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The Christian's Lively Hope

(1 Peter 1:3-12)

Lesson 5 -- first quarter 1998
January 4, 1998

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications

I get so tired of the same failures over and over!

I'm glad I don't live in that part of history that pre-dated the New Covenant. Even for the faithful Hebrew, the cycle was so constant: sin, sacrifice, sin again, sacrifice again, sin more, sacrifice more, keep on sinning, keep on sacrificing. Praise the Lord, they had the opportunity to repent and sacrifice! They could rest in the assurance of forgiveness! But the "system" didn't contribute much toward living in victory over oneself and over sin. "For the law...can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect" (Hebrews 10:1).

Today we have been blessed beyond measure. No longer do God's people need to sacrifice continually. The Lord Jesus "hath...appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself...for this he did once, when he offered up himself" (Hebrews 9:26; 7:27). His sacrifice completed and closed the era of animal sacrifice. His death makes possible absolute forgiveness and cleansing. We claim and ask for pardon and purification on the merits of His sacrifice.

We no longer need to offer continual sacrifices for our sins. That alone is a "big improvement" in the New Covenant. But Jesus came to accomplish much more than our forgiveness. He wasn't only "delivered for our offences" (Romans 4:25a), magnificent event that it was!

Jesus was also "raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25b). The same power that brought the Lord Jesus back from the dead in absolute triumph makes possible our own daily victory. Romans 6:5 puts the matter this way: "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." Gone are the days of the "system" that didn't contribute much toward living in victory over oneself and over sin. Herein lies part of our "lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead": we too can live in victory!

Our relationship with God need no longer be defined and limited by our relationship to the Law. Our relationship with the Almighty is now defined by and contained in our relationship to the Lawgiver. We go from death to life as we go from the Law to the Lawgiver. In a practical sense, that means His work in us accomplishes much more than forgiveness. Now He works in us by His Spirit, bringing us to perfection. In this life we will never mature beyond the need for forgiveness...but I believe that His work in us will take us from victory to victory, thus slowly decreasing the frequency of our failures.

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 1:6; 2:13).

Jesus can "make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight" (Hebrews 13:21)! He can "sanctify you wholly" (1 Thessalonians 5:23) and preserve you blameless! Tired of the same failures? Don't give up! "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it" (1 Thessalonians 5:24). You get it?! He will do it!

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