What a great privilege we have to trust in Jesus who has brought “once for all” permanent forgiveness and cleansing from our uncleanness.
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll — I have come to do your will, my God.’” [from Psalm 40]
First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” — though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Imagine for a moment you’re an Israelite in the days of Moses – in the days of the book of Leviticus. Month after month there’s a cycle of 5 different offerings and sacrifices you take up to the tabernacle. And not just anything. Not your leftovers. You take your very best sheep or bull, your best flour from the kitchen. Only your best will do. And then there are 7 sets of regulations for keeping uncleanness out of your house, your food and your body. That’s pretty thorough. You’d think that’d do the trick. That you and the Israelite nation would be clean before God.
But after all that, once a year, it’s the Day of Atonement. Despite your best efforts to stick with the cycle of 5 sacrifices and offerings, despite your best efforts to keep uncleanness out of your house, your food and your body, you and the Israelite community have not succeeded. So once every year, the High Priest goes into the presence of God, inside the Most Holy Place carrying the blood of a young bull and a goat that have been sacrificed for the sins of the nation, to cleanse the tabernacle of the people’s uncleanness.
What’s the picture being painted for you as an ancient Israelite? Despite your best efforts, you cannot cleanse yourselves to be in God’s presence. The annual Day of Atonement reminds you that you need cleansing and forgiveness from God. As verse 3 in the reading says, “But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins.” A reminder of the need for Jesus, who at the cross deals with our sin “once for all” (Hebrews 10:10). What a great privilege we have to trust in Jesus who has brought “once for all” permanent forgiveness and cleansing!
Head: Why is it a great privilege to live after Jesus came and know why he lived, died and rose again?
Heart: How do I feel about what Jesus has done for me, to know that nothing can now separate me from God, that I am loved, forgiven and God’s – forever?
Hands: A little later the writer to the Hebrews says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Is there someone you can ring or write to at lunch time and encourage to keep living for Jesus?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the great privilege it is to live after Jesus came and to know why he lived, died and rose again. My heart rejoices in the knowledge that Jesus’ death is “once for all” forgiveness and cleansing for me and all who trust in Jesus. Please enable me in some small way today to encourage someone else to keep living for Jesus. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
A song to listen to: This is Amazing Grace
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of The Jesus in series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.