Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"One Sacrifice"

   Saul, the first king of Israel, lost his appointed position because he sought to serve not only as king, but as priest.

    "Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering" (I Samuel 13:8-9).

    God disqualified Saul for his breach of spiritual protocol - "Thy kingdom shall not continue" (I Samuel 13:14).  Under the law, only those called by God to execute the priest's office could make such offers as Saul performed.  This foreshadows the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest who "made one sacrifice for sins forever" (Hebrews 10:12).  When we seek to absolve ourselves of sin by any other means than faith in the shed blood of Christ for ours sins, we commit the breach of Saul.  We either constitute ourselves as priest or we look to others, failing to realize the perfection of our Lord's atoning sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.   "It is finished!" (John 19:30).  By faith, we look back on a sacrifice - "one sacrifice for sins forever" - that so completely purchased our redemption that we trust no one and nothing else as the provision of forgiveness and cleansing.  As the hymnwriter so beautifully proclaimed, "Nothing in my hand I bring, only to Thy cross I cling!"

    We commit a further spiritual breach when we attempt to punish ourselves for sin, wallowing in self pity and feelings of guilt rather than availing ourselves of the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice for our sins.  Thereby, we do God nor ourselves any favors.  We rather fail to avail ourselves of the restoration found only in the blood of Christ.  Certainly, a place exists for godly sorrow in our hearts, and we will experience such contrition as we affirm our Lord's undeserved suffering and death as our hope for forgiveness and cleansing.  Moreover, if our sin hurt other people, we may also need to make restitution at the human to human level (Matthew 5:23).  We do not, however, make ourselves more forgiven or cleansed with God by feelings or acts of contrition.  The person and work of Christ alone provides our pardon. "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me" (John 14:6).   Empty hands, clinging to the cross of our great and glorious High Priest - this is our hope, our only hope for absolution from sin.  We need no other.

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
(Hebrews 4:14-16)

Weekly Memory Verse
  They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
(Psalm 126:5)

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