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Photo of nails, crown of thorns and other reminders of the crucifixion with Hebrews 10:12 and 16 in foreground.

Photo by Canva

A horrible thing happened earlier this week (Monday) as I was getting ready to plan out my post for this week and getting over my final cataract surgery. Three adults and three children were killed by a shooter at a small Christian school in nearby Nashville, TN (only 2 hours away). The church where the school is, is in the same denomination we have served in for many years. It isn’t a huge denomination, so even though we didn’t know the pastor, we have many mutual friends. He also served in the same presbytery we did in TX after we were gone. In fact, his own daughter was one of those killed. In many ways, it is a horrifically sad event. Yet, in other ways, it is amazing more weren’t killed. That is small comfort to those who lost loved ones of course, but as well supplied as the shooter was with guns and ammunition, it is amazing more weren’t killed.

I heard tonight that just last Spring, all the staff went through a training for what to do if a shooter came and how to handle it. The man who did the training said they did great and were able to keep from having much more bloodshed. The people who picked up the children on the buses to take them to the other church for pick-up by their parents said many of the children had no idea what had even happened and on their bus they just kept it very light and cheerful. On other buses, they knew there had been a shooting and the kids were crying and they were trying to comfort the kids. It’s so interesting how the experience for one group would be so different than for another group. Some were on the playground and the message came to their teacher to hide so they went to a wooded area nearby. But for them, it was pretty scary since they didn’t know where the shooter was.

Our lives can change so quickly! That is why we need to hang onto Jesus.

Once again we have been reminded of just how temporary our lives are. We just have no idea what each day will bring. Or what grief will come with it. It is just one more reason we need to trust God for each day. We don’t like to think about eternity. We want to think about it being a long time from now. But in reality, it could be tomorrow. If we belong to Christ, we know we will be with Him forever if our earthly life is over suddenly. It isn’t something we need to live in fear of. We just want to be prepared.

Be in prayer for this community in Nashville that is deeply grieving along with others who have been hurt in similar ways.

And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
    I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”

then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:11-25 ESV

Christ paid a single sacrifice for sin for all time. Then He sat down. It was finished. The job was done!

It has been quite a few years ago now since I bumped into this passage very happily. It said so clearly what I had learned about the gospel after years of being a Christian and struggling with assurance of my salvation. It didn’t seem right that “all” I had to do was believe the truth of the gospel. It seemed too easy in a way. Surely there had to be something else I had to do to earn my way. Did I need to be miserable as a form of penance when I sinned? But why did I sin? Wasn’t I a Christian? This was a very helpful passage to me. It wasn’t the only one, but it definitely was a big help to me.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was a once and for all sacrifice that was totally different from that of the priests who had been making sacrifices all those years that didn’t take away sin or guilt. Jesus’ sacrifice was once and for all done. Sin was paid for in full. Not only that, we now can have a clear conscience as a result.

Why do we go to church?

This is why we meet together as Christians for church each week. It is so we can stir up each other to love and good works; so we can hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering; so we can encourage each other as the Day of Christ’s coming gets nearer. What better reasons to meet together? There are other passages that go into more detail and add more reasons, but this puts it well doesn’t it?