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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Significance of the Substitutionary Death of Jesus Christ: The "Therefore" of Hebrews 10

One of the most rewarding studies I have done is to take some of Scripture’s great “therefore” texts and meditate on them. Recently, I have been giving much thought to Hebrews 10 and the significance of the “therefore” in verse 19. The “therefore” is the hinge between everything in the previous 18 verses and it gives a grounding to the following 7 verses. The significance of the verses after the “therefore” comes from the truthfulness, substance, and backdrop of the context which undergirds what the writer is about to say. It says, “Because of this, you should do/believe that.”

Our God is a God of “therefores.” Who we are and what we do is presupposed by what God has said, and what He has said and done is clearly revealed in Scripture. As I consider Easter this year and the meaning of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I am moved by the significance of such a “therefore” as found in Hebrews 10. For it shows us that having confidence, full assurance of faith, and an unwavering confession is grounded in the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.

Let’s consider verses 1-18 and bullet some of what the writer of Hebrews says:

  • Jesus’ substitutionary death is the substance, not the shadow of our forgiveness of sins (vs. 1-4).
  • Jesus’ substitutionary death, determined by the will of God, sanctified once and for all those who draw near to Him for the forgiveness of their sins (vs. 5-9)
  • Jesus’ substitutionary death provides a full and final offering for sin that is sufficient and satisfactory to the holiness of God to atone for sinners who plead for His blood (vs. 11-14).
  • Jesus’ substitutionary death is the new and living way in which one enters the new covenant in His blood and flesh as promised by God and witnessed by His Spirit (vs. 15-18).

Now let’s consider the flipside of the “therefore” and see what significance the substitutionary death means for the believer:

  • We have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus (vs. 19).
  • We have a great high priest who has made himself both the mediator and means for our access into the new covenant (vs. 20-21).
  • We should draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith (vs. 22).
  • We have our hearts, consciences, and bodies cleansed (vs. 22).
  • We should hold fast our confession of hope without wavering (vs. 23).
  • We have a covenant-keeping God who will remain faithful to his promises (vs. 23).
  • We should consider how to stir up one another to love and good works and encourage one another (vs. 24).
  • We should not neglect meeting together in fellowship (vs. 25).
  • We should long with expectant hearts of his coming for his Bride (vs. 25).

So here is the significance of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. Without believing that Jesus died for me, I cannot draw near; I cannot have any confidence before the holiness of God; I cannot partake of the new covenant in his blood; I cannot have assurance of faith; I will be left to a wavering, self-centered confession; I will find no need to encourage other Christians to love God and serve one another; I will neglect Christian fellowship and the anticipate the coming of our Lord.

O what significance there is in the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ! He died for me, for my sins, in my place, took the punishment I desired, satisfied the wrath of God that I may be satisfied with God’s grace, tasted death that I may taste sweet mercy and live, was cursed on that cross that I may live and take up my cross, and sat down at the right hand of God so that I may rest in his finished work of atonement for my sins.

Thank you, Lord, for putting your law in my heart by your Spirit, for remembering my sins no more because of your sacrificial offering, for allowing me to draw near when I deserve to be a castaway. What you have accomplished, I claim with inexpressible joy! What you have willed through the work of your substitutionary death, I extol with enraptured and redeemed heart!

O Lord, you will not be pleased with any offering except the Lamb of God who was slain from the foundation of the world, who ransomed people for God, from every tribe and language and people and nation. So I bring nothing to you of my own, except my sin. Let me know of the magnificent meaning of your substitutionary death, and let it impact my life so as to have such confidence to enter into your presence, to have full assurance of faith, to confess without wavering, to encourage without fainting, and to long for your coming with an expectant heart.

It is my hope that you may be encouraged by “the God of therefore’s” and consider afresh what God in Christ has done for wretched sinners who draw near to the Great High Priest, seated at the right hand of God and reigning victoriously over sin, death, and hell. Because he died for us . . . we should _________ (you fill in the blank). Jesus’ death is the basis, the foundation, and the grounding of everything we do in the Christian life. May we treasure the promises of God and so live in light of the faithful God who accomplished for us so great a salvation.

Therefore, friends, remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel (2 Timothy 2:8).


Blogger Paul said...

Great post

4/15/2006 10:41:00 AM


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