Pleasing to God
This past week, our son, Colson, moved into the dorms at UCLA. It was a proud moment for us as he took another step in his journey toward adulthood. Praise God everything went smoothly. Although a happy occasion, it was also bittersweet as we realized he would no longer be around to take out the trash and grab things from the top shelf for us. As he packed up his stuff, I realized that I wasn’t fully prepared to see him go . . . and see the big college bills come in. But I held it together :). I know he’s just across town but it seems like worlds away. In the past several weeks, we’ve been scrambling to teach him things we should’ve taught him the last several years, like how to use a credit card and how to keep his money secure. But maybe the most important thing is how to wash his clothes, something he’ll need to do again and again as he lives on his own. We even took a picture of the washers and dryers there, fully expecting him to call home asking for help the first time he needs to use them. We’ll see.
In Hebrews 10, the author of Hebrews tells us how Christ has made us pleasing to God forever. That when the Father looks at us, if we have placed our faith in Jesus and abide in Him, He sees His Son in us. This is an important truth because sometimes, because of our sinfulness, we feel like we’re unable to please God. In Greek mythology, a man named Sisyphus, was condemned by Zeus to push a heavy rock up a steep hill eternally. Every time Sisyphus would get near the top of the hill, the rock would roll back down to the bottom where he would begin the painstaking process all over again. Sometimes we feel that way about the weight of our sins. No matter how hard we try, no matter how many times we repent, we can never fully rid ourselves of our sins and thus, we believe we can never satisfy God’s demands. And it’s true, by ourselves, we cannot please God but we’re not like Sisyphus!
Hebrews 10 describes how the people used to make ceremonial atonement for their sins by repeatedly offering animal sacrifices. Year after year, the people would bring their animals to the temple and have them sacrificed but Scripture says that it “never made perfect those who drew near to worship.” Hebrews 10:2-4 says “For the worshippers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” God had commanded the Jews to offer sacrifices but He did it as an annual reminder of uncleansed guilt until the perfect sacrifice came along. Animal sacrifices could not remove the sins of the people but Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice fully and completely atoned for sin and fulfilled God’s perfect plan.
Only when washed by the blood of Jesus, our great high priest, are we completely cleansed. Though we may sin at times, Christ’s sacrifice continues to cover us and sanctify us. Confession and repentance are still essential practices, and we must abide in Christ and forsake our sin, but we need not be washed again once we are in Him and He is in us. It’s like Colson never needing to wash his dirty clothes again (imagine that!). Hebrews 10:10 says “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” If you are walking with Christ, you are eternally pleasing to God! Don’t ever think otherwise. He loves His children! Finally, Hebrews 10:21-22 says “and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” God bless your week as you walk with Him.