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“The Secret of Joy” (2 Cor. 8:1-4)

But Christ…! (Heb. 9:11)

But Christ…! (Heb. 9:11)

WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – Hebrews chapter 9 is, in some ways, a summary of the whole Bible and of human history. This chapter, the Bible, and history are divided into two parts by two words: “But Christ…”

God’s purpose has always been to create a people He could bless for eternity. The Old Testament records His original plan to accomplish that. He chose a small nation to bless as an example to rebellious humanity. He gave them laws to tell them how to please Him, prophets to warn them when they didn’t, sacrifices to make up for their failures, and priests to help them make those sacrifices. He gathered them around a magnificent building filled with His glorious presence.

It was a brilliant plan, but it never worked. The people’s rebellion against God was too deep and their adherence to His plan too shallow. They worked some of its outward details off and on, but it never transformed them on the inside.

“But Christ…!” (Heb. 9:11)

His appearance on the scene changed everything. When it was evident that mankind would never graduate to heaven, He brought heaven down to earth. When it became clear that the blood of goats and calves could never erase the sins of humans, the Lord Jesus became a man and sacrificed His own blood for the eternal forgiveness of our sin. And having finished that, He ascended back “into heaven itself, so that he might now appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24). That pretty much sums up the New Testament and the last half of human history.

WONDERFUL THING IN OUR LIVES – Your life and mine are also divided into two segments. We each have our before-Christ sorrows and regrets. We were hurting others and heading for hell.

“But Christ…!”

We’re now in the after-Christ segment, and it’s important that we live like it. We no longer have to worry whether we’ll stay saved – Jesus “obtained eternal redemption” for us (Heb. 9:12). We don’t have to strive so hard to build up an estate here – He has promised us an “eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15). We no longer need to limp through life under a burden of condemnation – We still sin, but we repent and then rejoice in our forgiveness rather than wallow in our guilt. Christ “offered Himself” to God to “cleanse our consciences…so that we can serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14).

And here’s the big difference for daily life: Before Christ, there was only us inside us, and we made a mess of most everything. Now there’s us AND JESUS in there. He promised that “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him” (Rev. 3:20). We took Him at His word and opened the door, and He came in. We need to live like it.

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