The Finished Work Of The Cross
Read Hebrews Chapter 10
Heb 10:8 First He (Jesus) said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not desire, nor were You pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). 9 Then He said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
This is another theme which is too important to only cover once and let it rest. It must be repeated periodically because we, (well, mostly me) are slow learners. Once again we must remind ourselves that we cannot make ourselves holy. We know that, but by our actions and thoughts we sometimes live as though we are trying to earn our sanctification. This passage is one of many which show that our holiness is fully dependent upon Jesus and His work on the cross. This lesson will hopefully help us understand this truth more clearly, and help us have a better picture of how we might not be living as though we believe it.
We do not and cannot gain purity by resisting temptation. We do not attain purity by avoiding porn on the Internet. We do not prove ourselves to be holy by failing to cruise the parks, avoiding public restrooms, or resisting the urge to thumb through magazines. We do not cleanse ourselves by choosing to not participate in phone sex or not visit adult stores. None of these things carry any weight in bringing about any measure of holiness. Once again, I repeat, we know all this. Yet, I am certain that most of us self-judge our purity and holiness by how long it has been since we participated in those actions.
The primary reason I believe this comes from my own experience. I “feel good” about myself when it has been a long time since I did any of those things. That is a real silly way of thinking. I can feel good about myself all day long for the remainder of my life, and it will have no bearing on my right-standing before God. If I never again committed any same-sex sins, it would have no bearing on my purity. My purity comes from Him, a gift of grace and mercy from His hand.
The other reason I believe that men think they must manufacture their own purity is because I have seen it in the attitudes of many men I have talked with. Those who have refrained from acting out, or viewing porn, or cruising, or masturbating, or whatever, are much more likely to be comfortable with their relationship with Christ than those men who have failed recently in some area of SSA. Whether or not we are comfortable with ourselves will never carry any weight when we meet our Redeemer. We are who we are because of who He is and what He has done.
Many of the SSA men I know struggle with this incorrect view of themselves. They are sincere believers in Christ. There is no question but they are true, born again children of God. But as soon as any of them make an error of judgment, their view of themselves goes down the tubes. They begin to see themselves as unworthy, unholy, impure, and some even doubt their salvation. Somehow, we must come to understand and believe; more than that, KNOW, that neither our salvation nor our sanctification depends on any of that criteria. It depends solely and completely on the work Christ did on the cross. Once we establish that fact in our minds, allowing it to permeate every corner of our reasoning ability, we will suddenly gain that precious, elusive “freedom” that we have sought after for so long.
We are holy because of Christ; there can be no other avenue to holiness. That was true even under the Old Covenant, which required man to bring a sacrifice to the altar to atone for his sins. The New Covenant does the same, except that the sacrifice has been provided for us, “once for all” (verse 10). Our lack of sinning doesn’t add anything to the perfect sacrifice that has been provided for us through Christ.
Heb 10:14 because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Dear SSA friend and brother, get this truth through your head. You are holy, perfect, and blameless! You don’t have to earn that by your obedience. We make every effort to obey Him because of this truth; not in order to attain our own righteousness. The next time you make an error in judgment, thank Him for His finished work on the cross and renew your determination to obey Him in the future. Your right-standing with the Father is secure. His love for you has not and will not waver. Your next SSA failure will not change that. But your love for Him should increase every day, further increasing your determination to follow Him in complete obedience.
Prayer: Thank You for the righteousness that we could not attain on our own. Thank You for Your incredible mercy!