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For I delight in faithfulness, not simply in sacrifice; I delight in acknowledging God, not simply in whole burnt offerings.
It pleases God for us to come to know Him. He sent His Son Jesus so that we could be in relationship with Him. Being in relationship with someone, means getting to know them. Through Christ, God demonstrates His love for us and just how far He is willing to go to reveal Himself to us. Basically, as the NLT translates, “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices.” In Christ the law is fulfilled, and the act of atoning for sin by sacrificial offerings is no longer needed. The perfect sacrifice has transformed atonement and worship. Now, in the new covenant in His blood, we offer our bodies as “living sacrifices” and transform into new creations. Our worship and offering is perfected by Jesus’ righteousness and perfect work. God wants relationship, not ritual, that glorifies His name.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Everything we have been redeemed to be is in Christ Jesus, and is protected by our faith in Him. We do not have a hope that can be stolen away, but one that is everlasting. We are living under God’s great mercy right now. It is not only that we are changed, but even more we are made new. Our inheritance is assured, and we need not fear anything. Praise God for our hope that will be realized! Praise Him that He is faithful and worthy, to Him be all the glory and honor and praise!
Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following the same pattern of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart. And no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.
Hebrews 11 is about entering a promised Sabbath rest. We can only enter this rest by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The word of God is so precisely able to judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, that our only hope is in Christ. In Christ we are made righteous, we did not earn it, nor could we ever earn that righteousness. Our minds, hearts, motives, and everything is an open book to God. This is why "holding fast to our confession" is what saves us and escorts us into His promised Sabbath rest. There is not one person that can stand before God apart from Jesus. Let His grace become real in your life and know that it is always enough.
At the designated time Cain brought some of the fruit of the ground for an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought some of the firstborn of his flock—even the fattest of them. And the Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering, but with Cain and his offering he was not pleased. So Cain became very angry, and his expression was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast? Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.”
God accepts Abel’s offering, but rejects Cain’s offering. We can guess at exactly why this was, but it certainly had something to do with Cain’s heart. Cain’s heart is found “not right” before the Lord, and he has a choice of how he will respond to the news. Sin has been crouching at the door of Cain’s heart, even as he brought the offering to God. This is no secret to God, and God calls it like it is. In this moment, Cain’s heart must turn toward God. His response though is not repentance, humility, or surrender…his response is anger and sadness. We must choose how we will respond to our relationship with God. Will we adjust our own position and align ourselves with Him, or will we rebel against the cost of being in relationship with Him? God has set His terms in Christ Jesus, and we come to God on His terms, not on our own.
The group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one said that any of his possessions was his own, but everything was held in common. With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all. For there was no one needy among them, because those who were owners of land or houses were selling them and bringing the proceeds from the sales and placing them at the apostles’ feet. The proceeds were distributed to each, as anyone had need.
When considering what it looks like to live in biblical community, we are right to turn our view to the early church. God’s grace is described as being “powerfully at work in them all”. (NIV) The church of Jesus Christ is meant to be “of one heart and soul”. There is not one person in the midst of the early church that lacked anything, and that is because of the immeasurable riches of God’s GRACE. His blessing upon them, they are transformed by His love and mercy. Recognize today that your possessions and money are not your own…they belong to God. Lord God transform our hearts! Let us experience the full measure of Your grace! Knit our hearts together as Your church and help us to live lives that reflect Your amazing love!