Mondayâ€™s devotion is set to appear automatically on Monday morning, because Henry and Jody are in New Orleans this weekend watching their son pitch. – J (If you see this, it did arrive as I scheduled it! – H)
11Now every priest stands day by day offering these various sacrifices which can never carry sin away. 12Christ, on the other hand, has offered one sacrifice, perfectly good, and sat down at the right hand of God 13The only thing left is a time of waiting until his enemies are made footstool for his feet. 14For by means of one sacrifice he has made the ones who are being made holy completely perfect. — Hebrews 10:11-14
One of the great problems of my life has always been getting the job done. I’m really good at starting things. I produce ideas that seem brilliant (to me!) but often don’t have the time to complete them. My filing cabinets, and now the folders on my computer hard drive are filled with these ideas.
Though there are many people who do not have the same problem I have, I still think that â€œnot quite getting thereâ€ is a very human problem. We continually strive to complete various tasks, to make them perfect, but we never quite arrive at the goal line. There are things that I have made a priority and thus have finished, but there is always something that I wish I could spend more time on. There are always those few imperfections. It has been said that no matter how many times a book is proofread, for example, there will always be a mistake that will only be found after the printing is completed.
The law in the Old Testament taught many things. We often miss it, but it taught about God’s grace. It taught about learning discernment, how to tell right from wrong and how to get in the habit of choosing what is right. But one key thing the law taught us is how futile it is for us to try to produce our own redemption.
Day after day, year after year, century after century, the sacrifices went on. Now that wasn’t wrong. The sacrifices were supposed to go on and on. They were supposed to help us learn about sin and its consequences, amongst many other things. But it’s also very easy to get tied up in the things that we are doing and forget the purpose. The Israelites quite often put the law in the wrong place, thinking that it would produce righteousness, that it would accomplish everything.
And there was another lesson that the law taught. No matter how many times you brought a sacrifice for your sins, no matter how many high priests had officiated on the Day of Atonement, the people still kept on sinning and still needed to do it all over again. The job never got completely done.
Until Jesus, that is. Until Jesus came and did it completely once and for all.
What about you? What about me? We’re not offering animal sacrifices any more, so surely this doesn’t apply. I’d suggest you think again.
Any spiritual discipline, any act of worship, in fact any act at all that we do can be just like the repeated sacrifices. The action may be good in itself, but if we depend on that action to take care of our sin problem we’re going to be disappointed. No matter how good we get, no matter how many people we’ve helped, how many prayers we’ve said, or how many worship services we’ve attended, those actions will never make us righteous. We’ll always be looking for one more possibility.
Until Jesus, that is!
Jesus has come and done the righteousness thing once and for all. Can you trust him? Let him finish the job for you and in you.