Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
The Lord is indeed faithful to his word. He has promised that the gates of hell will never prevail against his church. And our church body is one small token of that great promise. The Lord has carried our body through good times and hard times, but he has always been faithful. What a wonderful meeting we had last week; and what a wonderful meeting will be the Presbytery meeting this weekend. Please be in prayer for the ministers and elders as we consider the business of the church. Pray for wisdom, patience, and faithfulness.
The Presbytery will consider our church’s request for organization Saturday morning at 9:00 AM. Lord willing, it will be a quick and seamless vote. However, we would love for any of you to come out to the meeting. It is being held at the Homewood Suites near Kingwood Drive in Kingwood (same hotel as the theology conference).
If you have an interest in coming, please let me know.
Also, mark your calendars for October 17th as the date for the organizing service!
Finally, this week’s devotion is a reflection from Hebrews on the perfect sacrifice of Christ.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Christ’s Perfect Sacrifice”
Hebrews 10:4, “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”
Jesus Christ is the supreme and perfect Savior. He is superior over all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant. This, in short, is the theme of the book of Hebrews. Written to Jewish Christians considering returning to the rituals of Judaism, Hebrews sets forth the glory and the perfection of Christ and his sacrifice over against the temporary, provisional, imperfect ceremonies of the Old Covenant. And Hebrews 10 brings this argument to a close before the author transitions to instruction on the Christian life (10:19-13:25). Let us consider the flow of thought in Hebrews 10:1-10.
First, the author reiterates the ineffectiveness of the Old Covenant sacrifices (vv. 1-4). They were just shadows (v. 1). Moreover, their ineffectiveness was highlighted by their repetition. Day after day sacrifices were offered upon the altar in Jerusalem. And thus day after day the people were reminded of their sins and of the need for a perfect, once for all sacrifice, to deal with their sins (vv. 2-3). As the author summarizes, “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (v. 4).
Second, the author describes the perfect effectiveness of Christ’s sacrifice (vv. 5-10). The Father prepared a perfect body for the Son so that he might suffer and die. And the Son came to earth to do the will of his Father – as it was written in the Old Testament. In other words, when Jesus read his Bible (the Old Testament), he saw revealed in its pages both his own identity and his own purpose. Specifically, he saw God’s plan that the Mediator would suffer and die for God’s people (e.g. Gen 22, Is 53). And Jesus came to perfectly fulfill that purpose – his Father’s purpose. He came to do the will of his Father (v. 7). He came to do what ‘bulls and goats’ could never do. He came to be the substitutionary sacrifice for his people. And it is only by his work on the cross that the power of sin has been broken in the life of the believer (v. 10).
How should this understanding impact us today? First, we need to understand that Christ came for a specific purpose. Ultimately, Christ came to do the will of his Father. His all-consuming passion was obedience to the will of his Father (v. 9; John 6:38). His all-consuming passion was to bring glory to his Father. May that be our consuming passion as well!
But also, we need to see Jesus’ life of obedience – from the cradle to the grave – from the manger to the cross – as a life of ‘representative obedience.’ That is, Jesus lived for us – his whole life was lived on behalf of his people. He obeyed perfectly on behalf of his people (what theologians refer to as Christ’s ‘active obedience’). Our obedience before the Father is his obedience on our behalf!
Third, we need to read our Bibles the way Jesus read his Bible; namely with Christ-centered lenses. Just as Jesus read his Old Testament and saw his identity and his mission (his person and his work) in its pages, so also we are to read our Old Testaments with an eye to seeing Christ.
And finally, like the Jewish Christians to whom Hebrews was written, we also are so easily drawn away from Christ. But may we see in Christ our perfect Savior offering up a perfect sacrifice. He is all-sufficient and He is all-glorious!
Rev. Robert Arendale, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC), www.csopc.org