What Does God Desire?
A daily devotion for December 22nd
Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All
10 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
7 Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, my God.’”[a]
8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. 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.
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”[b]
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[c]
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
After saying above,Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them(which are offered according to the Law), then He said,Behold, I have come to do Your will.He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:8-10)
Here is what God really wanted. God never cared a snap of his fingers for all the rivers of blood that flowed on Jewish altars. He had no interest in them except as they taught something. What did these sacrifices point to? A human body in which there was a human will which continually chose to depend upon an indwelling God to obey a written word! That was what God wanted. When Christ came he paused on the threshold of heaven, and said,
A body hast thou prepared for me. Within that body was a human soul with the capacity to reason, to feel and to choose. That will, in that human body, never once acted on its own, never once took any step apart from dependence upon the Father who dwelt within. That is the principle that God has been after all along; that is what he wants.
He has no interest in ritual, in candles, in prayer books, in beads, in chanting, in any ceremony. Ceremonies mean nothing to God. What he wants is a heart that is his, a life that is his, and a body that is available to him. That is why Paul, in Romans 12, says,
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1 KJV).
When our Lord Jesus acted on that principle, he allowed the direction of his life to come from the Word of God:
Behold, I have come to do Your will. Every temptation he entered into, every problem that came his way, he referred to what God had said,
It is written,
It is written,
It is written... That program took him to the cross, calling on him to lay down his life. By means of that sacrifice, we are free now to join him on this program that is God's original intention for man.
In verse 10, this word sanctified is widely misunderstood. It is usually looked upon as some kind of religious sheep-dip that people pass through, and they come out holier and purer on the other side. But it is not that. The word sanctified simply means
to put to the proper, intended use. That is all it means. You are sanctifying the chair that you are seated on right now. You sanctify your comb when you comb your hair. Sanctification simply means
to put to the intended purpose. This verse is simply declaring that when we adopt the same outlook as Jesus Christ, when, in dependence on him, we are ready to obey the Word of God, we fulfill our humanity. We are being used in the way God intended us to be used. There is one mark of that which is unmistakable: We are willing to lay down our life in order that the will of God be done! I do not mean we rush out to die. It means giving of yourself, giving up for the moment something that you might desire to do. It means that we become content to lose standing, if necessary in the eyes of the world. We no longer regard that as important in our life. It means we give up material comfort or gain if this will advance the cause of Christ: We live in a simpler home in order that we might invest money in his enterprises. We are willing to be ignored, or slighted, or treated unfairly, if, in the doing of it, God's cause will get ahead.
This is what God wants, this is what he is after. Not great cathedrals and beautiful buildings and ornate ritual and ceremony, God does not care for these. God wants lives, bodies, hearts that are his, available to him to work in the shop and the office and the street and the schools and everywhere people are, that his life may be made visible in terms of that person, in that place. That is Christianity.
Father, may I know the joy of ceasing from my own efforts and resting quietly upon your ability to work in me.
Life Application: Fulfillment of our entire destiny for time and eternity is possible because Jesus Christ our Savior said 'Here I am -- I have come to do your will, O God'. Do we realize the liberating power to live or die that comes to us through Him when we say: 'Thy will be done'?
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