For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds," then he adds, "I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more."
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
However, when I spend a silent moment thinking back on all the times I have misused others or thought myself wise or nursed my own wounded feelings or innumerable other ways I have placed myself first before God and others, I am astonished that He would even bother to stain His purity to pay the debt of my stingy, crude, and self-serving soul. Even after I accepted His Lordship in my life, I have strayed--a fact which sickens me in my moments of clarity but which also seems oh, so reasonable in the heat of the emotion or the circumstance. In fact, the very meanness and pettiness of my emotions are exposed in the face of such noble compassion, and I find I want to sob with shame that at one time in my life, I rejected Him Who is so much more worthy of my love and devotion than I am of His. I am so grateful that He did not give up on me then.
Even more sobering, however, is this thought: Now that I do know the truth, dare I be flippant with it? Do I dare to toy with sin, knowing the astonishing price that was paid on my behalf? The more I walk with God, the more I see how deeply the sin nature is ingrained in me, the more I see that nearly every action, thought, and motive of my heart is dreadfully tainted and twisted with it. So seeing, I desperately cling to Him, pleading with Him to free me from the struggle between my dead flesh and my new found life in Christ. This is the other hand, the partner of the emotion I began with... the sobering reality of the cost, the understanding that a willful spurning of such a gift leaves no room for further mercy. This is the utter extent of mercy, the epitome of it. There is nothing else to give, no other sacrifice can be made. He has already given all. It would be a grave blunder to understand the extravagance of this gift and nonchalantly toss it aside.
With these thoughts in mind, it is much easier to see how little this world and the things of this world really are. I write these things down in part because I know that, just like a child, I am prone to become distracted with what seems so real around me, prone to wander from my Father's side. Always, however, He reminds me that He is my greatest need, He is the fulfillment of all my desires, He is eternal and unchanging--indeed, He is everything. All the rest--the good and the bad, the beauty and the pain, friend and family and enemy alike--all will pass away. But His words will never pass away. His love will never pass away. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ will never dim nor fade, its value will never diminish or its totality fail. It is enough. He is enough. And when I get to the end of all things, there really is nothing else, no other way by which I may be saved. Should I, or anyone, choose to shun His exorbitant grace, then that one rejects Life itself. All that is left for such a one is the pale shadow of a swiftly fading flower.
Lord, may we not chase such fleeting fictions as this world offers, but may we instead be blissfully and joyfully beholden to You!
Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.