Monday

23 January 2012

"So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." (v. 28)

Background

The writer to the Hebrews explains how Jesus' sacrificial death (the literal shedding of his blood on the cross) has made the complex blood-related sacrifices of the Hebrew people redundant. Verse 28 considers this sacrifice as a once-and-for-all resolution for sin or wrongdoing. There is no longer any need for a person to perform any physical act of contrition, all that is now required is a personal faith in Jesus Christ. 

In contrast to the elaborate Hebrew rituals, this new covenant or contract between God and human beings appears straightforward. Indeed, it seems so simple that many find it hard to believe. In a society where people take pride in what they do (and can do for others), it can often feel weird to be told that one's efforts are not required, or are of little value. Most people like to feel useful, and gain a sense of personal satisfaction and affirmation from being part of something that is well done. And others like to be able to play a role in an activity so that they can take some of the credit if it is a success. In a nutshell, human beings pride themselves on self-sufficiency - doing things under their own steam. When men and women are not in control, or have no role to play they can feel redundant. 

Jesus' sacrificial death is something of a biblical paradox, as the Bible is full of accounts where God's divine purposes are worked out through the agency of men and women. The very birth of Jesus Christ is a good example of human interaction with the divine. However, in this particular instance, human agency or efforts are not required. This is all about God (and Jesus in particular) and how men and women respond to the offer of forgiveness and everlasting life. 

To Ponder

Is it truly possible to 'let go and let God'? How?

To what extent is the fact that aspects of Christianity appears so simple, one of the reasons why some struggle to find faith?

Bible notes author: Richard Reddie

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