Grace, Forgiveness and The Blood.

Why are we always taught to continually ask for forgiveness?

If we have been forgiven once for all as Hebrews says, why ask for something we already have?

The writer of the book of Hebrews says this is like treating the blood of Christ like the blood of ‘bulls and goats.’

The Jews had to sacrifice bulls and goats for their sin over and over again.

Moses had to splash the blood all over the temple, the altar and all the people!

He took the blood of calves and sprinkled the scroll and all the people…in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.

– Hebrews 9:19-21

Can you imagine? It must have been a bloody day.

But all this was pointing to Christ.

As Hebrews 9:22 says:

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Every year the Hebrews had to make a new sacrifice to be forgiven. But those animal sacrifices couldn’t take away sin, the writer of Hebrews tells us. They were only a ‘reminder’ of sin.

But those sacrifices are an annual reminder for sin. Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.

– Hebrews 10:3

It is impossible for the blood of animals to take away sin.

It was all pointing to Christ who took away our sin once for all.

We don’t have to sacrifice animals anymore because Jesus was the last, once for all sacrifice.

Through His sacrifice we have forgiveness of sins.

He will never sacrifice Himself again.

As God says in Isaiah:

From that cup, the globlet of my fury, you will never drink again.

– Isaiah 51:22

Christ’s one sacrifice was enough for all sin, for all people, for all time.

So, when we turn to God and beg for forgiveness in a way we’re behaving like the Jews of the O.T who needed to be forgiven again and again.

But we don’t need to be forgiven again and again.

Because we have been forgiven once for all.

As Hebrews says:

For Christ did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise he would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But, now, at the end of the ages, Christ has appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

– Hebrews 9:24-26

So, let’s stop asking for forgiveness. We have forgiveness already.

If we do it’s like saying Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough.

But it was enough!

It was once for all.

But what happens when we sin? I hear you cry. Surely we should ask God for forgiveness?!

What does John say in his first letter?

If we sin we have an advocate who goes to the Father for us – Jesus Christ – the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sin, and not only our sin, but for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:1

Who goes to the Father?

Do we go?

No! Jesus goes to the Father for us and we are in Him – approved by God in Christ.

Amen!

ps. want to know how free you are? Listen to my recording of Romans 6 on soundcloud!

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Sunday Sermon: Is sin a crime or a sickness?

Been thinking a lot about a question Chloe Dudley posted on Twitter about whether sin was a crime deserving to be punished or a sickness to be healed.

Isaiah 53 says:

He was crushed for our sins.

He was pierced for our iniquities.

The punishment that brought our peace was upon Him

And by His wounds we are healed.

When I received my amazing revelation of grace last year Jesus told me that sin was a sickness and He was the Great Physician – The Healer. In fact, one of God’s names in the Old Testament in Hebrew is ‘Rapha’ – The Lord who Heals. 

However, in The Cross of Christ John Stott argues that the full force of God’s anger burned against our sin in Christ, which suggests punishment.

Jeremiah prophecies:

The LORD has given full vent to His wrath.

He has poured out His fierce anger.

Jesus has a prayer battle with his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane about drinking ‘the cup’:

Father, if it’s possible, please take this cup from me.

Isaiah 51:22 tells us what this ‘cup’ is:

From that cup, the goblet of my fury, you will never drink again.

See how Isaiah reassures The Christ? He will never have to drink it again. His sacrifice, as Hebrews says, will be once for all. 

As we know Christ’s cruxifixion fulfilled the Passover. He was our passover lamb sacrificed for us. The Last Supper was a passover meal.

At the meal four ‘cups’ of wine are drunk, each pointing to Christ and His finished work on the cross.

You can read a detailed study on Mike Ratliff’s blog.

However, here’s a brief explanation of the 4 cups and how they point to Christ and The Cross:

The first cup to drink at a Passover feast is The Cup of Freedom (Christ sets us free at The Cross.)

The second cup drunk is The Cup of Judgement (God judged our sin at The Cross).

The third cup drunk (I’d be drunk by now) is The Cup of Redemption (Christ redeemed us at The Cross).

The  fourth cup is The Cup of Restoration (Christ restores us (heals us) at The Cross).

Amazing, huh?

The Jewish people have been celebrating Christ for years in their passover celebrations!

It doesn’t stop there. Get this:

It was at the the third cup – The Cup of Redemption – that Jesus stopped, lifted the cup, and said to His disciples:

Take, drink, all of you. This is my blood of the New Covenant, shed to give the forgiveness of sins.

How amazing is that?!

It was the Cup of Redemption! This is why Christ’s blood is called ‘redeeming.’

Two definitions of the verb ‘redeem’ are:

1. to compensate for the bad aspects of someone.

2. to clear by payment.

We could say that Jesus did both. He compensated for our bad aspect by giving us His righteousness.

He also paid for our sin. He was punished for our crime.

So, I think to answer Chloe’s question we can look to the 4 cups.

At The Cross we were set free, judged righteous, our debt was paid (He was punished for us) and we were restored (divinely healed).

Isaiah, it seems, agrees:

The punishment that brought our peace was on Him.

AND

By His stripes we are healed.

Phew!

Deep question.

Thanks for asking it, Chloe.

So…what do you think? Is sin a crime or a sickness? Or both?

Grace be with you.

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