Hebrews 10:4-10 ESV
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”
When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Law and Grace
There is much confusion these days regarding what it means to be no longer under the law but under grace. So, there are those who are perverting the truth of the gospel to make it as though we are now to be lawless, teaching God’s grace as free license to continue living in sin.
Before Jesus came to the earth and took on human flesh and died on a cross for our sins, and was resurrected from the dead, and ascended back to the Father in heaven, God’s people were under “the law,” which required them to follow many different regulations regarding ceremonies and sacrifices and purification, etc., in addition to the Ten Commandments.
But, once Jesus came and died for our sins, and was resurrected, and ascended back to the Father, and sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers, God’s people, now believers in Jesus Christ, were no longer required to follow all those Old Covenant regulations. They were not free from God’s moral laws, though. And, they were not free to disobey God.
All those Old Covenant regulations, apart from God’s moral laws, were externals. Yes, they were required to do them, but following them by the letter of the law did nothing to take away people’s sins. They were not saved from their sins by following all those external regulations.
The law was a means to an end, but it was not the end in itself. It was to lead us to Christ, but it could not do for us what only Christ could do for us. So, Jesus Christ, God the Son, left his throne in heaven, came to earth, became flesh, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, but he did not sin. So, he was our perfect sacrifice to take away our sins.
When he was crucified on that cross, he literally became sin for us, thus when he died, our sins died with him. And, when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, Satan, and death. And, he did this that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness.
Obedience and Grace
Jesus’ sacrifice on a cross for our sins was to deliver us from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin, not to free us from having to obey God. We still have to obey the Lord, and if we are not obeying him, as a matter of practice, the New Testament teaches we don’t love God and we don’t know the Lord (Jn 14:23-24; Rom 6:16; Heb 5:9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:24).
For, if we are not obeying the Lord, then we are obeying the flesh, and if we are obeying the flesh (sin), it will end in death, not in life eternal with God.
“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 trampled underfoot 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.” Heb 10:26-31 ESV
So, you see, Jesus’ death on a cross for our sins did not free us to now sin as much as we want now that we are no longer under the law but under grace. For the grace of God, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit 2:11-14).
So, if, in pride, and with an insatiable appetite to keep on sinning, a person who claims Christ as his Lord and Savior, ignores the Lord’s commandments, and he chooses to walk in the darkness, instead, heaven is not what is in his future.
It doesn’t matter what he confesses with his lips. What matters is how he lives, either to please the flesh or to please God. If he is double-minded, trying to claim his salvation from sin all the while he continues living in sin willfully, the judgment of God and the fires of hell are what he now faces.
And, it doesn’t matter how many “good deeds” he does, either, for it is not our good deeds, done in the flesh, that is going to get us into heaven. We are saved only by God’s grace, through faith, but that faith involves repentance, obedience and submission to Christ as Lord (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 6:7-8).
For, again, Jesus’ death on a cross was not just to forgive us our sins, and especially it was not to free us to continue living in sin, which is a slap in the face to our Lord who sacrificed his life on that cross for our freedom from our bondage to sin.
And, this goes back to what Jesus said, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” And, that is the whole point of our salvation, to do the will of God for our lives, not to see how much we can get away with and still be in good standing with God.
And, again, this goes to what Paul said in Rom 6:16:
“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”
We are either slaves to obedience to our Lord or we are slaves to sin. We can’t be both. We can’t go back and forth like on a seesaw (teeter-totter) between living in sin and trying to obey the Lord. The two don’t mix. It is not saying we will never sin, but that sin is to no longer have mastery over us.
So, we must choose to walk in obedience to our Lord, according to the Spirit of God, and have eternal life with God, or to walk (live, in practice) according to the flesh, and to face eternity in hell. We can’t have it both ways, living in sin and living for the Lord (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10).
An Original Work / May 30, 2011
“Fill me with Your Spirit;
help me to love others;
Let me know Your power;
be an overcomer.
Show me how to follow
Jesus Christ, my Savior;
Be His faithful servant
to obey Him always.
“Lead me with Your presence;
help me know the right way;
Teach me love and kindness,
Give me grace and courage
to be Jesus’ witness,
Teaching His salvation
to a world who needs Him.”
Won’t you come and follow
Jesus Christ, your Savior?
He died so you’d be
free of control of your sin;
Free to follow His ways
in complete surrender;
Living sacrifices –
let His grace transform you.