The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Hebrews 1, verse 3.
Before moving off verse 3, let’s talk about that “purification for sins” part.
This was the whole purpose of Christ’s life. His life wasn’t just a great morality lesson. He didn’t come here to be just a teacher, wise man, prophet, or all around good guy (like George of the Jungle). Jesus of Nazareth came here and died to provide the purification for sins. As a result, everything changed.
On a Tuesday after a holiday weekend, does that blow your mind?
Dictionary.com defines “purification” as “to make pure; free from anything that debases, pollutes, adulterates, or contaminates; to free from foreign, extraneous, or objectionable elements; to free from guilt or evil; to clear or purge (usually followed by of or from); to make clean for ceremonial or ritual use.”
You and I: we’re impure. Mother Theresa: impure. Pope Francis and Billy (or Franklin) Graham: impure. The Dalai Lama, Orthodox patriarchs, your saintly grandmother, a newborn baby not five minutes old, the best person you can think of: all impure. All of us, every human ever born of man, are impure. We’re thick with sin, tainted irrevocably with it. And what is sin? Going back to dictionary.com, sin is “transgression of divine law; any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle; any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse, etc.; great fault or offense.”
Whether it is by a single thought of selfishness or the murder of a hundred people, we have sinned against God, against Jesus. We have transgressed against Him by willful and deliberate violation of His principles. We’re guilty of great fault and offense against the pure love that is Him. Every time we choose anything but God or what is of Him, we sin. We become guilty and impure whether it’s in thought, action, or both. There’s no getting away from that fact. It’s part of who we are as people.
God didn’t make us to be sinful; our ancestors chose it and tainted us. We each choose it willfully whether we’re children or adults. Don’t agree? Have you ever had a “no” argument with a toddler? How about any kind of argument with anyone else? Ever wondered lustily what your neighbor looks like in the shower? Knowingly fudged your taxes or driven over the speed limit? Ever told a white lie? No matter the human consequences, these and so many more are sins against God. They’re unholy impurities in us that are an affront to the pure, just love that only He offers.
God tells us to be Holy but we don’t listen; in truth, we can’t on our own. He tells us to be holy because He is holy and He created us to be in union with Him. We can’t be in full union with Him as long as we’re unholy. Our sins make us unholy because each one of them is a subtle (or loud) rebellion against Him. It’s a chasm we can’t bridge on our own.
Enter Jesus. Enter Jesus the one and only Savior who came here to bridge the chasm and purify us from our sins. He willingly lived and died an agonizing death bearing the spiritual consequences of every sin humanity ever undertook. Fully God and fully man, He who could not die willingly died a hero’s death on that cross so that He could restore balance to creation. He did it while still preserving our ability to be made holy and to live in free will, choosing to love Him rather than being compelled to. He takes away the eternal damnation consequence of those sins. He makes it possible for us to be in union with God again by clothing us in His righteousness and imputing it to us as our own. In doing that, He makes it possible for the holy Majesty who is God the just Father to not see the millions of sins I’ve done in my life. Instead, He sees only Jesus’ pure perfection. My impurities no longer keep distance between us.
Buddha didn’t do that. The Dalai Lama can’t do that. Neither Billy Graham nor your pastor can do it. No imam, holy man, or shaman can do it. Nothing any of us can think, say or do can do that. But Jesus did.
Now does that blow your mind?
For more reading: John 14, Colossians 1:17, Titus 2:14, Mark 16:19.
Lord, I’m in awe of Your purifying, righteous love. Thank You for doing for me what I didn’t deserve and could not do. Thank You for purifying me of my guilt and restoring Your true love to my life.