God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December 22 - Hebrews 7-10: Jesus Made Our Intimate Presence with God Possible

Today’s Reading: Hebrews 7-10

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Jesus provided the religious sacrifice which ended all religious sacrifices, thus ending the rule of religion and starting His Rule.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Melchizadek, the priest of unknown lineage, who gave Abraham a blessing in return for 10% of his spoil, models Jesus' Priesthood. Jesus' Sacrifice set things right for everyone. He now resides alongside God.
Jesus' new Plan is written on everyone's hearts. We know God firsthand. With Jesus there is no longer ritual separation. Everyone dies once but only Jesus' Death set everything right.
Therefore, confidently approach God. Push each other to set things right during times of worship. God's Judgment is no walk in the park if we give up on Him.
Keep trusting God as you did at first.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Jesus is our High Priest based on merit, not lineage.

There is no nepotism with God. Jesus is our High Priest because He lived a blameless life. Jesus is our High Priest because He was willing to become the sacrifice offered to set things right. No animal sacrifice is needed with Jesus. He is the sacrifice. Because of Jesus' willingness to sacrifice His perfect Life He has become our High Priest.

God's Plan is written on our hearts.

The Law of Moses required passing from generation to generation because it was a works-based religion: sacrifices, festivals, "clean" vs. "unclean" items, etc. Jesus' Law is not based on actions; it's based on the heart. Everyone knows they should set things right. The problem is that we decide to suppress that Truth to the point that it no longer guides us. So we need people to help guide us back to God, to remove the barriers between us and God. We do not need people to tell us God's Plan.

We can come right into the Presence of God!

The Tabernacle and Temple were erected so Israel would know there was something between them and God—as they requested. Now we need no barriers between us and God. Jesus serves as the translator between us. It should lead us to realize God cares so much that He invites us into an intimate relationship with Him.

Jesus became the one Sacrifice for our mistakes so we would stop focusing on them.

The problem with sacrifices was that they constantly reminded Israel that they did not keep the Law of Moses. Because they were reminded so often it caused them to continue to break the Law. This was the major weakness with the Law of Moses. Jesus' Sacrifice became the sacrifice for our mistakes. We no longer need to focus on what we have done in the past. They are gone. We are free!
Some may question that idea and suggest that we should be reminded of what we did wrong so we will not forget and repeat our errors. I think the writer of Hebrews would suggest that we will never fully mature until we are willing to stop shaming ourselves for what we did in the past. The author wants us to move past dead works and into Life with Jesus. We can only do that once we realize Jesus has fulfilled them all and sets us free to live in Him.

Our meetings are meant to be opportunities for us to push each other to love and good works, not prevent each other from dead works.

As a member of a church—especially as a member of the churches of Christ—I had Hebrews 10:25 pounded into my skull. We should not, under any circumstance (except sickness) miss worship services. If we did we were sliding towards unfaithfulness and could sin. I read a book (I don't remember the title) where the author boasted that the only time he had ever missed Sunday worship was the day he graduated from basic training and was physically prevented from going. Even then he felt bad because he knew he should have been worshiping somewhere. It wasn't until university that I started reading this passage in its context and read Hebrews 10:24. Through that verse I realized the purpose of meeting together is not to go through our rituals (dead works). The purpose of meeting together is to help each other love and do living works. When I realized we were meant to challenge each other I changed my entire view on worship. I no longer felt like missing meant I was backsliding into turning my back on God. I realized that missing meant I was turning my back on the other people who needed me to bring my ideas and experiences of loving and doing good works to help them find new ways to love and do good works. What I have realized, however, is that we almost never do this. We are so focused on dead works—stopping what leads to death, convincing people to be baptized, and warning sinners of the coming Resurrection and Judgment—that we almost never talk about how we set things right in the past week. Push everyone you know to love and to do good things for others. Stop splicing Greek words to figure out if something is a sin or not. Invent new ways to set things right through innovation teams at your church.

Do you boldly come into God's Presence?

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