The Blood of Bulls and Goats
I have never been one to focus on sin too much when it comes to personal conviction. I have always had such a knack of twisting logic in my favor so that I never really felt guilt. It's not that my sin didn't have an impact on me, but it wasn't a constant experience of guilt. This, in turn, has made my Christian walk very cerebral. Logic and reason dictate my worship, not my emotions.
While I am very thankful for this in a lot of ways, for Scripture teaches us that we should be rooted in the Word and not leave ourselves to the whims of the world (2 Tim. 3), I have definitely felt like a black sheep in that I don't get emotional when in worship. That changed for a brief moment this past Sunday.
During worship, whilst singing songs, my mind wandered to dark places. I began to think about a negative relationship that was in my life at an early point in my Christianity. It was a place where I masked my sin with a false face of God and felt like I was in the right place but was truly far from where God would have wanted me at that moment. Guilt creeped over my face and neck like a viscous liquid and my voice emitted a lifeless repetition of songs past memorized.
If I would have acted on the moment, I would have left that building and never had dealt with this feeling. I felt the blistering hatred of God upon my shoulders. But He pinned me to my seat and I opened my Bible and began a personal study during the sermon. While trying to decide where to read, I remember someone very dear to me mentioning Hebrews 10 when she was struggling with guilt. So there I went.
The writer of Hebrews is building an argument throughout the entire letter. He is attempting to prove to Jewish believers that they should respect Jesus and drop the cultural and scriptural rules that run their lives. He is trying to show the power of the new covenant.
In Judaism, the use of sacrifices and substitution is the largest difference between the new and old covenants. Animals provided temporary satisfaction to an angry God for careless sinners. The writer of Hebrews is arguing that the Jews have been misreading why sacrifices exist in the first place!
"And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord : I will put My laws upon their heart, And on their mind I will write them," He then says, "And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin." Hebrews 10:15-18 (NASB).
The law found in the Old Testament is meant to be impossible. It's meant to force humans into a losing situation. The law's purpose is to show humans cannot save themselves. They need a Savior. He should be the King of their lives. The blood needed for your sins is not found in bulls and goats but in a perfect God living the perfect life. He must achieve what we couldn't.
No matter what guilt you feel and how bad of a person you see yourself as, Jesus redeemed that sin. Jesus is the perfect substitution for everything. But even at that, He forgets your sin. You do not bring shame into the Kingdom. He has placed you at His side. He has placed that crown on your head. You need not do anything to prove your worth, for He has done it all. It is finished.