Daily Lent Devotional #15 (March 23, 2011)

Hebrews 3: 1-6  (Contemporary English Version)

1My friends, God has chosen you to be his holy people. So think about Jesus, the one we call our apostle and high priest! 2Jesus was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in serving all of God’s people. 3But Jesus deserves more honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house deserves more honor than the house. 4Of course, every house is built by someone, and God is really the one who built everything. 5Moses was a faithful servant and told God’s people what would be said in the future. 6But Christ is the Son in charge of God’s people. And we are those people, if we keep on being brave and don’t lose hope.”

Hebrews is one of the most interesting books of The Bible to me.  The primary point of it is to build a bridge of understanding between the laws and rituals of the Old Testament to the grace and forgiveness found in Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

The Old Testament can also be referred to as the Old Covenant (or “deal”), and the New Testament as the New Covenant.  The Old “deal” in the Old Testament involved teaching mankind about sinfulness and how it separated them from a perfect and holy God.  Because we are concrete beings that learn through doing, seeing, hearing, smelling; God instituted rituals and sacrifices to show the unmistakable fact that holiness matters to God.  By going through purification rituals, prayers, and various sacrifices; God was teaching them that there would need to be a price paid (most notably, the blood of animals) to cover their sins.

But, there was a problem with the Old Deal.  God knew of the shortcomings of these sacrifices.  They didn’t cancel out the sinfulness, but only delayed the eternal punishment of it.  Like paying the minimum balance on a $1,000,000 credit card debt; the cost of sin kept rising each day.  Without question, the rituals and sacrifices taught the people the problem of sin.  But what was to be the solution?  Was there any way to be free from its curse?

For the rest of today’s devotional, I will share a quote from my main spiritual mentor and guide (though he died before I was born), C.S. Lewis.  May it help you grasp the importance of Jesus’ sacrifice and the blessing of the “New Deal” we have with God:

“Now what was the sort of ‘hole’ man had got himself into? He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself. In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realizing that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor– that is the only way out of the ‘hole.’

This process of surrender–this movement full speed astern–is what Christians call repentance. Now repentance is no fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death.

In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person–and he would not need it…

But supposing God became a man–suppose our human nature which can suffer and die was amalgamated with God’s nature in one person–then that person could help us. He could surrender His will, and suffer and die, because He was man; and He could do it perfectly because He was God. You and I can go through this process only if God does it in us; but God can do it only if He becomes man…that is the sense in which he pays our debt, and suffers for us what He Himself need not suffer at all.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on March 23, 2011 at 6:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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