Sunday, August 06, 2006

And every day I am swayed by whatever is on my mind

[Shifting Sand, Caedmon's Call]

Yesterday was not a grand day, to put it lightly. I was rebellious. My means was utter apathy. I didn't do anything wrong, primarily because I didn't do anything. I won't list out the sins (though they're confessed in my journal in full) because that's not the point; the fact is that, in general, my heart refused and was unwilling to yield.

In my quiet time last night I confessed my deep need of Christ. He has been renewing me spiritually, and I don't want this to simply be a spiritual high that passes and then I settle back into a life lacking the fresh and flowing cleansing water of Christ's word. My flesh wanted to either say I was fine, or to wallow in self-pity for my inherent imperfection. But I confessed my sin, asked God for a heart lent to repentance, and beseeched Him to speak to me in His Word.

Did He ever!

Hebrews 9, which I linked at the beginning (just click on the title up above; the three little dots mean it's a link), is a mind-blowing passage in scripture. Its primary focus is on the fact that Jesus Christ has gone into the temple of heaven and provided the one full and perfect sacrifice necessary to forgive all sin.

In the Old Testament, in the temple, there was a four-inch thick veil that separated man from the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant (which contained the very spirit of God Himself) was kept. Once a year the high priest would go in to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people- blood sacrifices- but it was a task no one would necessarily want. He had to wear bells and a rope tied to his ankle; this was because if he had any unforgiven sin while in that room the holiness of God would strike him dead. If the bells stopped jingling then the other priests would use the rope to pull his body out, lest they went behind the curtain and were killed themselves.

Hebrews 9 explains that Jesus Christ has done what this old system could not- His blood was offered once for all- every sin is covered and cancelled because Jesus went to heaven itself, a place not made with human hands, and offered the blood sacrifice that purified mankind. Even more amazing is that it is able to cleanse our consciences. He took His perfect, sinless blood and offered full payment for sin and then has the ability to renew us to be sanctified- the process of being made more holy- as we trust Him with our lives.

One verse, the fourteenth, really stuck out to me:

Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our hearts from deeds that lead to death so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
I love this. The Lord doesn't just forgive my sins- He, thanks to Christ's sacrifice, purifies me from the things I have done that otherwise would bring death upon myself. I have eternal life and have been delivered from eternal spiritual death (hell is eternity with the absence of God- in other words, spiritual death), but when I choose to sin in this life I bring other "little deaths"- my selfishness brings death to my relationships and my spiritual growth is stunted. But Jesus Christ cleanses me when I come to Him and humble myself, admitting my sin and asking His forgiveness. If I believe Him that He has the power to do it, He sets me free from my sin and allows me to move beyond it.

Often I beat myself up when I see my sin, and cling to my shame. But Jesus Christ purifies me when I ask for forgiveness and repent! I am free to worship the living God and see His hand in my everyday life. Verse 28 confirms that Jesus died one time- He will not come back and die again. It is finished- the power of death that separates God from man has been conquered. The four-inch thick veil was torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38) when Jesus breathed His last, and now all of mankind can not only go "behind the veil"- the Holy Spirit is sealed in any person who receives Jesus Christ. The very power of the Holy Spirit that led Christ lives in me.

I believe that Jesus Christ will return; if for any reason I hear trumpets resounding I don't want to be gripped with regret at how I am currently living my life; I don't want to stand before my Savior in shame. I want to have joy because I have been eagerly awaiting His return.

Praise God for speaking to me. Praise God that today is not yesterday. Most of all, praise God that I am no longer a slave to sin (Romans 6) and have the choice of living for Jesus Christ.

I pray I would be found faithful.