Our Desperate Condition

“Back on the machine, dearie.” The nurse’s voice was cheerful. But even though it was only the machine that kept him alive, he dreaded going into the white, antiseptic-smelling room again. The kidney dialysis machine that kept him alive also reminded him of his fatal illness. He was not free, but bound to return to the machine that purified his blood again and again. Away from it, his sickness quickly took grim hold on his body, and sapped all his strength.

That’s just what Hebrews 9 says about the Old Testament system (vv. 6–9). The fact that the sacrifices of atonement had to be constantly repeated meant that the patients were not cured! Sin kept its grip on them, and they were only maintained in fellowship with God by repeated applications of sacrificial blood.

The writer of Hebrews shouted the news. Christ “appeared once for all at the end the ages to do away with sin.” In Christ and by His one sacrifice, we are cured. We stand forgiven, cleansed. Possessors of a new and endless life, we are equipped to love and serve our God.

The repeated sacrifices of the Old Testament system reminded worshipers of their continuing desperate condition. The one sacrifice of Christ reminds us of His total victory. Don’t let yourself be dragged back into sin by the weight of your past. Because of Jesus, the past has no hold on you anymore!

Consider: The blood of Christ has cleansed you from all sin! By one sacrifice Jesus has made you well, and guaranteed victory! We are the lame, called to leap and dance. We are the blind, called to see. We are the deaf who now hear. By the once for all sacrifice of Jesus, we are forgiven, made well, and called to face life rejoicing in the assurance that the victory we need has already been won!

Personal Application
Let Christ’s one sacrifice free you to live confidently, and joyously.

“One Sunday it happened that St. John could not be at church with his friends, for like Elisha, like Jesus, he was taken by the armed men, and held in prison. But God consoled him with a vision: he saw the Christian sacrament that morning not as men see it, but as it is seen in heaven. His spirit went up; he saw the throne of Glory, and the four Cherubim full of eyes in every part, who sleep not, saying Holy, Holy, Holy. And he saw the sacrifice, the Lamb of God: a Lamb standing as though slaughtered; a Lamb alone worthy to open for mankind the blessed promises of God. He saw the Lamb, and then the angels. I saw, he says, and heard the voice of many angels around about the Throne, the number of them ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands: saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive the power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. That is the Christian Eucharist. Certainly when we gather here, those that are with us are more than those who stand upon the opposing side. For all heaven is with us when once we lift our hearts up to the Lord, and praise the everlasting Love, the One God in three Persons. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: to whom is ascribed, as is most justly due, all might, dominion, majesty and power, henceforth and forever.”

Austin Farrer

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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