Hebrews 9.11-28 – A Greater Blood, Death, and Sacrifice

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.[h] 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established.17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

To the original readers/hearers this passage would have meant that 

  • The blood of Jesus is far greater than anything you have been offering before.
  • The blood of Jesus can cleanse you on the deepest level.
  • The blood of Jesus offers true and eternal redemption.
  • The blood of Jesus offers provision and protection for your life. 
  • The blood of Jesus is enough. 

Once, for all.

What did the blood of Jesus do for me, now, today?

It secured you an eternal redemption, an eternal relationship with God, an eternal life, an eternal forgiveness of sins.

We say ‘it’s in the blood’ but why? How?

It is His provision, His protection, His blood that covers your sin. 

Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Leviticus 17.11), and His is perfect, sinless, spotless, and supreme. His provision is eternal and heavenly, His protection is against sin past, present, and future. 

Jesus gave a greater sacrifice, died a greater death, and shed His greater blood for you to have eternal redemption. 

What do we do with this then?

Understand why the blood of Jesus is greater.

Live as if Jesus shed His blood for you. 

Live as those bought for a price, the price of greater blood, a greater death, and a greater sacrifice.

Live as those who are eagerly waiting for Him.


This devotional was taken from a message given at Saar Fellowship, more can be found here!


https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/saar-fellowship-podcast/id1461704931

http://www.saarfellowship.com

1 Timothy 2.15 – The Childbirth

This is one of those verses that people use, again, to say all sorts of things. Let us first read it and see what comes to mind. 

Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

First, it’s difficult and dangerous to interpret stand-alone verses, especially those that begin with words like yet, or so, or therefore.

So then, she will be saved through childbearing – sounds like ladies are only saved if they give birth. Does that line up with everything or anything else we read in the Word, that ladies have to bear children to be saved? If we back up a verse to v.14 we see that the she should really, given sensible reading, be Eve. We read …the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be…Normal sensible reading would say that she is Eve then. But then Paul seems to open it up and say if they continue…Eve was only one, so they cannot be Eve, so we have something particular to Eve that then affects all ladies?

Back in Genesis 3.15 Eve was told that from her family line One would come who would right the wrongs of Eden, who would trample sin and death and the devil, and restore humanity’s broken relationship with God. This, I’d suggest, is the she will be saved

Interestingly, in the Greek text, there is a definite article, the, before childbirth. So, translating literally word-for-word would render this,

Yet she will be saved through the childbirth – if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self control.

The idea seems then, that rather than blame Eve for sin entering the world, rather than pin the fall onto all of womankind, we are be thankful and grateful that it is through the ladies in our life that we are all brought into the world, and it was through a lady, Mary, that our Lord and Saviour came into the world. 

David Guzik summarises this well, he writes, 

Probably, the idea here is that even though the “woman race” did something bad in the garden by being deceived and falling into transgression, the “woman race” also did something far greater, in being used by God to bring the saving Messiah into the world…Don’t blame women for the fall of the human race; the Bible doesn’t. Instead, thank women for bringing the Messiah to us.

Without the ladies in our lives none of us would be here, and the Word become flesh wouldn’t have miraculously come to earth in the way He did, and it would be impossible for us to say, with confidence, that we are all saved through the childbirth.

1 Timothy 1.8-11 – What to Focus On

Today Paul expands on the idea that those who do not understand the law should not teach the law (vv.6-7). 

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

Paul says right away that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, and this seems to be the problem; whether it is used well.


Those who desired to be teachers of the law but had no understanding of the law were actually using God’s very vehicle for salvation as a barrier to it.


So, rather than the law being used to show us that we are sinners, that we will never work our way to God, that we can never earn His approval and justification, and instead we need to come to Him by faith in the substitute that He provides, these wanna-be teachers are condemning people for not living up to the holy and righteous standards that only One can live up to. 

Paul gives an overview of the kinds of ways we have fallen short of the glory of God (vv.9-10), and finishes by saying that, along with the examples given, whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God is what the law came to expose. 

However, for you and for me living today, and for the people in Paul and Timothy’s day too, grace and righteousness and salvation is not actually found in the law, is it. The grace of God, the righteousness of God, the salvation He offers, none of these are to be found by adhering to law, they are to be found by being in right relationship with God by having faith in Jesus. 

Let us focus on that today, not trying to earn our way to God through our good conduct, rather, focusing on being a follower and disciple of Jesus, relying on His good conduct and His finished work on the cross, and the acceptance, justification, and salvation He offers. 

How Am I Saved?

In James 1 we read about the testing of our faith (vv.2-4), how God tempts nobody (vv.12-15), and how the ultimate gift of salvation and eternal life comes from God (vv.16-18).

Then, we read this,

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

So, knowing all of this, we should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. This is because our anger does not produce in us the righteousness of God that should be present in those saved unto eternal life.

James continues and says that we should distance ourselves from filthiness and rampant wickedness, and having already told us that good comes from God and that He tempts nobody, James is saying, simply, put away things from your life that are not Godly.

