Jesus Can Save Us to the Uttermost

God established His covenant with the Jews, providing them with laws and Levites. They offered daily sacrifices to provide forgiveness and a limited access to God. Once a year the High Priest entered God’s presence, even if only metaphorically, in the Most Holy Place of the temple. The Jews did their best (sometimes) to keep the law God had established.

But it never worked. They vacillated between being failing strugglers to keep the law, hypocrites who only tried to keep the outward requirements of the law, and outright rebels against the law. Try as it might, the law couldn’t keep them in check. The Levites could not contain the people. In fact, the Levites themselves were sometimes leaders in the rebellion (cf. Nehemiah 13).

That was why something new was needed. “If perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood…what further need would there have been for another priest to arise…” (Hebrews 7:11). Therefore, God set aside the former commandment because “the law made nothing perfect” (Hebrews 7:19). It was weak and useless, not because of God’s inability to make a good law, but because of man’s enslavement to sin. Over and again, we demonstrated that we would not keep a law.

Jesus was the only man who ever kept the law. However, God did not use Jesus as the great example that we could be perfect. He did not use Jesus as the example that we should be perfect. He did not use Jesus as the example that if we weren’t perfect, we only had one recourse: death. Instead, of demanding we step up to the plate and make ourselves perfect, He put Jesus to death that He might make us perfect by Jesus’ blood.

The blood of bulls and goats could never perfect the conscience of the worshiper (Hebrews 9:9). However, the blood of Jesus Christ can “purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14). Therefore, God has made Jesus the mediator of His New Covenant so that we may receive our promised eternal inheritance.

The great comfort we can take is that while neither the law nor the Levites could save us, Jesus Christ “is able to save to the uttermost, those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Here is the great thing. We don’t have to try to save ourselves (in this sense). We cannot. The law was given by which we could try to be our own savior. We could strive to follow its precepts and keep its rules. Maybe if we tried hard enough, we could be perfect and save ourselves. But we didn’t. We no longer have to rely on ourselves and our own strength. Jesus is our Savior. He is able to save us to the uttermost. We must simply strive to approach God through Him. Jesus will save us.

This week, let us simply lean on Jesus and let Him run our lives. He’ll lead us to our eternal inheritance if we’ll let Him.

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4 Keys to Pursuing Purity in All Things

Today’s card for our Zealous for Good Deeds Fall Focus highlighted Titus 1:15-16:

“To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”

This passage is not saying that pure Christians can be involved in impurity and immorality but it is still pure for them. The point is that those who are pure only involve themselves in pure pursuits. Further, as they talk with others and experience life, they look toward the pure instead of the impure. 

Some folks pride themselves on double entendre. That is, they can say something that at one level is harmless but on another is filled with immoral innuendo. Interestingly, you can even find this in some kid’s movies as movie makers think they can slide something in that will go over the children’s heads but entertain the adults.

Paul’s point is the pure miss out on this kind of thing. Because their mind is focused on the pure and their sights are focused on the pure, they miss out on the innuendos and the double entendres. To folks in the world, this is classed as naivete. They look down on the pure as inexperienced, foolish, stupid and ignorant. But God classes this as honorable. In fact, I Corinthians 14:20 says, “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” God wants us naive about evil. He doesn’t want us to be able to immediately jump to the immoral thought behind much of modern conversation and entertainment.

If we can immediately see the impurity behind statements, pictures, jokes, etc. we have some work to do on our personal purity. We need to work on training our minds in godliness and purity. Keep in mind we are working on progress not perfection here. I’m not saying if you ever catch some joke you are evil and hopeless. I’m just saying we need to work on this. Because, if we don’t and if we just plug away, Paul said we will be unfit for any good work. In other words, we cannot be zealous for good deeds and filled with bad thoughts all at the same time.

Here are 4 keys to help us pursue purity in all things:

1. Keep Good Company

I Corinthians 14:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'” If we want to pursue purity in all things, we need to make sure the companions with which we spend our time are pursuing purity. If our best friends, the one’s on whom we rely for strength and encouragement, are impure, speak impurity and pursue impurity, we will never overcome. This company may be real live people, but then again it may be the deejays we listen to on the radio, the characters we follow on television, the bands we listen to in our mp3 players. If you want to pursue purity in all things, make sure you are keeping good company.

2. Read Good Words

In Acts 20:32, Paul told the Ephesian elders, “I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” If you want to pursue purity in all things, then you need to be in God’s book. Obviously, you can read other things. Christians are not limited to only reading the Bible. However, reading and studying God’s good words should take precedence over all other reading. Only by hiding God’s word in our heart can we chase away the impurity that may have residence there.

3. Meditate on Good Thoughts

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” I’m told the word translated “think” in this passage is not the idea of fleeting thoughts, but purposeful consideration and meditation. If we want to be pure, we need to think about pure things. We need to meditate on pure things. No doubt, we have all messed up our purity at some point. Therefore, it is a pipe dream to think we can never have fleeting thoughts of impurity. But we can choose where we allow our minds to dwell. We need to work on purposefully focusing our minds on the positive and pure. We must not merely read God’s good word, we must focus our mind’s attention upon it and dwell there.

4. Pursue Good Actions

Paul told Timothy to “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness” (II Timothy 2:22). If we really want to pursue purity in all things, we have to let the purity rubber hit life’s road. Whether we feel like it or not, we need to just make ourselves do some good things.  Then we need to do some more. Then we need to do some more. The more good actions we take, the more good our mind has to dwell on, the more fulfillment from good things we receive, the more purity will take over. 

As I said, remember this is about progress not perfection. Let’s work today on growing in the pursuit of purity in all things. I’ll help you if you’ll help me.

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