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Test 3

“THE law contains but a shadow of the good things to come, not the true picture. With the same sacrifices offered year after year for all time, it can never bring the worshippers to perfection. If it could, these sacrifices would surely have ceased to be offered, because the worshippers, cleansed once for all, would no longer have any sense of sin. Instead, by these sacrifices sins are brought to mind year after year, because they can never be removed by the blood of bulls and goats. That is why, at Christ’s coming into the world, he says: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you have prepared a body for me. Whole-offerings and sin-offerings you did not delight in. Then I said, ‘Here I am: as it is written of me in the scroll, I have come, O God, to do your will.” (Hebrews 10:1–7, REB)

“Samuel then said: ‘Does the LORD desire whole-offerings and sacrifices as he desires obedience? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen to him better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22, REB)

The New Testament Book of Hebrews centers in the Cross as the sacrifice that makes the whole sacrificial system superfluous; Our Lord Jesus came to complete the Law. The sacrifices offered—again and again and year after year—had no power to make worshippers holy. Jesus came, no longer as a shadow of God’s plan, but God definitive word creating a new and holy people. David in his great prayer for restoration asks God to “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:2, REB) But it is not just our guilt that is made clean but our souls: “God, create a pure heart for me, and give me a new and steadfast spirit.” (Psalm 51:10, REB)

We are given the wonderful baptismal promise of regeneration—"a pure heart”, and “a new and steadfast spirit.” That baptismal promise never leaves us as when we were found, but now new creatures in Christ: “For anyone united to Christ, there is a new creation: the old order has gone; a new order has already begun.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, REB) We are told in John’s epistle that now: “whoever claims to be dwelling in him must live as Christ himself lived.” (1 John 2:6, REB) This is great promise of restoration that is the gift of god’s grace. Now what does that new life in Christ look like?

“What signs of the Holy Spirit’s work should you hope and pray to see as a result of your Baptism? "I should hope and pray that the Holy Spirit, who indwells me, will help me to be an active member of my Christian community, participate in worship, continually repent and return to God, proclaim the faith, love and serve God and my neighbor, and seek justice and peace. " (Matthew 22:35–40; Hebrews 10:19–28; 12:14; 1 Peter 3:15; 1 John 1:9; 2:1)”—(To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism, question #130)

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