One Offering, Perfect, Sanctified
The lump appeared right in the middle of my throat. The kind where you swallow hard trying to make it go away, internally fighting against tears. It just sat there stagnant, refusing to move. An intimate reminder that only I could feel, only I was aware of. A silent alert telling me that what I was looking at was significant and deserved an emotional response.
I stared at the verse, trying to determine what elicited the knot.
I silently asked Jesus to make His crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection just a little more real to me during Holy week a few seconds earlier. I thumbed through the pages of my bible, I skimming all the funky hand writing that decorated the margins. Some notes written in faint pencil, some in bold pen, none consistent. The lower case a’s flip flopped from having a curve at the top to just a simple circle with a kickstand, and the perfectionist in my squirmed at the sloppiness. In big black sharpie, bleeding through the other pages of my bible on a page in Hebrews I had written,
The A in sanctified had a curve at the top, which probably meant I had written it in high school when I cared about what my hand writing looked like instead of just writing what came naturally. I couldn’t remember why it was so important.
The verse it annotated was Hebrews 10:14, “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”
I’m not sure what high school me was so moved by in this verse, but adult me was stunned. That’s when then knot appeared, as I tried to decipher what I was feeling. The only way I could fight the lump was to shut my bible quickly like you would when you open a box of something you weren’t supposed to see. “It wasn’t supposed to give me a knot,” I reprimanded God as I blinked a few times and went on with my day.
I just couldn’t stop thinking about it, though.
Later I reopened my bible to Hebrews 10. This time I read the whole thing, not just verse 14. Slowly, repeating parts I didn’t grasp right away. I studied with a student mindset, wanting to soak up the knowledge before I sunk into whatever I was feeling. I discovered that the lump wasn’t unwarranted, the passage is incredible.
Hebrew’s 10 is significant, it argues that what Christ did was the only thing to cleanse us from our sins. Not only that, Christ did it once and for all, never having to be repeated.
The law was an endless cycle of sacrifices and offerings that would never satisfy the depth of our sin. In verse 4 it even says that it is impossible for the blood of goats and bulls to take away sins.
But then there was Jesus.
He came, to stop the cycle, and was the only one that could.
“He does away with the first (the law) in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all” (verses 9-10)
Our sanctification is through the act of the sacrifice of Jesus. His life and His resurrection.
What makes verse 14 throat knot worthy is that it tells us where our identity lies. His death on the cross put us in the perfect position before God. We’re able to be sanctified, but what does that even mean?
Charles Spurgeon says that sanctification can be defined two different ways. The first being that we are sanctified through God the Father, set apart before the foundation of the world. The second being that we are sanctified through the Holy Spirit’s daily work in our lives as He subdues our corruption and imparts grace to lead us onward. In the case of this particular verse, Spurgeon explains that the definition of sanctification is both. We’re set apart by God the Father, and renewed daily by the Holy Spirit, and this is only able to happen because of the sacrifice of the cross.
Through His one perfect offering Jesus broke the cycle to break us free of sin that the law couldn’t, giving us the ability to grow and draw near to the Father.
Once Lizzie McGuire asked Ethan Craft what he did to make his hair so great. Ethan looked back at her and explained that when the shampoo bottle said to rinse and repeat, he didn’t repeat. He only washed his hair once. Lizzie stared back blankly at Ethan, because his answer wasn’t as complex as she was expecting.
When someone asks me where my identity comes from, my joy, strength, my whatever, I can answer kind of like Ethan Craft. It comes from Jesus who died on the cross, once and for all. What the law couldn’t satisfy, He did. No rinsing or repeating necessary. While there is so much in my life that feels complex, that isn’t. The Gospel isn’t.
It was one offering, perfected, and we were sanctified.
Got a lump in your throat yet? Or is that just me?