I had pleasant encounter with one of my former elder’s wife recently and I was delighted to see her. Although our encounter was brief the short fellowship was sweet. She did express her surprise whilst we have not conducted any Gospel rallies, my church has grown significantly both in quantity and quality. As a caring and loving lady she also expressed to me her concern on our preaching and our emphasis on grace and on rest. How can we tell people to do nothing?
Here is a common misunderstanding. When we preach grace we mean we are to rest in the FINISHED work of Christ. We do mean not resting and doing nothing. Resting in the FINISHED work of Christ allows us to do what HE wants us to do and not what we think we should do. Further it is HE that work in us to DO and to WILL.
Many at times we are so busy doing what we think we should be doing rather than resting on what Jesus had done. Our battle today is no longer to eradicate sin in our lives but to manifest the reality of Christ in us. It is only by allowing Jesus to be form in us that we can be mortified sin in our bodies. This is done by realizing our position in Christ as being dead to sin ALREADY.
Why does God ask us to live according to faith? I think it is because He realizes from the scope of eternity, that the fact that we are dead to sin IS our real reality. God calls us to believe this to be our real reality because it IS the real reality. It is when we believe His reality, we begin to manifest the finished work of Jesus in our lives. That is how we overcome sin by faith. Not by power nor by our might but by the operation of the Spirit of Christ.
That I believe is why Paul tells us our position before he tells us what to do. In fact I believe Paul does not tell us what to do but what to believe. According to Paul our behaviour is really the product of our belief. Our belief dictates what we do. This is the mystery. That God can be in us thru Christ. The hope of Glory.
As such the reality is this. We cannot serve a God who is not served by human hands. Yet the book of Hebrews tells us that HE purged our conscience to serve a living God. This means my Father cannot be served by people who have a conscience which is NOT PURGED. In context, a CONSCIENCE that is NOT PURGED is a conscience who does not believe that is fully forgiven.
It is no wonder why God cannot be served by HUMAN hands. These are hands which based on a righteousness which requires to be CONSTANTLY be forgiven. This is our default mode. Forgiveness based on our asking, our begging and on a basis that we pride ourselves with a guilty conscience or sin conscienceness.
The writer of Hebrews exhort us to believe our sins are forgiven once and FOR ALL. Hence a purged conscience. That is when we are fit to serve a Holy God. We serve God hence with the WOUNDED HANDS of Jesus not by human effort.
I verily state this serving God with HUMAN hands is serving Him with our effort. It is the same thing Cain did. It is the same thing that Saul did. It is the very thing the Pharisees did. It is serving God to have your conscience clean. This is the “sin” that the writer of Hebrews is referring to in Hebrews 10. This is the sin that he refers to as “if we sin willfully there is no more sacrifice for sin”. The belief that your conscience needs to be clean regularly.
I have come to understand that my sins are forgiven ONCE and FOR ALL. In fact if you read the verse” just as a man is destine to die once and face judgment” it is followed by “so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
We read Hebrews 9:27 so often out of its context. If you read it again together with Hebrews 9:28 you will realize the focus is not about God’s judgment but about HOW COMPLETE God’s forgiveness is. There are 2 certainties: DEATH and TAXES. We only die once and we remain dead. In the same manner the writer of Hebrews tells us that Christ need die only ONCE and you remain FORGIVEN forever. He has taken the sins of many people.
Hence it is my humble submission if we preach to people that they are guilty until they begin to serve God is to preach a religion of “AN UNPURGED CONSCIENCE” which in actual fact is a SERVICE OF HUMAN HANDS. It results in people trying to please God for the purpose of having their conscience cleared. That is dead works.
Jesus is still serving today. He serves through my body. I am in His temple. Notice that when Jeremiah whipped the people in the temple he said 3 times: The Lord does not live in the temple anymore. Notice when Jesus did the same thing he said “tear this temple down and I will build it up in 3 days”. Notice Jesus is echoing Jeremiah. God does not live in the Temple anymore. Jesus said HE IS THE TEMPLE.
Paul now tells us We are his Holy Temple. He now lives in US not in some temple in heaven. That is why Jesus said when he healed the man “To prove to you that the Son of Man have authority to forgive sins ON EARTH!” God is no longer dwelling far away in heaven. He is in US.
Hence it is HE that breathes and lives in me and He is the one serving. That is why I rest and He works. That is why I come to him with “fear and much trembling” so that it is not my eloquence. NOT MY BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is BY HIS BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS on the cross. The Blood Sweat and Tears is a done deal! It is not a deal yet to be done…
That is why I preach about God’s rest. That is also why my church despite little effort on the part of the believers is growing. It is because Jesus is working. It is also because of that I have no glory but Jesus receives ALL the glory. I boast of my Lord. He is AWESOME AND DESERVES ALL MY WORSHIP.