death

Look—the Lamb of God!

Each of us has various roles in life—within our family of origin and at various points in life. Some roles are temporary and some endure. John the Baptizer knew his role in life. He was the "voice in the desert" who preceded and proclaimed the coming of Israel's Messiah.

John knew and accepted that his important but limited role would end when the One whom he proclaimed arrived. But how would he know for sure who this person was?

A Better Sacrifice

Freedom is not just a concept, it's something we experience. A person might be able to define what freedom is yet still not experience it. We can also become so accustomed to freedom that we take it for granted.

In America (USA), freedom is a guaranteed right by law. But it's more than that—it's a privilege. The freedoms we enjoy came at the cost of life—many lives over a period of many years.

Political freedom is not the same as civil rights, but the one guarantees the other. Spiritual freedom and personal freedom also aren't the same, but spiritual freedom can produce true freedom.

The grace of God provides true freedom for anyone who trusts in the Lord. But this freedom is not to be taken for granted nor abused for self-gratification.

God opened the door to true freedom through His son when Jesus offered Himself once for all, as a provision to remove the consequence of sin which is death—also called atonement.

Scripture

Christ didn’t go into a holy place made by human hands. He didn’t go into a model of the real thing. Instead, he went into heaven to appear in God’s presence on our behalf. Every year the chief priest went into the holy place to make a sacrifice with blood that isn’t his own. [vss 24-25]
However, Christ didn’t go into heaven to sacrifice himself again and again. Otherwise, he would have had to suffer many times since the world was created. But now, at the end of the ages, he has appeared once to remove sin by his sacrifice. [vss 25-26]
People die once, and after that they are judged. Likewise, Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of humanity, and after that he will appear a second time. This time he will not deal with sin, but he will save those who eagerly wait for him. [vss 27-28]
(Hebrews 9:24-28 GW) [Context– Hebrews 9]

Key phrase—

Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of humanity

Digging Deeper...

Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions

  • What did the chief (high) priest do every year? How is this contrasted with what Christ did?

  • If Jesus was like the former high (chief) priests (under the Old Covenant), what would He have to keep doing and why?

  • What are we told about death and judgment? How is this relevant to believers for what Christ did as our High (Chief) Priest?

  • How often was Jesus sacrificed and for what purpose? What is the purpose for Jesus to return a second time?

Reflection...

Once. Once is all the Lord Jesus needed to offer Himself as the perfect reconciling sacrifice (atonement) for humanity. Only once!

This is because His sacrifice—offering Himself as a means of reconciliation—is a better sacrifice. A better since He was free from sin Himself.

He doesn't need to suffer death many times and we don't need to "get saved" more than once. As believers, we need to have this assurance of forgiveness and cleansing from sin, once and for all.

We need to walk with Him—the resurrected Lord—in faith and ready for His return. We do this when we honor Him with our life in our relationships and how we live each day.

Make it personal...

Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions

  • Do you personally know and have a relationship with Jesus? If not, what holds you back from that?

  • Do you understand why Jesus only needed to die once as a reconciling offering for humanity's sin—once and for all, for all sin, people, and time?

  • Are you ready to see Jesus return a second time?

  • How are you personally honoring the Lord with your daily life?

©2017—Word-Strong


Here's a free introduction for the book of Hebrews— Intro to studying Hebrews

Once and For All

Every election cycle voters put great hopes in their candidates, as leaders who will bring change or stability or both. Yet, there's no one person who will garner everyone's support because people have such diverse concerns and issues.

Recorded history reminds us of the ups and downs of civilizations and cultures. History is cyclical. Life, in general, is cyclical, just as the seasons within a year. The greatness of a nation or era of civilization is preceded and followed by periods of mediocrity or worse.

The problem is consistency and succession of leaders and their governing power. Even religious and theological views vary because they're tied to ever-changing generations and leaders within each generation.

Thankfully, there is one leader who is enduring, trustworthy, and compassionate. He was not elected by people, nor is He limited by human fickleness and frailty. He is powerful, yet humble. Superior, yet approachable.

Guaranteed!

A common hook used for selling something is to offer a guarantee. Of course, the hook might come with some catches like time limits or other restrictions. It's the "money-back" guarantees that are most appealing.

You can also buy extended warranties and some credit cards even offer warranties. But remember, guarantees or warranties are only as good the one who issues it, whether it's a person or a company. Are they trustworthy? Will they stay in business?

Another limitation is whatever is being guaranteed. Any item or service, even a life insurance policy is limited because it's temporary. A life insurance policy is only in force while a person is alive and pays out when they die.

But what about a human soul? It's contained within a physical body but it exists beyond physical life. What kind of guarantee is there for life after death and eternity, or is there any? Again, it depends on who issues the guarantee.

An Indestructible Life

People need and want strong leaders for the most part. Sometimes strong leaders do well, but too often authority and power corrupts a person. Then, corruption breeds more corruption and oppression is unleashed upon those who desire and need strong leadership.

The problem is that no human leader can be supremely benign and powerful in a way that is fair and beneficial to all. Even very good leaders, well-respected and loved leaders, die because they are human. This creates a leadership vacuum in their absence.