After saying above,
Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them (which are offered according to the Law), then He said,
Behold, I have come to do Your will. He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:8-10
Here is what God really wanted. God never cared a snap of his fingers for all the rivers of blood that flowed on Jewish altars. He had no interest in them except as they taught something. What did these sacrifices point to? A human body in which there was a human will which continually chose to depend upon an indwelling God to obey a written word! That was what God wanted. When Christ came he paused on the threshold of heaven, and said,
A body hast thou prepared for me. Within that body was a human soul with the capacity to reason, to feel and to choose. That will, in that human body, never once acted on its own, never once took any step apart from dependence upon the Father who dwelt within. That is the principle that God has been after all along; that is what he wants.
He has no interest in ritual, in candles, in prayer books, in beads, in chanting, in any ceremony. Ceremonies mean nothing to God. What he wants is a heart that is his, a life that is his, and a body that is available to him. That is why Paul, in Romans 12, says,
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1 KJV).
When our Lord Jesus acted on that principle, he allowed the direction of his life to come from the Word of God:
Behold, I have come to do Your will. Every temptation he entered into, every problem that came his way, he referred to what God had said,
It is written,
It is written,
It is written… That program took him to the cross, calling on him to lay down his life. By means of that sacrifice, we are free now to join him on this program that is God’s original intention for man.
In verse 10, this word sanctified is widely misunderstood. It is usually looked upon as some kind of religious sheep-dip that people pass through, and they come out holier and purer on the other side. But it is not that. The word sanctified simply means
to put to the proper, intended use. That is all it means. You are sanctifying the chair that you are seated on right now. You sanctify your comb when you comb your hair. Sanctification simply means
to put to the intended purpose. This verse is simply declaring that when we adopt the same outlook as Jesus Christ, when, in dependence on him, we are ready to obey the Word of God, we fulfill our humanity. We are being used in the way God intended us to be used. There is one mark of that which is unmistakable: We are willing to lay down our life in order that the will of God be done! I do not mean we rush out to die. It means giving of yourself, giving up for the moment something that you might desire to do. It means that we become content to lose standing, if necessary in the eyes of the world. We no longer regard that as important in our life. It means we give up material comfort or gain if this will advance the cause of Christ: We live in a simpler home in order that we might invest money in his enterprises. We are willing to be ignored, or slighted, or treated unfairly, if, in the doing of it, God’s cause will get ahead.
This is what God wants, this is what he is after. Not great cathedrals and beautiful buildings and ornate ritual and ceremony, God does not care for these. God wants lives, bodies, hearts that are his, available to him to work in the shop and the office and the street and the schools and everywhere people are, that his life may be made visible in terms of that person, in that place. That is Christianity.
Father, may I know the joy of ceasing from my own efforts and resting quietly upon your ability to work in me.