Crucifying Christ Again
I recently completed a study through Hebrews for my daily quiet time. Pastor Ben did a really wonderful sermon series on Hebrews last year that I would recommend to anyone looking for something to listen to on their commute or walks. Chapter 6 in Hebrews is one I personally relate to for many reasons, but specifically verses 4-6. The Teacher says this:
“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”
In one of Ben’s sermons, he explained that this means there are those who have experienced the attraction of Christ, but have rejected him; in doing so, they have joined with those who conspired to crucify Christ. For some reason, however, upon hearing this, I immediately contrasted this idea of “crucifying Christ again” with my behavior.
One of the struggles I've identified in my walk with Christ is my inability at times to accept his grace rather than trusting in my own efforts. I look at my deeds and then look at Christ and become depressed at the thought that in this life I will never be good enough. My problem here is that I'm trying to ground Christ's love for me in my own efforts. I can memorize Scripture, read great books by great theologians, volunteer for every church task. But as long as I'm looking to these things to find assurance of Christ's love, then I'm actually rejecting the free offer of his grace, choosing to trust my own work instead of his work. This leads to frustration. It leads to despair. But the problem is far greater than that. The problem is that I'm actually siding with those who rejected Christ and crucified him. My rejection of his grace is like subjecting him to crucifixion again.
For those who also find it challenging at times to let Christ in and accept his love for us despite our sins, here’s some practical things I try to remember.
Further down in chapter 6, the Teacher uses some of my favorite imagery for describing our relationship with Christ. In verses 18 and 19 he says,
“...we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
If ever there was a verse in the Bible I thought was for me, it’s definitely this one. The Teacher knows human nature and knows our ability to turn from Christ, whether that’s in sinful acts or like for me, not understanding I don’t have to compete for Christ’s love. The Teacher tells us there’s hope for us who have fled from Christ. The Teacher tells us to be encouraged that Christ only had to die once for us. Stop running from him, stop conspiring with those who rejected him, and accept his grace that covers you today. It’s an easier alternative than fighting the anchor that has tied your soul to him.
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