1The Law of Moses is like a shadow of the good things to come. This shadow isn't the good things themselves, because it cannot free people from sin by the sacrifices offered year after year. 2If there were worshipers who already have their sins washed away and their consciences made clear, there would not be any need to go on offering sacrifices. 3-4But the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. It only reminds people of their sins from one year to the next.
5 When Christ came into the world, he said to God,
“Sacrifices and offerings
are not what you want,
but you have given me
6No, you are not pleased
with animal sacrifices
and offerings for sin.”
7Then Christ said,
“And so, my God,
I have come to do
what you want,
as the Scriptures say.”
8The Law teaches that offerings and sacrifices must be made because of sin. But why did Christ mention these things and say that God did not want them? 9Well, it was to do away with offerings and sacrifices and to replace them. This is what he meant by saying to God, “I have come to do what you want.” 10So we are made holy because Christ obeyed God and offered himself once for all.
11 The priests do their work each day, and they keep on offering sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12 But Christ offered himself as a sacrifice that is good forever. Now he is sitting at God's right side, 13and he will stay there until his enemies are put under his power. 14By his one sacrifice he has forever set free from sin the people he brings to God.
15The Holy Spirit also speaks of this by telling us that the Lord said,
16 “When the time comes,
I will make an agreement
I will write my laws
on their minds and hearts.
17 Then I will forget
about their sins
and no longer remember
their evil deeds.”
18When sins are forgiven, there is no more need to offer sacrifices.
“We all have our faults. I’m not perfect – far from it.”
We all have heard statements like that. I’ve said just that on more than one occasion. I can even quote scripture to back me up. “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23).
As Christians there are times, when we seem to wear our human frailties and susceptibility to sin like a badge of honour. We would never want to be labelled as “holier than thou.” In the context of this mindset, holiness can be viewed as a bad thing. But is it? How do we achieve holiness? Is it even a desirable goal?
Today’s reading points us to Jesus. He is the perfect sacrifice that takes away our sins. “So we are made holy because Christ obeyed God and offered himself once for all (v 10).
Holiness is ours. It’s a done deal – a fait accompli – an accomplished fact. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the remedy for my sin condition. “By his one sacrifice he has forever set free from sin the people he brings to God” (v 14).
Jesus’ shed blood erases all my mess-ups. The ledger books in heaven have been stamped with blood. They read, “Paid in full.”
That’s my holiness – holiness bought and paid for by Jesus Christ my Lord.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice. I put my hope and trust in your holiness. I realize my failings, my shortcomings, and sins. But by your great love I am deemed holy. What a privilege! What a Saviour! Amen.