Wednesday Word 3.01.2017

Hebrews 9:11-15 New International Version 

11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! 15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Paul expresses redemption in a very clear cut way in this passage to the Hebrews.  Under the covenant God made with the Israelites to be his people, sacrifices had to be made in order for sins to be forgiven.  Think of it as fines that had to be paid for messing up.  Goats and calves, bulls and heifers were part of the currency of the Old Testament.  Sacrifice was a means of showing God that you were truly sorry for your transgressions.  The problem is that people had to perpetually sacrifice because they kept on messing up!  People just could not get it right.

Well…thousands and thousands of years later, people still cannot get it right.  If the old covenant were still in place, I’d have to sit in sackcloth and ashes most of the time!  God wants more for his people.  Jesus offered himself so that we could be cleansed, just like the ritual offerings of old were meant to do; only at a higher, more amazing level. By sacrificing himself, we can come into our “promised eternal inheritance.”  We can take the place God has always wanted for us.  We can take our place as his children, living the Kingdom life now and forever.  All because Jesus paid the ransom.  For you.  For me.

Even so, the suffering and resurrection of Jesus Christ cannot be regarded as a “get out of jail free” pass.  It is the means by which we are blessed to try and try again.  Paul calls Christ the “mediator of the new covenant.”  If we accept Jesus Christ, then we enter into a new covenant with God.  We cannot just coast along, living as we please, because Jesus died for our sins!  No, now the work begins!  Our job is to learn how to become a disciple.  Our job is to try become more and more like Christ, studying his ways and adopting his teachings.  The most amazing, blindingly brilliant thing of all, is that he will still love us when we fail.  And we will fail. But, thanks be to God, we are still bound by the covenant.  Keep trying. Keep learning.  Keep loving…something to pray about.

Your sister in Christ,