_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Pastor Dale Lloyd
There are only two religions on the face of the earth this morning. In fact there are only two possibilities when it comes to religion. Before you call the men in the white coats let me acknowledge that I am well aware that there are multitudes of religious expressions in our world. What I’m referring to is this: If we listed every possible religious structure or expression in the world all of them could be divided into two categories; just two, only two, no possibility of more than two.
The first is the DO category. The second is the DONE category.
Let me state emphatically that the only religion that fits the DONE category is true Christianity. I say “true Christianity” because there are many forms of Christianity that operate in and call us back to the DO category. Paul dealt with this for his entire ministry. Pastor Adam referenced this last Sunday morning in dealing with the Galatian issue.
Scripture Reading: Heb.10: 16 – 18 “This is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, And on their mind I will write them,”
He then says, “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Heb.10:18 (from JB Phillips) Where God grants remission of sin there can be no question of making further atonement.
In these two verses (16 & 17) the writer of this Hebrew letter is quoting from the prophecies of Jeremiah. In these few brief statements you read the words ‘I will’ four times. They are not referring to what you will do or I will do – they are referring entirely to what God will do and has now done. In fact there is no reference to anything we are to do. Regarding salvation the most difficult thing we will ever do is nothing.
As good as this good news is why does it remain such a struggle for so many to simply accept by faith and faith alone that every work regarding our salvation has been done – done perfectly, done eternally?
I believe this propensity is rooted in the original lie. The serpent told Eve, “In the day that you eat of it (the fruit of the tree) you shall be like God.” It does not matter what comes after the word ‘you’ – “In the day that you...” – the lie is that by your doing, by your works you can make yourself like God. And of course, the fullness of that lie is that if by your works you can make yourself like God then by your works you can take the place of God.
I understand that the Bible addresses Christian works; acts of Christian discipleship and works of kingdom ministry or service. But the purpose of these works is not to merit or earn personal salvation. The purpose is to advance the kingdom of God in the earth. Whatever we do in obedience to the scripture and the Holy Spirit’s direction we do not do to gain salvation but to push forward the kingdom of the King.
This is where JB Phillips translation of verse 18 becomes critical: Where God grants remission of sin there can be no question of making further atonement.
I think most have been in that place where all of our works of ministry or service were really our personal effort to make ‘further atonement’ for our sin. That is the challenge of this new covenant – the challenge of moving from ‘do’ to ‘done’. How can we make further atonement for something that has been perfectly and eternally atoned for by and in the finished works of another – even the Lord Jesus Christ?
Here is the truth regarding your sin, my sin, the sin of the entire world: the full weight of its guilt was laid upon Christ. He carried it entirely to the cross. There He paid the full and perfect price of atonement for the guilt of that sin. Your forgiveness is absolutely guaranteed on the basis of what He has DONE as opposed to you are DOING.
I can assure you that you are never going to be anymore forgiven than you are right now because forgiveness is a gift given on the basis of what Christ has done rather than something earned by what we are doing.
Let me finish by looking at the last of these “I wills”: “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” There’s the real sore spot in this: we remember so easily our sins and lawless deeds, or those of our neighbour.
The word that is translated ‘remember’ in the Jeremiah prophecy is massive in meaning. I know it is not fair to present this without that body of material, but I have no time to do so. Here then is the critical mass of it: There is no memorial, no reminder, no token, no record, no audible declaration, and no public expression of your sin before our God. There is no mental fixture concerning our sin in the mind of God.
This means that when our minds are bombarded with thoughts of our sins and lawless deeds none of that is coming from our God. But there is another who never loses consciousness of these things; he’s identified in scripture as the accuser of the brethren.
When that voice goes off in your head – you must do this, you must do that, you must do something else – recognize it as the voice of the liar. Also recognize the lie itself and that it is as old as Gen.3 and the garden. Then meet that lie with truth: IT IS FINISHED; it is done.
In this reality of “the done” my present experience is that of Heb.4: 9- 10: There still exist, therefore, a full and complete rest for the people of God. And he who experiences His rest is resting from his own work as fully as God from His.