Do you struggle?
This week on The Rebellion, As we are on this journey of what is means to be a child of God we are looking at the different persons of the Godhead and how they impact our identity as children of God. We began with a quick overview of the Infinite Father and last week we started looking at the second person of the trinity Jesus and how He is a savior of sinners. This week I want to spend a little time examining His role as High Priest of Heaven.
But before I do…
I have a confession to make, I struggle… When I say struggle I don't mean I have a hard time or there are some things that bother me, but I mean I become sick from grief, I shed countless tears over, I pray and fast for help, and it seems like there is never any break through. There is never a moment of blessed clarity where I am able to completely be free from this corrupted flesh. I feel crushed by the weight of my need of God's mercy and grace. I long for the relief of Christ's easy yoke and light burden, and yet… I struggle!
Now, maybe I am just the weakest of all Christians, but I it seems to me, we all have those buttons. When pushed, they remind us so quickly of how weak we are. Those things that it seems like no matter how hard we try, no matter how much we pray we never seem to break free from it.
In fact there has never been a human being outside of Jesus Christ who ever lived a perfectly holy and righteous life either before or after becoming a believer. Abraham after receiving his promise from God not only laid with Hagar, but also gave Sarah to Abimelech saying she was his sister, David took Bathsheba and when she conceived tried to cover it up. When he couldn't hide the affair he decided it would be best to have her husband killed. Maybe we can find one in the New Testament? Peter, Cephas the rock, surely he will be the one. Well first you have the denial of Christ at the cross, but I know some will say it is different we have the Holy Spirit now. Ok, then how about when he has to be rebuked by Paul in Antioch for embracing legalism instead of his gentile brothers. Then surely Paul is the answer since he was able to rebuke Peter, right? Nope Paul says he doesn't do what he wants to, but does what he hates. He also wrote to Corinth that He would boast in his weakness because God wouldn't remove a thorn in his side. So there is not one account of a perfectly lived life and the guys who are held up as heroes of the faith all speak to a permanent and deep need for the grace and mercy of God.
Then I am left with the question why do I hear so many people preach a message of works, a message of you need to get your act together or God is going to throw you away.
How many times have you heard you need to get "right" with God?
I heard a pastor this week say, that he was sick of all the positivity and unless you have negativity you will never have power. He then made an illustration of the relationship between God and the believer as one similar to that of a car battery. It needed both positive and negative to start the vehicle. Thousands clapped and cheered with enthusiasm. I guess it is not the "good news" but the "good and bad news"
I also heard another very prominent member of the clergy from a different denomination say when we sin it separates us from the love of God!
I wanted to scream! I wanted to shout read Romans!
Where does that leave us? What is a struggling Christian to do? Is God's grace and mercy temporary or eternal? Thankfully this was already addressed 2000 years ago!
The writer of Hebrews in Chapter 7 Verse 25 says this, "Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." NASB
To save forever… not for a while… not until they mess up the 347th time… not unless they get drunk… not unless they do xy or z but FOREVER!
Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives to intercede for them. CSB
Jesus always saves because he always lives!
First, let me review the purpose of the High Priest in Judaism. The office existed so God wouldn't have to destroy his people basically. The system was established in order for the people's sins to be dealt with by shifting the guilt of their sins to an animal through faith. Then the priest would sacrifice the animal and God's just and holy wrath would be temporarily satisfied. Once a year the high priest would venture into the inner chamber where God dwelt called the holy of holy's and present and offering for the day of atonement. He would have to present a sacrifice for his own sins and then one for the people's sins. God's holiness was no joke though because even after both sacrifices the high priest had to tie a rope around himself incase he was killed.
The holiness of God is so fierce it is where the verse our God is a consuming fire comes from and should not be trifled with. Ironically it is this same holiness that saves us and reminds us not to boast in our works but His…
When Jesus pleads the merit of His sacrifice on your behalf, the Father rejoices in the perfect work of the Son!
Jesus has so much affection for us that He eternally committed to being the mediator between God and man!
The Father has so much affection for us that He sacrificed His only Son, because He knew it would be only permanent and just solution. As unjust as it would be to allow sin to go unpunished it is as equally as unjust to condemn a man for a debt that is already paid.
The Holy Spirit has so much affection for you He has committed to never leave you or forsake on this long and bumpy road home we call the Christian life.
So yes it is all good news! This is why prostitutes and sinners followed Him around. God provided the ultimate perfect sacrifice in His own Son the person of Jesus Christ. God then raised Him from the dead and has established Him as the permanent redemption of His elect. He always saves because he always lives!
Now I know this all sounds good and happy but why should you care? I'm so glad you asked.
When we understand that Jesus himself stands forever in the vast gap that is between man and God a divine freedom is developed. A freedom that bears the fruits of spirit out of love not duty. A freedom that deals with disobedience by running to the Father rather than running away because we failed again. This is truth we must realize in order to embrace the light burden and easy yoke of Christ. Critics of grace will say that God's people need to be holy and grace is just their excuse for sin. I say the only hope people have of being holy is by pure endless grace. God's grace shifts the focus from how I have failed God and to how He saved me. My high priest lives forever interceding on my behalf so I can run with abandon towards God and His glory. You can never live up to the title child of God but you can be thankful for it. Gratitude deepens love. Love is the greatest of all spiritual gifts and covers a multitude of sins.
What kind of impact could we have if we stopped focusing on our failures and others failures really took grasp of this truth. How quickly would people drop their stones. How much joy would burst forth in communities across the world. How much deeper would our relationship with God become if we really believed He is 100% for us. How much more merciful would we become if we understood how much mercy we are shown. The secret to this whole life and all that entails is always found in Jesus. Want to be more loving focus on the vast love God has shown you. Want to become kinder, evaluate the heights of kindness found in Christ. How much more time would be spent glorifying God instead of having to make excuses for all the ways we fall short. The High Priest Lives!
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