Hebrews 10:1-18 was the passage of scripture I read during my quiet time this morning. I am totally enthralled with what was revealed to me during this time, and especially because it was at 4:30am! These verses are in the NLT under the heading of "Christ's Sacrifice for All."
As I read through the passage, thoughts about patterns of verbal and emotional abuse, whether that be from others, or the suffering a person can inflict on themselves, came into mind. I asked myself if this type of behaviour could come about because grace has not been truly felt? Could this also apply to angry outbursts? Could this be why I still suffer from guilt, shame and regret, and why I lash out angrily at times?
"...never able to provide perfect cleansing..." The sacrifices of old were never able to save and cleanse completely. It was just an act, a deed. Something that was actioned carnally but not felt inside where God sees and knows...the heart.
Verse two gives insight into why the Israelites could never receive perfect cleansing - complete grace, if you like - from the animal and grain offerings they provided as sacrifices. "If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared." They had no choice but to keep offering these sacrifices because it was not yet their time to receive God's complete grace.
"But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year." Wow! This is verse three! Wow again! This verse spoke to me and made me ask myself, "Is saying sorry after getting angry and lashing out just a reminder of sin?" I believe that it is. It's a cycle...it, in its varying situations, is emotional and verbal abuse.
Verse four tells how "it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins", no more than it is possible for a "sorry" to really take away the hurt from when one is wronged against. And it is just not possible for that mere word - sorry - to take away sin, guilt and shame.
How to overcome this? Regarding the hurt from others; seeking God and forgiving the other person (releasing yourself in the process!) is the answer. As far as overcoming angry outbursts, sin, guilt and shame, verse 9 has the answer. "Look, I have come to do your will." Yes, fix your eyes and heart on God and stay focused on Him and His will; how He wants you to treat others, how He wants you to use your emotions and tongue. Jesus did His will, and so can we.
Jesus was offered as a "single sacrifice" (v 12). Under the old covenant the priest stood before the altar offering the same sacrifices over and over. We don't have to do that as "our High Priest offered Himself...for all time." Jesus took the sin, the guilt and the shame for us.
The Holy Spirit spoke to me yesterday while driving, which I believe ties into today's scripture passage and learning's. He told me to honour God by how I respect the speed limit! He then told me to honour God in everything I do. I thought more on that and concluded that I need to honour God in EVERY aspect of my life - to do His will! God's perfect will for my life.
All of this was a lot to take in at 4:30am but it was amazing! I felt like a weight had been lift from my heart. The striving to find out why I still felt guilt and shame from my past all uncovered in one reading. The simple answer to the problem: do His will.
Points to remember on this include that offering the same sacrifices over and over will never take away sin (v 11). Always remember Christ as the single sacrifice; that under the new covenant God has put His law in our hearts and has written it on our minds (v 16); and that He said, "I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds." (v 17).
If He doesn't remember our sins, then neither should we. Saying sorry over and over is just a reminder. Don't live life as an "angry outburst"...change the behaviour; get rid of it! I know I am going to. And I know I am going to do God's will.