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Day 43: The Law is Only a Shadow

The Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and the Life Everlasting

READ

Hebrews 10:1–14

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. 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. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God.’”

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. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

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. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

MEDITATE

These last several phrases of the Creed can be flown through all too easily. By this point, we find ourselves reciting the words with a kind of cadence. It will be important to break our stride to take stock of the magnitude of what we are affirming.

“I believe in . . . the forgiveness of sins.” Wait! Isn’t this at the very core of the gospel? On May 24, 1738, John Wesley penned these words in his journal:

In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while the leader was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.

The forgiveness of sins cannot remain a propositional concept to which we give mental assent. It must be an experienced reality. Do you have an inner assurance that your sins have been forgiven? Do you believe there are sins in your past that cannot be forgiven? Are you struggling with an entangling sin for which you don’t feel you can continue to ask for forgiveness? Are you struggling to forgive yourself for some sin in your past?

To believe in the forgiveness of sins means we have to confront these roadblocks with the unstoppable grace of God. Identify the place of stuckness and present this to God, standing on the finished work of Christ. If you have enjoyed an experience of God’s forgiveness and the deep assurance of grace, write about it. Tell the story in your journal. This is your testimony and it holds the power to bless others.

REFLECT

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

—“Nothing But the Blood”
Robert Lowry

ASK

Express your questions, doubts, curiosities, and conundrums.

AFFIRM

Write any fresh affirmation stirring in your heart and mind from today.

Now affirm the Apostles’ Creed aloud:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord . . .