“To Put Away Sin Once For All” ( Hebrews 9: 26, ESV ) by Carley Evans


How many times does Jesus die? How many times is He nailed to a cross? How many times does Jesus suffer? I’m sure the answer is obvious — once. “Christ, having been offered once to bear the sin of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.” (Hebrews 9:28)

How many times do Levitical priests enter the holy places to make sacrifices for the sins of many? Not once, but “every year with blood not [their] own.” (Hebrews 9:25) Their sacrifices are repetitive and only temporarily effective. On the other hand, Jesus “has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” (Hebrews 9:26) In putting away sin, Jesus solves the problem. He ends the separation of man and God, becoming “the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:15) “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)

There is no need to crucify our Lord again. Sacrifices offered year after year only remind us of sins; they do not permanently take them away.  Jesus enters “heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” (Hebrews 9:24) What or who is able to do more for us than this? What self effort or effort of others is able to save us so completely as Jesus Christ?

Advertisements

“We Were Children” ( Galatians 4: 1, ESV ) by Carley Evans


“In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith,” writes Paul to the church at Galatia. When you are baptized into Christ, you “put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26, 27) And in belonging to Christ, “you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:29)

Now Paul is telling the Galatians that as long as the heir is still a child, he “is no different from a slave.” (Galatians 4:1) This heir, as a child, remains under the guardianship of the “elementary principles of the world” and under the management of the law. (Galatians 4:3,4) But God, at the “fullness of time,” sends His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ into the world “born of woman, born under the law, to redeem” you who are still children. At this point in time, you become heirs, “the owner[s] of everything” God has prepared for you. (Galatians 4:4,5,2)

You become sons of God by adoption. And with this adoption, you become brothers of Jesus Christ and also receive the promised Holy Spirit, who cries in your heart, ‘Abba! Father!’ (Galatians 4:6) “You are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:7)

An heir has rights to everything the Father owns. Paul exhorts that there is no reason “to be under the law” for Abraham has “two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman.” (Galatians 4:21,22) You are born of the free woman, so why would you desire to be in the company of the slave woman? What have you in common with the slaves — with those who remain under the management of the law and enslaved to the elementary principles of the world? You, rather, “are children of promise.” (Galatians 4:28)

“Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” (Galatians 4:30)

“So They Argue Before The King” ( 1 Kings 3: 22, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Two prostitutes come to Solomon, the king to seek his wisdom. Both claim to be the true mother of a surviving infant and not the mother of a deceased infant. Both live in the same house; both give birth about the same time. One infant dies in the night; the other lives. Both mothers, of course, claim the living child.

“The first woman says, ‘ My son is the living one; your son is the dead one.’ So they argue before the king.”

Solomon listens to both women, then says, ‘Bring me a sword.’ (1 Kings 3:24) With the sword in hand, Solomon orders that the infant be brought to him so that he can “cut the living boy in two and give half to one and half to the other.” (1 Kings 3:25)

The true mother immediately “feels great compassion for her son” and decides she’d rather her son live with the other woman than be lost forever to both of them. She begs Solomon, “Please don’t have him killed.” (1 Kings 3:26) But the other woman, who is embittered by her own loss, says “He is not to be mine or yours. Cut him in two!” (1 Kings 3:26)

Solomon gives the infant to the true mother.

In the United States at present, we apparently have three competing ‘mothers’ who are trying to tear this country apart so that one of them can say, “This is my country; I love it. And you? You better just leave it. Cause if I can’t have it the way I want it, then no one is going to have this country. Let’s just kill it.” The three parties — that is, the Democrats, the Republicans and the Tea Party-goers — are continuing to argue with the President rather than recognize that no one wins if no one compromises. If no one cares about the country itself, then everyone loses.

Let’s pray God gives wisdom.

“Of Anger, Swearing, and Lies — Sin” ( James 5: 12, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


James exhorts, “Above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. Your ‘yes’ must be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ must be ‘no,’ so that you won’t fall under judgment.”

Yesterday, on the interstate driving to pick up my daughter from an international airport, a man dangerously cut me off as I was changing lanes at 65 to 70 mph. I am ashamed to say, in my moment of terror I was angry at him. He must have known by my gesture how angry I felt, because he suddenly put on his brakes and moved his car in my direction. Sensing immediate danger, I pulled around the right side of the truck I had been attempting to pass legally on the left. The car continued to follow me. I thought I saw a police officer on a motorcycle on the exit ramp, so I got off the interstate. The car continued to follow me. By this time, I was fearful and very ashamed of myself for losing my temper. A bout of ‘road rage’ had struck, and I was afraid was now about to backfire on me.

