Clean Slates

Our journey through Hebrews continues this week as the writer again makes the case for Jesus’ superiority as the once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins. He points out the futile efforts of the human priests, who can’t make a dent in the sin problem, and the single sacrifice made by Jesus that wipes out sin forever:

Hebrews 10 (The Message)

11-18 Every priest goes to work at the altar each day, offers the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never makes a dent in the sin problem. As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process.

You just have to love Eugene Peterson’s creative writing ability in this passage. ”It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people.” Preach it, Eugene! We are indeed some very imperfect people.

The Holy Spirit confirms this:

This new plan I’m making with Israel
    isn’t going to be written on paper,
    isn’t going to be chiseled in stone;
This time “I’m writing out the plan in them,
    carving it on the lining of their hearts.”

Again, the imagery of God’s new plan being written on the lining of our hearts goes a long way toward a deeper understanding of the depth of God’s plan. God desires his covenant to be engraved not just on our hearts, but on the lining … in other words, the deepest, inside part … of our hearts. Peterson reminds us that God does not desire a superficial relationship with us, but wants us to present him with the most inner part of our souls. He literally wants us to love him from the ”inside-out.”

He concludes,

I’ll forever wipe the slate clean of their sins.

Once sins are taken care of for good, there’s no longer any need to offer sacrifices for them.

Let’s take this in a different direction now. If God provided the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, can we really be unforgiving toward each other’s sin? And if we continue to hold grudges and refuse to forgive one another, what does that say about the power of the cross? That our stubbornness is greater than the blood that was shed there? Does that make sense?

God calls us to forgiveness. Jesus made it conditional: ”Forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE those who trespass against us.”

Is God calling you to forgive someone today? Maybe it is time for you to wipe clean all the slates.

Blustery Day by Michelle Robertson

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