SINS REMEMBERED NO MORE
Lord, You are the ultimate High Priest.
Read HEBREWS 10:11–18
11 And every [a]priest indeed standeth day by day ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, the which can never take away sins: 12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for [b]sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 henceforth expecting till his enemies be made the footstool of his feet. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also beareth witness to us; for after he hath said,
then saith he,
17 And their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
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‘Jesus the Savior reigns, / the God of truth and love; / when He had purged our stains, / He took his seat above.’ (Charles Wesley, ‘Rejoice the Lord is king’)
I read this short passage several times, pondering again the contrasts between the old priestly system of sacrifices offered daily, endlessly, and our Lord Jesus’ one sacrifice offered once for all time which has brought this whole system to an end (11,12). John Calvin explained the meaning of Christ sitting at the right hand of God – ‘that both heavenly and earthly creatures may look with admiration on His majesty, be ruled by His hand, obey His nod, and submit to His power’ (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Register, SCM, 1961, 2.16.15). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is forever God’s right-hand Man!
Two Old Testament passages, already mentioned earlier in Hebrews, cast further light on today’s reading. I cast my eyes over Psalm 110, one of the psalms most frequently quoted in the New Testament, and remember that ‘seated with Christ’ is where we begin our Christian discipleship every day (Col 3;1–4). Then I turn to read Jeremiah 31:31–34, through which the Holy Spirit testifies to us today that our forgiven sins are remembered no more. This is the meaning of Christ’s finished work; this is redemption, accomplished and applied. Love has provided more than just a warrant for the prisoner’s freedom; it opens the door and brings him or her out of the prison! This is why Wesley sang, ‘My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose, went forth and followed Thee.’ (Charles Wesley, ‘And can it be’.)
This assurance is fundamental to joyful, persevering Christian discipleship. The contest, the conflict with sin remains. Verse 10 says that we ‘have been made holy’ – but verse 14 says that we ‘are being made holy’.
‘…these have been forgiven’ (18). I meditate on ‘forgiven’. Forgiveness is the basso ostinato (ground bass) of the Christian life, the deep well of our joy, assurance, and perseverance.
Lord, we luxuriate in the thought of forgiveness of sins and of the removal of the punishment accompanying them. We are so grateful.