Thursday 19th November Hebrews – The Old Sacrifices Ineffective
Hebrews 10: 1 – 10
Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach. Otherwise, would they not have ceased being offered, since the worshippers, cleansed once for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sin? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; in burnt-offerings and sin-offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, “See, God, I have come to do your will, O God” (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).’
When he said above, ‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt-offerings and sin-offerings’ (these are offered according to the law), then he added, ‘See, I have come to do your will.’ He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
It seems to me that the writer is telling all that the never-ending following of the Law as the years go by; approaching God, making offerings and seeking forgiveness, will not make them – or us perfect because if that were so – and perfection without sin is the ultimate goal – then having sins forgiven once for all, would negate the need to keep asking. They and we would be left only with the memory of the first time that we were forgiven. An echo of a past event only. The result would be that there would be no further need to enter God’s presence and obey the Law for would they not be cleansed and perfect already? Now Christ has entered the world, and all is changed. The Lord takes away the Old Testament to establish the New, “by the body of Jesus Christ”. The incarnation had its foundation in the love of God. It was the beginning of the Lord’s own self-sacrifice in fulfillment of the will of His Father, that leads all the way to the cross and there, if we accept His sacrifice and let Him into our hearts and lives, God will sanctify us and make us clean again for all time.
Lord Jesus, Our hearts cry out to you today. We acknowledge you as our Lord and our God. And yet we know that today and on every other day We have not listened to you or done your will. Again and again we did not carry through what you asked of us. Forgive us. Help us to see clearly what you are asking us to do. Help us to follow you, listening always to your voice in our lives. We can then reflect your love And become more perfect in your eyes. Amen.
Ann Barton, Lay leader and member of Whittlesford URC in the Eastern Synod