October 11, 2017

Christ’s Death on the Cross

Hebrews 9:11-28

He has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

—  Hebrews 9:26

Like all ancient peoples, the Israelites practiced blood sacrifice. The Old Testament provides detailed instructions for a variety of animal sacrifices. Making those sacrifices was a strict requirement of the Old Testament law, in which God said, “It is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (Leviticus 17:11). In short, without blood sacrifice, there could be no forgiveness of sins.

Through the lens of the New Testament, we now know that Old Testament sacrifices were temporary and provisional. They pointed to the true and complete sacrifice provided by God himself. Today’s verses show that Jesus, unblemished by sin, was the perfect sacrifice. We know that the sacrifice of a lamb won’t atone for our sins. Only the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, can do that. His sacrifice for us is “once for all.” No other sacrifice is necessary.

Based on their reading of the Bible, the Reformers rediscovered the truth that Christ’s sacrifice has been credited to sinners who could never save themselves. That includes you and me.

Now we are called to offer our lives daily, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 12:1, as “a living sacrifice” to God, glorifying him and serving others.

What will you do today to show your gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice? How will you strive to please God and love those around you?

Jesus, you alone made the perfect sacrifice for sin. Help me, in all I do, to make a pleasing sacrifice of thanks to you. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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