As I came up the ramp I realized the motorcyclist was not a police officer. The red light caught me; the car pulled up beside me in the other turning lane. I quickly glanced at the driver. An African American gentleman was sitting behind the wheel screaming at me. I looked away. I never looked back at him. He continued to call me names — names used by racists. I smiled to myself even as I grew more and more afraid. I got out my cell phone and tried to dial the highway patrol to no avail. So, I called 9-1-1. All through this, the man continued to scream obscenities at me and once he threw something at my window. That ‘plink’ on the glass startled me, but I still did not look at the man. As the light turned green, he sped away from me as I followed him back onto the interstate. I let him pull away while I spoke to the dispatcher at 9-1-1.

She asked me all sorts of questions, but the important one — what caused him to behave that way? — was the only one I didn’t answer truthfully. I told her I was carrying a gun, but that I didn’t pull it out of my glove compartment. I told her the man was very angry and kept yelling at me, that he threw a rock or some item from his car at my car. Did he damage your car? No, m’am. Can you see him now? Yes, m’am. Her questions continued for quite awhile; this is not common in my area of the country. Usually, the dispatcher listens and then closes the conversation rather quickly. This woman kept asking me about the incident, seemingly trying to locate the man in the car along the interstate. I began to drive into a rainstorm and ended the 9-1-1 call so that I would not have an accident.

I kept driving. Only later did I cry, realizing how evil (and stupid!) I’d been and how blessed I’d been almost at the same time.

“Therefore, confess your sins one to the other and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)

“Simply The Good News” ( Hebrews 9: 15, ESV ) by Carley Evans


The English Standard Version of Hebrews 9:15 reads, “Therefore He [Christ] is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”

The King James Version of Hebrews 9: 15 reads, “And for this cause He [Christ] is the mediator of the new covenant, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”

The Holman Christian Standard Bible version of Hebrews 9:15 reads, “Therefore, He [Christ] is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance, because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”

Our redemption from the transgressions committed under the old or first covenant occurs because of a death. The death of Jesus makes Him the perfect mediator of a new covenant under which we — who are called by the Holy Spirit — are given our promised inheritance. That inheritance is guaranteed by the seal of that same Holy Spirit, who is known to us as the third person of the triune God.

Everything is purified by blood under the old covenant, and so also under the new testament. But, rather than the blood of bulls and goats, our purification is purchased by the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. “Consequently, when Christ came into the world, He said, ‘ Sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but a body have You prepared for Me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings You have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God, as it is written of Me in the scroll of the Book.” (Hebrews 10:5-7)

In doing God’s will, Jesus fulfills the Law. Jesus “does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:9-10)

“The Sabbath Rest” ( Hebrews 4: 10, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


God’s works, writes the author of Hebrews, “have been finished since the foundation of the world.” (Hebrews 4:3) God finished all His works on the seventh day, at which time He entered His rest. We, as God’s people, enter that same rest from works when we “hear His voice” and choose “not to harden [our] hearts” in disobedience. When we hear God’s voice, we choose to leave behind our self-efforts, our self-righteousness and obey the call to enter a Sabbath rest. “Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.” (Hebrews 4:16) We are able to approach God’s throne boldly because our “great high priest” — even Jesus Christ the Son of God — is able “to sympathize with our weaknesses.” He “has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:14,15) “He [like every high priest taken from men] is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since He is also subject to weakness.” (Hebrews 5:2,1,5) “He learned obedience through what He suffered” and “after He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.” (Hebrews 5:8-9)

“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:7)

“What Jesus Does” ( Jude 9, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Even the archangel Michael when debating with Lucifer about the body of Moses dares not “bring an abusive condemnation against” the devil but rather says, “The Lord rebuke you.” (Jude 9, HCSB) And we are told to leave room for God’s revenge rather than seek it on our own. God declares, “Vengeance belongs to Me; I repay.” (Deuteronomy 32:35) “No one can rescue anyone from My hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39)

The right-wing extremist in Norway — whether a nominal Christian or not — obviously did not leave room for God, either for God’s love or His wrath. Instead, he murdered innocent young people and attempted to assassinate the prime minister and harm the government of his own country.

Our nature is to judge and criticize one another, but Jesus tells us, “Do not judge, and you are not judged. Do not condemn, and you are not condemned. Forgive, and you are forgiven.” (Luke 6:37) Jesus tells us, “I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28)

Then, once you restrain yourself from judging the other, once you forgive, once you love and do what is good, once you bless and pray for those who are evil; then God, who sees, is pleased. For you are doing what Jesus does.