‘Sermon Snippets’ is an occasional series, taking bitesize chunks from our Sunday sermons. The following excerpt is adapted from a sermon on Hebrews 10:1-18, preached by Nigel Styles last Sunday. You can listen to the whole sermon here.
Throughout Hebrews, we’ve been thinking about what Jesus did on the cross. One of the big themes we’ve seen is that Jesus has completed a finished work.
He has done everything needed so we can now draw near to God. Our conscience is cleansed so that I really can feel clean. No longer do I need to keep being reminded of my sin, because my sin has been forgiven and I am set apart as one of God’s own people.
The Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today and forever makes me perfect in God’s eyes for all time and forever.
The old system could never do that. That is why the priests in the temple of the Old Testament were always busy, incessantly doing something to try to bring worshippers into touch with God. But for all their ‘doing’, Hebrews tells us that they are doing nothing real. Add together all the smells and bells, and it comes to …. zilch!
It does not make me clean.
It does not take away my sin.
It does not make me right with God.
It does not make me perfect.
Meanwhile, Jesus is sitting down! He’s made his sacrifice just once. And that one work on the cross is effective for ever, for every sin of every sinner at every place and time. All of that has been taken by him on his broad shoulders. And he finished that work he came to do. There is nothing more to be done.
So now imagine you and me standing in an art gallery in front of a masterpiece. And imagine that I whipped out a paintbrush and a pot of paint, and reached forward to touch up the painting. Aghast, you say, ‘what do you think you’re doing?’
‘Ooh, I’m just going to improve it,’ I say. How absurd that would be!
But it is no less absurd to think we can add to what Jesus has done. I cannot add anything to the work of Jesus for me … without taking away from its value.
It is being very rude to Jesus to think we can add to him. All has been done.