This season of Lent (the six weeks leading up to Easter Sunday) began yesterday, Shrove Tuesday. Some call it Fat Tuesday, a day to enjoy. Some of you may have taken advantage of yesterday’s IHOP pancakes that you could get “free” with a donation in addition to your order. It really wasn’t free.
Rob and I were talking the other day about missing the church calendar with which we grew up and to which we grew accustomed and a bit complacent. Now that we aren’t in the Methodist denomination, we have grown to appreciate the reminders of this calendar and miss the liturgy at times. This season of Lent is the time where we begin to prepare for what Jesus did for believers in His atoning death on our behalf.
In the Book of Common Prayer, for Ash Wednesday (today), the prayer reads (in my way of translating), “Almighty and everlasting God, who hates nothing You have made and who does forgive the sins of those who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of You our merciful God, perfect remission and forgiveness through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”
Then in our Hebrews homework this week we have been looking at what the Law could not do and what Jesus had to do. It’s been an amazing week in the Word. The Law could not sanctify us (make us holy, clean us up). Its sacrificial offerings served as a reminder to the worshiper of their sin year after year after year after year. It could not cleanse the conscience.
But Jesus was willing to propitiate (atone for) our sins. He was the propitiation for our sins so that God would be satisfied and express His mercy toward us, sinners converted to believers in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ blood was the only way for us to be atoned for our sins past, present, and future. We were sanctified in that offering and we continue to be sanctified. It was a once for all time action that has effects in our present point in time and in our tomorrows. That sanctification cannot be snatched from us. Furthermore, there is no need for a yearly sacrifice anymore. He has done it. Jesus has done it. It is finished!
According to the prayer earlier , Jesus is the perfect remission. His was the perfect sacrifice.
What can wash away our sin? NOTHING but the BLOOD of JESUS!
Listen to this: