Monday, February 1, 2010

Bold I Approach Th'eternal Throne

The last verse of Charles Wesley's hymn seemed fitting as a title for this entry. During the past week, as I was reading in both Romans (for Bible study) and Hebrews (personal devotions) the following passages struck me as somewhat connected.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2

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.
Hebrews 10:19-22

What is the connection? Both writers are comparing what was true under the Law with what is true now with the Gospel. Consider for a moment the problem of sin in Romans. Paul makes his case in the preceding chapters that we are free from the law of sin that was awakened by the Mosaic Law. Now, instead of being in bondage as a slave of sin, we can walk in newness of life. The Law could never deal with sin once for all. It was weak being the epitome of limited atonement—one atoning sacrifice for one sin. That was all, no carry-over. But in Christ, we are able to live as free men and able to put to death the deeds of the flesh that war in us.

And what of the other passage? There the writer has reminded us that the way to God had been barred by a veil or curtain. We could only get so close and entry to the innermost area was only available by one person once per year, and then with the blood of the sacrifice. Christ has made that sacrifice for us. His blood is the sacrifice that atones for all time. As priests we have entrance to the most holy place where God dwells, and we are welcome. No longer are we common but are sanctified for his use by the washing, not as the Levitical priests, but through regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

Christians stand in a wonderful place—free from condemnation and complete access to the God of heaven. Do not miss out on these wonderful gifts by presenting your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life. (Romans 6:13)