Praying through the Psalms

Praying through the Psalms

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Right Sacrifice

Readings for the Day
1 Kings 7, 2 Corinthians 4, Psalm 98, Romans 2

Verses for the Day
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

In Hebrews 10, the writer (we do not know who that is) compares the once and for all sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross, with the sacrifices prescribed by God to the Israelites in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, the high priest when into the most holy place one time per year to offer up the innocent lamb of God. The idea was that Israel needed to be reminded of its sin, and the animal was a sign of how God made atonement for their sin. God needed something innocent to pay for the sins of the guilty. Since the guilty party could not pay for their sins they needed someone or something else make payment.

The writer then explains why the Old Testament lamb was not a suitable sacrifice. He says if the sacrifice was given year after year endlessly, then it had no power. This sacrifice was not able to take away sins, it could only be a reminder.

The writer then points out the nature of Jesus' sacrifice. Notice a couple of things. Since Jesus made the once and for all sacrifice of his own body, our sins have been taken away. As such there is no need for further sacrifices. So when you think of it, for us to try and offer a better sacrifice than Jesus, it is worthless and even offensive. Jesus went on the cross so you wouldn't have to.

So what can we do? When we meet together we can encourage each other to remember Jesus and what He has done for us. We can remind each other that He is faithful and will do for us what He promised. That is why we celebrate communion every week to remember what Jesus, the lamb of God, has already done for us. The pastor says to those communing, "The body of Christ given for you. The blood of Christ shed for you." And what is our part? To believe the words, "given and shed for you!"

So what can we do? As the passage above says, we should not give up meeting together, as some are on the habit of doing. Why do we need to meet? To remind each other what Jesus did for us. To encourage each other that though we still continue to sin, as we receive by faith what Jesus has done for us, we can be made holy.

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