Read His Words Before Ours!
“There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become worthless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one [. . .] For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:10b-12, 23)
After the first man made the crushing choice of self over God, mankind became warped in their sinful selves, unable to truly stand before a righteous and holy God. They became objects of God’s wrath, and so there was nothing left for mankind except condemnation.
But while man was grubbing in darkness and hopelessness, One came who perfectly fulfilled the role of a mediator between God and man. He was God in the flesh, come to take our punishment and to cover our sinfulness with His righteousness. The Scripture says, “For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.” (Hebrews 7:26)
As we celebrate the coming of God in the flesh with our Advent series, today, we journey further back still to examine how the priesthood foreshadowed our Savior’s arrival, generations before His birth.
Consider Jesus, our perfect Priest, Who sacrificed Himself to put away the sin of mankind. As it is appointed for man to die once, and after that judgement, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of the many. (Hebrews 9:26-28) He bore our sins in His own body on the cross, that we, having died to sin, might live for righteousness. (1 Peter 2:24)
What lavish love! What priest would dare love like this?
In His humble coming, He provided access to the Father never before known,
to not just a select few who could enter the holy of holies,
but for all who believe in Him.
In fact, Scripture says of those who have believed in Christ,
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
No other blood can save except the blood of our Perfect Priest. While the priests in the Old Testament offered animals’ blood for the atonement of sins, their sacrifice could not grant complete access to God’s presence. In fact, it was offered as many times as sin was committed. The perfect Priest, however, offered Himself willingly and freely,
as a sacrifice for our sins once and for all.
The prophet Isaiah expounded,
“Yet he himself bore our sickness, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6)
Jesus Himself said, “No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
We may not appreciate this demonstration of great love by our perfect Priest if we do not understand the awful and grievous nature of our sinfulness.
In Ephesians 2:1-3, apostle and preacher, Paul, provides a sobering elucidation:
we were dead in our trespasses and sins,
following the course of this world, according to the ways of the prince of the air (Satan)
fulfilling the desires of our flesh and of our minds,
by nature children of wrath.
By following the course of this world,
we become servants of Satan.
We follow his dictates and crave evil rather than good.
But this perfect Priest obtained for us eternal redemption with His own blood; He became sin that we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21) The payment price to buy us back from the slavery of sin, under the dictatorship of Satan, is His blood.
Our redemption is in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
When I recall I was an object of God’s wrath, and consider the saving grace of my Redeemer, I shed tears of joy.
When I reflect on my awfulness, and how I deserved eternal death, but Jesus, the perfect Priest, died in my place, I know I owe Him my all.
Willingly, Christ died for us even when we were God’s enemies. (Romans 5:8) Now, He has provided access to God for whoever believes in Him, welcoming all to be reconciled to God. One day, coming still, we will leave our own sin-wrecked selves and find solace in Christ, face-to-face.
“[T]here will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads [. . .] and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelations 22:3-5) Oh, what great joy awaits those who believe in Christ, the perfect Priest!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!