Let us pray: Dear Savior, the very thought of being forever free from sickness, human power plays, selfishness, evil of all sorts, and death—the thought of being forever free from all that is simply intoxicating! Today we glory that the saints who have proceeded us are enjoying that freedom. Likewise, we give thanks to You for making it possible for us to join them by Your grace. May we meet that awesome day with total peace, rest, and happiness. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE LORD OF ALL SAINTS
TEXT: Hebrews 10: 11-18
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
Lying marked the downfall of the human race. Lies have literally been around since Adam and Eve. When God confronted Adam after the Fall into sin and pointedly asked: “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”—Well, Adam lied. He sought to soften the truth and shift blame to God for creating Eve by saying: “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” And where does this proclivity for lying originate? It begins with Satan, the fallen angel. It begins when he lies to Eve about the fruit saying: “You will not surely die…you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” She and Adam already knew good. They lived and breathed it. That forbidden fruit could not bring more good to her, no it would bring only evil, thus negating good. Lies are the downfall of the human race.
Our lesson positively touches upon the biggest lie of them all. Satan still promotes this lie today among literally all people and they swallow it with fervent relish. But, it is still a lie and just as deadly as that first forbidden fruit. The Saints in glory, the Saints Triumphant, refused to swallow it and right now they are in glory. Those that succumbed to it are lost in a hellish existence. We need to talk about this lie and today we will under this theme:
BE FREE FROM THE BIGGEST SATANIC LIE OF THEM ALL!
The biggest Satanic lie there is says: “You can save yourself.” In essence, that’s what Satan was telling Eve. You can be better, stronger, wiser, and more God-like if you strike out on your own and follow your own will. Since that time this lie has been refined, shaped, and molded by the devil into pious cloth and seemingly dressed in religious holiness. Satan knows that humans have a natural knowledge of God. He knows that only damned fools deny the existence of God. So to corrupt the rest of us he cajoles us into thinking that outward attempts at holiness and morality and offerings and sacrifices repeated again and again will eventually cause God Almighty to accept and embrace us. It’s all a huge lie. It’s all predicated upon the idea that God is exactly like us and that He has adopted the same rewards/incentive program that the world at large employs. And at the heart of the lie is this: God’s perfection and justice are just as imperfect and unjust as we are. At its heart this lie says: “God is no different than you. So, you are your own little god.”
Since time began after the Fall into sin, human beings have sought to please God and win the afterlife by doing various things to earn God’s favor. The ancient Aztecs cut out the beating hearts of their captives on top of those pyramids in order to cause their “sun god” to rise in the morning. The followers of the Canaanite god “Moloch” threw live children upon the red-hot arms of their statues, infant sacrifice, in order to placate that demonic spirit. Those are gross examples, but you get the point. In OT times God sought to use this penchant for sacrifice and turn it into a positive for His people. He ordained a priesthood that would sacrifice animals, burnt offerings of grain, giving to the temple and the like, but God carefully instructed His people that all this pointed to a much bigger, much grander, and totally complete sacrifice for sins. It all pointed to Jesus Christ. It all pointed to the amazing truth that only Jesus, God’s Son, could take away God’s anger from us and purge the “big lie” from our hearts. That only Jesus could set us free from this repetitive “going thru the motions” religious experience.
So, all those ancient sacrifices by the Hebrew peoples were an antitype of the ultimate freedom from inner guilt and fear. Yes, God would expunge the “big lie” from us and the uncertainty over whether we’d done enough to fulfill His wishes—by unconditionally freeing us from the death penalty for sin. His Son would die for us! His Son would take away His Father’s anger against us. His Son would free us from hellish slavery forever!
To be sure, the ancient Hebrew saints knew all this. They believed in the coming Christ. They understood that their sacrificial worship was but a shadow of the huge blessing to be fulfilled when the Messiah came. However, just like today among many church-goers, Satan did not give up promoting his big lie. So, countless souls at that time adopted the lie and interjected it into their Godly worship. They piously believed that by going to temple each week, praying daily, and offering sacrifices on a regular basis along with “living a good life” God would accept them, forgive them, reward them, and bless them. In other words, they could save themselves by their actions and lifestyle. It is this folly that the writer of Hebrews now addresses: “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest (meaning Jesus Christ) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time (the cross and empty tomb) he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”
The big lie today is that Christians can save themselves by adopting an external Christian lifestyle, language, and dress. No! Simply going through the motions is not enough. It is never enough. In fact, if you think your attempts at holiness cause God to accept and forgive you you’re deluded! You’ve just made a mockery of God’s grace and goodness in Jesus Christ! No, He did it all for you! He has freed you from rote religiosity! He paid for all sins and all evil on the cross. He gives you this gift freely and makes it your own through another gift—the gift of faith. You’re already made perfect forever in God’s sight—you’ve been made perfect in Christ! Putting on Christ stomps Satan’s lie into the dust.
I listen to talk radio during the week. It provides great insight into the lives of the simple folk like you and me. And you know what? I hear Satan’s biggest lie repeated time and again by people. They mean well—but so did Eve. They think: “as long as I’m trying to “be a good person” I’m obviously “better” than many others and thus God hopefully will reward me with heaven because at least I’ve tried. After all, that’s what I would do in a similar situation.” It sounds good, doesn’t it? It sounds so reasonable. But, it’s a lie! It pulls God down to our level, makes Him in our own image, violates the 1st commandment, and does away with grace. So, don’t fall for it. Hold onto Christ. Live in thankful appreciation of His grace. In other words, live in freedom of conscience and freedom of soul.
One last item. We’re not alone in this battle against the “big lie.” “The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.’ Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’ And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.” The Saint’s Triumphant are free today because by grace they embraced this truth. Go and do likewise and Be Free From the Biggest Satanic Lie of Them All. Amen