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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN




He Died for Me

Joeseph Hart penned powerful words in 1759 that ought to grab our hearts every time we sing or hear them sung. The two short but sublime verses of the beautiful song "That Dreadful Night- remind us the Lord's Supper is designed to insure we never forget our redemption from sin was purchased at an awful cost — the death/blood of God's Son. Here are the words: "That dreadful night before His death, The Lamb for sinners slain, did almost with His dying breath, this solemn feast ordain. To keep the feast, Lord, we have met, And to remember thee. Help each redeemed one to repeat: For me, He died for me."

Hebrews 9:12 is one of many verses in the New Testament that proclaim the stunning truth that Jesus died for us - 'Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." The problem with Old Testament sacrifices is succinctly summed up in Hebrews 10:4 — "it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.' Does this mean faithful Old Testament Jews cannot be saved at the judgement? No, but it does mean the death of Christ was necessary to save people on both sides of the cross. Hebrews 9:15 explains, 'For this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.' Some say sins under the old covenant were "rolled forward." What is clear is that, ultimately, it is the blood of Christ that washes away sins whether committed before or after the cross!

Discussing and understanding the spiritual truths discussed in Hebrews 9 is very important, but, due to widespread unfamiliarity with Old Testament theology concerning sin and sacrifice, can quickly begin to sound rather technical and dry and some dare say irrelevant. To prevent that thought from creeping in, remember what is under discussion and what is at stake. The subject is not access to health care or the swine flu vaccine; the subject is not a cure for cancer or diabetes; the subject is not a financial bailout or an economic stimulus package to prevent loss of my job or house (important as all these things are). The subject is how can my sins be forgiven. The subject is how can I be bailed out of the guilt/condemnation sin places me under. The subject is how can I can gain access, not to better government services or programs, but to God Himself! At stake is who will provide the cure and payment for my sins and keep me from losing my soul. The Hebrew writer's answer to all this is Jesus and the cross, summed in those four powerful words in Hebrews 9:12 — "with His own blood." That's the message of the Gospel: -For me, He died for me." Dalton Key related that during the Civil War, humorist Artemis Ward boasted, "I have already given two cousins to the war, and I stand ready to sacrifice my wife's brother" (church bulletin article, "This is Commitment?"). In God's war against sin, offering a goat or calf or even an angel was not enough. To save us, Christ 'offered Himself" to God (9:14). Now the question is, will you offer yourself to Him?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