Sunday, August 16, 2015

Victory Series Bible Study Week 12: Forgiveness of Sins

Greetings, Gents!

Apologies for my recent absence. This week, I will continue where I left off on our Victory Series Bible Study. This week, our topic is on the forgiveness of sins through Christ's sacrifice. Our scriptural basis will be Hebrews 9: 11-28:

"11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."

The Bible is God's story for the redemption of humanity. After The Fall and mankind's separation from God, the plan for eventual redemption was first initiated through God's covenant with Abraham and his lineage. From this lineage would eventually emerge The Messiah, who would redeem the world. Additionally, God developed a sacrificial system through his covenant with Abraham and Moses.
This sacrificial system set the stage for Jesus, who is the only perfect sacrifice that can redeem the world and humanity and purge it of sin. Under the old system, the Jewish people had to present a sacrifice without a spot or blemish as atonement for their sins. However, this provided only a temporary atonement since no animal sacrifice was perfect to God's standards. And as all of humanity's righteous acts are like "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64: 6) before the eyes of God, only Jesus in his perfection could qualify as the perfect sacrifice.
Christ died for all sins: past, present and future. No further sacrifice is needed. This does not mean that we have license to continue sinning, but it does provide us a means to approach God in humility and grace, and walk in the light of Christ (see 1 John 1: 5-9). The sacrifice of Jesus then serves as a means of restoring the lost relationship that humanity once had with God, a bypass to the spiritual death caused through sin. This fact should be cause for rejoice and inspire a sense of humility in us for what Christ has accomplished in his sacrifice.
Questions for consideration this week:
- Are your sins forgiven because of your confession and repentance, or through Christ's sacrifice? Explain your answer.
- Why wasn't the sacrifice system described in the Old Testament enough to redeem humanity?
- How does knowing that all your sins (past, present and future) are forgiven change the way you approach your life?
- There are no instructions admonishing Christians to ask God to forgive their sins, but there is instruction to confess. What is the difference?
- In Romans 6: 1, Paul asks: "Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?" How would you answer this question?

Ponder these questions as you go throughout your week, perhaps jotting down some answers so you can more closely consider them and how they may apply in your life. I hope that you all have a blessed and wonderful week. Stay strong, gents!

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