“The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
THE BOOK OF HEBREWS mentions that in The Old Testament dead offerings were presented as a symbolic ransom for the forgiveness of sins. This was according to the Divine Law God gave to the early followers in the Old Testament.
This blood stained rite was adequate enough for God to overlook their sins. That Divine Law order was an intended initiative from God for the people to learn that only through a ransom’s shed blood is sin removed from the sinner. As a consequence the people grew up on the rite of presenting various offerings for the forgiveness of their sins. The Bible’s comment is: “without shedding of blood there is no remission.”1 On this basis people presented every day their offerings in numerous kinds in accordance to the type of sin and the sinner’s situation, so that offerings were presented in thousands and hundreds of thousands over the years. God’s aim was that these offerings awaken people’s conscience for them to assess the danger of sin. To the extent that the prophets realized God was not pleased with the offerings of sin nor did He accept them: “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.” “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had not pleasure.” Then I said: “Behold, I have come — in the volume of the book it is written of Me — to do Your will, O God” Having previously said: “Sacrifice and Offering, burnt offering, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them.”2 “For by one offering (the cross) He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”3 Because the people presented them as a custom not thinking about the poisoned root of sin.
Finally God revealed His plan and intent, that had existed before the ages, on how to remove the yoke of sin from the people and the prophets’ consciences. So He planned one offering able to remove all man’s sins. He bore its yoke Himself, for the sake of the people, by sending His Only Son to offer Himself a Divine living sacrifice for all the world’s sins.
He thus made His Only Son don a pure human body, to suffer for the sake of all people and bear the whole world’s sins in His body. He offered one living offering for the world, whoever believes in Him, and handed Him over to the cross according to the desire of the high priests as a curse for the reason of His saying He was the Son of God, and for the miracles He accomplished that diminished the worth of the priests, High Priests and notables. The Son of God fulfilled His Father’s will, accepting to be crucified as a sinner, blasphemer, and rabble rouser of the Jews especially to the priests.
Christ accepted the cross, and His blood flowed till death. Christ’s offering was thus considered a sin offering of the first degree because He was pure, holy and without blame nor was there found any deception in His mouth. God’s eternal Spirit preserved the slaughtered body to remain in truth alive with God’s Holy Spirit till the fulfillment of death burial rites according to every person’s rites. Then He resurrected through the power of God and His Holy Spirit from death victorious over death and the power of death which is Satan.
The cross of Christ and the power of resurrection together were consequently reckoned as the relation of every man against sin. This living faith in Christ’s life and the witness of the Bible became a new power to man pervading his conscience and enveloping all his thoughts and imagination that had been limited within the circle of sin and death, illuminating therefore man’s conscience with the light of God’s acceptance and pleasure. Man felt that he received with Christ’s death and resurrection a new life and consequently became a new creation with a pure conscience uttering God’s praise and glory. In that way all the dead works with man’s worries and fears were destroyed, the early threats became obsolete, nay became old and died, leaving man’s new conscience a witness owing to God and Christ’s benevolence.
Strange is man who after having consolidated his relation with God, and Christ having died for his sake, goes back and carries the worries of this world and falls back to the age of darkness, giving in to sin, being addicted to it alive in his conscience and permeating his guts. What can we do to the man who goes back on his steps, fleeing from the face of God, denying the cross of Christ?
Christ knew of man’s retreat and flight carrying his worries as if the cross of Christ were his enemy, while being his only rescue. Christ said: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”4 Christ, after having fulfilled the offering of Himself, still runs after the sinner, searching for him, to give him the water of life without cost, and draw him into the enclosure of the chosen. For with Christ there is no sinner nor does He accept the word “sin” for which he was slaughtered, the price to unburden man and remove it from his conscience: “But now, He (Christ) has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”5
23 June, 2005
1 Heb 9:22.
2 Heb 10:5-8.
3 Heb 10:14.
4 Matt 11:28.
5 Heb 9:26.
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