7 April • Good Friday
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after
those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts, and
write them on their minds,”
17 then he adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
About two thousand years ago, Jesus was tortured to death in one of the most painful forms of execution devised. It gives us today the word "excruciating"— from the Latin 'out of the cross'.
But Jesus' great sacrifice opened a new and living way to God. The effect of that sacrifice is we no longer have to offer animal sacrifices for sin in accordance with the written law of the Torah. God has forgiven us and drawn us into a new covenant with Him, one in which God's laws are now placed in our hearts and written in our minds. Hebrews 10:16 quotes Jeremiah 31:33, which says, "And I will be their God, and they shall be my people." We are God's new people, created through faith in Jesus.
As God's people, we offer ourselves in worship. This is a new form of worship: a worship of true hearts drawn close to God, in full assurance of the faith that Jesus' sacrifice is once and for all, of people baptised with water and cleaned of any evil or guilty conscience that cannot be forgiven.
This new worship is not just done in private. It must be done in community, even publicly. Which is why we are called to stir one another to love and good works, and not to neglect meeting together. We need the support and encouragement of other Christians.
So as you read this, please think about how you, as one of God's people offering worship, can stir and encourage someone else to love and good works. This is not as daunting a task as one might think, because ours is a confession of hope in a God who is faithful to us, a God who keeps His promises to us.
What promises can you make to Him?
Almighty God, we thank You for the sacrifice of Jesus. We ask You to make us more and more like Jesus, that everyone may see we are Your new people in Christ.
Encourage and stir someone to love and good works.
Rev Dr Chiang Ming Shun
Associate Dean and Lecturer in Church History
Trinity Theological College