Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Perfected Forever

And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:11-14, NKJV).

Based on this passage alone, it can be concluded that the Book of Hebrews was likely written before the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 A.D., since it references the daily animal sacrifices. 

Every morning and evening, God's righteous wrath toward sin was propitiated by the shedding of the blood of innocent livestock according to the Laws of Moses. This repeated carnage pointed to the ultimate singular carnage, the death of Christ on the Cross.

In one sense, our salvation floats on a massive sea of blood, illustrating undeniably the horrendous nature of sin, a fact which we in the modern world are scarcely aware. But this bloodletting was stopped, once for all, by the unthinkable act of the Son of God's crucifixion, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever. 
Anything other than that single momentous act could never take away sins.

Dwell on that thought the next time you doubt God's love for the world and the sinners of the world.

It is a tragedy beyond description if these are just meaningless phrases to you, or a quaint barbaric myth, or the product of some primitive religious delusion. Indeed, if this is not the single most important fact of your existence, then you are in a very dangerous place in this life, and you are doomed in the eternity that awaits every living soul.

If the death and resurrection of the Savior is not the central tenet of your universe, nothing else really matters. Not your family, or health, or prosperity, or any other circumstance.

Lift up your head and look at the world around you. Take your eyes off yourself for just a nanosecond, and let the lawlessness and despair assail you unbuffered by the habitual distractions of your life, and sense the utter immensity of your helplessness.

If you do this for just that amount of time, naked and defenseless, you will hear the awful ancient cry of all humanity imploring all the gods of fate to "SAVE ME!". Only one God answered, and in the only way that salvation could occur, substituting a sinless Man for you in awful mend-bending judgment. 

Christ offered Himself for you because He loved you. It is relatively easy to love someone lovable, but you and I were not that; we were its opposite. Yet Christ died for us anyway.

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8, NKJV).

Was His death effective or purposeless? Did it achieve what was intended?

Repeatedly in Scripture we are given the answer to this often unspoken question. Mostly it is couched in terms of death's inability to keep Christ; it could not hold Him. Here in Hebrews, we are informed even further in regard to its efficacy: this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.
Do you see the point? Not only was death defeated, but once risen and shown among the living with many infallible proofs, Christ ascended to His rightful place of absolute sovereignty at the right hand of the Throne of God; sitting because the work was done and the bestowal of authority by the Father was complete. From that point in history, He is waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

This last is symbolic of devastating conquest, of complete and illimitable victory over the enemy - a victory so comprehensive that there is no possibility of the battle ever being engaged again. This was the war fought, and won, alone, by the Son of God on our behalf. That final Day, when the Lord Jesus Christ rips open the fabric of reality and returns to take possession of that which was won on the Cross will be a time of judgment and wrath as never before visited upon mankind. 

All His enemies will be crushed, and the world will bow to Him in rightful and inevitable acknowledgment of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

And those of us who are His now by faith, who are currently being sanctified - made over into His image day by day through the work of His Spirit within us, and our surrender to that work - will finally achieve that which was intended from the beginning.

For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
Perfected forever means that we will be made complete and endure.

Perfected forever means that nothing in all Creation can undo that work of final sanctification brought about by His sacrifice.

Perfected forever means that all weakness will be made strong; all perfidy will be eliminated, and all our inherent evil will be expunged. Forever.

Our lives and our very being will be glorious beyond our frail and limited human ability to imagine.

We will be like Him.

That is why He came to save us.

That is the gift He came to give us.

That is what His death on our behalf accomplished.

To not receive that gift in utter humility and faith is the greatest act of arrogance and self-worship imaginable.

In the face of His sacrifice, every nuance of unbelief is Hell-worthy.