For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10:4
I recently read a passionately written article declaring that the cross, “ended the need for temple sacrifice”, but went on to say that salvation is contingent upon maintaining the practice and observance of Jewish feasts, traditions and holidays.
It took a few days to get past the judgmental attitude that tries to color my perspective at times. For some reason my heart wouldn’t let me chalk this argument off by saying something like, “their attitude is so ugly, I’m not going to give their comments another thought”. No. For some reason, that just didn’t fly this time.
I found myself exploring the beliefs that may have fueled this person’s zealous
adherence to a system, a structure or institution while – judging from their own words – remaining indifferent to the human beings for which those things were intended to bless. This human tendency is one Jesus addressed often. In Mark 2:27 He says, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath”; and in Matthew 23:23-24, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” This attitude has been around for a very long time.
The aha moment
After boiling the article’s argument down to the bare bones, I finally realized what makes this idea so distasteful to me. By insisting that the observance of types, shadows and models are necessary for salvation, those things are elevated to the same status as our Lord and His accomplishing of them. Essentially saying the only thing Jesus accomplished on that horrible cross was the abolishment of a messy – yet adequate – system of dealing with the sin of mankind. Somehow, if the only purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice was to spare the lives of countless lambs, goats, doves and cattle, force Temple workers to find other means of employment and streamline the sacrificial system, then his purpose is grossly diminished and our need for Him greatly undervalued.
Romans 10:4 tells us that Jesus Christ fulfilled the laws necessary for us to be made righteous. Jesus did that, not me. It is not Jesus’ sacrifice plus my observation of Jewish ritual that qualifies and ensures my salvation. It is our failure and inability that qualified us and His righteous, self-sacrifice that insures our salvation. The only effort required of us is to believe His effort was enough, that His sacrifice was great enough to forgive our failures as well as our self-righteous compulsion to add our efforts to His accomplishment.
When humanity fell from the place of grace 6,000 years ago, Satan became the ruling dictator of this planet. Sin ushered in the reign of terror by which the wicked one governed. We can easily see that sin and disobedience had the power to alter everything, but have we comprehended the power of Christ’s righteous, perfected, obedience?
Today, my mind pursues this question: What if the cross of Christ changed everything? Suppose His blood is powerful enough to change the course, which had been set by sin? And, because sin had been the impetus used to change human nature, governments, laws, physics, perspectives, purposes, future, the earth, atmosphere, universe, life and destiny; what might possibly happen if we begin to believe that the Lord, Jesus Christ, has effected changes far greater than sin?
I am convinced that Jesus, by His righteous obedience, ushered in a power so superior in its ability to accomplish than what we have been able or willing to comprehend. The power of the cross of Christ and the blood of His sacrifice so completely exceeds the power of the fall. What can I do? Believe that the cross really did change everything and begin to walk in that reality. Let’s start by taking this truth into our lives one decision- making step at a time.