May 2nd, 2007
It seems churlish to criticise aid agencies which are trying to help people who are living in situations of desperate poverty in various different parts of the world, but you do have to ask the question, why are there so few clearly positive results from the trillions of dollars that get spent on international aid? Why are people still living in poverty when so much money is apparently being spent on helping them out of poverty? Often it seems that aid agencies keep plugging on with their ineffective programs, hoping against hope that they will produce better results in the future than they have always produced in the past…
The Letter to the Hebrews — Chapter 10
10:1 The law foreshadows the good which is to come. It is not an exact representation of those things, and can never remove all flaws from people who approach with the same sacrifices which they continue to make year after year. 10:2 Otherwise would they not have stopped being offered, because the worshippers, after being cleansed once, would have no longer felt guilty of sins? 10:3 But those sacrifices provide a yearly reminder of sins. 10:4 It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. 10:5 When Jesus came into the world he said, “You did not want sacrifices and offerings, but you prepared a body for me. 10:6 You were not pleased with burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. 10:7 Then I said, ‘Here, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written about me at the top of the scroll.’”
10:8 In the passage just quoted he said, “You did not want sacrifices and offerings, and burnt offerings and sin sacrifices did not please you,” — offerings made according to the law — 10:9 then he said, “Here, I have come to do your will.” He takes away the sacrifices in order to establish the doing of his will, 10:10 by which we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 10:11 Priests stand day after day serving and repeatedly offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins, 10:12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand side of God.
10:13 Since that time he waits until his enemies are made a footstool for his feet. 10:14 By a single offering he has forever made flawless those people who are being made holy. 10:15 The Holy Spirit also talks about this, saying firstly, 10:16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them: ‘After those days,’ says the Lord, ‘I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them in their minds.’” Then he says, 10:17 “I will remember their sins and their wrongdoings no more.” 10:18 Where sins have been forgiven, there is no further offering for sin.
10:19 Friends, the blood of Jesus gives us confidence to enter the holy place, 10:20 through the veil — that is, his body — by the new and living way which he established for us. 10:21 We have a great priest over the house of God, 10:22 so let us approach with true hearts fully trusting, our hearts being sprinkled clean from guilt, and our bodies being washed with pure water. 10:23 Let us stay true to the hope which we talk about, because God who promised is faithful.
10:24 We should think of ways to encourage each other towards love and good deeds, 10:25 not giving up meeting together, as some people have, but energising each other; even more so as you see the Day approaching. 10:26 If we sin deliberately after we have fully understood the truth, there is no further sacrifice for sins left; 10:27 just the fearful anticipation of judgment and savage fire which will consume God’s enemies. 10:28 Someone who disobeyed the law of Moses died without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 10:29 How much worse do you think the punishment should be for people who have treated the Son of God with contempt, and have thought of the blood of the covenant with which they were made holy as if it was unholy, and have insulted the Spirit of grace?
10:30 We know the one who said, “Vengeance belongs to me,” says the Lord, “I will repay.” Again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 10:32 Remember the early days when you were first enlightened, and you survived through a tremendous battle with hardships, 10:33 sometimes being exposed to insults and persecution, and sometimes supporting people who were being treated like that. 10:34 You suffered together with people who were imprisoned, and were happy to let your property be seized, knowing that you possessed something better and more lasting. 10:35 So do not throw away your boldness, which will be greatly rewarded. 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive the promise.
10:37 “In a very little while, the one who comes will come, and will not delay. 10:38 My righteous person will live by faith. My soul has no pleasure in someone who pulls back.” 10:39 We are not among those who pull back and get destroyed. We are among those who have faith and are saved.
Entry Filed under: Perseverance