The Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hebrews 9:23-28

Once for All

There is a finality about Christianity, and this finality has to do with our Lord fulfilling the law and the prophets—indeed, everything for which God created the world.  For this reason, the New Testament speaks of Christ’s coming “in these last days” (1:1), “at the end of the ages” (9:26), and in “the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4).  After Jesus Christ, we expect no more Saviors, no more Lords, no more prophets in the “thus says the Lord” sense of things.  Though God enlightens our minds through the Holy Spirit speaking to us through His word, that word through which God speaks is His definitive word, for the Son is the definitive word, the last word, the final word.  After Christ, no more words need be spoken; everything else is proclamation of that word.  Oh, it’s good proclamation, and God has commanded that His word be proclaimed for the salvation of the nations.  But no one will ever improve on the word revealed in the sacred Scriptures, and any preacher who tries to is by definition a heretic.

The finality of the Christian faith also has to do with our Lord’s sacrifice.  Sacrifices were not unique to the nation of Israel; pagans offered sacrifices even long before Abraham or the Mosaic Law.  As a creature created in God’s image, man has always intuited his separation from God and the attendant need to offer something in atonement that might bring some kind of, if not reconciliation, at least propitiation to avert divine wrath.  And ancient man knew that only blood could atone.  I often wonder if we realize today how serious sin is given the fact that ours is such a bloodless worship.

But that, of course, is by design: “He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself…so Christ, having been offered once for the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”  No more sacrifices are needed, no more blood be spilt; his is the definitive sacrifice, his the only blood.  And all of this finality is wrapped up in who he is just as the Preacher proclaimed at the beginning of his sermon: He is the Son, “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature” (1:3).  In other words, he is not only the last word or the final sacrifice—He is the Last Man, the Second and Final Adam, the One and Only Son, the Only-Begotten of his Father full of grace and truth (John 1:14).  Thus, the Christian faith is founded on the last word, the last sacrifice, the Last Man, and hence that finality we inevitably feel when we read the Scriptures or pray.  “Once for all” says it all; everything else is white noise.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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