Personal studies for Lent
5th Week of Lent
Confidence only in Jesus Christ
Reading:- Hebrews 6:17-20
17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
The Lord God Almighty is truth. It is impossible for God to lie and His promise is eternal life to those who believe and trust in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. “Here we have no lasting city but we seek the city that is to come”. (Hebrews 13 verse 14)
Our confidence and hope is that we too will be with Christ where He is. In John’s Gospel we read the encouraging teaching of our Lord:- “. . . . I go to prepare a place for you and I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14 verse 3). The writer to the Hebrews encourages us to take hold of this hope. Our Lord Jesus Christ has entered into the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. That is where He now is and that is where we are. We have been made alive together with Christ and made to sit with him in the heavenly places. - Read Ephesians 2, verses 4 – 6!
I must admit that I find the traditional layout of our church difficult! The nave is the place for the congregation, the chancel (behind the screen) is for the clergy and the robed choir. The communion rail seemingly bars the entry to the “sanctuary” where the priest presides at the altar table. This layout is unfortunately modelled on the Old Testament idea of the Tabernacle / Temple. In the Jewish Temple the innermost sanctuary, separated by a curtain from the outer court, was the place where the High Priest only could enter once a year on the Day of Atonement, and then only with the sacrificial blood to make atonement for the sins of the people.
We need to remember that the once for all death of Our Lord Jesus Christ opened the way through the curtain / screen for all who believe in Him. “At His death on Calvary the curtain of the Temple was torn in two, from the top to the bottom.” Mark 15 verses 37 – 38. The way into the innermost sanctuary, into the very presence of God the Father is now open to all believers.
A question:- Does the closing of the gates on the Communion Rail before the congregation come up to receive the Bread and Wine in Holy Communion, give the wrong impression?
Yes, there is a need for reverence and even a need for “holy fear” as we approach the throne! However we have the right to enter into the Most Holy Place, the place where God dwells for “We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God . . . . . . let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. (Hebrews 4, verses 14 and 16)
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Lent studies 2019
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