In 2008 I was going through one of the more challenging times in my walk with God. Things seemed messy. I was really struggling with the direction of my life. Most of all, I was worn out spiritually. You see, for most of my Christian walk, I had spent my time thinking that God was relating to me on the basis of my performance. "Had I tithed enough?", "Had my motives been right?" or "Had I done the right thing in this situation?" I was constantly living in a state of self-analysis. I was convinced that God would only hear my prayers or send blessings my way if I was meeting a certain standard of living. So, I would go a week feeling pretty good about myself and my walk with God, and then I would do something that would mess it all up. I would then feel terrible for a few days. It was up and down, back and forth in the way I felt God was relating to me. I now call this "bi-polar Christianity"!
During the winter of 2008 God brought someone into my life that began to teach me a truth that would forever revolutionize my understanding of God and His grace:
In the Old Testament the priests of the day would offer sacrifices on behalf of the people to "cover" or atone for their sins. They would have to offer the same sacrifices year after year because they (the sacrifices) did not have the power to take away the peoples sins. So every year, the people were reminded of their sins again and again.
Hebrews 10:1-3…it (the law) can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 Otherwise, would they (sacrifices) not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
The work of those priests was never finished. They had to offer sacrifices over and over again- because their sacrifices could never purify the people! There was actually no seat in the temple for the priests to sit down and rest in because their job was never finished! But Jesus, our perfect High Priest, offered himself as a perfect sacrifice, said "It is Finished" and then SAT DOWN (position of rest) at the right hand of the Father! What was different about His sacrifice?
Hebrews 10:14: "For by a single offering He (Jesus) has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who ARE consecrated and made holy (we are consecrated or 'set apart' and "made holy" by His sacrifice, not by our doing)."
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice--sinless. He lived the perfect life and fully deserved all of the blessings of a perfect person: un-broken fellowship with God and permanent favor in the Fathers eyes. 2 Corinthians 5:21 states that on the cross, Jesus took credit for EVERY sin that we would ever commit- and gave us credit for His absolute obedience (the gift of His righteousness)! He didn't just die for our past sins, He died for all of them- ALL OF THEM WERE IN THE FUTURE WHEN JESUS DIED (at least I have not met a 2000 year old person yet haha!). As Hebrews 10:14 states, He FOREVER COMPLETLEY CLEANSED AND PERFECTED those who have put their faith in Him! Strong language! Friend, please know that if you have placed your faith in Christ and His perfect sacrifice--you have been forever and completely cleansed. Jesus was condemned and made guilty in your place. You have received credit for his absolute obedience. Your walk with God is no longer dependent upon your obedience or disobedience, fasting or tithing--it is dependent upon the finished work of the cross. The ONCE FOR ALL PEREFECT SACRIFICE! It has made you Blameless and Free! When you feel dirty, remember that you are squeaky clean: BLAMELESS! Not because of your performance but because of the perfect performance and sacrifice of Jesus: perfect performance, perfect sacrifice, perfect saving- He has made you perfectly clean! This truth rocked my life. I pray that it resonates with you as well!
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