“And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.”
~Hebrews 10:18 (NIV).
Debating teams exist in their competition to put forward their case and continue in rebuttal, one way, all the way, until they bring the trophy home. Hebrews is such an exercise; it argues convincingly the case for Christ, the Atonement—the coming of God into the world, in the form of his Son, to bring to pass the New Covenant transaction—replacing the Old... the promised new relationship between God and humankind prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-34. This one thing tore up the gulf between God and humankind that had existed from almost the beginning.
The writer to the Hebrews has just, in fact, in the previous few verses uttered these fresh covenantal words, reminding the recipients of that letter—which is all of us—of the new reality regarding “sacrifice.”
Once upon a time an animal would need to be sacrificed for the believer to feel better about their sins—but really this was only a reminder of sin (Hebrews 10:3). Now the only thing we need to sacrifice is our thanksgiving and praise. The rest is done! Entirely.
Because Jesus—the promised Lamb of God—was sacrificed once for all (Hebrews 9:28), to take away our sins forever, there is now no need of any other sacrifice.
We cannot add anything to this sacrifice or the transaction.
Of course, any true believer knows that, certainly in their minds. But, this truth must rest safely in the heart for us to extract the true meaning and peace of God. The Holy Spirit’s Presence in us is the very sign that with this one sacrifice, the law as it was has been crushed, overturned... even though the spirit of the law regarding God’s will for us to live just, right and fair lives remains.
The burdens of sacrifice and of sin are no longer ours. We are free of that guilt once we’ve accepted Christ as our personal Saviour, journeying with him. There is no longer any need or warrant for guilt or shame. None.
So, as we walk through life—and not only on Sundays—we can exist purely with hearts based in thanksgiving for the eternally significant sacrifice of Jesus, praising him and God the Father for the very gift of the Holy Spirit that now resides deeply within us, ushering in peace, joy and a whole truckload of the other fruits of the Spirit.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.