11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Hebrews 10: 11-14

The work of human priests was never done. They needed to be continually making sacrifices so that God would forgive the sins of the people and of the nation. Before Jesus, there was no other choice, and without Jesus there is still none to be found. We may attempt to accomplish His work on our own, but that will always be futile. There is simply nothing that we can do and no effort that we can exert that will accomplish forgiveness in the eyes of God. People may seek to follow a righteous and a holy path through life, we might even live with generosity and care for others as our mission, but Christ remains the singular and the sole way to gain access to the presence of God in this life and into eternity.

All of the work of perfecting salvation from sin and redemption from death’s hold upon all people has been completed. The cross was the point of that outworking, and Jesus was the sacrifice that stands in total sufficiency at that moment in time and for all of time to follow. Now time continues onward in its journey to its completion, for a day is coming when there will no more time. Then the ledger of life will be closed and counted and those that are found within it will stand before God in their forgiven and holy state while all others will be duly noted for their rejection of the Savior so that they will be separated from God’s presence and cast off to experience the outworking of that decision to turn away from Christ and His offer of redemption.

In Christ we can now rest from the work of achieving a position of acceptance before God, but that does not mean that the work of this life is done. For, in Christ, we are called to live out to the fullest that grace and forgiveness that we have been granted as the greatest gift that it is possible to receive. Now we are free to act in love without fear, to speak the gospel of Christ without hesitation, and to give all that we have without concern about tomorrow’s provision. The High Priest that we serve may be resting and waiting for the fullness of time in one sense, but He is also very active and involved in this world in many other ways. The Spirit is with and within us, and as we offer up ourselves without hold-back or reservation, He will lead us and implore us into taking actions that can, in God’s will, lead others into that same presence of Christ that has already saved us.

O God, save me by your name, 

   and vindicate me by your might.

O God, hear my prayer, 

   give ear to the words of my mouth.

Psalm 54: 1, 2

One of the first things that we are taught in life is self reliance. We learn to take care of ourselves and to solve our own problems. An attitude of “I got it, no problem, no help needed” is praised and encouraged by parents, teachers, mentors, and by our culture. This isn’t all bad; for, there is a lot of a best life practice quality to these skills and the attitudes that produce them. But there are times and there are situations when we need help and partnership. There have been far too many times in my life when I really needed help and didn’t seek it. I think that, in fact, we all need help and guidance and counsel every day.

These verses were written by David at a time when he was trying to solve his own problems and when he had run out of resources. He was in fear for his life due to King Saul’s anger, and he had been hiding out among the Ziphites; then, they turned on him and sold him out to Saul. David’s plan was in ruins around him, and he was feeling very exposed and totally vulnerable. He knew where he needed to turn for support, guidance, and deliverance. David had experienced God’s love, care, and strength as these characteristics of the Lord had been significant in other situations during his life. Although not in as dramatic a setting as David, I too have experienced the Lord’s favor in my own life.

The issues that we are facing may not be this big; as, there may not be a spear pointed at our hearts, but they often feel like that is the situation at hand; however, some of our issues are every bit as urgent and dangerous as David’s. When he came to his senses, when he went deep inside his heart and focused on the truth that life experience had taught him to rely upon, he started to focus on his real source of protection and on the only absolutely reliable place to go for direction. We, too, can see that it is through the might of God that we will make it through this world; it is through the sacrifice of Jesus that we are saved from evil. Like David, we can turn our hearts to Christ and speak our fears, concerns, and needs to Him. Then we can hear the blessing of His voice as He leads us to safety for our hearts and minds and into His strength.

Since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.

1 Peter 4: 1

 

Purpose is an interesting thing to consider, for it influences everything that we do. We carry it with us each day of our lives. Purpose helps to set people apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, and its expression is one of the most important things that we have the privilege to do. When we purpose to do or to be something, we are exercising our greatest degree of control over the conduct of life, and it is a major contributor to our sense of freedom; thus, taking away the ability to make such personal determinations is a device that oppressors frequently use.

 

Jesus was fully aware of the sort of pain and anguish that He would endure while He was living among us as a man. Yet, from the very beginning of Creation, He planned for that time and He prepared to take on the suffering that needed to come His way. Even for Christ, this wasn’t easy. He still needed to set His mind, heart, and spirit in focused determination to follow the Father’s will and to do what He was called to do. The purposeful suffering of Christ has provided each of us with the possibility of escape from the oppressive tyranny of sin, and for Jesus, giving each of us this opportunity was more than satisfactory motivation to take it all on.

 

We, also, need to make up our minds and set our hearts on living in full acceptance of the great gift that Christ has given to us. We are still required to make the decision to suffer and to endure the pain and difficulty that will come our way through following Jesus. The real struggle, the one where the forces of Hell were brought to bear and focused on one man at a singular moment, is completed. We are asked to take account of our old, comfortable ways, and the fearful, protective, and defensive attitudes that we hold onto; then, we need to purpose to hang them on the cross of Jesus. If we will take one issue, thought, or attitude that is separating us from the full and total fulfillment of God’s will for us and recognize that Jesus has already suffered in order to put this one thing to death and surrender that part of our comfort to Christ, then we will be walking more fully in the center of Christ’s righteous will.

 

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

2 Corinthians 8: 9

 

People want to be rich. There is no question in my mind that the desire for wealth operates as a basic drive in most of humanity. It doesn’t seem to matter where we live, what our culture looks like, or how much we have, we want to obtain enough more so that we are separated out from the rest of those around us. We desire the power, and we covet the capacity to seemingly make our own choices and enter into control over the decisions that effect the course of our days. In the story telling of various cultures there are few examples of people who are help up for their poverty, and there are multitudes of them about those who achieved great things and obtained the wealth that came from those feats. Simply, we value power and the powerful; so, we seek after the means to posses that power.

 

Yet, God did not design our world to be like this. There was no inequality in the Lord’s construct and design of Creation. There was really no need for people to seek after more, for God provided them with an abundance of all that was needful and granted them full access to choose from His earthly garden’s bounty with very few restrictions. This was not enough for to meet the desires of our ancestor’s minds and hearts, and we know how that decision went and what it means for all of us who have come after them. That is the point here as the one entity in all of the universe who had the right to posses everything, who was truly rich in the fullest sense of what defines wealth, was willing to set it all aside in order to enter into the singular journey that would lead to redemption for all of humanity. Jesus was not under compulsion to leave behind the splendor and the great glory of Heaven; instead, He chose to do this. He elected to pour out His wealth and the related power of His lordship over all.

 

In doing this, Jesus was willing to hand Himself over to being subject to the abuses and made Himself vulnerable to the oppressive acts of those who seemed to hold all of the real power in the world. Of course, His abusers were existing in a false reality, for in the culmination of that oppressive power’s outworking upon Jesus at the cross, the reality of evil’s feeble hold on life became apparent beyond all disputing. Jesus made Himself poor so that every person who desired to know God could enter into the possession of the true wealth of Heaven and so that we could know that riches here and now and for all of eternity. It seems that in God’s view of what constitutes wealth that there are valuable gems and valid systems of measurement that are weighed out in unending increments of love, grace, soul-deep peace, fellowship, and truth. As we follow Christ along the course of life that leads ever further into His will, we are led by Christ and in response to His example to release our grip upon the wealth and the related power that this world values so highly and enter into our Lord’s sacrificial love for everyone in our world.