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Monday, 7 May 2018

"Once For All"

"He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12). "We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10).

Man of Sorrows! What a name
For the Son of God who came;
Ruined sinners to reclaim,
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Raising hand after donating blood It seems that each time Brooksyne and I donate blood a reflective illustration comes to mind. On Saturday morning we visited the "bloodmobile" and the procedure was routine. When the phlebotomist was finished she placed a gauze pad over the collection site and told me to raise my arm straight up. I've done that many times since I began donating as a teenager almost 50 years ago. But this time I immediately thought of Christ's blood sacrifice on my behalf and, with my upraised hand, I quietly offered thanks to God for His atoning blood sacrifice.

Yesterday in our church service we remembered the final blood sacrifice that Jesus made by sharing in Communion together as He taught us to do. At the time of the first "Lord's Supper" Jesus looked ahead to the sacrifice He would make the next day and spoke of His broken body and shed blood. Since that time His followers look back on that great blood sacrifice each time they read, hear, or repeat Jesus' words, "Do this in remembrance of Me".

Jesus breaking bread During the Communion service, as the elements were being passed out to the congregation, yesterday we sang with the choir, "O The Blood" which has these recurring lines:

O the blood of Jesus washes me
O the blood of Jesus shed for me
What a sacrifice that saved my life
Yes, the blood, it is my victory

"Once for all" Today we focus on a three-word phrase from the daily texts that is very significant . "Once for all" translates the single Greek word ἐφάπαξ "ephapax". The sense in these texts is not "once for all people", although the scope of redemption surely extends to all people, but in these verses it means "once for all time".

Once for all is a powerful contrast to the sacrifice of the high priest, who repeatedly entered the Most Holy Place with blood sacrifices once a year. Jesus' sacrifice was complete and did not need to be repeated. The work of atonement is finished and therefore, praise the Lord, it cannot be unfinished!

The word, "ephapax" points to the single act of Christ's sacrifice that obtained eternal redemption and provided the only means in which sinful humans are made holy in God's sight. Thus the finality of Christ's utterance from the Cross, "It is finished".

Our service ended yesterday with the congregation singing an adaptation of an old Philip P. Bliss number that has been wonderfully rediscovered titled, "Man Of Sorrows". In this hymn each verse progresses from His coming to earth to save sinners, His being mocked, ridiculed and rejected, His death on the cross, His resurrection and ascension, to His second coming.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! What a Savior! 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber


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