But Jesus is our high priest
Hebrews 10:12-18 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time… For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. … And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.
Philippians 1:6 God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
When I was in college in the ‘70s, some of us wore buttons that said PBPGINFWMY. Do any of you remember that? Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet.
I just discovered vintage buttons are still available on the internet!
How different this is from what I understand to be “cancel culture” (feel free to correct me!), wherein a person can be condemned and ostracized if they make one mistake or commit one sin—even if they repent, confess and ask forgiveness. Especially if it’s a sin of a certain type which brands them forever as a “bad” person.
PBPGINFWMY acknowledges there is “badness,” immaturity, self-centeredness, blindness, ignorance, stupidity, and sin in each of us. The good news of the Gospel, however, tells us Jesus has provided a way forward. Though he was perfectly good, he chose to be “cancelled” so the rest of us wouldn’t have to be. He endured false accusations and paid the penalty of the judgment made against him, fulfilling the terms of the sentence once for all.
All of this so we (who are in fact guilty) can be forgiven and live in freedom. And have space and time to grow up into goodness, confident we are already accepted and dearly loved.
So, this mid-point of the season of Lent seems a good time to ask: How is Lent going for you?
If we try to do Lenten work on our own, it can be a total downer. But if we trust our High Priest and depend on the Holy Spirit and soak in the Father’s unfathomable love for us, we can experience hope and relief and gratitude and joy.
Like my friend who just received news of a clean scan, after a long, difficult fight with cancer. It wouldn’t have been a kindness for her doctor to have patted her on the back and said, “You’re OK, I’m OK.” Recognizing the cancer that was killing her, though it led to tough, painful times during treatment, was essential. This is the lifesaving, life-transforming kindness of God we can experience during Lent.
The disciplines of Lent offer us time to pay attention to areas of our lives which still need to change and mature. Recognizing and admitting them is called confession. Repentance includes choosing to do all in our power to live, think, behave, and treat others with the grace we receive through God’s forgiveness of our sins and failings. This process is called sanctification.
Making us holy is a joint effort between us and the Trinity. We humbly accept that we can’t make ourselves better. While we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, asking him to produce his beautiful virtues in our lives, Jesus, our High Priest, intercedes for us. And our Father holds us in his love.