Hebrews 10 – Remembering

Hebrews 10:1-4 – It’s obvious, in hindsight, that the temple system, as a copy of the realities in heaven, could not fully cleanse those who participated in it. But look at what he says in verse 2. He says that if those sacrifices had been perfect, the worshipers “would no longer have any consciousness of sins”. Isn’t the implication here that since Jesus’ sacrifice is perfect, that we who have been cleansed should no longer have any consciousness of our sins. Does that describe you? Me neither, however, it is illuminating as to what our attitude ought to be in regard to our past sins.
Hebrews 10:11-14 – Stop for a minute and take in this picture of Jesus. Seated and comfortable because he work on our behalf is complete, awaiting a footstool made from his enemies.
Hebrews 10:17 – If God himself has decided to remember our sins no more, why should we?
Hebrews 10:19 – We have confidence to enter the most holy place. I imagine on that once per year when the high priest entered the most holy place,he likely did so tentatively, having made sure, double and triple checked that he had met all the requirements. But because of Jesus, we already have full confidence to enter ourselves.
Hebrews 10:24-25 – This passage, so often used to admonish those who have stopped coming to church, is powerless separated from the few verses before which themselves rest on the preceding chapters. Having such a great savior, having such a superior sacrifice, having such confidence to enter – why would you not want to be around other disciples? Not out of an obligation to obey, if that’s why then you’ve forgotten what has been done for you. Taken as a commandment, it has no more power than any other. No, it is in light of Jesus and what he’s done, the amazing grace bestowed upon you, that you cannot help but long to be around those who share it as well.
Hebrews 10:26-31 – If after Jesus went so far to redeem you, after the lengths he was willing to go to is known, if then you still treat sin casually, as if it wasn’t a big deal or if it didn’t matter, then there is nothing left. Jesus left no more room for additional redemption, he went all the way,as far as there is to go, to make our redemption sure, undoubted and absolutely complete. If we then refuse to take sin seriously, we have nothing to expect but the wrath of God.
Hebrews 10:32-39 – Read between the lines here. This book wasn’t written primarily to prove to the Hebrews the truth of the gospel, nor to give them insight into its inner workings, although it does both. No, these were folks who had forgotten what they had received and he longs for them to be reignited by the fire of the gospel, the glory that is in what Jesus had done for them. It was no less glorious, but the memory of it had faded. We all need to be reminded, on a regular basis, of the glories of the gospel that we might not shrink back into a like of sin and guilt.

Hebrews 9:15-28 – Redemption Through Blood

Hebrews 9:15 – Why can we “receive the promised eternal inheritance“? Because “a death has occurred that redeems” us.
Hebrews 9:22 – How serious is sin? “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins“. Note, he makes no distinction between sins, only that forgiveness is not possible without blood. We like to think that they aren’t that bad, but we’re wrong, they are that bad.
Hebrews 9:24 – “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf” As I read this, I had the image of Jesus, still dripping with the blood of the cross, entering the throne room of God to present Himself to the Father on our behalf, and it brought tears to my eyes.
I feel like the soldier, aged, at the end of Saving Private Ryan, standing at the graves of those who sacrificed on his behalf asking, “Was it worth it?” Here’s the thing, those men in that fictional story didn’t know what would become of the life they strove to save. But God, seeing all of time before Him, did know. He knew those he chose to save would lie, cheat and steal and that they’d act in their own interests instead of His. He knew that we’d corrupt His church and forget our first love. He knew the abuse we’d inflict on each other and the hurt that we’d cause, even in His name.
As I heard Jared Wilson say when he was here in Columbus, “Seeing us at our absolute worst, God said ‘I want that guy.'”
Disciple of Jesus, if that doesn’t move you, read it again and again until it does.
Hebrews 9:28 – “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Do you long for His coming? If you understand your own depravity, you do.

