Saturday, February 17, 2018

Focus on Faith

By "The Great Sacrifice"
Dec. 23, 2015 at 9:20 a.m.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus, since his father had sent his only son, so whoever believes in him would have ever-lasting life. Advent and Christmas point ahead to that old rugged cross, where Jesus, the Son of God would die for the world's sins.

We find in Hebrews 10:5-10, a contrast of sacrifices of burnt offerings with the obedience of Christ. The scriptures describe the relationships of the incarnate Christ to God. God found no pleasure in sin offerings, but rather in the sacrifice of Christ who said, "I have come to do your will, O God" (v. 7).

The text is about another love that led to the greatest sacrifice of all. The main point here is that Christ sacrificed himself, his own body, as the sinless Lamb of God, not some mere animal. Animal sacrifices were always wholly ineffective. They had to be done over and over again. Not so with the sacrifice Christ made. Christ made the perfect and greatest sacrifice that we will ever have. So Christ was sent to be, in his own body, the sacrifice that brings this forgiveness.

In every way, Christ was able to do what no other human could. Christ led a life of perfect obedience to God. The Law and all the sacrifices were intended to move persons toward such obedience but ultimately failed, for human beings are sinful. Paul writes much about the failure of the Law to do anything but make us aware of how far we miss the mark in obeying it. But Christ does the will of God and in his sacrifice he shares that perfect obedience with us. Now our relationship with God is not based on sacrifices or even our perfect obedience to the law. That former way has been abolished now, the writer says, and in its place we now possess the way of Christ, the way of grace and forgiveness through his sacrificial death. The old has passed away and the new has come. We are now new creations because of Christ, and not because of any deeds on our part.

Just as Jesus came to do God's will we are separated to do his will and be like Jesus in the world. Our talents, time, and potential are placed at his disposal. Just as Jesus found his ultimate fulfillment and satisfaction in doing the Father's will, so do we. (v. 9). He doesn't ask us to do the impossible or even the uncommon. He expects us to do the common with all uncommon fervor.



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