May 17, 2011

Wednesday after the Third Sunday ater Easter


Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 89:1-19, Ex. 32:1-7,15-20, Heb. 10:15-25
Evening – Ps. 90, Is. 48:12-21, Eph. 2:1-10

Commentary

Today’s reading can be summarized under three headings.  First, found in Hebrews 10:15-18, reiterates the theme of verse 14, the absolute redemption accomplished by the one sacrifice of Christ.  Verse 15 refers to the words of the Old Testament Scriptures as the Holy Ghost bearing witness.  The Holy Ghost inspired and directed the prophets and authors of the Old Testament, so it is perfectly natural and right to say that in them the Holy Ghost testifies to the truth of what we read in Hebrews.  Several passages from the Old Testament are quoted, bringing us to the point, stated in verse 18, that there is no more offering for sin.  The Bible is saying God will no longer remember our sin under the New Covenant.  That means He will not hold us responsible for its penalty.  How can this be?  It is only possible if God bears the cost of our sin in Himself, instead of requiring it from us. In other words, God must suffer for our sins in our places.  This was accomplished in Christ on the cross.  In Him God made the one full and sufficient sacrifice that is able to bear the cost of our sin, forever.  There is no more offering for sin because the price has been paid in full and no more offerings are needed.

Second, made in verses 19-21, is the point that we now have boldness to enter into the holiest (presence of God, vs. 19) because our sins are forgiven through the one full and sufficient sacrifice of the blood of Christ.  Compare our boldness in coming to God with the fear and temerity of the people under the Old Covenant.  They came with blood offerings lest God take their own blood.  They came not into the Holy of Holies, knowing they would die if they dared enter into the direct presence of God it symbolised.  Even the High Priest feared to enter the Holy of Holies, lest God may be displeased with Israel, and strike him dead.  But we, confident that our sins have been forgiven completely because of the sacrifice of Christ, dare to call upon God and enter His presence with confidence and boldness.  Our boldness is not irreverent or glib.  Our entrance into the presence of God is reverent and respectful.  It is not arrogance; it is faith.  It is our confidence that Christ has washed away our sins and made us acceptable unto God that allows us come to Him as His beloved children to our Father.

Third, verses 21-25 encourage us to “draw near” to God through Christ.  He is our assurance of acceptance (10:22).  We are also encouraged to hold our faith securely without wavering.  That is, we are to be faithful to the end as Christ Himself was faithful to us (23).  We are to encourage one another to remain in the faith and to let our lives show our faith through love and good works.  Finally, we are to attend the worship and fellowship opportunities of the Church (25).  Hebrews 10:25 does not get much “press” these days because our view of following Christ is often considered only in terms of our personal salvation and relationship with Christ.  But we have over emphasized the individual aspect and almost abandoned the corporate aspect of following Christ.  We often think the Church is optional, and that its only function is to bring others to Christ, which we can do on our own (so it is said).  But Christ is calling us to be a part of His new people, new family, new nation, new body, and we are members of one another as much as we are members of Him.  Thus we are not to be absent when the Church assembles. We are to be present and active in a Biblical Church.

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