God Is For Us
Lord, Most Holy and Most High, I come to You in the merits of him who died that I might live.
Read Hebrews 9:11-22
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
We find it hard to engage with the cross with the seriousness of the New Testament writers, because “they were worried about their sins, and we are not” (Tom Smail).
A central assumption of Hebrews is the awesome holiness of God (Heb. 10:31). His eternal dwelling is called “the Most Holy Place.” God is a moral God, the source of all true morality. Sin is serious because it is an affront to the holy character of God. Christ, the high priest, enters the true holy place, which is “not a part of this creation” (11), the presence of this holy God. Since his life was “unblemished” (14), there was no barrier to prevent his entry. He entered for us, presenting his blood that was shed as our ransom, thus securing our “eternal redemption” (12). Sins can be forgiven (15,22) and consciences can be cleansed (14). Christ is “the mediator of a new covenant” (15) through whom we receive what God has promised in the new covenant. Therefore, we can enter the Most Holy Place without fear.
The message of Hebrews is clear but, unless we have a thorough grasp of the Old Testament, the imagery can be difficult for those whose cultures have no connection to animal sacrifice. Could it be that the real challenge of Hebrews today is that we lack this writer’s grasp of the holiness of God and the seriousness of sin? If so, our understanding of redemption is likely to be cheap. We will take forgiveness for granted, rather than be staggered that it is possible at all.
The good news is that the triune God desires our service (14) despite our sin, and has done everything that is necessary. The Father promised the new covenant (15), the Son offered himself as a ransom (14), sustained in his costly self-giving by the eternal Spirit (14). We need not be afraid to take sin seriously, because the holy God is for us, and has done all that is necessary.
Western cultures sometimes trivialize sin, ignore moral absolutes, and have no sense of God’s holiness. What is shaping your life: culture or Christ? How?
Loving Father, oftentimes I have settled down comfortably with sin in my life. Make me so uncomfortable that I will seek Your forgiveness and grace.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.