Does the motivation behind your efforts to please God insult the cross?

Does the motivation  behind your efforts to please God insult the cross? The writer of Hebrews in Chapter 10 has much to say to us. There are some beautiful and convincing truths here that we would do well to read and  remember as we consider our relationship with God. I think there are some parallels we can consider about the futility of the Old Testament practice of offering sacrifices and our mindset in relating to God. Though these sacrifices were initially ordained by God, their purpose was to point the way to Jesus, the final and satisfying sacrifice for sin, who said “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.” (Heb. 10:5-7)

Verses 9-10 go on to say “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” The writer adds emphasis by saying “when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for all sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.“ (v.12)Finally, “For by a single sacrifice (that of Jesus), he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”(v.14)

The covenant God began with us after Christ’s atonement for us on the cross assures us that he will put his laws in our hearts and write them on our minds. (v.16) Verse 17 is certainly a supra-human ability promising “I will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more.” No matter how I try, I cannot promise to forget your offenses against me. They may fade over time and my emotions may be less easily triggered and inflamed, but praise God, He is willing and able to remove them from memory. The writer then sums up these truths by declaring to us “Where there is forgiveness of these (sins), there is no longer any offering for sin.” (v.18)It is then no wonder God can say “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Rom. 8:1)What freedom from guilt and shame we can enjoy!

We see here God relating to us through his great mercy, not according to his justice. How fortunate we are. We must learn to appropriate the truth of our standing before God so that we can enjoy the grace he has lavished us with and appreciate his greatness. Jesus opened the way to a true and lasting relationship with God and we can pursue this relationship with full assurance of faith. We never need to grovel or wonder about the certainty of our right standing with God. This frees us to enjoy our walk with God, and never to feel we need to earn his favor. We have it. The cross certified it. When we serve him or others we can do so from a pure heart, not from a motive of earning something by our behavior or deeds. This tactic works with people. It is wholly unnecessary with God. Do you see how this attempt to win favor with God takes away from the purpose of the cross? It is not just unnecessary, it is offensive. It implies the cross was still not enough . . . . that works are still necessary . . . . that judgment is still to be anticipated. We might even say it is sin against the grace of God. Think About It.

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