HEBREWS 9:11-12: “But Christ came as a chief priest of the good things that are now here. Christ went through a better, more perfect tent that was not made by human hands and that is not part of this created world. He used his own blood, not the blood of goats and bulls, for the sacrifice. He went into the most holy place and offered this sacrifice once and for all to free us forever.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Am I really free? Am I really forgiven? Is it really enough? All of these questions come to our minds when we sin. Our thought process continues – I though I was free? – I thought I had victory over that? – How can God accept me now? And then we are faced with the ultimate question – Is Christ’s sacrifice really enough?
An honest look at our practices as Christians in the life of our churches reveals that these doubts are real. Some traditions establish steps of penance that must be accomplished in order to receive forgiveness. Others do the same thing, yet without verbalizing it. Guilt and shame push us all from a place of trust – into a never ending cycle of performance based religion. There is something about our human nature that refuses to receive a free gift. We have to earn it, or prove that we are worthy of it. How could anyone really give us something so wonderful, so powerful, and give it to us freely?
Yet, this is exactly what Jesus did! The Old Testament worship was based on a repetitive system that continually had to offer sacrifices to cover our sins. This was because these were merely types of the one sacrifice that would come that could take away our sins. The blood of bulls and goats could not do it. The daily service of the priest could not secure it. And even the yearly entrance into the Holy of Holies with the blood of atonement could not achieve it. There is only one offering that could free us forever from the guilt, the shame, and the penalty of our sin. This offering was the blood of Jesus – His substitutionary death for our sins!
We cannot add anything to this offering. It is full and it is complete. The Father has received it as payment in full for our sin. There is nothing we can do, nor anything we need to do – but receive it. So, what do we do when we sin? And we all sin! John gives us the proper response to this in his first epistle.
First, as redeemed sons and daughters of God, we need to walk in the newness of life through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have been set free to walk in the light, and we have been given the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Great Grace, so that we can do just that.
- “This is the message we heard from Christ and are reporting to you: God is light, and there isn’t any darkness in him. If we say, “We have a relationship with God” and yet live in the dark, we’re lying. We aren’t being truthful. But if we live in the light in the same way that God is in the light, we have a relationship with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from every sin.”. (1 John 1:5-7 GW)
But what happens when we stumble, when we fall, when we sin? Is the provision of Christ made null and void by our actions? Do we now need to add something to His sacrifice? John also answers this question.
- “If we say, “We aren’t sinful” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong. If we say, “We have never sinned,” we turn God into a liar and his Word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10 GW)
Pay special attention to the progression. If we sin – we confess our sins. It is Jesus who forgives us and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong! We did not add anything to this gift when we were saved, and we cannot add anything to it when we sin. This is not a free pass to go on sinning because we now have this wonderful provision. No, it is a reminder that the freedom from the power, penalty, guilt, and shame of sin is in Christ alone! We must stop falling back into “works righteousness” and run back to the provision of His Cross!
Finally, John then reminds all of us what our attitude toward this awesome gift should be!
- “My dear children, I’m writing this to you so that you will not sin. Yet, if anyone does sin, we have Jesus Christ, who has God’s full approval. He speaks on our behalf when we come into the presence of the Father. He is the payment for our sins, and not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2 GW)
He exhorts us – “Don’t sin!” However, he reminds us – “If you do, you have an Advocate, Jesus Christ!” He calls us – “He alone is the payment for our sins!” And not only for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world. There is no other pathway to freedom apart from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life! He alone is the door to a restored relationship with God that “frees us forever!” What a powerful truth! What a compelling message!
Lord, help me to walk in the fullness of Your free gift! Grant me the grace to walk in Your light. When I stumble, let me run immediately back to You for forgiveness and cleansing. Fill me anew with Your Holy Spirit so that I can resist sin and walk in freedom and victory. And, grant me the boldness to joyfully proclaim this wonderful truth to the entire world, for –
- “He is the payment for our sins, and not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole world!”
In Jesus Name!