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Thursday, September 8, 2011

strong medicine for shallow thinking about God's forgiveness

Hebrews 10:9-10 contains an interpretation of an Old Testament quote the writer of Hebrews assigns to Jesus in describing his work of sacrificing himself. In verse 9 Jesus states that I have come to do your will, then verse 10 says, Hebrews 10:10 (ESV) 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

There is something huge in this text. In our moments of immaturity, or perhaps just in moments of drifting away from God, and when we are tempted to sin, we can toy with this thought: “It’s ok if I go ahead and sin, I know God will forgive me anyway.” Understood properly, this section of Hebrews blocks that incredibly shallow and shortsighted thought. The entire book of Hebrews is the medicine to cure that sort of goofed up thinking, especially chapters 7-10 that are likely read through quickly and not thought about deeply, at least in my experience. These passages highlight the glory and the power and the effectiveness of the death Jesus Christ and greatly magnifies that to our hearts and minds. To simply jump to this wonderful verse that shouts, “we have been sanctified once for all,” may create the danger of drawing the terrible conclusion that it no longer matters what I do because I’ve been sanctified, I’ve been cleansed once for all. However, the deep reflection on the sacrifice of Jesus and the connection to the centuries of repeated sacrifices as prescribed in the Old Testament and the way that that magnifies Jesus act on the cross seems likely to effectively block that thought. It is true, those in right relationship with God have been sanctified, cleansed and set apart for God’s use, once for all with a clean conscience. This is all accomplished through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ. It is a wildly encouraging truth. But without the deep reflection that leads up to this verse, it could lead us to a shallow and disastrous understanding of the verse.

1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine made this comment about the above post:

    You are currently looking at the Past Tense of sanctification, and I love looking at that subject!
    Past Tense (Acts 26:18 / 1 Cor. 1:2 / Heb 10:10)
    • imputed/imparted righteousness
    Present Tense (Rom. 6:19-22)
    • experienced righteousness
    Future Tense (Rom. 7:24-25 / Jude 1:24)
    • unhindered righteousness (heaven)

    Keep going, I look forward to you looking at other aspects of sanctification