My expectation must therefore be to do away with all my sin. My expectation must be that Jesus will take away all my sin. These verses stop my expectations from lowering to – sin is inevitable and will always continue in my life and the world. These verses actually turn that expectation on its head. I must instead apply this passage with perseverance to all of my thinking and living. I must renew myself everyday in the expectation that Jesus has done away with all sin, and therefore already has the power to do away with my sin. Where the expectation of sin is still embedded in my thinking and living, this passage will break the power of my expectation that sin is the norm, and replace that expectation with the confidence that Christ’s power has already overcome my sin, and thus gives me new life and the confident expectation of salvation.

Lord, help me live with one clear, overriding, and ever-present expectation – that just as you have done away with and taken away all sin in your death upon the Cross, so you will personally apply the power of this completed work to ever area of my life that is yet to conform to this reality, and so bring salvation to me.

 Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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