Monday, November 15

Christ Who Sits

This post is a brief look at a bit of scripture from today's portion of the Mc'Cheyne Bible Reading Plan. I'm hoping it will be the first of occasional posts highlighting pieces of the scripture from this daily reading plan.

Hebrews 10:11-14 (ESV):
And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.  But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,  waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.  For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

When we think about the description of Christ sitting at the right hand of God, we think first and foremost of the exaltation of Christ that this position communicates. While his exalted position is very important, expressing to us that he is Lord of All and that every creature is obligated to bow to him and confess him as Lord, it is not the focus of this post. Here, I'm not focusing on Christ's placement as coequal with the Father, but rather on the description Christ's posture and what that tells us.

An old covenant priest stood daily in his priestly work. He was always in a standing position in God's presence because his ministry was never done. Over and over again, every day, he offered the same sacrifices--sacrifices that that had to be repeated because they were ineffectual, for they didn't actually take away sins. They were, in essence, a stop-gap measure rather than a real solution. The old covenant priest's sacrifices never cleansed completely, and the outward cleansing they provided was only temporary.

There's a pathetic quality to this picture, isn't there? I like to complain that "a woman's work is never done", but I've got nothing on those old order priests. Day in and day out they had to do exactly the same work, and that it was necessary for them to keep repeating only served as a reminder of how unsatisfactory the work they did really was.

The text gives us a very different picture of Christ's work as Priest, however. Christ offered one sacrifice of himself, and then he sat down on the right hand of God. His work was over because his work was effectual. It was not a stop-gap measure, but a real solution that took care of the whole problem. It "perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." Never again does his work have to be repeated, for this Priest did a complete job: his work cleanses completely and cleanses forever. It is finished.

So he sits and waits for his enemies to become his footstool. He can rest because the work is over and the job is done. Even though his enemies are not yet lying beneath his feet, the work that will bring his certain victory over them has already been accomplished.

Because he sits, we can rest. If we believe, we share in the benefits of his work, and we can rest because he is resting. We have forgiveness, and where there is forgiveness, "there is no longer any offering for sin". The work is done--his work--and we can find respite in the forgiveness he has accomplished for us.

Because he sits, we can come. That his priestly sacrifice was completely effective means that
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 (vs 19-22).
Our full assurance and our bold approach are grounded in his completed work. There is a dedicated access road for us. That our Priest is a sitting Priest confirms to us that our hearts have been sprinkled clean, our bodies have been washed, we are fully and finally forgiven, and the way is opened for us. Let us draw near!

He came, he died, he rose, and now he sits. Therefore, we can enter.
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