Hebrews 9:1-14 – Clean

Hebrews 9:9-10 – The temple system was imperfect, temporary and was only in place until a better, more perfect way could be established.
Hebrews 9:11 – I imagine that the Most Holy Place in the temple was a place of awe and much curiosity among the devout. It was where God lived, so holy and pure that only the High priest may go there, only one per year and never without a sacrifice. It was the most perfect place on this Earth and I imagine many devout Jews dreaming of what it must be like.
Yet, when Jesus came and when he appeared as High Priest, it wasn’t good enough for Him. It was the best Earth could offer, but the job he had to do, the best we have wasn’t good enough. He demanded the perfection that could only be found in the true temple in heaven.
Hebrews 9:12 – Not only was the earthly temple not sufficient, the sacrifice required for once and all justification could not be accomplished by goats and calves. It demanded purity only found in God, only in Jesus’ own blood.
It should not be shocking that our failings should demand such a sacrifice, rather it should be shocking that He would agree to it.
Hebrews 9:13 – The old sacrifices were enough to purify the flesh – for a time. But Jesus’ blood is able to purify all the way to our consciences.
It brings to mind that scene in MacBeth where Lady MacBeth continues to wash her hands, in her mind never quite cleansing them of the blood that was spilled. Surely, the water did remove the actual blood from her flesh, but the stain on her conscience remained. No amount of water would remove that.
It is the same with the sacrifices offered in the temple, or our own penitent acts of sacrifice, be they the proverbial ‘Hail Mary’ or the promise of devotion made to God in a moment of desperation. They may heal for a moment, but the guilt remains on our soul. Jesus’ blood, however, cleanses through and through, no guilt remains. We are clean, completely and thoroughly in a way that is so foreign to our thinking as to be almost incomprehensible. If we do truly understand it, we are likely to dismiss it as too scandalous, and not just for we pay nothing for our sins. But that is the amazing in Amazing Grace, it is completely unfair and we get away, in some cases literally, with murder.

They’re Gone

Empty Lot
Dad was in town this weekend and after stopping by Cars and Coffee on a beautiful Saturday morning, I decided to take him downtown to see those old cars. Instead, we were greeted with the scene above. After sitting there for months, perhaps years, they’re all gone.
Did the owner find more suitable storage? Did they get sold off to other collectors? Did he finally embark on those restorations that he’d been meaning to get to? Or, perish the thought, did he stop paying his parking fees and they get towed away and sold for scrap?
We likely will never know.

Hebrews 8 – A Better Covenant

Hebrews 8:1-7 – In Hebrews 7, we find that Jesus is a priest of a different order entirely than the priests that they are familiar with. Here, in the beginnings of Hebrews 8, the writer continues to drive the supremacy of Christ the priest home. Not only does he come from a superior line with superior power and superior authority, he serves in a superior temple – the real temple, where God lives permanently. Not the copy made on earth, he sits aside the real throne in heaven.
Though God instituted the Earthly temple and the Earthly priesthood, and it was therefore excelent, it was only a shadow of what Christ already was and would be.
Hebrews 8:9-12 – The problem with the original covenant was not the covenant itself, but us. We simply could not keep it, though we desired to. God knew this, but the old covenant had to be made to establish for us our need for a better covenant in which God himself fulfilled both ends of the bargain. “I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts” he says. We will not commit to them, we cannot. Rather God himself will place His commands in our hearts Himself, through Jesus.

Hebrews 7 – Melchizedek

Hebrews 7:1 – Melchizedek, other than this mention here (quoted from Psalm 110) and the account of Abraham in Genesis 14, is an unknown, yet he was a king and “priest of the Most High God”. We like to think that the Bible is the story of God’s people, his only people. But then, there’s Melchizedek, “priest of the Most High God”, and we know almost nothing about him. The implication here is that God has others, and has had others, not mentioned in the Bible. In John 10:16, Jesus refers to sheep ‘not of this sheep pen’. Now I wouldn’t get carried away and say that means that other, non Christian religions are therefore valid, but it does imply that the story of the Bible is not eh only story of a people of God. In other words, there are others following HIm that aren’t even mentioned.
Hebrews 7:16 – This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible, Jesus became a High Priest “not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.” The power of an indestructible life! What’s even more amazing is that Jesus has passed that indestructible life to us. Do we believe that? If we truly grasped the life handed to us, how would we live?
I could stop and meditate on the second half of this chapter for hours. Jesus “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25), he’s “the guarantor of a better covenant” (Heb. 7:22) and he is “holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.” (Heb. 7:26). What we have been given in Jesus is far, far, far more than we could have asked or imagined and far, far, far more magnificent than we realize.
Lord, forgive me for living as if I have an adequate savior.

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