Thursday, February 21, 2019
Hebrews 10:11-12 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
We have two choices regarding which principles and standards will govern our lives. Option number one is to live according to the principles of the world as revealed to us in our flesh and by our culture. Option number two is to live according to the principles of heaven as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. The distinction between the two is clearly seen in the area of forgiveness.
Most of us have been subjected to the world’s philosophy of forgiveness that demands ongoing sacrifices for the offense. When God first introduced the concept of forgiveness to the human race he did so by requiring a living animal sacrifice and the shedding of the animal’s blood. God made the first sacrifice when he provided animal skins to cover Adam and Eve. Their son Abel brought an animal as a sacrifice of worship to God. His brother’s sacrifice of fruits and vegetables was rejected.
Later God instituted the law, and ordained priests to offer sacrifices on behalf of those who had broken the law. For every law broken there had to be a sacrifice, and no one sacrifice was sufficient to cover future offenses, only past sins. People became the slaves of the sacrificial system and lived in fear of dying in sin.
Many cultures and religions in our world still live under the bondage of such a system. Even in cultures where that system no longer exists, the basic sacrificial philosophy still does. Main line religions may not require the sacrifice of living animals, but they still operate under the belief system that sacrifices are only sufficient for past sins and need to be repeated for each offense. Priests and pastors are still the intermediaries of God’s grace only after they are satisfied that a proper “sacrifice” has been offered for the sin. People still live in the fear of death, never being fully assured that they are forgiven and accepted by God.
Every so often we read stories in the news of people performing a religious “sacrament” to earn the favor of God. They walk on hot coals, or climb hundreds of steps on their knees, or pierce themselves through their cheeks with long bamboo sticks, all in an effort to make a sacrifice to their god for the forgiveness of their sins.
Of course, we in the west have become more civilized than that, right?. Our religions simply require ongoing sacrifices of payments and penance. But the basic philosophy is the same – we must earn our forgiveness from God by works of the flesh. We even demand that of others before we will forgive them.
But the philosophy and principles of heaven are completely different. The sacrificial system God initiated on the earth was a model. The model was never intended to save anyone. The model was designed to teach us about a heavenly reality. Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices…They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. (Heb. 8:3-5)
In Hebrews 10 we have the heavenly reality explained. Jesus offered himself as the sacrifice for all sin on the altar of heaven. He then sat down at the right hand of the Father, indicating that the sacrifice was both complete and fully acceptable. Therefore, when anyone comes to Jesus for forgiveness, no sacrifice is required. In one of the greatest statements of truth in the entire Bible, the author of Hebrews writes – where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
For me the key word is where. Where do you take your sins for forgiveness? If you take them to the earthly model of any religious format, you are still bound by the earthly sacrificial system. But if you take them to the altar of heaven, you will be completely forgiven.
In heaven the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross is completely accepted by God as the full payment for all our past, present, and future sin. There is no need for any additional sacrifice for us to be forgiven. Jesus has done it all once and for all.
Isn’t that liberating for you? Doesn’t that help you with the whole false notion of having to forgive yourself? Doesn’t that truth set you free from the requirements of religion to earn and prove your forgiveness? It should. Jesus has paid it all, and where He offered the sacrifice – on the altar of heaven – there is no longer any requirement of additional sacrifice.
Claim that for yourself today. Take your sin to the only High Priest who can truly cleanse you once and for all – Jesus Christ. Choose to live by the principles of heaven and not the man-made models.