Then we see what saves us from all this filthiness and wickedness, what saves us both in the here and now and in the ultimate sense, the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

James is very clear that the word is what saves us. The Word of God carries the power of God, and the power of God in the Word of God saves our souls.

Maybe you have heard people talk about other Christian things as necessary for salvation; perhaps baptism, or communion, or worship, or a whole manner of weird and extra-Biblical things, but, at the core, it is possible to do those things and not have a saved soul, isn’t it. For example, we can eat bread and drink juice and not believe what it represents (although Paul has some strong words about that in 1 Corinthians 11). 

On the other hand think – is it possible to have the Word of God be implanted in your soul and not be saved?

It is the Word of God that saves us, because it all points to the singular and sufficient source of salvation. 

In 2 Timothy 3 Paul is writing to Timothy to encourage the young pastor, specifically regarding Scripture, and we read,

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Very clear, that the sacred writings (Scripture, the Bible, the Word of God) make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

So, as James says, we are to receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save our souls.

The Word of God saves us because it all points to the singular and sufficient source of salvation, Jesus.

The Word of God saves us because reading it, having it implanted within us, strengthens our faith in Jesus, the Word become flesh.

The Word of God produces in us faith in Christ Jesus, which saves us (Ephesians 2.8-9, Acts 16.31, John 3.16).

How are we saved? Faith in Jesus, the living Word of God. Every time we read His written Word we are inescapably drawn to the Living Word.

How are we saved? The Word of God.


Point to ponder – Is the Word of God implanted within me?


Prayer – Father we thank you again for your Word. Help us to be people who value it, spend time in it, people who try our best to live it, and people who want to share it. Amen. 

Romans 3.19-26 – Sola Fide

When Martin Luther kick started the Protestant Reformation over 500 years ago, much of what he was arguing for was true Biblical Christianity, basically, that we should be turning to the Word of God alone to say what is what.

What came out of the Reformation, in terms of principles, can be summarised in five solas, one of which is sola fide, or, faith alone.

How important is sola fide? Well, Luther said that it is “the article with and by which the church stands.”

In this wonderful passage from Romans 3, Paul talks about sola fide for our salvation,

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 

20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

What else is there to say here aside from sola fide? Paul is so clear! 

…by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight…

…the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law…

…justified by his grace as a gift…

…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe…

…all are justified bu his grace as a giftthrough the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith…

…of the one who has faith in Jesus…

We would certainly have to agree with Luther when he said that the church stands on this; we are saved by grace alone through faith alone.

Good works are never going to save us or get us closer to God – for sure, the good works come when we are saved, we feel compelled to do good, to serve others, to have our love come out in service to others (Hebrews 6.10) – but bottom line we are saved by sola gratia, sola fide.


Point to ponder – Am I doing things each day to try and earn God’s favour?


Prayer – Father we know we are able to confidently come to you in prayer only because Jesus stands between us as our perfect high priest, and it is by faith in Him alone, and through your unending grace alone that we are saved. Help us to know this for sure today, help us put no energy into being righteous by our own efforts and trust wholly in your provision for our justification, our ongoing sanctification, and our ultimate glorification. Amen. 


God that saves

Music is powerful, isn’ it. Music features all throughout the Bible, too;

We are encouraged to shout joyfully to the Lord and break into praises in Psalm 98.4.

We are encouraged to give thanks to the Lord with song in Psalm 33.2.

Music accompanies the good times (Jeremiah 20.13), and the bad (Job 30.31).

We see music in times of collective worship (Ephesians 5.19-20, Colossians 3.16), and of personal worship (Habakkuk 3.19).

So, all this considered, we see that music is a gift from God to accompany our lives. Whether we play, or not, whether we can sing well, or not, music is a gift from God to be used in all situations, all to His glory.

That being said, Thursday seems like a good day to share music, no?

This week I have been listening to a song called ‘God that saves‘ by a band called Iron Bell Music, the link is below.

The lyrics are powerful, and remind us who really has the power to change us…and it’s not ourselves.

This soul once torn and beaten
Left without reason to move on
Then You reached down and brought me
Up from the valley of dry bones


You are the God that saves
You are the one that rescues me
You rescue me

As the song moves on we see more of the saving power of our Lord,

Ransomed out of the wreakage
Pulled from the ashes of sin’s hold

We certainly don’t ransom ourselves, we don’t pull ourselves from the ashes of sin’s hold. Think, two drowning people cannot save each other, we need One stood firmly on the side, pulling us out. Why is this a possibility in our lives?

Hope is flowing through these veins
Life born from grace
Grace alone

The bridge of the song repeats this wonderful line,

I hear the song
I hear the song of victory ring over me

God is the One who saves, yes…God is the One who then rejoices over us, sings over us with thanksgiving that we have heard His call and acknowledged His call, what a great point for us to ponder today; God saves, God rejoices, God sings over us.

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17