Starting in 2021 I (and hopefully more will join me) will be posting a weekly devotional with the goal of encouraging and challenging our missional communities towards centering our worldviews around Jesus, and decentering ourselves. My goal is to be “trans-cultural” and highlight truths that can be applied in any circumstance, personally, locally, or globally. May you draw closer to our LORD in peaceful strength, and graceful love.
Cleaning our selves
The Mosaic law as we see given and lived under in the Old Testament is what we call the “old covenant” (A covenant is different from a contract. A contract is an agreement between parties while a covenant is a pledge. A covenant is an agreement you can break while a covenant is a perpetual promise. You seal a covenant while you sign a contract. A contract is a mutually beneficial relationship while a covenant is something you fulfill.) it was the way prior to Jesus for people to live in order to live lives that pleased God. The thing is, it was nearly impossible, and for some, such as those with diseases it was impossible (in people’s eyes) to be accepted by God.
‘The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. ‘Hebrews 10:1-4 NLT
The stories, laws, and much of the Old Testament is a living record of God’s standards, his ultimate message that to be in communion with God, we must be holy (set apart), and to be set apart we must be clean of sin. This system eventually showed everyone, with its intricate sacrificial systems, different kinds of priests, and the laws to keep you from breaking the other laws, and layers of laws upon laws… it is not possible for us to clean ourselves of our sin.
Cleansed by Jesus
The Jewish people lived under the law of Moses anywhere from 16 to 13 centuries before Jesus came to completely fulfill it and offer the new covenant. Jesus not only satisfied the law, he also fulfilled all the prophecies for the messiah, the savior of Israel. Although many at the time could not see how this man would be their king, for they thought he was coming to establish a new Kingdom for Israel, instead, he came to establish God’s heavenly kingdom on earth! Thus he saved the world through Israel. His life was the final sacrifice. He, as God’s son, was truly set apart, clean of sin in all that he did.
‘That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin. Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God— as is written about me in the Scriptures.’” First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.’Hebrews 10:5-10 NLT
So now that we have all be cleansed, can we continue our lives as we want? That is only something you can answer, for the more God purifies your heart with the life and work of Jesus, the more you will understand his amazing grace, and the more you will be transformed and restored. God did not have to give us Jesus, we could still be working for our salvation, trying to cleanse ourselves. However, God’s love for us made a new way. While we can’t understand all of it, we can understand that what is true today (the new covenant created by Jesus’ death and resurrection), is for us today. When we surrender to Jesus and get to know the most holy place, that place where God dwells, all because Jesus makes you and I clean and set apart, holy in God’s eyes. Although in this age we are not able to become our full glory as originally created, Jesus makes us more and more into that new creation, the new humanity (2 Corinthians 3:16-18 and Ephesians 2:14-15). Even if you sin again, you can go back to Jesus and be cleansed, again and again, his grace is all we need, his power works in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
‘And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. ‘Hebrews 10:19-24
For your journey
- In light of what you just read, pray Psalm 51 for yourself and others, personalize it from a position of confession, repentance, and humility.
- Ask God to show you his heart for humanity, how can the Good News of Jesus’ new covenant help others?
- Pray over yourself, the people around you, leaders, and your community for ways to encounter the grace of Jesus’ cross.
Father God, Jesus, Holy Spirit – we are humbled by the gracious gift of your son. As we seek you, you seek after us, and our hearts are full of your love. Your act on the cross, your sacrifice, is far more than we can imagine in this age. While we are all at different places, some of us struggling, some of us at peace, others of us working hard to understand, and others on the verge of giving up, our prayer is to see ourselves, your people, to live in your grace and mercy as much for ourselves as we do for everyone around us. Open our eyes, our hearts, and our ears to see, feel, and hear your transformational life-giving words. We contend for all of the known and unknown situations for those in our midsts and those reading this devotional.
In Jesus’ name – Amen.