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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
December 19, 2009

     The old plan was only a hint of the good things in the new plan. Since that old “law plan” wasn't complete in itself, it couldn't complete those who followed it. No matter how many sacrifices were offered year after year, they never added up to a complete solution. If they had, the worshipers would have gone merrily on their way, no longer dragged down by their sins. But instead of removing awareness of sin, when those animal sacrifices were repeated over and over they actually heightened awareness and guilt. The plain fact is that bull and goat blood can't get rid of sin. That is what is meant by this prophecy, put in the mouth of Christ:
You don't want sacrifices and offerings year after year;
     you've prepared a body for me for a sacrifice.
It's not fragrance and smoke from the altar
     that whet your appetite.
So I said, “I'm here to do it your way, O God,
     the way it's described in your Book.”
     When he said, “You don't want sacrifices and offerings,” he was referring to practices according to the old plan. When he added, “I'm here to do it your way,” he set aside the first in order to enact the new plan - God's way - by which we are made fit for God by the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus.

Hebrews 10:1-10 (Message*)

We are so far removed from the old way referenced here that we may have a difficult time grasping how drastically faith understandings were changed by the life and death of Jesus Christ. The scapegoat method of animal sacrifices had been practiced for thousands of years. Of course it didn't work, but it was ingrained in the Hebrew culture.

Not only did Christians reject this old standard practice, so did Jews after the fall of the Temple which precipitated the collapse of traditional priestly Judaism. Today most of us would consider this old practice barbaric.

Christ offers us a real way out of the trap of sin. Christ offers both true forgiveness and the transformation of ourselves from the inside out, which progressively removes our desire to sin. We are offered the opportunity to be adopted children of God, living in His Kingdom, starting here and now. Are you allowing Christ to live within you, transforming you from the inside out?

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©1993-2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2009 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 26-Dec-2009 20:02:40 EST