Once is more than enough
It’s not easy being a parent. The main thing to remember is probably to have balance. You shouldn’t give you child everything, because then they’ll never learn that you have to work for things and they’ll think that the world owes them.
On the other hand, you can’t just focus on their mistakes all the time. They’ll feel like a failure. Chances are that they’ll stop trying and will simply be and act like the world says they are.
In a way, this is what God’s old law did. The law reminded people what they should do. It also pointed out what they were doing wrong. Then they had to sacrifice an animal to try and get rid of those sins. But what the sacrifice did was to remind them of all they had done wrong. A vicious cycle.
Sin. Feel bad about it. Offer a sacrifice. Be reminded of your sin. Feel bad. Sin again.
Apart from the sacrifice not being a permanent, sustainable solution, it also had a negative impact on people. It was like focusing on what a child was doing wrong all the time. Eventually, the child has no self-esteem left and he or she starts acting the way everybody says he or she is. They give up.
I think if I had to ask forgiveness for my sins all the time, I would probably also have thrown in the towel somewhere along the way, would’ve given up, and not even tried not to sin anymore.
3But instead of removing awareness of sin, when those animal sacrifices were repeated over and over, they actually heightened awareness and guilt.
The sacrifice not only repeatedly reminded you of your weakness and made you feel bad, it also didn’t actually achieve its objective: 4The plain fact is that bull and goat blood can’t get rid of sin. And 4… You don’t want sacrifices and offerings year after year.
Humankind was in trouble.
Fortunately, we know that a new plan was rolled out. The Message translation puts it very well. Jesus is speaking: 9… “When he said, “You don’t want sacrifices and offerings,” he was referring to practices according to the old plan.” 10When he added, “I’m here to do it your way,” he set aside the first in order to enact the new plan—God’s way—by which we are made fit for God by the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus.
Now we’re no longer returned to every point where we’ve made a wrong decision. Now we’re no longer reminded of how weak and bad we are and how often we go the wrong way. Because we have a new identity.
We are new children. Children who don’t have to look back and give in, but who only look forward and know: I am the child of the King. Now I have a better self-esteem and I walk with authority through the world. I can live differently, because Jesus’ one-time sacrifice is enough for me.
How do you feel about what you’ve done wrong?
Do you keep dragging it with you?
What difference does Jesus’ sacrifice make to you?
Lord Jesus, thank you for taking away all the guilt and shame of my mistakes. Please help me not to keep feeling bad about it. Help me to accept that You have freed me from that. Help me to live the way You say I am – the child of the King. Amen.